How you lead reveals what is happening in your heart, not just your organization.

Whether you’re on paid staff or a high capacity volunteer, you most likely guide, communicate, correct, challenge, and motivate others. Your actions reveal what is taking place in your heart.

Your tone, the words you choose, and most importantly your motive for speaking them, all evidence what is taking place internally. They are telling a story that is filled with…

  • Pride
  • Insecurity
  • Fear
  • Confidence
  • Godly surrender
  • Love

However, as leaders, we often neglect to reflect upon how what we do reveals who we are becoming. This is especially true in leadership.

Without reflection, our hearts can gradually drift off course until we experience some type of emotional, spiritual, or relational shipwreck.

Today I want to provide a few questions that might serve as a spiritual compass or mirror for your heart. I pray they help you discover if you are moving in the right direction or drifting off course.

1. Are you trying to fill a position or develop a person?

It’s not a secret that the Church is always in need of more workers. Jesus spoke of the harvest being plentiful but the workers being few (Luke 10:2). The reality is that we need more people making disciples of Jesus and should encourage this often.

However, over the years many churches have moved from developing people to filling positions. Instead of discovering someone’s gifts, personality, and as some would define as a calling, we ask if they can serve in the nursery because we don’t have anyone. We put someone in the parking lot when they would really thrive in the classroom. We end up filling a role instead of developing a person.

The truth is…. when you lead from a place of positional need, you often neglect the potential of the person. You focus on what you need and not what someone else could become.

Ultimately this will impact your heart because you’ll begin to see people who can meet your needs instead of people with needs to be met. Leadership is always meant for the benefit of those being led. Leaders exist for others, not themselves.

God has a purpose for the lives of those you lead, and as a leader, your role is to equip and empower them to accomplish what God has called them to.

How you do this will reveal what’s taking place in your heart. Your heart will reflect either a genuine concern for others or a selfish pursuit of glory.

2. Does your calendar reflect a desire to care or primarily coach?

Leaders love making it better. Whatever “it” is, leaders usually have a bias toward taking action. To an extent, there is nothing wrong with coaching someone to be the best version of themselves. However, when you look at your calendar, does it evidence a passion for caring or primarily coaching?

Both are important, but neglecting to intentionally care for those you lead reveals that you care more about progress than the people you serve alongside. This gradually communicates to others that what they produce is worth more than their presence on the team.

Eventually if your calendar neglects caring, in the name of progress, you’ll grow to become a team of one. 

3. Do you celebrate the good your team is accomplishing or primarily critique what needs to change?

Evaluation is likely your default. I know it’s mine. I want to improve what our team is accomplishing and that usually means focusing on what’s wrong, not what’s right.

This is especially dangerous because you are dealing with people, not inanimate organizations. Decisions are made by people, and when you critique a process, system, environment, song, lesson, sermon, event, or graphic, you are wielding power to challenge, celebrate, or crush another servant of God.

You must remember a person is always worth more than the product they deliver. 

Celebration and critique do very different things to your heart, especially as it pertains to people. If you are constantly critical of what others are doing, your heart will mourn their existence. You’ll wish someone else would take their place.  However, if you intentionally celebrate the good they are doing, your heart will rejoice having them on the team.

If you critique more than celebrate, your heart will mourn more than rejoice. 

The world has enough critics. What it needs are more celebrators. These celebratory leaders draw attention to the good God is doing through His people and rejoice in their faithful service. It’s amazing what can happen when leaders celebrate what they want to be repeated.

What about you? What question did you find most helpful? What would you add to the list? Scroll down to comment below.