Updated: Oct 17
Humility is a leadership superpower. Humility does not lower you as a leader…it elevates your influence. Humility led the sinless Son of God to lower Himself to the point of death on a cross…and, in turn, the Father elevated Him to His right hand. Follow the humility of Christ.
Humility is also hard to talk about…especially within ourselves. The last thing I’d ever say is, “Wow - I’m sure a humble leader!” You’d mockingly laugh in my face at the irony of such a prideful statement.
The humble leader is…
Interested in Others - Philippians 2:4 - “Look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” How do you show interest in others? Ask them good questions! The humble leader voraciously asks questions to get to know the heart of those whom they lead and serve. Learn to ask open-ended questions that often start with “WHAT?” For example, “What is giving you the most joy right now? What is stealing your joy? What part of your vocation do you love the most…or love the least?” Also…let your team members speak about their emotions. We start all of our staff retreats cleaning out our “emotional jugs” by asking four questions. “What is making you mad…sad…worried…glad?” Then, if you want to go super deep with your team members…PRAY FOR THEM! Out loud. Based on what you heard. This will show maximum interest in others!
The humble leader…
Asks for Help - First, from God in His Word. Second, from the body of Christ, all with unique gifts to advance the cause of Jesus.
There are some parts of my calling as a pastor that I love to do. I love to cast vision and monitor culture, and put together environments for people to grow in their faith. I also love anything with words - writing and preaching. The pastoral office also includes counseling, visitation…which I love…but others love these responsibilities more than I do. I must train others to help me. The pastoral office also includes at least a working knowledge of finance, spreadsheets, HR functions, scheduling, and a myriad of other detail-oriented functions to make the ministry run smoothly for the Glory of God. I do not like…and nor am I good at these jobs. Want to hear a fantastic truth? There are other people in the body of Christ who LIGHT UP over the areas of ministry that I greatly dislike! Isn’t that amazing? All I have to do is ask them for help…AND create a culture where all of our team members ask for help around various areas in their job that they are not gifted for as well.
I would recommend two helpful assessments to discover the “sweet spot” for you and your
team. 1) Six Types of Working Genius - by Patrick Lencioni. He uses an easy-to-understand acronym (WIDGET) for six types of Genius.
Every person has two working geniuses, two working competencies, and two working frustrations. It is fun to run this exercise with your entire team and you’ll see how balanced…or NOT…that you actually are. This is also a great assessment for church volunteers to help ensure they are doing ministry jobs that give them life.
Another assessment is the Harrison Behavioral Assessment. This is a super-comprehensive and more expensive assessment. It studies 256 behavioral traits and gives clear indication as to whether the person likes to do the behaviors required for their respective job.
I would humbly recommend you use one (or both) of these assessments. This will help you wisely ask for help from people who like to do what you do not like to do. This will greatly enhance your delegation effectiveness.
The humble leader…
Delegates authority, not just tasks.
Our greatest example is Jesus Christ. All authority in heaven and on earth had been given to Jesus…and He gave that same authority to His Church through the office of the Keys. He gave us the authority to forgive or not forgive, sins.
Jesus didn’t simply give us tasks to accomplish. Jesus gave us the authority of the Holy Spirit to join God in His mission to discover, develop and deploy disciples of the risen and reigning Christ. How amazing is THAT?!?
Delegating authority sounds easier than it actually is. Giving away authority is messy. People won’t always do things as you think they should. In fact, sometimes they’ll do it BETTER…and your insecurities may show. “Hey! I’M supposed to be the one that people praise and orient their lives around!” Obviously, we would never say this…but our sinful and selfish flesh thinks it.
In my experience, Giving away authority to delegate decisions is way better than micro-managing. Micromanaging is stressful. So much depends on me. Releasing authority may feel risky…and it IS to a degree. You can’t control other people and their decisions. Yet, micromanaging is much more risky. Micro-managing leverages the greatest risk of all - stifling the advancement of the Gospel.
I pray this was helpful. I pray you’re growing in your humility. You don’t need to talk about it - people will see it in you. Be interested in others. Ask for help based on the gifting of others. Delegate authority for decision-making. The Kingdom of God will advance as you lead with humility…and the Triune God will be praised!