Before you can lead people, you need to obtain the consent of the people who are to be led. People might follow you for any number of reasons – they could be assigned by someone else to work under your leadership, they might have decided that they want to be with you because they are attracted to you personally, or they may have bought into your vision.
As a Christian, its important to understand the vision of God for your life and how it relates to the things you are called to be involved in. Then you can share that vision with others – and some of them may elect to buy into the vision and join with you in working towards its fulfilment. All this precedes the actual process of leading.
But once you have people who are willing to go with you and do things under your direction, you still have to know how to lead. These are the most important things you must DO in the process of leading people.
First: you must tell people what to do.
If people are not told what to do, they are unlikely to know what is expected of them.
Its important that our expectations as leaders be clearly laid out – it is best if it is in writing. A written job description is helpful and can avoid lots of problems later on.
The individual tasks people should do should also be specified.
Our people can then rejoice when they hit the target. Its no fun to play a game where the goalposts are constantly moving. When people finish the task, they feel good. And that is important.
Second: you must show people what to do, or have someone in your team show them.
Often a verbal telling is not enough. If a new skill is involved, it will help a lot if the person to whom the task will be assigned is SHOWN practically how to do the job.
Third: you must let people try to do it.
A lot of pastors fail here. They tell people to go and do great things in the name of the Lord, but they criticize anyone who steps out and has a go. For hundreds of years the church actually sought to stop anyone who tried to do the work of Jesus Christ. They didn’t do it themselves and they forbad anyone who tried to.
If evangelism is an important part of the work of the Lord, then leaders must not simply tell their people to evangelise, they must SHOW them how to do it, for best results. People will do as the leader does, not always as the leader says.
Fourth: you must observe what these people are doing.
We have to take an interest in people and their development. So its important to look at their work and try first of all to find something they are doing RIGHT. If we only look at people when they are messing up, we will not create a healthy and joyful atmosphere. This approach produces badly behaved children, and in ministry and the workplace, the same applies.
Fifth: you must praise progress or redirect them.
Every expert on human relations will tell you that people perform better under an atmosphere of PRAISE and AFFIRMATION than they do under criticism. Criticism can totally dishearten some people. Be honest, if all you got from people for YOUR efforts was criticism, how would YOU feel?
After people have mastered the basics, if their performance slips, it is important to discuss with them. Tell them you know they are capable of doing better (you have seen that), that you are less than satisfied with current performance, and re-iterate what you expect from them. Reclarify the goals and the task.
Sixth: you must give more responsibility and authority when they are ready for it.
Jesus ultimately gave the responsibility of evangelizing the world to his disciples. But even then He was and is available to help us in this great task. He promises to be with us. We can call upon him for help.
Great leaders build big people. Great leaders delegate authority AND responsibility. Great leaders expect results and want to see their people rise to great heights. They know the way to do this is to lay down a challenge, after their people have demonstrated a certain level of basic competency.