You Don’t Have to Be in Charge to Lead

Emily Becker

Leadership isn’t a position, but a posture. It doesn’t matter if you’re a college student, the new person in the office, or the least experienced member of your team. We all have opportunities to lead, even when we’re not in charge. 

The First Person You Get to Lead Is You

Leadership starts in your own life. If we aren’t able to lead by example, how can we expect anyone to follow after us? Even if we are not in a specific leadership role, others look up to us. 

Think about your circles of influence: Your family, your coworkers, the children you babysit, the peers you volunteer with, your teammates. All of these people see how you live your life, and that can be more impactful than direct leadership or authority over them. 

Leadership starts in the simplest areas of our lives. Do we get up on time for class or work? Do we give our best in what we do? Are we setting an example of self-control? Paul says it best in Titus 2:6-8:

“Encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.”

Learn to Lead Up

When someone else is in charge, it is easy to sit back and watch what happens. After all, we’re not responsible for the plan of action. 

But what if what you see could change the direction your parents, your teachers, your bosses, or your church takes?

Giving your leader honest feedback and encouragement can go a long way to influencing the direction of a relationship or organization. How can your teacher help you to grow and learn if you do not consult him about the assignment you don’t understand? Or, how can your boss help you achieve your goals if you do not communicate the direction you want to go in? 
Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” 

Decisions, especially those that affect lots of people, are not easy to make. We make our leaders lives better and show Jesus’ work in us when we are honest and transparent, equipping leaders to make great decisions and trusting them to get things done.

Leadership isn’t just the ability to tell people what to do. Leadership is about loving others, putting their needs above our own.

Get Good at Leading Sideways

In every social circle or situation, we have the opportunity to lead those around us. The way we treat others shows the level of respect we have for them, which can set an example of how Jesus leads. Think about the way you interact with your peers. Are you putting your teammates’ needs first? Do you give your coworkers grace during conflict? Or, are you quick to gossip about others? 

In Titus 3:1-11, the apostle Paul says Christians should be known for their ability to bring people together: “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.” 

Do you hold a considerate and generous posture toward others? When we are kind and sincere, we gain our teammates’ trust and respect and coworkers begin to seek our input. 

Leadership isn’t just the ability to tell people what to do. Leadership is about loving others, putting their needs above our own. As we learn to lead ourselves, serve our leaders, and unite our team, we build genuine relationships and show others what following Jesus is really all about. 

Where will you start to lead today?

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