Being a leader and spending a lot of time with leaders is a large percentage of what I do. Literally every day of my life I give some time and thought to being the “right” kind of leader and helping select or develop other leaders. All of my thinking and engaging with leaders has led me to one essential concept about leadership: leadership authenticity.
Leadership authenticity in my mind is being a leader who does what you are asking others to do. In other words, you do what you say. It is not about “perfection”, it is about pursuing. Being an authentic leader means that you are genuine in your pursuit of what you are expecting others to pursue.
In church leadership an authentic leader is one who spends time with God because he or she encourages others to spend time with God. It means being a leader that worships because you teach others the importance of worship. It means being a good steward because you challenge others to manage well what God has entrusted you. It means being a part of church outreaches because you want to lead the charge you are giving to others. It means being in a discipleship relationship because you know that is the mission of the church.
In my opinion, nothing is more important in leadership than being true to the mission you are driving. If the CEO of Ford Motor Company drives a Toyota, that is inauthentic to me. If the owner of a professional sports franchise has seasons tickets for the games of his team’s arch rival, that is inauthentic. I could go on, but I think you get my point. A genuine leader is someone who lives out the mission they are committed to leading.
There are lots of things in leadership you may not have control of. You may not be able to always communicate as effectively as you’d like. You may struggle to stay organized they way you need to. You may not have natural charisma or be off the charts with people skills. These are things you can work on, but you may not be able to control them completely. However, you can control authenticity. You can do what you are asking others to do and bring your full self to the table.
I lead a local church and a ministry that helps churches make disciples. The most important thing I look for in selecting leaders to come alongside me is their commitment to authenticity. I always ask, “Does this person personally practice what we are teaching”? I check to see if they are giving to the organization because nothing shows your commitment better than your money. I look to see if the individual supports the activities and events we conduct. What I really want to know is, do their words and actions match up?
A leader that says one thing and does another is not the leader you want on your team. Go with authentic leaders every time. You can’t go wrong when you surround yourself with people who are authentic.
Impact Discipleship Ministries is devoted to inspiring people and churches to be and build disciples of Jesus Christ. One of the ways we do this is through helping churches develop disciples who will become great leaders. If we can help you in that process please contact us at impactdisciples.com.