Leadership is instinctual. I’m at Pre-Teen Camp this week and saw something remarkable one night during worship.
Following the sermon, we started singing again. I was sitting behind a group of boys who were standing and singing. After one song, I watched as one boy sat down. Slowly, and one by one, the other three boys all sat down.
Then, once the next song began, the first boy stood up, and slowly, one by one, the other boys stood back up.
Leadership influence happens with a group of pre teens as much as it does for adults or teenagers.
Our challenge, as people who are looking to develop leaders around us, is to help students (and adults) develop an awareness of the opportunities to lead, and to help them cultivate a willingness to make a difference.
Who can you develop around you? Who are the students who naturally have people follow them? What about the student who just has a great heart and needs some guidance?
Leadership is not reserved for a select group of chosen people. If that were the case, I would never have qualified.
Instead, everyone has leadership influence. My goal, and I’m guessing yours, too, is to teach anyone who is willing how to make the most of their opportunities.
Summer is upon us. As I go through my summer, I thought today I would share a tip from a couple years ago. The tip comes from a very personal place, so before you click over, here’s a glimpse:
I have one simple rule for surviving camp. It’s a personal rule, and not one that I share. It does not affect other people. It does not make me a better leader. Quite the contrary: it’s a survival tip.
So, here’s my survival tip for camp: use the same shower each day and learn which way the knobs turn. Simple enough?
Years ago, early on in my camp ministry, I learned the painful lesson that the hot water doesn’t always turn the same way to shut off. Simply put, I changed showers one day and instead of turning off hot and cold, I turned the cold water off and cranked up the hot, resulting in a scalding.
If you want to see how I was saved from taking cold showers for a week, click here to keep reading!
This past weekend I got to spend time with a great group of teenage guys. We built a trip for them, and it was a great experience.
On Saturday we had the opportunity to fish and shoot skeet (clay pigeons). If I were to be completely honest, we shot skeet because it’s been a while since I’ve shot and I wanted to shoot, and we fished because the boys asked to go fishing.
Now, the last paragraph reveals something about me — I’m not a fisherman. My thoughts when planning the trip didn’t go to “It would be so much fun to fish” but instead “it would be so much fun to shoot skeet.”
When it comes to fishing, I don’t know what I’m doing. I can make some guesses. I can buy some fishing supplies, mostly on clearance because I like a good deal. But the bottom line is the one time I’ve ever taken my girls fishing and tried to figure it out, we caught a turtle with a turkey hot dog. Let that sink in.
Shooting skeet, on the other hand, is more in my wheel house. I know what it takes. I know what we need. I know who to ask. I have a good idea of how to set it up, because I have done it often. I know what my goal is, and I know how to achieve it.
Here’s your leadership principle – if you don’t know your goal, you don’t know how to achieve it.
I don’t know what bait to use to catch what type of fish.
I know which gun to use to shoot skeet.
If you are working and don’t have a goal in mind, then all the effort you’re putting in is wasted energy.
Even worse, if the people you are leading don’t know what your goal should be, then all the effort you’re putting in is wasted.
A clear vision/purpose/direction/goal allows you to create shared forward movement. When you get everyone on the same page moving forward, the progress you’re able to make will be beyond what you ever imagined.
But it doesn’t happen if you don’t even know what kind of fish you’re trying to catch.
There are a few things ideas that keep popping up for me as I ponder leadership ideas and principles. Today, on the back end of a trip and the front end of an event, I wanted to share a couple posts that are on the forefront of my mind.
First, learning to communicate expectations proves a continual struggle. In this post, I share how I came to the realization on a trip.
Second, as with anything, learning to communicate expectations well goes a long ways to further your leadership influence.
Whether you’re new here or have been with me for a while, take some time to check these posts out today.
On Tuesday I posted about watching as two airport fire trucks doused a plane as it was pulling up to a terminal. If you missed it, click here to go check it out.
Now, the rest of the story. Contrary to my worries, the plane was fine. In fact, it was a plane filled with military veterans. They were arriving in Washington DC on what is called an Honor Flight.
Those of us in the terminal gathered around as the passengers disembarked, and clapped as they passed by. It was remarkable.
I could wax eloquently about the lessons we could learn from the faithfulness of those walking by, or the impact it had on my life, or the joy of sharing that moment with my daughters. But I’m not going to do that.
Instead, let me tie into Tuesday’s post and unknown reasons.
I had no clue what was happening. I had no idea an Honor Flight even existed. But there’s a large network dedicated to Honor Flights. People spend countless hours and energy preparing and carrying out trips.
I watched as one stood in the terminal. She was beaming with joy not because people were recognizing her effort, but because people were honoring these heroes.
The core of leadership is setting other people up to win, regardless of recognition.
My leadership is not better when I get recognized My leadership is best when someone I’m leading gets recognized.
This is why I love working with student leaders. I want to set them up to win long after they are in my realm of influence. I want them to grow and achieve more than I ever could dream, but it has to start somewhere.
We all have to start somewhere.
Are you ready to invite and equip leaders around you? What are you waiting for?