I’m often asked how to best define what leaders do. Their responsibilities…how they should act…on what they should focus.
I found an interesting article with the job description of a shepherd. Take the word shepherd literally— it’s someone who takes care of sheep. Now apply a shepherd’s role to what a leader does. He “takes care of his followers.”
How can you apply this as a leader—even in your family?
1. Day-to-Day Care of the Flock – Shepherds provide what it takes to keep the sheep healthy: food, water, shelter, and protection. They lay their life on the line every day in defense of the sheep, knowing they must focus on the basics today to get prepared for tomorrow. Isn’t that just like leadership?
2. Dealings with the Outside World on Behalf of the Flock – Shepherds report to and are first responsible to the owner of the farm. In a company, the CEO has the plan—the leadership is entrusted to execute the details.
3. Foresees Danger – To keep their flock safe, shepherds train the flock to follow their voice. Leaders anticipate where things might get precarious, create policies to offset pending issues and develop best practices to keep productive momentum.
4. Leads and Guides the Flock – Because sheep tend to overgraze, shepherds move them on to fresh pasture. Leaders anticipate when the group might get bored, disillusioned or burned out. They know how to inspire others based on what’s important to each person; a promotion, new project, or availability to them and those above them.
5. Oversees – Shepherds focus on all the components of the flock. Leaders tune into and work through the strengths, weaknesses, and personalities of each person so everyone can tap into doing what they do best.
In essence, leaders must relate to every individual on the team while keeping an eye on the entire group. They supply resources needed for each person to achieve their objectives. They stay focused on the overall strategy while keeping a safe environment while the organization moves toward clear, realistic goals.
Leadership is a daily… an hourly position! Authentic leaders manage to do all this while staying confident, cool under pressure and clear in communication.
How do you measure up in the duties listed above? For me, developing ‘authentic’ shepherds (leaders) is the work I love to do. Let's chat personally and confidentially about how I can support YOU who are leading your flock?