Everyone agrees that we want to be able to trust our leaders. If we don’t trust you, we won’t follow you…at least not for long. So how does a leader go about garnering the trust of those she is attempting to lead?
The fact that we want ambition in our leaders is counterintuitive for some because we too quickly assume ambition is for self. But think of it this way, how would you like to follow a pastor who says, “I don’t really see God doing much around here but that’s okay because all I really want is to bide my time until Christ returns.” A leader must have some sort of holy discontent that drives them to a deep seated ambition to see God at work in the world. The exact nature of the discontent is as varied as the leaders, but it must be there if trust is to be generated.
Be careful with this one. Too many assume that a leader must be competent in every aspect of a ministry. Or, perhaps more accurately, too many want the leader to be competent at whatever aspect of the ministry they care about the most. But the competence that matters most for a leader is leadership competence. A leader must be constantly growing as a leader. From there, the leader needs to be good at whatever aspect of the role they focus on. For example, some pastors are horrible at pastoral care and yet they still feel the need to make every hospital visit themselves. Do your people a favor and delegate that job. My team knows I’m good at vision, design, and fundraising so they free me up to focus my energy there. They also know that I’m horrible at execution, i.e., actually getting stuff done, and they expect me to get out of their way so they can execute.
I have talked about this in another post Church Vs. Secular Leadership, integrity goes beyond moral character. I don’t want to belabor the point here except to say that there must be consistency between what you say, how you act, and how people perceive your values. Leaders who excel in ambition and competence but lack integrity ultimately fail in the long run, despite stunning short term success. More importantly, while a lack of ambition or competence makes you less effective, a lack of integrity makes you destructive.