Here a few things I think leading upwards does means;
I love to fly-fish. I enjoy the challenge, the scenery and the patience it takes. Every time I've landed a great trout it has been in an area where only the stronger, faster trout have been able to swim against a current to get to a great feeding pool. It takes a lot of energy to keep at ministry. You have to swim upstream against opinions, being a non-profit with finances, attitudes & personal discrepancies with your leadership or congregation members. Your upper management or leadership DO NOT need you to add to those upstream battles. They do need you to help fight & overcome them. To lead upwards means you help handle the upstream challenges that'll come with "big boy" pants on to work hard, lead well & be a part of the team.
2- Keep climbing
Growing up in Colorado meant mountain climbs & hikes. There is nothing like being almost to the summit, being a little tired, legs a little sore and seeing the horizon break over that last ridge of a hike. It's thrilling to smile & know "we made it". The problem with ministry...we never make it. To me we never get to see the summit we're climbing after until we die. So each day we put one foot in front of the other & as a team encourage each other to keep climbing. So being a team player maybe leading up is you grab some slack in an area that isn't healthy and put some energies into it to get it healthy. Offer to bring up the "rear" so nobody gets left behind on a project, ministry initiative or any other church project. Don't be the guy who packs all the right gear, wears the right clothes but then puts everyone else in danger cause you get narrow minded & "just wanna do things your way" along the way.
3- Don't be silent
Leading upwards means your voice needs to be constantly encouraging but never irrational. What you bring up in private & public settings needs to be constant. If you're always bouncing all over the place with what you're saying & the values you are communicating your input will feel scattered brain & even give people a headache. Your voice needs to be words of truth, wisdom & care for the team. That doesn't mean you have to act like a cheerleader, but it does mean you don't get on a soap box yelling through a blow horn...unless the ship you're on is sinking & nobody is getting in a life boat. Leading upward means you offer perspective, your perspective, as well as acknowledging the values other people have.