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If you are a leader, you have people following you. I believe it was John Maxwell that said something to this effect: If you think you are a leader and no one is following you – you are just out for a good walk.

I‘ve followed several great men and women over the years and have been helped greatly by them in the process of my maturity. They led in such a way as to elicit from me loyalty, faithfulness, a willingness to sacrifice and a strong desire to follow them.

How do you develop a team that people want to play on? To reword the question; How do you become a leader, people want to follow?

One key word is “Environment.” We all create a certain environment, atmosphere or aura if you will, that other people can see, sense and react to. How many of you find yourself rejoicing when a certain co-worker calls the office to say they won’t be in on a specific day? Be honest. If you rejoice when they are not present, it’s because they have created an environment that’s not very pleasant. The opposite is true as well. We miss someone because they create an atmosphere that is enjoyable.

There’s a sign that reads: “All people bring me joy, some when they enter and others when they leave.” That sums it up.

A good atmosphere or a good environment keeps the morale high and when the morale is high, people want to follow the leader and they look forward to playing on the team. One of the greatest challenges a leader will ever face is not merely to complete a task but to create an environment conducive to love, joy, peace and camaraderie.

Here are four ways to create an atmosphere on the job, in the home, at the school, and myriad of other places that will help to create in people a desire to follow your leadership.

  1. Be a person of integrity. Open, upfront and honest. The environment this creates will allow openness from others and build a safe place for free expression. Authenticity is a must.
  2. Treat people in the same way you want to be treated and don’t show favoritism. Everyone has value and is uniquely made. In Genesis 37, Jacob showed favoritism by loving one son more than the others. Result: The family members resented each other and negativity grew. A competitive and comparative spirit enters and the temperature becomes very cold when you favor some over others.
  3. Compliment your followers more than you criticize them. How many of you would admit: When the boss asks you to step into his or her office, the first thing to go through your mind is this question: “What did I do wrong?” Focusing on the good and giving some praise now and then can build the morale and create a positive attitude. Look for the gold. You will never find the gold in people if you only focus on the dirt surrounding them. And by the way, we all get dirty.
  4. Talk WITH people, not TO them. You can talk to people, at people or with people but when you do the latter of the three, people will respect you because you are actually listening to them. Communication was always intended to be a dialogue, not a monologue.

I encourage you to be a leader worth following.

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Pastor Tim Howard is the lead pastor at Koinonia Church. Any comments can be sent to: tim@kcfchurch.org.

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