There are many ways to define leadership but at its core, leadership is influence. When you seek to influence other people on purpose you operate from some kind of power-base. One of the most common power-bases is institutional or organizational power, which is ultimately expressed by the ability to promote, demote or terminate an employee.
Wise leaders understand they have to lead from more than an institutional power-base to be effective. But even leaders who gain influence based on the value they add to others or create for the organization still retain an institutional power-base in the background.
Unless of course you are leading volunteers.
And that is always the case for non-profit leaders in general and Christ-following leaders in particular. Even church leaders with a large staff understand the overwhelming majority of their followers are volunteers over whom they wield no institutional power. Mission leaders, especially those whose staff members raise support, understand even their most loyal team members are like free-lance employees with a portable support base who function more like super volunteers than traditional employees.
All leaders need to learn how to lead without institutional power. In this month’s vlog, Steve Moore shares why your effectiveness as a church or mission leader depends on it.