One of my great joys in ministry is overseeing the 12Stone Residency Program, training up the next generation of church leaders. Kierstin Haddock, a resident who serves in our Student Ministry, will be sharing her leadership wisdom on the blog today.

The concept of 360-degree leadership has become more than just a popular phrase thrown around by leaders but a way of life for many as they lead people below them, beside them and above them. I believe that the greatest leaders are 360-degree leaders and 360-degree encouragers. To rise in leadership, I believe we are to rise in encouragement. The greater we become in encouragement, the greater influence we gain, the greater the influence gained the greater the leadership. Grow in leadership, by growing in encouragement.

1. Encourage those you Lead

I don’t know one person who enjoys being led by a non-encouraging person, people enjoy being encouraged and cared for. Encouragement breeds success. Sports coaches who care more for players than what they can get from players tend to win more games. Parents who care more about who their child is rather than what their child can do tend to raise healthy adults. Pastors who encourage their congregation to embrace life to the fullest rather than volunteering at a given service tend to have a congregation of leaders who serve at multiple services. Bosses who asks questions about employees lives tend to have employees who ask one another how they are doing. A culture of encouragement within an organization begins with the encouragement of the leadership of the organization.

I love the opportunity to serve under the leadership of Pastor Dan Reiland. Pastor Dan thinks fast but walks slow, making the most of every opportunity to let those around him know how much they matter. He greets people with a smile, a “how are you” and a genuine heart to know what God is doing in people’s lives. It’s hard to leave a conversation with Pastor Dan without smiling. The encouraging culture of 12Stone Church reflects Pastor Dan’s intentional encouragement. Culture is learned. If you desire others to be encouraging it begins with you.

As a leader do you walk slowly taking time to notice those around you?

2. Encourage those you lead with

 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” – Hebrews 10:24

I think we fear truly encouraging one another. We wish to create the warm fuzzy feelings for others but we fear spurring one another to action. Encouragement in one regards is creating hope and confidence in the person’s life we are encouraging, but on the other hand its calling the other person to action. Some of the greatest encouragement I have received has left me quietly sitting in my car processing what action I would need to take next. Sometimes the greatest encouragement we give is hard, but at the same time gracious. We are called and commanded to encourage those we serve with towards action.

I love looking at friendships in the Bible. Jonathan and David (1 Samuel 19), represent a friendship focused on encouragement. While Saul, Jonathan’s father was plotting to kill David, Jonathan warned David of the impending threat and encouraged him to flee. Jonathan cared for David, Jonathan loved David, thus Jonathan encouraged David to run. When we genuinely care for our friends and those we serve alongside of our shouts of encouragement may produce actions that are hard to take but the shouts are given out of love.

3. Encourage those who lead you

I have the blessing of serving under an incredible team of leaders at 12Stone Church who in my opinion are expert encouragers. I can’t remember the last time I left a day of ministry not being encouraged. I love receiving encouragement from these leaders, but I’m finding that I find greater enjoyment giving those same leaders and encouragers, encouragement. People with much influence, I believe are also in need of much encouragement.

How do you encourage those who lead you? Encourage leaders with a thank you. It means the world to leaders knowing that what they do matters. Encourage leaders with prayer. When people I lead ask to pray with me and for me, I know they understand that I’m in desperate need of God and they are asking him to show up in my life. Encourage leaders by gossiping about them. That’s right… gossip about them. Tell everyone how awesome they are. As a follower when you talk highly about those who lead you, you gain respect from those who follow you.