Leadership advice worth following

My role with Messiah College’s Master of Arts in Higher Education has expanded recently to half-time, which means I’m thinking a lot these days about leadership, preparing leaders, and what it means to lead. I also serve on the board of a ministry organization that has recently welcomed a new CEO. And beginning in a few weeks, I’ll facilitate for the third time an online course for the Christian Leadership Alliance titled “The Executive and Board Relationship.” All this to say, I’m eager for resources written for leaders, by leaders.

leading_group_clip_5629One such find popped up the other day in the HigherEdJobs blog. Although directed toward newcomers to academic administration, the advice in the article is applicable to first-time leaders in any setting. You’ll want to read the piece for yourself, but here’s some of what author Gregory Meeks has to say (in bold face) with a bit of commentary from me on the side (in italic face).

MANAGING TO LEAD

You’ve landed your dream job, now what? Consider the following advice.

1. Don’t be in a hurry. I assume you plan to be in your position for a good long while, so there’s no reason to rush things. There will be many tomorrows.

2. Get to know your [co-workers]. A title doesn’t a leader make. You have to win the trust of your team before you can lead.

3. Involve [colleagues] in decision-making. Every good and perfect idea doesn’t have to come from you. See number 5 below.

4. Be an encourager. A pat on the back is almost always more effective than a kick in the pants.

5. Be humble. Share the glory. Give credit where credit is due. Admit when you mess up. These four short sentences will take you a long way as a leader. See number 2 above.

6. Cast a vision. It’s amazing the tunnels into which your team will follow if you can give a compelling description of the light at the other end.

7. Live a life of integrity. Talk is easy. True leadership comes in walking the walk.

Meeks concludes his article with these wise words: “One good benchmark to judge if you are leading it to look behind you every once in a while and see if anyone is following. If there isn’t anybody behind you, you aren’t leading. . . Effective leaders don’t manage unwilling teams; they inspire their co-workers to excellence.”

That, my friends, is leadership advice worth following.

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