Leaders expect those they lead to respect authority - theirs. Unless we as leaders also respect the authority above us we are are not qualified to lead. In fact one of the things I always look at when considering someone for a leadership position is whether they have respected the authority above them in the past. If they have been cynical toward leadership, disrespectful or simply acted autonomously, I will not move them into leadership. If we cannot follow well we cannot lead well and don't have the moral authority to do so.

I am troubled by senior pastors or ministry leaders who do not respect the authority of their board. There is a temptation when leading at that level to think that the board is a distraction or a necessary evil. The truth is that boards are there for our protection and the protection of the ministry and constitute our authority. 

Respecting authority is not blind followership. If I respect the authority above me I will be candid with them, push back on things that I believe may be detrimental to the organization or are poor decisions and expect that I will be treated with honor and dignity. If that is not possible I personally will look for another place to serve. However, in the end, unless there is a moral or ethical issue at stake I will do as I am asked. As one who asks respect from others I must give it myself.

There is another aspect to respecting authority and that is being accountable for our time, energy and plans. I do not want to be "managed" or especially micro managed. However, part of being accountable to authority is being clear about what we plan to accomplish and then being accountable for our performance. 

This is why in our organization all staff members have Key Result Areas and Annual Ministry Plans. They are agreed to by their supervisor before the year starts and they are a part of the review at the end of the year. I also make my calendar available to my supervisor and to my senior staff. Accountability is being transparent about how we spend our time.

There is a real difference in the leadership of those who respect their authority and those who don't. Leaders first must follow.

All of T.J. Addington's books are available from the author for the lowest prices and a $2.00 discount on orders of ten or more.

  • Jan 05, 2015
  • Category: News
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