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1 Corinthians 11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (NKJV)

We are wrapping up our series on leadership today. The following is a list of leadership principles and reminders that I have developed over the years and given to those whom I have personally managed, mentored, or put into positions of leadership. They are not very “Bible lesson” sounding on the surface because they were developed to be used in a business environment. However, you will find them all to be Biblically sound in principle and concept.

Leadership Principles and Reminders

By Brent Riggs

Don’t “manage.” Lead.

Lead by example.

Set the standard.

Lead by having the best work habits of anyone around you.

Lead by being first in line to serve and show the way.

Good “managers” are not managers, they are leaders. People follow leaders, not bosses.

Be decisive and committed to your decisions.
Decision by committee, fear, or popularity rarely works.
Make decisions and be fully committed to them.
Do not let popularity, rejection, or failure paralyze you; make your best judgment and take action.
Take responsibility for a bad decision, and correct it with humility.

Perspective is Everything
Learn to see the situation from both short-term and long-term perspectives.
Long-term vision keeps you from making impulsive decisions based on pain, stress, or frivolity.
Short-term vision allows you to remain fresh, dynamic, and quick acting; it gives you the ability to see immediate consequences and be firmly decisive.
Perspective allows you to keep both personal and business priorities in line.
Perspective increases your stature with those you mentor because you can simultaneously envision everything necessary to make a decision that gives leadership now (instead of procrastination), and leadership later (avoiding long-term negative effects that turn into painful lessons learned).

Left Brain – Right Brain
Learn to balance both sides of intellect and emotion. You will manage people and deal with customers who run the entire spectrum from “cold logic” to “gut feeling.”
You will crush the spirit and alienate those emotional followers that you lead if you have too much of an “I tell it like it is” or “because I said so” approach.
You will not have the respect and response you need if you have too much of a “feelings first” approach or if you do not take charge when taking charge is necessary.
Real leadership comes with consistent, determined, purposeful, and firm command, along with control that is tempered and filtered through compassion and empathy for those you lead.

Handling Mistakes and Valuing the Lessons Learned
Never fear mistakes. Be decisive and take risks as long as they are done with discipline and purpose, rather than from laziness or sloppiness.
Never fail to, or hesitate to admit and apologize for, mistakes without excuse or defense, whether to a subordinate or the boss.
Learn to catalog and archive lessons learned for future reference. Record as many things as possible that you learn from a mistake or situation.
While you do not fear mistakes, you also do not accept their inevitably as a rule. Develop the mindset that mistakes are to be avoided at all costs, and communicate that standard to those you manage by your personal example and by your high expectations of them.
When employees make mistakes, teach them these same things rather than simply correcting the mistake or disciplining them.

Keep Your Personal Life Balanced
Find the balance between personal life, and the necessary sacrifice for business success.
Learn the balance between working hard, but not letting work cause you to truly neglect family, friends, and rest.
Learn to modify your personal activity to support your goal of being professionally successful. In other words, if something like partying or playing golf excessively is keeping you from being disciplined and reaching your career goals, you have to decide which is more important, and either give up one or sabotage the other.

Allow Others Room to Grow
As you manage people, you have to learn the balance between control and letting people do their jobs.
Give people room, and give them your trust until they prove otherwise.
Every person considers themselves competent and capable.  Learn to increase or decrease your control and management to fit where each person is at in their professional development.

Details Are Everything
No matter how good you are, if you are a person who does not pay attention to details, you will not only lose credibility, you will cause yourself a lot of extra work and heartache.
Pay attention to the details of everything you do; never assume something will get done; never put off something that could be done now.
Learn how to keep an effective planner (paper or electronic) to help you manage the myriad details you will be facing.
If YOU are good at details, it will encourage everyone else around you to be as well; and of course, the opposite is also true.

Plan Ahead, Look Ahead, Stay Ahead
Success does not just happen, it is planned for.
It is planned for both personally and professionally.
The business, your job, and your life, is not “shoot from the hip” if you want them to be the best.
Look ahead, know what is coming, and have a plan.

Help Those Around You Succeed
You will surround yourself with successful, loyal, and grateful team members if you personally take an interest in helping and seeing them each succeed.
You never truly learn anything until you teach it to someone else. So much like I am teaching these things to you, you must turn around and teach the same things to those you lead.
Remember, in the end, life is all about people and what you have invested in their lives.
Income is a byproduct of character, integrity, hard work, and God’s blessing. Do not worry about income. Be concerned about people and character. The rest will fall into line.
Do not mistake concern for people as necessarily being “friends.” Leadership in business is much like parenting.  Feelings come second to doing what is best for: 1) the business, and 2) the employee.
You lead others while being lead yourself by the principles, goals, and mission that guides the company and guide us as Christians.
Being personal friends with those you lead is a tough balancing act that takes maturity and wisdom.

Be the Best at What you Do
No matter what tasks or responsibilities you have, never settle for anything short of the being the very, very best at doing it.
Anything short of that robs the company, robs your employees, and robs you personally.

Love To Learn
In order to be the best at what you do, you must be a passionate student.
Continual learning fuels your creativity and passion – it keeps you fresh and current.
Continual learning communicates to those you lead that you are a serious and dedicated leader. It sets the standard and removes the excuses from those around you who do not want to invest the effort into continual self-education.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Learn to pick your battles. Fight for what is important and learn to recognize and bypass the picky, unimportant, or superficial.
Learn which things are NOT worth your emotional, physical, and spiritual energy; save your strength for those things that are.

Keep the Main Things the Main Things
Do not fall prey to the “tyranny of the urgent” (the most urgent thing always gets your attention to the neglect of the important things).
Live and die every day by your “Top Six Things That I Must Accomplish Today” list. Make sure that list includes your personal and spiritual needs.

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I’m sure that among all the readers, there are a lot more great ideas and principles concerning leadership. Would you visit the message boards today and share some of your experience publicly so that other readers can benefit? Go here…

A leader imitates Christ so that those who follow them will become more Christ-like.

Lord God, help us to be Godly leaders in all that we do whether it’s as parents, mentors, doing business or teaching. Help us to realize that we are all leaders in some way to some degree. Help us to want to be Godly leaders and imitate Christ as others imitate us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Contemplation: Do you lead in anyway? Are you a parent, a mentor, a Bible study leader, a manager, or simply someone that others look to as an example? Have you thought about your responsbility as a leader? Do you realize God holds us accountable for how we lead others?

Application: Godly leaders are in short supply. Most leadership today is about getting people to do what you want, and making money. While those certainly can be a part of leadership, there is a much deeper responsibility for Godly leaders. Godly leadership is imitating Christ, so that others may follow you by example.

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?