Leaders Are Known
By: Taylor Snodgrass
Being trusted as a leader isn’t something that happens overnight. Leading a new team requires a lot of time for those team members to trust you. Even when a new member joins your team, it’s going to take some time for that new addition to trust you as a leader.
But it’s not just time that gains their trust. It’s the way you prove you can be trusted. It’s decisions you make that show you’re fighting for them. It’s showing you’re bought-in 100% to the vision of that team. There are many things that happen over time that give your team reasons to trust you as their leader. But there’s also something you can do as a leader to gain trust from your team.
Leaders are trusted when they’re known.
If your team gets to know you, the real you, they’re going to follow your leadership. Learning the reasons for your passion and the life experiences you’ve had that shape who you are today give your team a peace of mind that you can be trusted. As you open up about your life, your team will come to see the “why” behind your decisions, leadership style and vision for the team.
Jesus tells a story in John 10 that ultimately points back to Him being the gate through which we are saved. But He also teaches a leadership lesson:
“…anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
– John 10:1-6, NIV
Jesus dives in by telling us that if we want to be trusted as the shepherd, we have to make ourselves known right away. We have to enter through the gate, where everyone can see us, and then we, as leaders, need to make our voices known. We have to let our followers know us so that we can be a recognizable and trusted voice when we venture out of the safety of the pen.
As a leader, you’re going to lead your team out of the gate. You’re going to have to leave the safety of your “status quo” pen and take risks in the big, scary world outside. In those moments when things get difficult and confusing and chaotic, you want to be a voice that your team can trust. If your team doesn’t know you, Jesus says plainly that “they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away…”
Opening up to our teams is scary because it requires vulnerability. It requires telling our teams some things that are personal and private. It might even mean letting people see parts of your life that you’re not the most proud of. Maybe you’re honest about some of your leadership shortcomings and the areas you’re trying to get better in. But opening up with your team creates a culture of honesty and trust that will make your team willing to run out of the pen right behind you. And maybe more importantly, your team will know your voice when you get scattered in the wilderness. They’ll follow you because they know your voice, your life, and your leadership can be trusted.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_single_image image=”239″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]Taylor Snodgrass is the Associate Programming Director at Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN, where he lives with his wife, Heather. He is passionate about leading others to excellence in the church and in their everyday lives.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]