Top Posts of 2014 #8: “How 2nd Chair Leaders Lead Up”

This post comes in at #8 in 2014, and rightly so. It applies to a majority of leaders in church-world, because the majority of leaders in church-world actually sit in a second chair role.

In working with leaders around the country one of the most frequently asked questions that I hear is, “How do I lead up?” In other words, second chair leaders are asking, “How do I support my leader while influencing them at the same time?” Below are six methods that the best second chair leaders I’ve met utilize to “lead up.”

No Surprises

Withholding information from your leader is a sure fire way to break trust, and trust is the foundation for all great relationships both personal and working. There should be a clear commitment to no surprises between a first and second chair leader.

Define Reality

For your leader to get where God has called them to go they need to have an accurate picture of where they are leading “from.” The first step in getting “there” is helping people become uncomfortable with “here,” even your leader. Your ability to accurately define reality for your leader, will help drive the pace of the organization and help everyone understand when you’re winning.

Understand the Values of your Leader

One of the fastest ways to build trust with your first chair leader is to demonstrate that you understand the vision and values (both organizational and personal) of your leader by proactively leading people and the organization in a direction and manner that reflects the vales and vision of your leader. Great second chair leaders see themselves as an extension of their leader.

Provide Opportunities

Great second chair leaders provide opportunities for their leader to experience success with the staff team and the organization at large. They prop their leader up and provide strength to their areas of weakness rather than exposing them.

Bringing Problems is a Problem

Your first chair leader deals with problems every day. They don’t need new ones, and they certainly don’t need to come from you. The best second chair leaders are solution oriented. They bring creative solutions and options to be implemented, not problems to be solved.

Lead with Questions not Statements

Invite the input and advice of your leader…early and often. Lead with questions that open up dialogue rather than making statements or demands of your leader, which is no way to get where you or they want to go.

Photo Credit: ekainj via Compfight cc

Posted in Leadership

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