In my last post, we considered how Nehemiah’s confident faith in God was the foundation of his plan to rebuild Jerusalem’s wall. But additionally, his faith gave him conviction that he could lead the effort!
If a leader is not convinced the goal or mission has significant value, she cannot lead a team to achieve the mission. The leader is always the champion of the value of success. She can articulate what success means to the team, partners, and the organization and its supporters. She can quantify the value of success, and the outcome in relation to the overall mission of the organization. She internalizes that value and communicates it with enthusiasm.
She knows that no team members can even be selected unless the leader has first considered what it will take to achieve the goal and why it matters!
Conviction about the value of the effort is essential.
In our time, the strong foundation of Christian leadership is the work of the Holy Spirit in helping a Christian leader display certain traits that support the work of a team:
- personal discipline
- confidence from experience that work can be bravely accomplished, or modified, or stopped, if God is involved
- insistence on truth in planning and work, and
- clarity about her gifts from God and how her gifts relate to the team’s composition and purpose.
A successful leader must be willing to pray, study, plan, rigorously think through options, identify potential pitfalls, evaluate and secure needed resources, match team members’ gifts to tasks and delegate jobs accordingly, get mentally ready to lead to a specific goal, and bravely make decisions.
Build conviction about your ability and courage to make informed decisions!
Decision-making is a learned capability of a leader. Without it, a leader cannot finish! Cannot finish the job. Cannot finish building the team. Cannot finish the plan!
How do you learn to make good decisions? Pray! Think! You learn by making decisions— small, medium, and large decisions. And then make some more decisions. Even if you never are in charge—practice thinking about how you would decide, and ask others why they made the decisions they did. Practice with team members, alone and in conjunction with experts, when dealing with open issues! If you are a young person, seek a volunteer job where you can begin to make decisions.
Since failing is a part of every learning process, become inquisitive about your failures!
Analyze: “What happened?” “Why?” “What could have happened if…”
At one point in my life I made so many mistakes I actually had a “Mistake Box” with 3 x 5 cards full of avoidance tactics so I might not make the same mistake again. Hilarious! But it helped focus me on the work instead of feeling sorry for myself or blaming someone, or, worse – giving up.
If you want to be a great leader, you must practice making decisions that accomplish advantageous results! Therein lies the leader’s ultimate value to the team.
Learning to make decisions and helping other people to do so, should begin even before a specific team is engaged for a project, or else…you’ll pick the wrong people for the team! Knowing he can make a judicious decision builds a leader’s anticipation of success as the team is built.
If the leader is not comfortable with decision-making, the team will doubt his conviction. For example, which person would you prefer to follow:
A team leader who says at your first meeting, “Well, guys, we’ve been asked to get that mission team to Africa by June 1, and here it is March 1, what do you think our chances are of getting that done?
Or the one who says, “Thanks for saying “yes” to this great assignment! What a team we have! With your skills and commitment, we have the know-how to get our team to Africa by June 1 with God’s help. Think of the impact their mission will make! Since I’ve met and talked with each of you, I know we have the capabilities. We can make good, timely decisions. Let’s get on with the prayers and the plan!”
Conviction is the expectation that a team can do the job and meet the goal with informed plans and decisions and God’s help!