Month: May 2017

Leadership Journey

Redefining Leadership Potential

Leading Students
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So much of my experience in developing leaders comes from working with teenagers. Over the past two years, as I have talked with other youth workers, I have started to notice a common thread in a few of our conversations:

The necessity for a student to show a readiness to lead before being given opportunities.

My approach to developing student leaders takes a slightly different path. Instead of waiting for students to show a competency for leadership, I have redefined leadership potential.

I treat teenagers as though they are capable of taking a leadership role, regardless of their age. Why? Because, they are capable of leadership regardless of age. Yes, Juniors and Seniors are more mature and can exhibit stronger leadership, but what are we missing by not developing those Juniors and Seniors as 8th and 9th graders?

 

I’m so grateful that in 9th grade my youth minister gave me the opportunity to start developing my leadership and passion for Christ.

On Thursday, I will continue this thought with a few examples and what I use to help students just getting their feet wet in leadership find ways they can contribute.

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Check it Out

Check It Out: Shortcuts vs Second Miles

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I’m on a Student Leadership trip today, so I thought it would be fitting to share an article I ran across last week.

Tim Elmore is someone whose blog I always make a point to read, mostly because he has great content. This article, in particular, talks about the difference between shortcuts and the second mile. Here’s a taste:

Now that most of the Millennial generation has entered adulthood, I’ve noticed a predisposition we, the adults, have cultivated in them. The pattern is to always look for a “shortcut.” Find out what’s essential and don’t do an ounce more. Whether on purpose or on accident, we condition our kids (who we feel work so hard) to:

  • Do the bare minimum amount of homework to get by.
  • Do only what the coach demands on the field, not any more.
  • Clock in and out, and give only the time your supervisor requests.

While I understand this shortcut approach is efficient, it does not represent the kind of mindset most employers, most coaches, most friends and most spouses find endearing. The act of getting out of hard work or quitting instead of being patient as we struggle through a difficult task may be natural but it’s not attractive. Doing more than what’s required is what makes us great. It differentiates us and makes us magnetic.

Click over and check it out. It’s a short read and worth the time.

 

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Lessons from the Farm

Lessons from the Farm: Work Until the Job is Done

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Today I am going to finish up my first theme. I’m calling these posts “Lessons from the Farm”. You can read the first post here, or click the Lessons from the Farm Category to the left.

If you haven’t read the first part of this post, click here. Okay, that’s all the links for now.

Our leadership principle for today: never leave cattle on the truck. There will be tasks and opportunities that cannot be left until they are completed.

A worthwhile harvest never happens if you do not plant with urgency.

Cattle out on the highway cannot wait until the morning.

A student in the emergency room at 2am needs attention.

And sometimes, driving home through a blizzard to safely deliver the herd cannot be stopped because it’s “quitting time”.

Every day in my ministry, I face different tasks, responsibilities, and opportunities. Each one presents a different challenge and a different dynamic, and my job is to find which ones cannot wait until tomorrow, and do them.

Sometimes the line is clear. Sometimes it is not. But I have made the commitment to always be willing to do the work that is necessary.

Because I will never leave cattle on the truck.

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Lessons from the Farm

Lessons from the Farm: Don’t Leave Cattle on the Truck

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This week I am going to finish up my first theme. I’m calling these posts “Lessons from the Farm”. You can read the first post here, or click the Lessons from the Farm Category to the left.

Just a little background: My lesson today comes from a more recent learning. A few years back, I took a break from full time ministry to serve bi-vocationally. During that time, farming and ranching was my main income, but the lessons learned have not left me yet.

A winter weather storm was moving our direction one day, and it was time to buy more cattle (2 Semi trucks and one 40 foot stock trailer worth). That meant we had three trips from the sale barn to the farm, and only two drivers.

My dad and I made the first trip, he was in the truck and I was in the pickup pulling the stock trailer. We unloaded at home around 7:30, and decided to ride back together, arriving back at the sale barn at 9pm behind 8 trucks waiting to load.

While we waited, the winter storm hit. Snow started lightly falling at first. Eventually, the brunt of storm hit and we were waiting in a snow covered parking lot. Our trailer was still empty.

We got home, unloaded, and walked into our houses that night well after midnight. My pregnant wife was struggling awake, waiting to make sure we got home safely.

The lesson: We never left cattle on the trucks. Weather, exhaustion, anger, confusion, or any other reason. We always worked until the job was done.

Thursday I will finish unpacking what I learned from that night. Until then, I’ll leave you with this question: are you willing to drive an 18-wheeler loaded with cattle through a snow storm to finish the task at hand? What are you leaving unfinished that needs to be finished?

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Big Picture, Lessons from the Farm

Lessons from the Farm: Same Destination, Different Paths

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Welcome to my series called “Lessons from the Farm”. You can read the other posts here.

Just a little background: I grew up working on my Dad’s farm. As I’ve grown older and spent more time away, there are few leadership principles I have realized along the way.

When I got into high school, my dad started raising more cattle. Part of raising cattle is moving them from one place to another. Over the years, we moved countless herds.

A lesson I had to quickly learn was to find the balance between knowing the destination and not getting stuck on having to stay on one single path. Map quest will not map out a path for a cattle drive.

When moving cattle you have to know your destination and push the herd in the general direction, understanding sometimes you’re not going to move in a straight line.

The same is true in leadership. Knowing our destination is vitally important, but we have to be careful about being completely tied to the path we’ve laid out. If we are unwilling or unable to adjust to the unexpected detours or slight course alterations, we become too rigid and no one wants to follow us.

Learning how to lead includes learning how to accommodate the unexpected and use the forward momentum to move toward the destination.

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