The ability to lead up well is one of the toughest challenges for any leader yet one of the most rewarding. Maybe we struggle with this aspect of our leadership because our view of leadership is wrong.
We see it as us being over others, holding authority and responsibility for a project, a ministry or a team, when in reality, being a leader is about influence and more about who we are as a person rather than the title we may have or we actually get to do.
When we see leadership from that perspective, we will recognise the role we have to play as we lead up, down, across and in every sphere of our lives. In fact, when we know ourselves better and value the contribution we bring to any role we may find ourselves in, we are positioned to add the most value to those who lead us.
Here are 5 things I have learned from over 30 years of ministry and leadership where I have been a leader while not being THE leader:
1. I must take the greatest responsibility for what I have responsibility for. Your boss may have authority, but in reality, they are not the boss of who you are, you are. How you choose to approach the day, deal with others, take on your allotted tasks, is down to you. You can boss that or not.
2. I need to learn to think critically, not just to be critical. It's too easy to be a complainer and be down on people. 'I'd do it differently', 'Why are they doing things that way?' This is just the start of a slippery slope to being a critical leader when what we need to be is a a critical thinking leader.
3. I should remember, I am always a follower first. Above all else I must be the best follower of Jesus I can be. This is not about perfection but it is about making progress, growing and learning as I walk with Jesus every day. Then come under your leaders leadership and vision and honour them by doing your very best too.
4. I know that example is everything, so I choose to be the best version of myself at all times. Easier said than done. This may not be possible in our own strength but with the Holy Spirit living inside us, we have all the help we need. Think about how you can be a better example and you increase the influence of your own leadership.
5. I am doing my best to lead myself well. This is massive. Greater self-awareness, learning to say yes and no to the right things, putting the right boundaries in place, getting the right people around you, knowing when to move or when to wait. The art of leading ourselves well, makes us a better leader.
Becoming a leader who knows how to lead up even though they are not THE leader is what sets you apart and can have a multiplication impact on who you are as a leader too.
What one thing could you do today to improve in this aspect of your leadership?