7 Times I Submit to People I Should Be Leading


Leadership is important, but nothing of great value ever happens without good followers. When should a leader submit to the people he or she is leading?

I’m the leader.

Are you impressed?

I’m the guy others report to each day.

Impressed some more?

Don’t be. It just means I have a lot of heartburn.

Seriously, I think we sometimes take leadership too seriously. We think that without the leader nothing good can happen on a team. Not true.

Don’t misunderstand. We need good leadership. I might even say that without leadership — in a big-picture perspective– nothing of great value ever happens. 

But, as much as leadership is important, without good followers — nothing of great value ever happens. (Do you see what I did there?)

Good leadership puts this understanding into practice. 

So at times, really many times, I submit my authority to people who are supposedly looking to me for leadership.

Here are 7 times I submit to people I should be leading:

When I have no strong feeling. If nothing inside of me says this is wrong or I have no real opinion about it, then I yield to this on the team who have a strong passion. I trust their gut.

When they know more than I do. And, this happens more than you could imagine. I try to surround myself with people smarter than me about different areas. Why would I not rely on them for the expertise they have, which I don’t have?

When I want to give them an opportunity. Now let’s be honest. It could be an opportunity to fail. This may be why some leaders never delegate authority. But, sometimes the only way we learn is by trying and falling short. Some of the best discoveries are learned this way.

When they have thought about it more than I have. There are so many things which happen within our church (and probably your church) where I simply do not have the time or the margin to commit to processing. I have to trust people. Sometimes, I have to yield to other people because they have more time investment in an issue than I do.

When they have to live with the consequences. If it is more about their individual area of ministry and doesn’t impact other areas of the church then I am more likely to delegate authority to them. 

When I’m already overwhelmed. To be effective as a leader — and to last for the long haul — I need to know I can only do what I can do. I have to trust the people God has allowed me to surround myself with with what they can do. And, I know I need their help to help me prioritize my best efforts towards things only I can do. 

Whenever I can. Seriously. Good leadership involves empowerment. It’s delegating authority and allowing people to grow in their responsibility. So, when I have the opportunity, I’ll let people make decisions without my input.

It’s important to understand- as a leader I’m delegating my authority, but I’m not relegating my authority. I’m not diminishing the fact I am the senior leader and ultimately responsible for the overall vision and direction of our church. (Under God’s authority, of course.) My team needs to know they are not alone. I will support them in the decisions they make. 

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