We may not think of every International Service Employee (ISE) as a leader, but the truth is, in order to be effective, leadership skills are needed for all mission assignments today.
From among the numerous qualities and skills that today’s leaders need to develop, here are the top five qualities that missionaries will find useful as they lead out in their job assignments.
Vision is the first of all skills and qualities that a person needs whose business is to serve people. In order to lead out in successful service, those whom you serve need to know that you really care about them.
You show that you care by the excellent service you render to them. Vision is essential for excellent service because leaders must have the ability to see things not as they are but as they can become.
When the direction the school, the hospital, or the organization needs to take is defined, the future is defined as well.
Therefore, as leaders, ISEs need to have a mission that matters. They must become impassioned by a vision of improvement in the lives of the people where they serve, and that passion should become a driving force in all that they do during their tenure of service.
2. High Ethics
That is, develop high standards of honesty that will translate into honorable dealings with the individuals with whom you serve. To live by such ethical standards, you must be clear on what they are yourself.
All ISEs should remember that they do not only represent themselves and the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist; they also represent God.
Communication is a very important skill because the ISE must be able to pass along messages to those who are being served. These messages should be communicated in such a clear, concise, and culturally-appropriate way that those who are being served will be enabled to understand and articulate their shared vision.
ISEs need to understand that all wisdom does not reside in them just because hey are the ones who are coming to share.
Thus, an ISE must be willing to be taught as well as teach. Leaders should be committed to furthering their own education so that the information they are conveying will be current and up-to-date.
As a leader, the ISE needs an enormous amount of energy and the ability to energize and invigorate others.
You will not be able to move mission forward unless you are passionate about helping move it yourself.
Other leadership skills the ISE would benefit by developing are risk taking, decision making, power, listening, building rapport, passion, change, support, and more.
In today’s world, managers and executives are becoming obsolete and are being replaced by leaders.
This means that ISEs today must empower and lead rather than merely give orders and manage people.
By Rosa Banks
Adapted and paraphrased to fit the duties of ISEs from Free Business eBooks on Leadership by Dennis Sommer and Hannah du Plessis