12 Traits of Inspiring Ministry Leaders

12 Traits of Inspiring Ministry Leaders
Greg Morris

In their bestselling work The Extraordinary Leader, performance thought leaders John Zenger and Joseph Folkman revealed 16 key competencies that separate the top 10% of leaders from the rest. Since that book’s publication (2002), they along with coauthor Scott Edinger conducted a study of more than 20,000 leaders comprising over 200,000 responses to determine what makes an outstanding leader.

The results of that four year study pointed to a single fact: leaders who possessed the ability to inspire and motivate outperformed all others. It was the best predictor of overall leadership effectiveness by direct reports, peers and managers. It was the quality most valued by employees, the factor with the greatest correlation between employee commitment and satisfaction and was found to be cross-generational. In other words, the ability to “inspire and motivate to high performance” was the single most powerful predictor of being perceived as an extraordinary leader.

But they also point out in The Inspiring Leader, inspiration is not sufficient in and of itself. “Its power comes when it is placed in combination with other leadership attributes.” Inspiration works as a catalyst. Zenger, Folkman and Edinger discuss a large number of steps to consider in becoming a more inspiring leader, but here is a selection of twelve behaviors that you can apply now to inspire your team to greatness

1. Use emotions more frequently and be attuned to the emotions of those around you. For example, express heartfelt appreciation and get excited about organizational success. Show energy, enthusiasm and passion.

2. Reach out to people. Find new ways to interact with your subordinates. Practice management by walking around. Initiate conversations and be constructive.

3. Set an aggressive target. With the involvement of your team members, set a target that will stretch the group.

4. Create a vivid picture of the organization three years from now. Get each person to identify how this affects their job. Align systems and initiatives around the vision.

5. Practice lavish communication. Take the time to be inclusive by being diligent in passing on information that you collect to your colleagues. Controlling information is not inspiring.

6. Delegate tasks with the development of the other person in mind. Delegation can be elevated to an important discussion and can be wrapped with important messages that inspire and that generate positive motivation. “I see this project as a real opportunity to help you develop your skills in.”

7. Make having a personal development plan a priority and review it at least twice a year. Create positive consequences for having a personal development plan in place and for pursuing it.

8. Schedule regular coaching sessions with each subordinate. Make yourself available. Additionally, leaders who are strong in self-development are more frequently rated higher on their ability to coach and develop others.

9. Involve more people in decision making on every important issue. Seeking the opinion of others communicates that what they are doing is important and conveys respect and appreciation. It also strengthens the bond with the leader.

10. Shower positive attention on new ideas. If you have a “No” approach to new ideas, you will unwittingly close down creativity and innovation. If you don’t know, ask those who work for you, they’ll know.

11. Be the example. Demonstrate to your colleagues with your actions what is valued by the organization. You may also need to selectively model behaviors that need to be emphasized in the organization. A “do as I do” approach.

12. Take the first step. Be the one to initiate changes, projects, or communication that is necessary for the organization. Nothing says leader like being the initiator.

Under the best if circumstances your leadership journey can be arduous and difficult. Perhaps these twelve steps will help your leadership pilgrimage be just a bit more effective.

The article “12 Traits of Inspiring Ministry Leaders” written by Greg Morris was excerpted from www.churchcentral.com web site, April 2010.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”