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Leading from the Outside

An article written by Jaz Greer

Leadership can often be seen to be easy when you are in familiar territory. You have the position, the salary the title and most of all the adoration and respect of those who follow you. When you say jump, the response is “how high!”

In those circumstances, it is easy to feel confident, in control and directing people and plans becomes so much easier…

But what would happen if you were lifted from that position and situation and planted into a space where you don’t have a position, you don’t have a title and everyone questions your every move and “why” they should do as you say?

Welcome to the place called “leading outside your sphere of authority!”

In this place you are seen as an outsider, a foreigner, coming to disrupt how things are, with big ideas above your station and most of all, no-one respects you!

You arrived at this location by accident, not design, your journey cuts across the local culture, your experience is not instantly recognised, but still, even in this place your inner self picks up the issues, your eyes see the challenges and deficits and your heart wants to make a difference – your inner leadership kicks in, but how do you get them to notice you let alone listen to you?

Many people in leadership in Church find themselves, for a variety of reasons, in the world around Church, outside their sphere of authority, but nevertheless still a leader and having to adapt that calling in God to the circumstances around them…so how do they do this?

Four Keys to leading outside your sphere of authority:

  1. Be humble

Assume nothing, judge little and remember you have two eyes, two ears and one mouth…therefore look and listen in the situation more than opening your mouth to speak!

2. Make a Connection

Dialogue and conversation need to start with a common connection. This comes from observing and listening within this new environment and picking up a point, a remark, a saying that will enable you to start a conversation and a relationship building journey

3. Make a translation

Your experience, your learning, your language and communication needs to adapt to your new culture and environment in order to connect and communicate effectively. You need to be aware of trigger words in this new language, silence, spaces, pauses as well as tone and volume to communicate effectively and persuade people to listen. Your translation needs to add value over and beyond what they already receive and experience

4. Listen to your heart

When you have done all the above, listen to what has been put in your heart for these people, this situation and speak from the heart! Share, don’t preach, be empathetic, not sounding pathetic, bring hope to fulfil dreams and build faith to overcome the challenges…. let your heart speak!

You may not have the position, you may not have the title, you may not be there long, but respect has been earned, the right to be heard has been formed and the communication channels established and opened for a message from the heart of God to be delivered, the word in season to be spoken and for God to invade, through his son or daughter, making a difference in many more lives!

Jaz Greer is a Father, a Christian leader and a Digital Strategist based in Derby, England.

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