A note from Kelly King: Sometimes leaders want followers, but our leadership is marked by our followship to Christ. Jessie Seneca offers some great points to determine whether you are leading effectively by the way you follow. Take time today to reflect on how you follow Christ.
When you first read the phrase, an effective leader is a good follower, does it seem like an oxymoron? Do leader and follower seem to contradict one another? The truth is, we all need to follow someone. How we lead is determined by how well we follow. The greatest leaders are the closest followers of the One true Leader, Jesus. We must follow Christ first, and secondly, we must learn from the earthly leaders God places in our lives.
Whether you have experienced positive or poor leadership, you can learn from both. Experiencing the good and the bad can provide the ability to discern what healthy leadership is, which in turn helps you lead others more effectively.
Who you follow matters; who follows you counts!
3 Signs You’re Leading Effectively
1. You prioritize your day and follow Jesus.
2 Chronicles 16:9a says, “The eyes of the LORD roam throughout the earth to show himself strong for those who are wholeheartedly devoted to him.”
The goal of a leader is to always make Jesus your priority over your position. I believe that one of the hardest battles in a leader’s day is the continued practice of carving out quiet time with God. It is very easy to allow the hurried lifestyle of preparing, organizing, delegating, and planning to disrupt one’s relationship of abiding in Him. Often it’s something good that draws us away from our alone time with God, but it is not what is best.
Recently, while reading Psalm 5, I was convicted by verse 3, “In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I plead my case to you and watch expectantly.” Does God hear my voice first thing in the morning? Or is it others such as social media or Google who hear me first thing? Do my commitment to God and my priorities align with my actions? And, are they actions others want to follow? He has prepared your steps beforehand and wants you to walk in them. Keep Him first. Focus on Him and commit your ways unto Him and God will take care of the “how.” Keep focused. Stay committed. Watch eagerly.
2. You consider who you follow because it matters.
As a younger leader, I learned the heart of servant leadership through the actions of a woman who prioritized Jesus and loved others well. When she walked into a room, it was not all about her, but about you. She saw potential in others and encouraged them. I was one of those women. The more time I spent with her, the more I fell in love with Jesus. Not only was my relationship with Christ transformed, but I learned that who you follow matters.
Ask yourself the following questions about the people you follow. Honestly answering them will help you discern if they are healthy leaders for you to invest time and resources into following. And are they someone you desire to emulate their character?
- Do they direct you to Jesus or themselves?
- Do they lead with humility, gentleness, patience, love, and peace-making?
- Are they an “I am here” or “There you are” kind of person?
- Do they encourage you?
- Are they someone who you wish to emulate?
3. You recognize who follows you counts.
The reason you follow others can be the same reason others follow you. That’s a heavy sentence to reflect on because as a leader all eyes are on you. Those who follow you want to know that you have a noticeable calling, good character, effective communication skills, and passion for the cause. Before you can demand excellence from your team, you must aim for it yourself. Every follower wants to know the person they follow has great determination to move forward with purpose. Followers want to see you set a goal and go after it with the intensity to complete it with vigor. Some of your scariest opportunities will be your greatest building blocks. When you reach beyond yourself and embrace the unknown, you create a platform to glorify God. Passion and determination are contagious for others to follow.
You want others to be all in to your cause, ministry, or business, and that doesn’t happen by accident. It happens through leaders who are intentional and build into the lives of others, because it is those who follow that take your endeavors to higher levels. Andrew Carnegie said, “It marks a big step in a man’s development when he comes to realize that other men can be called in to help do a better job than he can do alone.”
Together you and your team can build a strong foundation, reach greater goals, and have wider influence. You are not meant for isolation but for relationship. Make your influence count! Keep Jesus at the center of your life, and others will notice. They will want to follow Jesus in you, and united you will glorify God.
Jessie is the founder of More of Him Ministries in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She has been leading women in the local community and churches for over twenty-five years. Jessie offers an annual women’s leadership Conference called SHE Leads. She has also worked with LifeWay as a Living Proof Live and Priscilla Shirer Live City Coordinator and Northeast Simulcast Specialist. She enjoys seeing women get into the Word of God and the transformation it brings into their lives. Through God’s Word, Jessie shares what true leadership looks like along with practical teachings from her personal experiences. Her message inspires women to move into a whole-hearted lifestyle, one devoted fully to God. Jessie’s passion and wisdom is to use the gifts God has given her to speak into the lives of her listeners and readers. She is a wife and mother of two adult daughters and wonderful sons-in-law. Most days you can find her walking her two golden-doodles, Murphy and Bella.