Although there are many ways to look at what makes a good leader, without question leaders are known by their success and failure – which is fed from good decision making.
So, I am going to spend some time in this post discussing the importance and value of good judgment.
When we think of good judgment, we oftentimes will think of things like:
– credibility and consistency in decision making
– someone who accurately counts the cost of their decisions
– someone who seeks wise counsel along the way
Adapting (and borrowing) some content from one of the best strategists I know, Daryl Largis, good decision making will always:
1. Meet the Right Need
Am I asking the right questions to ensure I am addressing the right issues and needs? For example, an issue may present as a people problem – but people problems are not always just people problems.
– Could there be an issue with an existing system or process?
– Has sufficient training been offered (a competency issue)?
– Is there a wrong fit (a capability issue)?
– Maybe a lack of the right tools?
We need to ask the right questions.
2. Enable Potential
Am I looking for ways to release capacity in an individual or an organization through a decision I am making?
How in tune am I to the potential around me? I’ve heard through Dave Ramsey’s Entre’ Leadership podcast that (paraphrased) “you not only get the benefit of a pair of hands with an employee/co-worker, but you get the benefit of their brain as well”. How well am I tapping into the creative potential of those I work with?
This applies to systems and processes as well…will a decision I make to ‘improve’ a process actually release capacity? Or will it possibly create downstream implications that are counter to what I am trying to accomplish?
Again – am I asking the right questions?
3. Empower People
Closely aligned to the second point of enabling potential, empowering people has incredible long term affects. Am I looking for ways to develop those I lead (regardless of the context)? This comes from a heart of leadership that sees their role as a servant to those around them (humility) instead of someone just seeking power, control, or fame (pride).
– Where am I giving leadership away?
– Where am I delegating with confidence?
– How am I motivating those around me toward development – vocationally and spiritually?
Sometimes empowering requires correcting and redirecting as well. How willing am I to have the hard conversations with someone I see having great potential but needs some fine-tuning in some areas?
Empowering people oftentimes requires courage as a leader.
Here is where things get interesting for Christian leaders…
The first three points I mention are pragmatic and unrelated to Christ. You can see them in one form or another in many leadership arenas and venues and I believe they will be evident in successful leaders regardless of their faith. That being said, faith greatly influences our willingness and motivation to do them.
So, what is different for a Christian leader?
Daryl aptly points out that they will use their influence and position to:
4. Demonstrate the Gospel
As a Christian leader, the gospel gives meaning and shape to all that we do. A leader who is serving as Christ did and is motivated by the gospel is not preoccupied with self or my characteristics as a leader (see Matthew 6:33; seek first His Kingdom…).
Chapter 1 in Nehemiah is another great example of this. Nehemiah exercised faith in what God called him to do. All of his actions as a leader were predicated on demonstrating God’s glory.
The question I need to ask here is: am I demonstrating the gospel in how I interact with others? (see Colossians 3:12-17 for some great examples of what that looks like). As leaders, and more importantly, disciples of Christ, we are to be the example to others.
So, how are you doing in this arena?
Was there a particular point that really stuck with you?
Would love to hear your comments!