Lesson 5 : Fourteen qualities of a successful leader
Series: Developing a leadership culture
1. Leaders recognize timing is everything. Timing is critical.
How many of you know that there are certain Sunday morning demons in hell? More stuff happens Sunday morning on the way to church, more arguments on the way to church, more fights on the way to church, in fact the demons in hell right now are getting ready for tomorrow, they’rebrushing their teeth and their hair, coming to your house. You know that’s true.
So when you enter into getting ready to go into the church service, let me tell you what the devil is trying to do. He’s trying to rob the blessing even before you get there. So that argument in the car on the way to the church that is the devil trying to get your mind off that you will receive from the word and then there’ll be stuff that will happen inside of the church, somebody will be upset, somebody will get the feelings hurt, somebody will not show up, in that context make sure you don’t keep running to the pastor, don’t run to the leaders of the service. You want to make sure that they have their mind on the Lord. If the bathroom is plugged up, close the door, put a sign saying “out of service”, but don’t come to the pastor and say…. If somebody is angry in the church choir some brother, sister will handle that, but don’t try to get the pastor involved.
But you know, if you’re not careful the devil will do things out there and then pull the pastor and do it and that will make all the difference in the anointing on his life. Timing is everything. Don’t go running to this leadership, handle it. Take care of it. After the service you can talk about it, but before the service understand that the devil is out there to rob. Timing is everything. How many of you are married in here? You all know timing is everything. You fix it. Timing is everything
2. Leadership is about building connections.
Without a network, systems fail. Its about connecting one person to another. How many of you remember in school we used to have this thing called “connect the dots”? If you connect the dots in the right order then you have a beautiful picture. That’s what leaders do. They connect the dots.
In 1968 when the first fax machine came down the market millions of dollars had been spent on a research in development, but the first fax machine was worth nothing. But behind the first fax machine came fax machine number two that increased the value of the first fax machine because now there was someone to send a fax to and someone to receive a fax from. It’s all about making connections.
You remember we used to be so proud of our personal computer, our PC, but now your PC is worthless unless you’re on the net, otherwise you’ve got a glorified typewriter. It’s all about connections. So when you have a need and you want to do something the first thing that should come to your mind, who do I need to connect to make that happen. When you do the community project don’t try to do it yourself, the first thought should be: who else can do it with me? Remember I keep going back to building a team and in that way there will not be a crisis of connection because people will be connected.
3. Leaders learn from their mistakes and are not afraid to admit them. I’ve said enough about that.
4. Confidence counts in yourself and others.
You know it is good when people have confidence in the leader. But is even better when the leader has confidence in the people. A lot of leaders don’t take direct steps towards their decisions. They second guess themselves. Have you ever been behind somebody in traffic and they don’t know whether to go right or left and you’re behind them? What do you feel like saying to them? No, don’t say that…… you are saved. You feel like saying: get right or get left.
That is how it is in church. If you as a pastor or you as a department leader are hesitant in making a decision all the departments behind you are saying: take a right or go left because you’re holding up the whole traffic there. You have to have confidence in your decisions and when you make the wrong decision, stand in front of your people and say to them: I made a mistake. We’re going to correct this mistake. Don’t ever worry about doing that, they will never lose respect if you do that, but you will lose respect if you try to fix it in another way and try to pretend like nothing went wrong. Just say: I was wrong. And good news is I’ll be wrong again. Never be afraid to admit your mistakes. You will never lose respect. You will always gain respect.
5. Language is one of the most powerful tools.
Communication, communication. Someone said it this way: that speaking to a group of people is like speaking to a parade that’s going by, as the parade is going by you have to say the same things over and over and over and over again. Think of it this way, think of your church announcements: you can announce them from the pulpit, you can put them in the bulletin, you can send it out in a newsletter, you can call people on the phone, you can put it on the powerpoint overhead, you can do a video, but they’re still going to call and say: was it 7 or 7.30?
Think of it another way: people who are experts in the field of communication tell us that in America, because of our 28 second commercials, most Americans can concentrate 100% on any given subject for no more than 28 seconds. So this morning that’s what’s been going on over here: every 28 seconds you check out and then you check back in, and then you check out. Just because you’re sitting here in body, just because you’ve got your eyes open, just because you’re looking at me and just because you can hear me on the microphone, does not mean a thing. Some of you have been in this room and been all over the world as well. And so what happens? It’s not like that section is going to check out, then they all check in, and then this section checks out and then they all check in. Oh, no, no, no, all day long everyone of you, including me have been checking out and checking in, checking out, checking in. And therefore when you preach a sermon and let just say you preach for 40 minutes, if people get five minutes out of the 40 minutes, you’re doing good. And those 5 minutes is 28 seconds here, 28 seconds there, 28 seconds there…. It’s not like 5 minutes in a row.
So you noticed what I’ve done today, I’ve done two things: one is I have repeated the same material in case you were checked out then, are you all with me? And the second thing is I keep telling you stories because when people are checked out the only way to pull people back in is to tell a story.
Jesus taught us that. He had a lot of checked out people. When you are preaching in the open air there are birds flying, there are children playing in the fields, there’s a lake with fishermen, people got food on their mind, there is no microphone, people are just standing around in a group, He’d tell stories and those stories kept pulling people in, so you got to know how to communicate with people. You know by the time this thing is over today I will have talked to you at least for 6 or 6.30 hours. I’ve had two interpreters but one Sam and when I look over a group like this especially people sitting in the back that I can barely see I have no idea if they are awake or asleep, they checked out, checked in and just because somebody is writing notes, they may be making a grocery list.
