Science and technology alone do not create effectiveness, people do…and for people to create effectiveness they must be well led. So how exactly does a leader go about influencing and inspiring others?
Communicate your vision
Having a dream is not enough; you need the help of others to make your dream a reality, and that will require making your dream their dream as well.
This is not as difficult as it might sound. There is a certain amount of salesmanship involved in leadership, and just as enthusiasm is contagious in sales, it’s also contagious in leadership. The way you express enthusiasm for your vision will cause your leaders to catch the vision and will give meaning to what they do. When you talk enthusiastically about your vision and communicate it frequently in new and creative ways, your leaders can picture your ideal and align themselves behind your mission and goals. This only happens when they recognize and accept a vision that becomes important to them personally.
Your responsibility as a leader is to effectively communicate both the destination and the road map for arriving at the destination. You want the trip to sound as interesting and exciting as the arrival so your entire staff will want to be on board for the journey. People do a much better job when they are excited about what they are doing. It’s your job as the leader to inspire that excitement.
It’s not just your vision that needs to be communicated; it’s also important to communicate what’s going on in the church, what’s happening to achieve the vision, and what progress you’re making.
Open communication is an important part of leadership. If you hold back information and tell leaders only what you think they need to know to do their jobs, you will fail as a leader. When you make your leaders partners in achieving your vision, everything that goes on in the church becomes their vision. Whether it directly affects them or not, or whether they really need to know or not is irrelevant. If you don’t communicate openly the only thing you’ll achieve is needless gossip, wrong conclusions, and resentment.
Make it a point to tell leaders everything you possibly can about the church. Give them all the information they may be interested in. Keep them so well informed that it becomes impossible for a rumor to survive. When decisions are made, make sure they are announced immediately. The grapevine is an incredibly speedy form of communication and will beat you to the draw if you’re not quick. While the grapevine may be a quick way for information to be communicated, it’s not an effective way. When leaders hear news through the grapevine instead of from you, the news often gets distorted. And worse yet, they feel you are not being open with them. Leaders need a sense of belonging that only open communication will give them.
The open communication of information to your congregation is also an important tool. It lets your people know they are important and valued members of the team. It gives them a clear view of the big picture, which in turn gives more meaning to the part they play in it. Without this information, people won’t become emotionally committed to the overall vision of the church.
Next month: Creating effectiveness, Pt. 2: Know yourself
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