Our natural inclination is to avoid difficult situations; but understand that will be at a detriment to the organization. An effective leader understands they will have to do things they wished they did not; but it is necessary and beneficial to the group’s success. This is not much different than a parent with their child. A parent understands if they comply with all of their children’s wishes, their child may be happy for a time; but at a significant cost. Many children do not like early curfews, but a parent understands the risk of allowing their children to be out at certain times of the night. Or if a child is not interested in going to school, a parent is correct to demand they attend and fully apply themselves when they attend school. Much like a parent with their child, if an effective leader does not hold their team accountable, it will likely hinder them from reaching their full potential.
Deuteronomy 1:16-17 (NIV): Do not show partiality in judging; hear both small and great alike. Do not be afraid of anyone, for judgment belongs to God. Bring me any case too hard for you, and I will hear it.”
An effective leader needs to hold everyone (including themselves) accountable to the standard set forth. Besides setting expectations, it is important for the team to know they will each have to pull their weight; no exceptions. While this may be seem as a negative or callous to some, it is actually how we show someone we believe in them and they should believe in us.
Proverbs 3:11-12 (ESV): My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.
A leader who believes their team can rise to the occasion will not let them “get by” with anything less than excellence. A leader who believes their team is inferior to the existing standard will accept whatever productivity they provide. We should not confuse that acceptance as love, just like we should not confuse holding people accountable with animosity. Accountability is a delicate balance between encouragement and deterrence an effective leader is expected to navigate carefully. As difficult as it may seem at times, accountability without partially is a sign of love, respect, and fairness.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
When weighing the benefits of optimism versus pessimism, it is easy to contend that everyone (leader or not) should strive to be optimistic. While this is true, the leader has the ability to create an environment where optimism is easier for the organization to achieve. Optimism has been proven to enhance the immune system, as well as helping people deal with devastating events. Reason being, optimistic people believe that negative events are temporary, limited in scope, and manageable. An effective leader will remind their team of past success to help them when facing difficult failures.
Romans 5:3-5 (ESV): More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Gratitude is also associated with optimism and it has been determined that grateful people are happier and are less likely to suffer from stress and depression. It is difficult to be thankful if we spend the majority of our time focusing on the negative aspects of life. For a leader to create a culture of gratefulness, they should start by showing their appreciation for each member of their team. An effective leader will focus on the positive contributions of the team much more often than they mention their shortcomings. The goal is to have everyone reflecting on the good times; so when the bad times come (and they will come), they are confident in themselves, each other, and the mission.
Philippians 4:8-9 (NIV): Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
We face the choice between pessimism and optimism every day, multiple times a day, with each interaction. It is ultimately up to us to choose happiness, but the leader can play an essential role in that process. They should exhibit strength, courage, appreciation, and a commitment to the mission and their people. Optimism is contagious and people respond positively to people who they believe have their best interests at heart. Let us encourage each other to new heights; filled with success to build on and failure to learn from.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr
Confidence is a beneficial trait for a leader to possess. Confident leaders will be able to overcome fear and doubt; they can show vulnerability and be able to admit their mistakes.
Isaiah 41:10 (ESV): Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Like most things, we need to be careful about having too much of anything. Too much confidence can lead to arrogance and the belief that we are always right or unable to fail. Confident leaders welcome alternative thoughts and perspectives; while arrogant leaders have difficulty seeing the gifts and strengths of others. Confident leaders are generally viewed as dependable and admirable; while arrogant leaders are typically viewed negatively and undesirable to people as a whole. Understandably, anyone who believes they are always right and unable to accept the influence of others is likely an obnoxious person and difficult to be around.
Luke 18:9,11,13-14 (NKJV): 9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 11The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 13“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Confident leaders understand the likelihood of success and the chance of failure. They plan appropriately for the ensuing risk and invest time preparing not only themselves, but their entire team. Arrogant leaders will find success, but it will be with considerable expense. Their successes will be short lived because of their inability to see the value in others. Their overconfidence will also lead to a lack of self-awareness, making it difficult for them to make accurate and successful decisions. These tend to make it difficult for them to accept guidance and feedback; as well as learning from their mistakes (Romans 12:3). As effective leaders, we should strive and nurture confidence; caring about the success of the team, as much, if not more than the success of the mission.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
There is a delicate balance between constructive criticism and unproductive criticism. One key difference is constructive criticism is things the listener is able to change and improve to better themselves. Conversely, unproductive criticism is likely matters of opinion that have no intrinsic value on the listener. A leader understands they will need to know the difference because they are responsible for bringing the best out of their people. A leader cannot simply tell everyone what they want to hear all the time; it will create an environment of complacency and indifference. Instead a leader will inspire their team with honest, but helpful rhetoric that will benefit the listener immensely.
Ephesians 4:29 (NIV): Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
There is a reoccurring theme of “hope through the tough times” that a leader is required to cultivate. This is due to the reality of life; failure can happen whether we do everything correctly or not. A leader has to prepare both themselves and the team accordingly. We should be able to find joy and peace through the trials and failures of life; we should find strength knowing that we can overcome even the most difficult of situations.
Romans 15:13 (NKJV): Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
An effective leader will have created an environment where failure is seen as nothing more than a learning experience. Where effort is rewarded and congratulated by peers because it is better to try and fail than it is to not try at all. An effective leader will ensure the team is invested in the accomplishments of the organization as well as making sure everyone understands hard work is appreciated. There is a tremendous value in a leader and their entire organization working to inspire each other.
Hebrews 10:25 (ESV): Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
One of the best ways for a leader to create an inspirational nucleus is by having everyone build healthy friendships in and outside of work. Our friends and family have a superlative ability to inspire us because they have shown they care about our well-being. When they tell us we can do something better, we believe them because they know us. If a leader only interacts with their team when they need something, they may be able to motivate them for a time; but they will have a difficult time consistently inspiring them to achieve greater heights.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Patience will allow an effective leader the foresight to stay composed and collected through any situation. A patient leader will endure through the difficult times and they will motivate their team to do so as well. Those who lack patience frequently change their plans whenever something unexpected happens. Patience and longsuffering are the sign of a leader that keeps their word and will do everything they can to see the mission to its end.
Psalm 37:7-9 (ESV): Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
As a result, patient leaders will be reliable; making them easy for the team and organization to believe in them. Imagine if we were a college athlete who had the opportunity to attend any university we desired. Many things may factor into this decision; proximity to home, school ranking, and whether the degree we were seeking was being offered to name a few. We would also likely want to meet the coach, his staff, and ask them how they intended to utilize us on the team. If we have the option to choose between a coach who has coached five teams over the past five years or a coach who has coached the same team for a decade; we are going to choose the more reliable and patient coach.
2 Peter 3:9 (ESV): The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
A patient leader creates hope for their people. When we know our leader is there through thick and thin, it is one less thing we have to worry about. When the waves rise and the winds howl, everyone looks to the captain for composure and guidance. It is easy for the captain to be patient when things are going good, but it is essential for a captain to be patient when turmoil arises.
Romans 12:12 (ESV): Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
In any organization, mistakes will happen and issues will arise. A leader must be patient with his or her team if they expect their team to be patient with them and each other. Patience creates an environment where people are more focused on the solution than they are on who is to blame. A patient environment will understand loyalty to each other is the recipe of success. We are not talking about loyalty in the sense that everyone agrees with everything everyone says. We are talking about loyalty in the sense that we are patient with those we provide and receive constructive criticism from. With this understanding, let us be patient with each other as we grow and learn together.