As a new year approaches, we will be electing some new leaders for our congregation. It is always a time of prayerful consideration because we hate to lose the ones we have (but they probably cherish the break) and want to prayerfully consider who will replace them.
Psychologist Michelle McQuaid conducted a study of 1,000 employees and learned that 2 out of 3 aren't happy at their job. When asked what it would take to become happy, only one third said more money. The rest said that a new boss would make them happy.
Will a new boss really do it for them? The cynic would say that in a matter of months the unhappy workers will dislike the new boss as much as the old boss. But let's not stoop to cynicism. Instead, let's think about how we can be the kind of leader that inspires people -- not just to like us, but to love their work.
How does an effective leader bring about such a transformation? It begins with giving three things to the ones you lead.
Give them your attention. People often complain that nothing they say is heard, nothing they do is appreciated, and none of their efforts make a difference. Let them know that you see, that you hear, that you appreciate. "Take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded." (2 Chronicles 15:7)
Give them the tools they need. Paul says that the leader's responsibility is "to equip the saints for the work of the ministry." (Ephesians 4:2) Make sure your workers have all they need in order to do what they're asked to do. See to it that they are properly trained, they are given the required resources, and they have adequate outside support.
Give them an example to follow. Paul told Timothy, "Set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity." (1 Timothy 4:12) This is where the disconnect between leaders and team members usually begins. Those you lead want to know that you pay at least the same price they're asked to pay, and that you have at least as much integrity as they have. Effective leaders always assume that they're being watched ... because they always are. Albert Schweitzer once said, "Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing."
Pastor James "Skip" French is the pastor of Highland Christian Church, 1500 Forest Hills Blvd., Bella Vista. Opinions expressed are those of the author.