Leadership Lessons to Live By: Who, Me? A Leader? What to Do When You’re Supposed to Lead

You’ve heard this line from Shakespeare:  “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Is the same thing true in leadership? It seems so. Some people are natural-born leaders, and other people are forced into the leadership situations. But what happens when you don’t feel like you have the gifts for leadership, yet find yourself needing to lead? Here’s what to do when you’re supposed to lead.

1.  It’s okay to be afraid. Leadership has some scary moments. You’re not immediately going to be an intrepid and fearless leader. Fear will not disqualify you from leadership. Instead, it will help to humble you, and to encourage your dependence on God.

2.  Forget the “leader” stereotype. When you enter a leadership situation, you’ll probably grab leadership books, surf leadership blogs, and try to learn from other great leaders. That’s great. Do it, and learn all you can. But don’t forget to be yourself. Leadership is an expression of you — your God-given mandate — not a personality, attitude, or set of characteristics that someone else tells you to have.

3.  Get mentored. One of the greatest things you can do to improve your leadership is to learn from someone else. Find an experienced or older leader with whom you can work, talk, pray, and learn. Mentorship can appear in unexpected places, so broaden your circle of friends and acquaintances. Maybe you can’t find the perfect mentor, and that’s okay. Read leadership books, attend leadership seminars, and take leadership classes. You don’t have to do or agree with everything taught or heard, but you will learn and grow.

4.  Leadership is service. Even though leadership can be a complex and monumental task, it really boils down to a simple concept:  Leadership is servanthood (Luke 22:26). Leadership is not all about grandeur and fame. It’s about rolling up your sleeves, and serving people. Just serve. This simple truth will help to keep you going when things get bewildering, frustrating, and exhausting. Serve.

5.  Pray. You can’t do leadership all by yourself. You need God. Give him your worries and cares (1 Peter 5:7). No leadership manual or seminar will provide supernatural help in your leadership task. Only God can do that. Depend upon him in humility and gratitude.

When leadership is thrust upon you, don’t shove it off. Embrace it. God has given you an opportunity to serve him in a new and exciting way, and he will give you the ability and strength to accomplish it.
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