Leading Up …


Most leaders will spend most of their time leading those who are "under" them (i.e. direct reports). But what about your boss? How do you lead up? If we want to be a 360 leader, we have to not only learn and grow from all directions, but we have to lead in all directions as well.

I read this great post about 4 ways to lead your leader and I think it provides some helpful ways to respect your organization and your leader/boss:

4 Ways To Lead Your Leader

No matter what area we work in, at some point we all find ourselves in a support role for a leader in our church or organization. When you are in the co-pilot seat, you have a responsibility to lead up and help that person grow and lead effectively. You have a responsibility to lead up.But how do you do that? By remembering that the greatest threat to any leader is themself.

In light of that, here are a few key actions that can help you lead your leader.

1) Protect Them With Perspective

After sitting in the leader’s chair for a while, leaders have to work harder to see things accurately.

Being a mirror for your leader is probably the most powerful gift of protection you can give them.

For me this has meant showing a leader where they have unknowingly hurt someone, or where they have an incorrect perception of how other’s see them. Being a mirror for them protects them from treating others in a way they didn’t mean to, it protects them from incorrectly beating themselves up, and on the good days it protects them from puffing them self up.

2) Inform Them With Accuracy

Even a great decision maker is only as good as their information. This is just true.

A great leader with bad information is unsuccessful 100% of the time.

If a leader is as accurately informed as possible the organization can move quickly under wise decision making. One challenge for leaders is that their staff can sometimes paint a positively skewed picture for their department thinking it will make them seem more competent – your leader can get lost in the “spin”. It’s your job to push for clarity. Over communicate the most accurate information to your leader and they’ll make better decisions for everyone.

3) Confront Them With Truth

In healthy organizations, as leaders move up the ladder they often have to make decisions in smaller and smaller circles. This is good because they can make decisions in good time. However, the people in that small circle must be willing to confront the leader when they feel that they are making poor decisions for the organization or in their life.

You may be the only regular, daily guardrail your leader has.

You must take that responsibility very seriously. People are counting on you.

4) Encourage Them With Regularity

While people often think the leader gets all kinds of praise, here’s what I’ve learned:

Most leaders don’t walk around over encouraged, they just don’t.

Their position means they are likely on a platform, and that makes them vulnerable to criticism. There are definitely far more arm-chair quarterbacks in the world than there are people who are willing to lead. Pray for and encourage your leader when they need it and when they don’t expect it. It’s like fuel in their tank and it will never be wasted.

So what leader are you serving and how are you leading them well? What practices are you putting in place that help protect that leader?

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