The Trustworthy Leader

August 7, 2019

by Rev. Angela A. Pleasants, Catawba Valley District Superintendent. 

I am an avid hiker. I often hike with a group, but my greatest joy is when I hike alone. And, when I make it to the top, I can appreciate and meditate on the vast greatness of God’s work. 

John Maxwell speaks about leadership and collaborative work. On a podcast, he talks about aloneness as a leader. Hikers can reach the top alone, but as a leader, we should not reach the pinnacle alone. 

I can list many traits of a good leader. But, since I am a Christian leader, I will begin saying authentic leadership begins in submission. A great leader is a person whose heart has been submitted before God. When our heart is submitted before God, we move our ego and agenda aside, and we first learn to follow. 

A great leader must possess the ability to develop others. In my leadership, I have developed a strategy in three words: Embrace, Empower, Release. 

Embrace is to bring others alongside. A great leader will show interest in their team members and use their strength to influence and motivate not manipulate. Look at where they are and be able to see what they can become. 

As we embrace, we don’t just tell our team what to do but learn how to ask the right questions that inspire creativity. Recognize that each person brings a unique gift and perspective to the group. 

To empower someone is to demonstrate a level of trust in the person. I come alongside and mentor, but I also trust them to fulfill their obligation to the team. To empower members of the organization is to have confidence in their ability. Confidence is developed when opportunities to develop their skills are provided. As they develop their skills and knowledge, it increases creativity and production. I maintain an open-door policy for idea-sharing. Members of the team may share their ideas. As a leader, be a good listener and affirm each member of the team and their ideas. Always communicate with your team through good and challenging times.

Release is to trust them to live into their authority and giftedness. As a leader, do not try to lead on the Island alone or be that lone hiker on the mountain. A great leader will realize we are not the smartest and most gifted in the room. Surround yourself with a team varied in their giftedness and knowledge. When trust is built, mentoring is happening; learning is increasing, give them the autonomy to live into their mission. 

A leader can embrace, empower, and release, but if there is no trust, there will be no results. Don’t expect people to follow a position or title. If you want to see trust in your team, establish yourself as trustworthy. To build trust, maintain your integrity, confidences, and stay connected with your team.
Leadership Development