When you first read the phrase, an effective leader is a good follower, does it seem like an oxymoron? Do leader and follower seem to contradict one another? The truth is, we all need to follow someone. How we lead is determined by how well we follow. The greatest leaders are the closest followers of the One true Leader, Jesus. We must follow Christ first, and secondly, learn from the earthly leaders God places in our lives.
Whether you have experienced positive or poor leadership, you can learn from both. Experiencing the good and the bad can provide the ability to discern what healthy leadership is, which in turn helps you lead others more effectively.
Who you follow matters—who follows you counts!
3 Signs You’re Leading Effectively
- You prioritize your day and follow Jesus.
2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” The goal of a leader is to always make Jesus your priority over your position. I believe that one of the hardest battles in a leader’s day is the continued practice of carving out quiet time with God. It is very easy to allow the hurried lifestyle of preparing, organizing, delegating and planning to disrupt one’s relationship of abiding in Him. Oftentimes, it’s something good that draws us away from our alone time with God, but it is not what is best.
Recently, while reading Psalm 5, I was convicted by verse 3, “In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.” Does God hear my voice first thing in the morning? Or is it others such as social media or Google who hear me first thing? Does my commitment to God and my priorities align with my actions? And, are they actions others want to follow? He has prepared your steps beforehand and wants you to walk in them. Keep Him first. Focus on Him and commit your ways unto Him and God will take care of the “how”. Keep focused. Stay committed. Watch eagerly.
2. You consider who you follow because it matters.
As a younger leader, I learned the heart of servant leadership through the actions of a woman that prioritized Jesus and loved others well. When she walked into a room it was not all about her, but about you. She saw potential in others and encouraged them. I was one of those women. The more time I spent with her, the more I fell in love with Jesus. Not only was my relationship with Christ transformed, but I learned that who you follow matters. Ask yourself the following questions about the people you follow. Honestly answering them will help you discern if they are healthy leaders for you to invest time and resources into following. And are they someone you desire to emulate their character?
- Do they direct you to Jesus or themselves?
- Do they lead with humility, gentleness, patience, love and peace-making? (Ephesians 4:1-3)
- Are they an “I am here” or “There you are” kind of person?
- Do they encourage you?
- Are they someone who you wish to emulate?
- Do they direct you to Jesus or themselves?
3. You recognize who follows you counts.
For the same reason you follow others, it can be the same reason others follow you. That’s a heavy sentence to reflect on because as a leader, all eyes are on you. Those who follow you want to know that you have a: noticeable calling, good character, effective communication skills and a passion for the cause. Before you can demand excellence from your team, you must aim for it yourself. Every follower wants to know the person they follow has great determination to move forward with purpose. Followers want to see you set a goal and go after it with the intensity to complete it with vigor. Some of your scariest opportunities will be your greatest building blocks. When you reach beyond yourself and embrace the unknown you create a platform to glorify God. Passion and determination is contagious for others to follow.
You want others to be all-in to your cause, ministry or business and that doesn’t happen by accident. It happens through leaders who are intentional and build into the lives of others because it is those who follow that take your endeavors to higher levels. Andrew Carnegie said, “It marks a big step in a man’s development when he comes to realize that other men can be called in to help do a better job than he can do alone.”
Together you and your team can build a strong foundation, reach greater goals and have wider influence. You are not meant for isolation but for relationship. Make your influence count! Keep Jesus at the center of your life and others will notice. They will want to follow Jesus in you, and united you will glorify God.
Journeying with Him,