Leadership is a daunting word—often, especially for women. I believe that God has given all women a leadership role. It could be large or small by society’s standards, but there is a role to be held as God’s daughters are used to accomplish Kingdom work.
That doesn’t change the fact that identifying yourself as a leader may be challenging. Maybe you feel unworthy of that title. Maybe others have planted doubts in your mind about your leadership ability or potential. Maybe you’re in a funky transitional season. Or, maybe you know you are meant to lead, and you just need a little encouragement along the way.
Wherever you find yourself on the leadership spectrum, God has called you, as his daughter, to bear his image in the workplace, the home, the neighborhood, and the church. Here are seven practical steps to take your leadership to the next level:
I’ve gone through seasons with and without mentors, and I can feel the difference. If you don’t currently have a mentor, ask God to bring women to mind in your circle who are “further along” in whatever path you’re walking. If you’re a new mom, reach out to a mom of grown children. If you’re just starting in business, connect with a fellow female entrepreneur. Commit to meeting once a month with your mentor, even for just an hour. Set goals together. Allow yourself to receive the wisdom and experience of someone you respect.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day mundane tasks of any role and lose sight of the dream God has given you for whatever organization or family you are leading. Schedule time in your planner to do one intentional thing each week to move yourself in the direction of the vision God has given you.
Proverbs 3:13 says “blessed are those who find wisdom.” We have to search out, pray for, and pause to receive wisdom. Our tech-driven culture has created an urgency to deliver answers and responses immediately. When I’m faced with a particularly weighty decision – or when I do not feel God’s clarity – I am learning to give myself permission to pause. Simple responses like “can I get back to you about that in 24 hours?” will help create the space you need to reflect and hear from God.
Whether you’re leading a shift of baristas or small children at home, celebrate your victories together. When you turn individual wins into team wins, a natural feeling of camaraderie and team loyalty is created. Even in the midst of imperfections and misses – take time to celebrate a weekly victory.
Pastors often joke that the commandment to honor the Sabbath is the most acceptable commandment to neglect. It’s not only crucial to rest from the emotional weight of leading by pressing pause on work-related obligations for 24 hours each week, but when you rest, you’re giving your team permission to rest as well. The values you uphold as a leader trickle down. When you rest and obey the Sabbath, you’re helping those you lead to do the same.
In graduate school, I realized that the simplest habit I could adopt to continue learning was to become an avid reader. Finding consistent time to read can be a challenge, so start small. Earmarking just 15 minutes a day to read can begin to build that habit. Read whatever sparks your interest – even if it’s outside of your field or background!
Once you’ve been in leadership, you know firsthand the isolation that often accompanies. It’s tempting to stay in isolation under the acceptable excuse of having too much work to finish. Stay committed to a small group at your local church, or find (maybe even start!) a group of women who lead in your community. We really are better together.
The assignment God has for your life will likely be scary at times—and beyond your comfort zone. Your assignment will likely require faith, dependence on God, and fearless leadership. Wherever God is calling you next in your leadership journey, don’t let the fear of what you lack stand in the way. What you do have is invaluable – the greatest leader who has ever walked the earth invites us daily to lead by His example.
Rachel Lohman is a pastor in Southern California who loves tap dancing, running marathons, and speaking. She’s practicing the way of Jesus alongside her husband and baby boy and is passionate about helping women connect their stories of brokenness with the redemption of God’s story. She’d love to connect with you on Instagram at @rachel.lohman!