Dec 04, 2022 06:00am
How to Lead

“They’re not going to listen to me. I’m not the boss!” Have you ever caught yourself thinking these words when frustrated with others’ performance at work? I’m guilty of not only thinking those words but saying them out loud…more than once.

Who you are and how you treat others has more impact on your position at work than what it says on your name badge.

When you work for any organization there is an apparent and typically documented chain of command. You may have worked hard over time and are now in an actual position of authority. Do you ever have days where you feel closer to the bottom by the way people respond to your ideas and suggestions?

As a support person for children with special needs, you won’t find me on a grade-level “team”. My direct supervisor is not on my campus but across town at the administration building. My colleagues are classroom teachers who have been carrying the burden of the public school system on their shoulders for years now and it’s not getting any lighter!

Sometimes my peers are easy to work with and we feel like a great team. Other times there are broken systems and processes, ineffective people in places of authority, or just overall burnout and apathy.​​ The mood can change from week to week.

Do you see yourself as a leader?

“Positional authority alone does not equate to effective leadership.” -Clay Scroggins, Author of How to Lead When You’re Not In Charge.

Leadership is a mindset that begins with identifying who you are and what you want to be to others. Leadership has nothing to do with your title or rank but everything to do with your ability to leverage influence even when you lack true authority.

Who can we look to for a perfect example of leadership? The answer is always Jesus Christ. Jesus was in no way perceived as an automatic leader in His time. From the world’s perspective, He was simply the son of a carpenter who motivated 12 men and thousands of people by his character alone. He came to be recognized and known as the Son of God. Jesus saw potential in a few unlikely men to help him spread the word of God and begin the church.

How can I be like Jesus in my job?

Jesus listened intently and asked questions. When others were speaking, He made them feel important. When people asked him questions, He responded with questions in the same manner. Jesus encouraged others to think for themselves to find truth and clarity.

When dealing with others, grace and forgiveness were always shown, even to the worst of sinners. In my planner, there is a never-ending to-do list filled with good intentions. Even on my best day, I forget to do something that I have told someone I would help them with. Grace has to start with yourself and then can be extended to others.

Through Jesus’ example combined with my own fleshly trial and error, I know that I want to be a servant leader who gives hope and help to those around me who are struggling. I also want to inspire confidence in others, even if I don’t always have it myself. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV). I repeat this verse to myself in times of doubt or uncertainty.

Even Jesus served others rather than expecting to be served. Throughout the Old Testament, prophecies foretold the coming King. John the Baptist baptized Jesus and immediately knew He was the Son of God (Matthew 3:17). Despite His Lordship and Heavenly authority, Jesus placed Himself at the feet of his disciples. He washed their feet, showing them how to serve (John 13:5).

How will you change your mindset about leading others today? What step will you take to becoming a leader where you are?

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