“People respond not primarily to what you do, but to how you’re being ... toward them.”
- Leadership and Self-Deception
The goal of every leader is to develop people. But if you’ve spent any time in a leadership role, you know it’s not easy. That’s why there are thousands of books, seminars, and blog posts written on the topic.
If we want to cultivate the kind of authentic life change in the people we lead there’s one thing that matters more than anything else — authentic leadership. Authentic leadership produces authentic results. The thing that makes organizations like Zappos, Chick-fil-A, and Starbucks great is that their employees are known for consistently conveying a genuine love for the company and generally resonating with the company’s core value of authenticity.
If authentic leadership has helped these brands stand out above the rest, how can we as church leaders express our genuine motives and cultivate the same kind of authenticity that leads to life change? Here are a few key ideas:
- Check yourself. The first sign that you might be in danger of falling into the trap of counterfeit leadership is believing you’re not susceptible to it. The greatest obstacle to engaging a broad base of people in your church in authentic community could be that you’ve lost touch as a leader with the people you're leading. Here are a few ways to know if your leadership is getting in the way of building authentic church community.
- Start with your staff. Your staff knows the truth about your church more than any other subgroup in your church. A church whose stated values don’t line up with the values expressed in the church offices Monday through Friday will leave staff leadership feeling cynical and limited in their ability to ignite ministry activity. Authentic community starts with the staff. If you want to develop a culture of authenticity among your staff, here are four ideas.
- Embrace authenticity in every area of ministry, not just your preaching. Many pastors think authenticity only comes from the pulpit. However, the weekend message is only a springboard to authenticity. Creating authentic experiences doesn’t happen in an hour on Sunday morning; instead, it comes from adopting a mindset of authenticity in everything we do. How can your church embrace authenticity in everything you do? Here are a few key ways.
While there are dozens of strategies and principles you can apply in your leadership, if you’re not wrapping everything you do in a blanket of authenticity, you won’t succeed in the long run.
What is your church doing to create a culture of authenticity?