I've blogged about this before, but Sunday's sermon reminded me of this simple formula for leadership from John 14.
Jesus is talking about going away and tells his disciples that He will return for them and says: "You know the way to the place I am going." Thomas with his realistic personality says "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" Are the people you are leading asking this same question of you? Are they confused?
As a warning, I've taken the next verse entirely out of context and applied it to my own leadership life as three simple principles for getting it right. Jesus says: "I am the way and the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father, but by me." Now obviously that last part is out of my league, Jesus is the only way to the Father for those who believe in him as the Christ. However, the first three things Jesus says I think apply to us as leaders. Now don't get all freaked out here, just go with me on this and see if you think it's true.
1. Show people the way.
2. Tell people the truth.
3. Give people a life.
First, the vision has to be clear. Your people need to know the way you want them to go. If you don't have a clear vision for your business AND communicate it clearly and effectively, your business or mission has a much greater chance of failure. Keep focused, make the goals simple and attainable and keep talking about what you are trying to accomplish. Remove the obstacles that are in the path of the way you are headed. This means you need to relentlessly prepare and know the way yourself. You have to know the way to show the way.
Next, you've got to tell people the truth. This may seem simple, but true feedback on how they are doing is critical for growth. You must also listen to the truth when it is given. Something that is not always easy. If truth is a core value in your business there will be trust. Where there is truth, there is trust.
Finally, make sure your people have life. Obviously this is not the life that only God can give, but doing your best to help your staff do well at work and away from work. You have little control over their life away from work, but true vacations, good benefits as well as keeping in touch with how they are doing personally as well as professionally will make the workplace more enjoyable. Be a model of life. Work hard and have fun. Love the people who work for you. Love creates life. "For God so loved...."
Pops Blair, 2009