Monday night I attended a band concert for my oldest daughter. As I was sitting in a chair watching her band-mates leave in droves and wondering where she was, I realized what was happening through a conversation we had a week earlier.
“We show up early and stay late. That’s what we do.”
My sweet, servant minded pre-teen (I can’t help but think there’s going to be a slight “interruption” sooner rather than later) has been raised by parents who show up early and stay late. It’s been ingrained in her, unnaturally, because she’s been drug to events early and kept late for years.
Now, this isn’t intended to be a dad-brag. Instead, it’s a study of leadership osmosis. I find one of the ways I serve most effectively is by showing up early and staying late, and in spite of me never actually coming out and teaching my child this mindset, she learned it by virtue of being dragged to places.
So how do we teach students who don’t live under our roof the same mindset? By including them. Give them opportunities. Recognize when they see the bigger picture, and celebrate it. Invite them again. Help them see the need and help them see they can meet the need.
One method I use to help teenagers see the subtle shift is the three questions. If a student can begin to ask themselves “What’s the bigger picture? What needs to be done?”, then we begin to take steps to moving them into a realm of leveraging influence.
But it has to start somewhere. Let me say that again. It has to start somewhere. We have to have conversations with them to help them see the opportunity.
What are you doing to develop leaders around you? How are you developing them? What steps are you willing to take to develop them? What changes do you need to make?
Leadership is tough. The constant battle that wages war between finding a groove and not being satisfied with where things are can take a toll over time.
Comfort versus progress provide the background for an ongoing tension.
That’s where vision and focus come into play. During seasons where comfort starts to settle into a situation, a clear vision helps me move forward.
Knowing what your target should be helps orient your aim at the end of the day. Having an idea of how to track your success and growth helps you not feel overwhelmed.
What’s your vision and focus for your current context? Do you have one? How are you measuring your successfulness? Ministers, is it attendance? Is it buy in? Is it something else?
As a leader, no one in the organization is as committed to the success and fruitfulness of your area as you are (or should be). Few people you lead lay their head down at night worrying about that little detail that has been rubbing you the wrong way all day.
You carry a burden for the success and growth of your ministry (or business). The burden, at times, feels feather light, while at other times it feels like a bag of bricks. That’s the burden of leadership. Your greatest test as a leader may not be your success as much as your endurance. If you can run the race and remain faithful, your impact over the years gains positive perspective. But you have to remain faithful where you are. You have to remain committed.
So, once again, what your vision and focus for your current context? What are you aiming for? Are you hitting it? Are there changes that need to be made? Are you willing to make the changes?
The reality is that leadership is tough, but you have an opportunity to take a stand and make the kind of difference you’re called to make. Hang in there, and keep expanding your leadership influence.
I’ve found myself in new territory the last couple of months with a willing 7th grade daughter in my ministry. Last night, on our way to an event, we had a wonderful conversation, and it got me thinking about a post I wrote earlier this year as I pondered the shift ahead. Here’s a glimpse of one of the five wishes I had (and still have) for her–go check it out!
I pray she keeps a heart willing to serve. As of right now, I don’t have to force her to do things, or at least not many things. She loves to serve. She is happy to go to the church and help with random odd jobs. I hope that never goes away.
Thanks for stopping by. Now, go read the other four! What would be on your list for those around you?
I have a business minded mentor with whom I try to connect on a regular basis. One of his favorite questions to ask me when we get together is about 3QL. I usually respond with a comment about my loyal readers with my tongue firmly in cheek.
The answer I give comes down to three things, so why not go ahead and put it out there? Here are the three reasons why I keep blogging here at 3QL:
The bottom line is this: leadership development rarely happens on accident. We have to be intentional.
Today, let me ask a favor. I don’t do this often, but if you are a regular reader and feel like you’re a better leader because of your time spent at 3QL, would you be willing to share a post that has resonated with you? You could share the link to an actual post, or just share a thought and a link to the blog (www.threequestionleadership.com/foundation is a great place to send someone who hasn’t been here before). Together, let’s increase our leadership influence.
I find myself regularly wrestling with how much or how little I am like everyone else. I don’t think I’m special (although my daughters did buy me a best dad ever trophy this year). But, I do think I have a different approach to a lot of things.
For instance, I network differently. I can make surface connections with a lot of people, but I thrive when I’m able to question everything deeply with one or two people. I enjoy conferences, but the thing I enjoy most is the conversations in the hallways and over meals.
Playing to my strength, I tend to surround myself with people who can do the same thing. If I can find a way to foster those conversations, then I make a point to pursue the opportunities. Before moving, that looked like a 90 minute drive for what I lovingly termed a “brain trust”. My favorite conference ever was with 5 people around a table.
Who do you surround yourself with? Are you seeking out people who make you better? How are you seeking them out? Do you need to make a change on that front?
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