Most of the time, when the topic of leadership is brought up, we tend to immediately begin talking about how to lead “doers.” By doer I simply mean the people who are there to do a job.
They signed up to volunteer in your ministry. You hired them to work in a specific department. They are on your team and are expected to carry out tasks. They are doers.
This is in contrast to leaders. If you are in leadership for any length of time, there will probably come a time where you will need to lead other leaders. Leading other leaders is, in many ways, different than leading doers. Leaders expect you to interact with them differently.
In fact, I’ve found five truths that I believe that all leaders who lead other leaders need to understand:
1. Leaders need resources.
This includes money, equipment and people. Nothing will frustrate a leader faster than firing them up with a compelling vision and then not equipping them with resources to accomplish the vision. Leaders are goal-driven and the most important thing to them is reaching the finish line—without resources, you’re making it impossible for them to get there.
2. Leaders need the vision.
Although leaders are typically good at vision casting, when you’re leading them, they need to know and buy into your vision. From that, they will then inspire the team they lead, but it needs to be aligned with your vision. Asking them to lead something and not connecting it to a larger vision can seem like busy work or insignificant work and could lead to burnout for that leader and those that he/she leads.
3. Leaders need space.
Micro-management does not work for leaders. When you’re leading a leader, you should give them the vision and the goal and then get out of the way for them to take the team they’re leading toward that bulls-eye. Constant looking over the shoulder of a leader or stepping in too often to give unneeded input and direction will push the leader to question why they are even needed. Often, I’ve found, that when leaders I lead are given the space to lead, they come up with ideas I never would have and reach the goal better/more quickly/more creatively than I ever could have myself.
4. Leaders need freedom.
Leaders need the vision, but they do not need for you to lay out every single step along the way for them. Leaders must have the freedom to lead from their strengths, experiences and preferences—and it’s highly likely that all of those are different from yours. Give them freedom to make decisions, freedom to be creative and freedom to make mistakes. Freedom will lead to a better outcome and better leadership.
5. Leaders need feedback.
Sure, leaders need space … but they don’t need you to be absent. Once they understand the vision, their goal is to accomplish that vision. And it’s your vision. Also, good leaders crave feedback on their performance. They want to know what they’re doing well and what they could do better. They need to hear it from you, and you need to know that they’re on track and moving in the direction that you expect. Leaders who lack feedback from the person leading them will find themselves questioning whether progress is being made and whether they’re valued as a leader.
Regardless of who it is you’re leading—doers or leaders—leadership is never easy.
But when you’re a leader who is leading leaders, there are some specific truths that apply … and if you miss them, you may find that you aren’t able to retain leaders and that you’re missing the goals you have for your work, your family, your ministry and more.