Communication. You’ve got to work at it, continuously work at it. Here’s my challenge, every weekend I got a group of people, I stand in front of them for 4 to 5 hours, I have no big visual aids going on and yet I’ve got to keep them with me for 4 to 5 hours. You just have to work at it. I read books about communication, I watch people on TV and say: now, how did they do that? I’m trying to learn from people. I tried to learn new stories. I learn to be crazy. And that is why the 11th commandment is “thou shall not bore thy people”.
6. Leaders help people succeed.
They don’t fear developing their associates. It was July 1, 1989, I had just gone to my office for the first time as president, I parked my car and I looked over the front of the car and there was a young man mowing the lawn, so instead of going inside the office I went out to that gentleman, when he made his round to where I was I stopped him, I said “my name is Sam, I’m the president here”, he said “I’m Benson, I’m the janitor here”. I said “I’m from India”, he said “I’m from Kenya”,
I saw something in his eyes on July 1 that let me know that that was an eagle even though he was a janitor he was an eagle, so he went through our college and completed his BA, we sent him on there to get his Master Business MBA. He went on from there to get his MLS, Master Library Science. Now we keep on paying for him to go and get his doctorate in education. Today he is my executive vice president. He is the chief operating officer at Beulah Bible College. Never be afraid to develop the people around you because as you develop them and as they succeed, you will succeed. So take some people….. you, raise them up, lift them up, encourage them, take them to a higher level.
7. Leaders don’t confuse management and leadership. I think I’ve said enough about that. You all were checked at that time.
8. Leaders set goals anyone can understand.
Leaders set goals. You’ve got to know where you’re going. When you come out of the parking lot after this conference, when you go to your car, you’re going to start your car, you’re going to put it in drive or reverse and once you’re in drive, you’re not just going to drive around, you have a goal. Your goal is to go somewhere. So you make up your mind where you’re going to go and then mentally work back to where you are and then you say: ok, to get there, I’m here, I need to get there this way.
You’ve got to have a goal. At the end of 2002 what’s your goal for your church? What’s your goal for your ministry? What your personal goal? How about a goal that I will read 3 books between now and December? How about I will find two eagles between now and December? How about I’m a Sunday school teacher now and I’ll be a better teacher by 2002? I’m a preacher now and I’ll stop boring my people. Goals. And once you have goals then you can work towards them. When you give your people goals, make it very simple. Don’t try to be deep, no Greek, no Hebrew, only Spanish.
9. Leaders set high standards.
Good enough is not good enough. Make sure that you expect the very best from your people, and before you can expect the very best from your people you’ve got to give the very best to the people. If they see you slacking off, they will slack off. If they see you on time they will be on time. If they see you returning phone calls they will return phone calls. Whatever they see you do is what they will do. Set high standards.
10. Leaders recognize room for improvement.
Some time between now and tonight I’m going to give you a simple challenge. Somewhere between now and tonight I want you to make a list of 3 points, it’s very simple. You need to say here are the 3 things I’m going to improve in my life and under each one write down 2 other things. Number one: How you’re going to do it? And number two: how will you know you’ve done it? One of the 3 might be I’ll be a better father and then under that: how am I going to do it? I’m going to spend more time with my children. How will I know I’ve done it? I can look and see if I spend more time with my children. So at the end of the day today if you can just have 3 goals for your life for 2002 you will be in the top 5 % of the United States of America. So you plan your work and then you work your plan. How many of your are going to do that tonight?
11. Leaders take charge: step up to responsibility and accountability..
Let me say to you 2 things about responsibility. When you give somebody responsibility, give them 2 things along with that, one is authority, the other is accountability. Don’t ever give somebody responsibility and no authority because people very quickly figure out that he has responsibility but no authority. It’s like a substitute teacher in a classroom, as soon as the substitute teacher comes in, all the students know we’re going to have fun today because this teacher has responsibility but no authority.
And not only you have to give them authority but you also will want to give them accountability. So that means if you give Sandra a responsibility ask her to account back for what she’s supposed to do. In church we are very reluctant to do that, because we think we’re going to hurt people’s feelings and because we are so considerate of people’s feelings, the job never gets done. Why we need to be considerate about people’s feelings? It is so important that the persons understand that they need to do their jobs. Some people’s feelings you’re going to hurt sooner or later, why not sooner?
12. Leaders do what is right.
13. Leaders give credit where credit is due.
14. Leaders demonstrate the virtue of loyalty.
Before I talk about loyalty, in the back of your notes there should be a sheet with lines on it, you see that? When you are leaving today please complete that and leave it out in the vestibule or the lobby and that’ll allow COPAHNI know it was worth it because pastor Miranda is going to read everyone of those. He’s going to delegate that out to other people. Loyalty.
Let me define loyalty for you. Loyalty is not when somebody agrees with you all the time because if Pastor Miranda and I agreed with us all the time then one of us is unnecessary. That's why we get married. Me and my wife will always be necessary because we both bring different perspectives, but loyalty says this: you can disagree with my head but you can’t disagree with my heart. You can disagree with how I do things but not with why I do things. You can disagree with my method but not my motivation. As soon as you have a person who is not loyal to you, you got a terrorist in your organization. We don’t want to deal with disloyal people because these people are ready to fight. They don’t like you anyhow and the longer you wait…. See disloyalty is not a matter of head, loyalty has to do with your spirits being connected.
So conversations don’t create loyalty. You know I have spent very little time with the pastor Miranda but when I first saw him in his office, something happened, right then our spirits connected and so we know that we are going to be loyal to each other. I did not sit in his office for him to say: now, you need to be loyal and I’d appreciate you’d be loyal to me. No, we never had that conversation.
When me and my wife got married I didn’t say to her: now, I want you to promise that you’re going to be loyal to me. By the time we got to the point where I was going to ask her to marry me there was an assumed foundation. You can only build an organization with loyal people.