It seems that leadership is one of the most frequently published and discussed topics over the last few decades. The list of books on leadership and training programs is endless, and continues to grow. Most of these resources focus on identifying and developing good leadership practices. Based on approximately 20 years of teaching and interacting with adult students, I would like to offer some things that I believe good leaders do not have to do.
Good leaders do not have to generate all of the good ideas. As the 21st century workforce becomes more and more diverse, and the marketplace becomes more global in nature, good leaders understand that a divergence of ideas is the best way to compete in this type of environment. Effective leaders will seek out diverse ideas and perspectives. Many ideas and perspectives bring about good solutions (Prov.2:2).
Good leaders do not have to do all of the talking. Some of the most valuable time a leader can spend is listening, not talking. New leaders often embark on “listening tours” or “town hall meetings” when they take office. These types of activities offer leaders an opportunity to listen to the viewpoints of the people that make up their constituency or organization. Leaders can often learn much more by listening than talking (Jas. 1:19).
Good leaders do not have to always be in the spotlight. Good leaders will know when to step aside and encourage others to take a lead role. This is an important step in developing leadership skills in others. Good leaders know the value in cultivating leadership skills in their organization. By cultivating leaders, an organization increases its ability to achieve strategic objectives and goals.
Good leaders do not have to always be in charge. By sharing power, leaders not only demonstrate that they cannot do everything, they also tap into the knowledge, skills, abilities, and experiences of those around them. If leaders want employees to trust them, they need to trust those who surround them (Phil 2:3). Sharing power can be an effective and efficient way of getting things done.
Good leaders do not have to be in a position of power. Leaders emerge every day in different places and situations. We have probably all experienced a situation where we were in an informal setting and a group leader emerged. There are a number of things that can trigger the emergence of a leader. Being in a position of power is not necessarily a prerequisite in these situations. Good leaders do not always need power bestowed upon them by an organizational chart.
Today, it seems that leaders are facing more unique and complex challenges than ever before. If this is the case, leaders need to perpetually re-imagine their role and take into consideration those things that a good leader does not have to do.