Have you ever had another leader fail you? Have you faced the disappointment of a leader in your life talking about you behind your back? Have you walked away discouraged from a conversation that headed south because of pride? Leading back-to-back is a method of leadership that protects you and others from these types of pain.
As a child, I remember taking photos with my friends at a young age holding a pose of standing back-to-back with our arms crossed. It was a cool pose that displayed that we were friends and we had each other’s backs, so don’t mess with us.
How can you lead back-to-back with the leaders surrounding you, above you, and with the leader in you? Holding that strong pose resonates with integral leaders because when we meet a leader who will lead with our best interests in mind, we see the potential.
LEADERS AROUND YOU
The employees, volunteers, pastors, staff and family who surround you need to know you have their backs. This means you speak highly of them when they’re present and when they’re not. You create spaces for tough conversations to take place that produce healthy relationships, not confusion or mistrust. When someone complains about them, you defend them, then ask how you can together help this leader increase in their potential and continue to grow. The ones you lead need to know you are standing with them.
LEADERS ABOVE YOU
When looking up to those over us, such as lead pastors, executives, CEOs, government officials, and leaders in our communities, we must stand together back-to-back. This means praying for them. Trust them to lead your church, city, company or business. When we relay false information, spread frustration, or create division we are saying to the leaders above us that we are not in this together. Discounting their authority and leadership creates more opportunities for failure to take place. The best way of standing with leaders over you is to encourage them.
THE LEADER IN YOU
The leader in you can increasingly turn you against your own self by depriving you of time with God, time developing your gifts, and embracing who you are as a leader. Instead, stand back-to-back with the spirit of leadership inside of you by honing in on the God-given gifts and embracing the unique leader you are. If you waver in your belief in yourself as a leader, you undermine the calling that God placed on your life. This is not standing back-to-back.
Standing back-to-back as a leader in these three areas will bring stability, trust and genuine leadership that others will recognize. Your leadership edge will become attractive to others. It’s all about striking the pose and standing strong in the face of the challenges you will doubtless face each day.
Leaders surrounding you will grow in their leadership and their loyalty to you as a leader in their lives. The leaders above you may never see your everyday moments of having their backs, but they will see the long-term effects of your loyalty. The leader in you will be grateful you didn’t give up. Your family, friends, co-workers, congregations and business associates will be lining up to have you in their life as a mentor and encouragement to them.
Leading back-to-back is a method of leadership that takes a true servant’s heart, much like Jesus! He always has our backs, no matter our status in life as a leader.
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