I’ve known my pastor for 10 years. While our relationship is strong, it hasn’t always been that way. I would get frustrated when he would say, “No.” And then there were times when it felt like he didn’t care about youth ministry. I grew miserable.

Two things changed. I stopped always making everything about me and I realized that being a leader isn’t easy. For one, it can be lonely. You are out there in the public eye and you are vulnerable. Instead of setting unrealistic expectations, I had to learn how to lead up.

To lead up means honoring your leadership and showing them that you are trustworthy. In the end they’ll see you as a worthy advocate and allow you to have influence. To build that trust and become a serious player at the leadership table you need to make sure you are:

  • Asking, “What Can I Do For You?”: If you want to build loyalty show your leader that you care about them. People are demanding of their leaders, this turns the table. That question, “What can I do for you?” shows them that your relationship isn’t always about you. If they see that you care for them, they’ll trust you.
  • Never Criticizing Them Publicly: There are appropriate venues to vent frustration regarding the relationship you have with leadership. However, every time you do it publicly you are creating several impressions. People will form negative opinions about your leader as well as about you. They’ll see you as someone who only complains instead of facing the issue.
  • Keeping Short Accounts: Leaders will make decisions you won’t always agree with. They’ll do things to set you off. Instead of storing them inside and allowing them to fester, release them. This means finding the appropriate time to confront the situation. If your pastor upsets you go to him in a time where’s able to hear your feedback. When you keep short accounts, you keep the communication flowing. When people are upfront and authentic with one another it builds a healthier team.
  • Praying For Them: They like you are in the trenches and facing spiritual battles. To have a healthy organization you need a healthy leader and that means praying for him. They are being tested, pushed and pulled. By having their back you are showing that your church is more than one.

Lead your leadership by loving them and showing them that you are there. When they discover that they aren’t alone and that you stand in their corner not only will they trust you, but invest in you. When you lead up you show everyone that you are worth following.

How do you lead up?