Whether you are a leader in the business world, non-profit world or church world, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ you have three main roles. These roles are each important, but you can’t be effective as a leader unless you are doing all three.
The three roles I am talking about are Shepherding, Equipping and Developing. First lets look at shepherding. This may not be a term you use much in the business world but it is a great description of a leader that cares for the people he is leading. You see a shepherd is responsible for the flock of sheep entrusted to him. He knows each sheep and makes sure they have what they need and pay attention when one gets hurt. He leads them to where they need to go and develops a trusting relationship with the sheep.
So what does that look like in today’s world. Here are some things a leader can do to shepherd his team:
- Care – people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
- Guide – In this role you will need to guide people in the direction you want them to go. Sometimes a gentle nudge or sometimes a more direct push. This can get messy as people are messy. It’s knowing when to nudge and when to push.
- Pay attention to immediate needs – If one of your team is having a personal crisis be sure to pay attention and listen to see how you can help them through it. It can also be simply making sure your team members have what they need to get their work done.
- Need-oriented – When you are in shepherding mode you are making sure that basic needs are being taken care of and that vital resources are made available.
- Listen – Take time to get to know the people you lead. Listen, ask questions about their family and show them you are concerned.
- Listen some more – This is all about establishing trust with your team. When you take the time to get to know them personally people start to trust you more
- Be vulnerable – this takes courage as a leader, but your team needs to know you and what is going on in your life as well. If you are real with them, they will be real with you.
Another important role of a leader is to equip the people on their team. Here are some thoughts on equipping people:
- Training – this is about making sure they are learning the skills needed to do the job.
- Direct – In this role you will need to tell people what to do. You will need to give them their objectives and maybe even help with the strategies on how to accomplish the objectives.
- Task focused – to equip someone you need to assign some tasks to them to see how they handle it. This is a great way to test them to see what their capacity is.
- Skill-oriented – In this role the leader is focusing on skill sets that are needed to be effective in their area of work.
- Coaching – this is when you are working on fundamentals and keep bringing them back to those basics that make a difference. Explaining the why behind what we are doing.
- Instruction – often the leader is in teaching mode or is making sure that someone on the team is teaching the others how to do something.
- Demonstration – The leader needs to model what he wants done.
- Experience – Here you need to allow people some room to grow, stretch and make mistakes. Then evaluate those experiences with them to make sure they are learning from that experience.
- Assessment – You need to debrief often with people so that they are clear on the objectives and expectations you have. This should be done one-on-one and in teams.
The last role is that of development. This is the hardest of the three roles because it takes the most time. However, this is the most powerful role a leader has and brings the biggest results in the long run.
- Training for personal growth – Here your time with them has a different focus, it’s more on their personal growth and having a plan for them in that area.
- Influence – In this role you are more a presence and the people you lead will set their own objectives and strategies with your oversight. They will take initiative on their own and you are more their cheerleader.
- Personal Focus – You should have a plan for each team member based on where they are at in their development.
- Character-oriented – Here is where you dig a little deeper and talk about character qualities and work on developing stronger character and healthier relationships
- Few – You usually can’t do this with everyone on your team. This should be your high potentials.
- Empowering – Here is when you can allow them to lead and get out of their way
- Mentoring – Your role is more of a mentor, sharing your life experience with them and answering the questions they have.
These roles are all vital and you will have to play each role every day based on personal and work situations. At times you will need to shepherd and care for even your most talented people. It takes some time and practice to be able to switch gears based on the situation and the person, but the results will be worth it.
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