As a Christian leader, you are held to high moral, ethical, and social standards. As a leader, you are held to high standards, but as a Christian leader, that bar is raised even higher. Why? Because both the Christian and non-Christian social environment has tended to expect that Christians measure up to their self-proclaimed moral and ethical standards, as they rightly should. What can you do to be sure you ‘stand up to the test’ in the area of Christian leadership?
1) Probably the most important thing you can do as a Christian leader is to clean up your act---if there is anything in your life, moral or ethical, which would not stand up to scrutiny if the entire world found out---you must eliminate it immediately. Do not give anyone an occasion to think that you are a hypocrite.
2) Be sure that every decision you make is honest and ethical. You cannot effectively lead, as a Christian or not, when your decisions and actions are not above-board, fair, and honest.
3) As a Christian leader, commit to telling the truth no matter what. As a Christian leader, when you lie or tell half-truths, people tend to feel that your entire faith is a sham. In fact, if you are habitually lying and telling half-truths, your faith may indeed be a sham.
4) Learn everything you can about the tasks at hand, even if it means working in the trenches for a while. No one likes to be led by someone who has never done what he or she is doing. This doesn’t mean you have to become an expert, just participate in the menial work long enough to understand the frustrating aspects of the work. Another benefit to this is, when you have actually done the work, you can more effectively brainstorm solutions to challenges when they arise.
5) Lead by example. Do you expect your employees or secretaries to arrive on time for work, and dressed well? Then you must do the same. Sometimes it is so easy to think that you have earned the right to come in whenever you feel like it, or to return from lunch whenever you wish. Sure, you may have earned the right, but you gain far more by setting the example for performance. Do you expect others to work overtime when a project is behind projections? Then you must be willing to do the same.
6) Although you may feel you have earned the right to delegate away all the work, continue to be involved in productive tasks. By doing some of the work, not only do you gain the respect of your employees, but also you keep in touch with the flow of things. As a leader, it is easy to become disengaged from the actual productive segment of your business, and resultantly make decisions that look good on paper and sound good around the boardroom table, but are actually worthless when the rubber hits the road.
7) Constantly reevaluate your own performance. Often, you may spend so much time correcting the actions of others and solving crises you didn’t create, that you develop a sense that others aren’t as capable as you. Consequently, you may not recognize when you are falling into bad habits that also need to be corrected. Be the first to recognize and correct your own short-fallings.
8) Avoid pride. Once in a position of leadership, especially if you are good at what you do, it is easy to begin to feel that you are invincible. Once that occurs, you become vulnerable to pride, and may make decisions you would frown on if your subordinates made the same decisions. Maintain full responsibility for your actions, and keep them above-board at all times.
9) Learn to manage your time. When you are in a position of leadership and find yourself delegating away most of the time-consuming tasks, it is easy to lose control of your time. Again, when your employees see you wasting your time, they will tend to do the same.
(Ghazal Bhatti is Human Rights Activist based in Karachi – Pakistan)