Time management and people skills

3. Time management and people skills       

Time management:

Ephesians 5:16 “Redeem the time, for the days are evil (hungry)”Leaders think ahead and their lives are influenced by their plans. They usually have a planner or a calendar to keep track of their appointments and commitments. They know the importance of time management and they live their lives according to priorities. Followers on the other hand live day to day and their lives are influenced by people and circumstances. They often waste a lot of time on worthless activities. 

If we want to be leaders, it will be wise to write down our plans and goals as well as our commitments. Our plans should include:

1. Appointments: People that we should see and things that we should do. 2. Our personal disciplines. Prayer, reading your Bible, preparing ministry, physical exercise etc. 3. Things we should neglect. TV, Internet etc. We make plans to neglect certain things that waste our time. 4. Relaxation and time with family. Jesus suggested this to His disciples. Mark 6:31. “Come apart and rest awhile.” 5. Emergency time. There should be allowances made for unexpected commitments. (Hospital visit, family crisis, an important visitor, etc.) We must not completely fill up all our time in our diaries or planners.

How to prioritize our time 

There are four things we need to consider. Things that are: (a) Important (b) urgent (c) not important (d) not urgent. For example, our personal time with God should be our highest priority.  In drawing up a planner or using a diary we can prioritize as follows:

First priority:  Things that are important and urgent. Second priority:        Things that are Important and not urgent. Third priority:            Things that are urgent, but are not important. Fourth priority:         Things that are not important and not urgent. 

This is a useful guideline if we want to maximize our time management. Sometimes we have to say no to what is good in order to say yes to that which is best.

A good leader will spend more time training leaders than helping followers. We have the example of Jesus. He spent more time training His disciples than ministering to the multitudes. We have the principle of 80/20: That means we spend 80% of our time with 20% of the most productive people that we lead and 20% of our time with the other 80%. For example, Jesus never wasted His time with people that were not serious and committed.

We can use our travelling time and waiting time well. Much of our time is spent travelling and waiting. It is a good place to do something productive and useful. We can use the time to pray, read or study. (For example, we can use the travelling time on the metro or on a bus to study a language)

 2. People skills:

There are three types of people when we think about leadership: Leaders, managers and followers. Leadersinfluence people, managersmonitor or control people and followersfollow or work for other people.Followers work better with people. In other words they work better in an environment of a team.  Managerswill help people work better. They control the efficiency of the people. Leadersproduce better people to work. They make and investment in the lives of people to work better.

Leaders invest time with people(e.g. Jesus and David). They do not just casually spend time with people but they have a goal to influence and help people become more mature and spiritual. On the other hand, followers just spend time with people. There are no goals only relationships.

Leaders give people ownership of their ideas to those they lead:A good leader has the ability to make the followers feel that his project is their project. They include other people in their planning and ministry. They do not just get up and say, “this is what we are going to do.” For example, a good pastor gets the whole church involved in his vision. Once people take ownership of the vision, they will support the vision.

A good leader is also interested in the plans of his followers: He will also find out what are the dreams, desires and the plans of the people that he leads and will help them reach their personal goals. He makes a commitment to help people.

A good leader does not only solve problems but he helps people solve their own problems. He gets them involved in solving the problem. For example if a woman has a problem with her husband. A good leader won’t just tell her what to do, but show her scriptures and ask her, “what do you think you should do?”

A good leader must recognize the ability levels of the people that he or she leads. They do not give stupid jobs to clever people.  They recognize the level of maturity of the people that they lead and give mature jobs to mature people. A good leader knows that mature people need motivation and immature people need direct leadership. Galatians 4:1-2Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differs nothing from a servant, … 4:2  But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.” A good leader does not treat an adult like a child or a child like an adult.  He allows mature people to take initiative and make decisions.  

A good leader should respect the authority structure under him. This is also true in business. He does not treat everyone the same. When it comes to discussing the vision and direction of the church or cell group, he first discusses it with the leaders under him before he discusses it with the rest of the group. He also does not confront or criticize his leaders publically.  

A good leader will keep his followers informed of what he is doing. He will report back to the people that he leads. He will usually report back to the leaders under him, then to the whole group. We have the example of Paul and Barnabas in Act 14:27And when they (Paul and Barnabas) were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.” Report back makes the followers feel part of the team

A good leader should avoid destructive criticism. Whenever he criticizes, he does it in a way to help the person improve. It is important that people always know that the leader respects them.

A good leader listens to those whom he leads:They are humble enough to receive advice from anyone, even if they do not seem to be important. We have the example where the wise councilors said to Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, “If you will be a servant to these people today, and serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.” (1 Ki 12:7)

How to confront people:

-We must do it privately, and not talk to others about it before we confront them. 

–  We must do it as soon as possible. The longer we wait, the more difficult it will become. 

– We must deal with one issue at a time. We do not tell them all the mistakes at the same time. 

– We must focus on issues that they can changeand not make unrealistic demands on the person that we are confronting. If they do not have the ability to do something, we should do not force him to do it. 

– We should never use the word “always” and “never”. For example: “ You are alwayslate or you never do what I tell you.” It is better to mention when they were late and what specifically they did not do. 

– Compliments are important: We must also talk to them about the good things they have done and the good qualities that they have. 

– We must never apologizefor confronting people for example, “I do not want to do this but I had to do it!” “I am sorry that I had to tell you this!” 

– We must use the confrontation to help them. We see this in the life of Jesus. Whenever His disciples did something stupid, He confronted them then He taught them the proper way to do it!Finally: Good leaders lead by example: 1 Peter 5:2 “Do not be lords (dictators) over Gods people, but be examples to them.”Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”