“Leader” is not a title or description I would have ever given myself. In fact, there are a lot of other words I would have used: mentor, hard worker, producer, and relator. I didn’t think I was leading; I was just moving the team and work forward without realizing it. It’s just how I’m wired. I look at what needs to be done and I just do it.
Then the day came when several people in my life began to say, “Faith, you’re a strong leader” or “Faith, I love watching you lead.” It would always surprise me to hear the word leader associated with my name. I’d think: Do you mean me?
In my late 30s, God opened doors that I will never forget. I was put in positions of leadership not only at work but also at my church. God began to use people around me to shape me into the leader I am today. He put me in positions of leading many people with different skills. I had great leaders who taught me so much about integrity, leadership, attitude, and boundaries. I also had bad leaders who showed me first-hand what you should never do if you want people to follow you.
Many times I’ve wondered: Why me? Why was I chosen to lead others? Maybe you’ve experienced some of the same thoughts from time to time. Always remember the Lord will equip you. He rarely calls those who are equipped.
So … what do you do if God calls you to lead?
- Study God’s Word — continually.
- Be a good follower of a strong leader you trust.
- Find a wise mentor.
- Lean in to all situations, especially the hard ones.
- Never overreact. Stay calm in all situations.
- Lead with humility and integrity.
- Don’t be afraid to give your point of view.
- Don’t be afraid to be the strongest person in the room.
- Love the people who follow you and make sure they know it.
- Learn from those you lead.
- Ask for regular feedback regarding your leadership style.
- When you have to make a quick decision, make the decision and stick with it.
- Work hard and don’t ask anyone to do anything you wouldn’t do.
- Remember: If your team wins, the team gets the credit. If your team fails, you take the blame.
Faith Whatley is the director of adult ministry for LifeWay Christian Resources. She and her husband, Jimmy, have two grown children, an amazing daughter-in-law, and live in Nashville, Tenn.