What Followers Need From Their Leaders (pt. 1)

What Followers Need From Their Leaders (pt. 1)

Most leaders think that if their vision is clear, their people will follow. But that’s just not true, and the stats prove it. Research juggernaut Gallup finds that in order to consistently respond to a leader, a follower needs four things from that leader. We will explore each of the four components in the next RMD newsletters, starting with the first—and perhaps the most important–Trust. 

  1. The lowest level of trust comes when people see their leaders do what they say they will do: They live the messages they teach (they practice what they preach, to use the old phrase.) 
  2. They follow through on the commitments they make.
  3. They include team members in important discussions and decisions, as promised.
  4. They own their mistakes, admitting to them and apologizing where they can.  This alone can create significant credibility. “Confess your sins and you shall be healed.” 

They are trustworthy over time. The Bible calls this integrity, a that concept comes from the math world.  As we learned in Elementary School math, an integer is a whole number, in contrast to a fraction divided into two or more parts. A person with integrity (an integer) is the same person no matter his/her environment. The person of integrity is not one person in the pulpit and another on the highway, in a grocery store, or in a family.

 The Bible speaks of integrity this way:

  • Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity. ~ Titus 2:7 ESV
  • Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. ~ 1 Peter 5:2-3 ESV

The opposite of trust is suspicion. The way to reverse distrust is with clear, healthy, timely communication and deeds. If you feel you are losing the trust of your leaders or that they just don’t seem to be responding to you, try answering these questions:

  1. How have I demonstrated our church vision in my personal life this week?
  2. How have I given closure to conversations by following up with phone calls, emails or decisions that I promised?
  3. How have I included (or forgotten) leaders in important decisions?
  4. How have I righted a wrong with my leaders? (Not just minimizing or apologizing due to insecurity, but instead owning the mistake and making restitution as soon as possible).

In our ministry context (or any context,) trust is expressed through confidence and faith. The more trust there is in a church the faster it can move and the greater impact it can have. 

We look forward to discussing Gallup’s next three needs of every follower you want to lead.  Spoiler Alert: It’s not a perfect sermon, a perfect building, or even a perfect you.

~ Eric Oleson