Leading in 2023
How you lead others has changed in the past three years. It’s been changing for a while, but it is definitely different now. Your people (that is, whoever it is that you lead) may know you and even like you – but that doesn’t mean they will follow you. Of course, they may follow you on Twitter or Instagram or even click the like button once in a while. That’s so easy to do – but are they following you anywhere?
Most people don’t want to be “sheep” or, even worse, a lemming. They prefer their independence and autonomy – freedom to choose. They want to choose for themselves what is true, right, and meaningful. They live their life from an internal point of reference – not an external one.
This has unique ramifications for your leadership. Where are you leading your people? Where do they want to go? How convinced are they that you can get them there? (And do they believe they must actually follow you to get there?)
Perhaps I’ve matured a bit as a leader, for I no longer believe that leading others is simply pointing in a direction, describing a preferred future, and directing others how to get there. Leading today is so much more than vision casting, strategy, planning, motivation, or showing how to __________ (fill in the blank).
While I still embrace the understanding that “leadership is influence,” I also recognize that this simple definition is incomplete. Leadership is collaboration. How you lead is as important today as where you are leading.
When I think about collaboration, it is the antithesis of isolation and insular thinking and behaviors. As our world has advanced in knowledge and technology, you cannot determine the direction you are leading all by yourself. When leading collaboratively, three spheres participate in concert: spiritual, personal, and corporate. Collaborative leadership demands alignment, clarity, and focus in these three spheres.
Alignment occurs when our identified outcomes are congruent. On the one hand, it may be as simple as seeing that a biblical priority or command is something that you are individually committed to attaining – and the small group, ministry team, or congregation you lead is also committed to attaining it. The result of mutually determining direction is alignment. However, there are many situations and directions that lack biblical imperatives and therefore require a discerning process – both personally and corporately. A collaborative, listening posture is necessary so we can hear what God is saying to us regarding where he is leading us.
Misalignment often results from our failure to pause to confirm our agreements – acknowledging that we are collectively headed where we want to go. Discovery of alignment or misalignment is critical to both a leader’s and follower’s success. The best time to confirm we all want to go to the same destination together is before taking off to get there. I’m often amused when I board an airplane and I hear the flight attendant announce, “This plane is headed to Seattle. If that’s not your destination, now would be a good time to exit the aircraft.“ I’ve never seen anyone scramble to disembark, yet the very fact that this announcement is given indicates that it has happened before.
As you reflect on how far you’ve come in 2022 and where God is leading you (and those around you) in 2023 – let me encourage you to take the time to determine at the start of the year that there is shared commitment and alignment regarding the destination. When you do this at the start – you will ensure that you arrive together where God is leading you.
Together with you,
Vinia Executive Director
PS – We are here to come alongside you as you lead. Let us know how we can help you as you discern and follow God’s leadership in your life and ministry. Schedule a 30-minute phone call today.
This blog post is from the December 6, 2022 Vinia Newsletter.
If you would like to sign up to receive the Vinia Newsletter, you can do so here.