You’ve seen them. You know who I mean—the leader who had been the trailblazer for years or even decades.
And even when they turned their organization’s day-to-day leadership over to a younger generation, these men and women are still the most revered person in the room. Their history of leadership lasts.
How can you and I become a leader whose influence and legacy lasts a lifetime?
1. Lifetime leadership requires competence and ability,
One of our primary goals should be to keep learning and growing in our leadership skills. Consider hiring a coach to take you to the next level. Read books and articles about how to develop your expertise and professionalism. Michael Hyatt said, “If I’d known what I know now, I’d have hired a coach sooner.”
2. Build your leadership on character and integrity.
Character is a combination of qualities that distinguish you from other leaders. Character is in the deepest part of your heart and mind and is reflected in what you do when no one is watching. Integrity is the standard you choose for your life—the moral and spiritual fiber of your being. Both character and integrity are based on high-principled ideas which start in your mind, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8 NLT).
If you have made mistakes and failed in the areas of character and integrity, Jesus makes a way for you to rebuild these traits into your life and your leadership. Here’s how he sees your blunders:
He doesn’t condemn. There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 NLT).
·He forgives. “If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9 NLT).
·He offers a second chance. “Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, ‘Where are your accusers?
Didn’t even one of them condemn you?’ ‘No, Lord,’ she said. And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I. Go and sin no more’” (John 8:10-11 NLT).
3. A long-term leader consistently cares for people.
One pastor led his church for more than four decades and there was never any trouble. Because when he heard about a problem or that someone was unhappy, he drove to their house in person to solve the issue. One women’s ministry leader took members of her team to lunch individually so she could know their hearts and about their lives.
“One test of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.”—Arnold Glasow
4. A lifetime leader understands the power of servant leadership.
When did you last join the workers in the daily work of your organization? Would people say you are a hard worker? Would your team say you serve them?
5. Communication is key in lifetime leadership.
Listen—really listen—to everyone. Become more curious and more interested in how they do their job and why they perform it well. Tell your team what you are planning or about ideas in your mind. When you trust them, they will trust you.
6. Be generous with accolades and promotions or more responsibility or awards or recognition.
Sometimes simply saying “thank you” when a job is well done is what an employee or volunteer needs most. You will inspire and challenge your staff when you do what you said you’d do and when you notice their contribution to the success of your organization.
“To add value to others, one must first value others.”—John Maxwell
When we understand the true meaning of leadership, we will be in it for a lifetime because the true meaning has little to do with your rank or the title on your business card. Instead, a leader affects how others see themselves and how they grow in their life skills. The lifetime leader is the ultimate influencer.