There are so many distractions in leadership – endless tasks that need to be done to keep ‘the show on the road’. Successful leadership is not measured by how busy we are or how many tasks can be accomplished, but rather by how focussed we are in our leadership.
Focus is what separates effective leaders from just busy leaders. Focus is what every leader needs to develop – just as Paul did. He was particularly focussed in all of his leadership activity. For example:
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.”
Paul, the focussed leader:
Paul was very explicit about his purpose: he was ‘exhorting, encouraging and imploring each one of them, as a father would his own children, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.” (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12)
Paul was effective because of just two words: so that. Those two words in Greek are just one word: Hina.
Paul used that word, hina, a lot.
“…so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
“He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.”
Paul was very focussed about the influence he was exerting. He had an over-riding purpose – a ‘so that’ vision for his leadership, which provided the context for every instruction, correction or assignment he gave his followers.
What is the ‘so that’ of your leadership?
How would you describe the overall ‘so that’ of your leadership role? Beyond the everyday tasks, the fire-fighting and the activities that every leaders struggles with?
Name your ‘So that’ :
The results of focussed leadership:
If unfocussed leadership leads us to become distracted by side-issues and red herrings leading to dissatisfaction and ineffectiveness, the results of focussed leadership are that we build something of lasting value and leave a legacy that will continue and flourish on into the future.
Paul’s focus on hina – so that – in his leadership caused a ‘ripple effect’ that is still being experienced today around the world. Take his ministry in the church at Thessalonica as an example:
The Ripple Effect of Paul’s ministry at Thessalonica:
• Paul impacted the Thessalonian church, who turned from idol worship to the true and living God. They then became imitators of Paul and his team. This was the initial ‘splash’ of his leadership. (1 Thes. 1:6)
• Not only did the Thessalonians become imitators, they also became examples for others…”to all believers in Macedonia and Achaia” (1:7) – the beginning of the ripple effect.
• The ripples continue: “And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere , even beyond Greece, for wherever we go, we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don’t need to tell them about it …” (1:8)
What are the ‘ripples’ in your ministry?
Can you trace any ripples that have happened as a result of your own focussed leadership?
An exercise that will help to increase the focus of your leadership:
As you review the activities you are involved in, try to think through the ‘so that’ of each one. Why are you involved in each activity? What is the ‘so that’ of each activity? And what is the actual outcome of each activity? Does it actually fulfil the leadership mission that you have been called to?
A new video teaching resource: Testing a potential ‘word’ from God. How can we be confident that
we have heard from God?
Coming soon to our YouTube channel
Nine tips to becoming a focussed leader:
1 – Communicate your mission as often as you can.
2 – Guard the culture…don’t let things slide that are contrary to the culture that you are seeking to build.
3 – Give constructive and useful feedback. Appreciate people; find ways to appropriately build them up; offer clear and consistent ways for people to correct mistakes or wrong attitudes.
4 – Remember, they work with you not for you. We are a team, we move forward together. Communicate this and practice it regularly
5 – Take responsibility for mistakes. The true mark of a leader is admitting failure. When we admit, ‘I got it wrong’ and seek ways to put things right, we find that respect from others grows.
6 – Stretch your comfort zone. Always look for the next step. Never settle for what you already do.
7 – Act rather than react. Think before you speak. Thinking before acting is wisdom, whereas acting before thinking is regret.
8 – Focus on what matters the most. I do this so that the following outcome happens, means that I am going to have to stop doing other things. Don’t waste time on red herrings.
9 – Be aware of our influence. Leadership is influence. The leader’s moods and demeanour have a profound impact on the mood and demeanour of the group.