On Tuesday I wrote about learning from everyone, and I got some good response from it. If you missed it, click here to read it.
Shortly after posting, I had a conversation that centered around the concept of the post, specifically what makes a great leader.
So, what do you think? What makes someone a great leader? I have a theory (obviously).
A leader never stops learning.
But who would argue with that? Someone who views themselves as a leader would likely agree rather easily that learning is essential for surviving.
The difference between an average leader and a great leader comes in where learning originates.
A great leader views everything as a growth opportunity.
A great leader understands learning opportunities are all around us. An average leader assigns learning to a few specific realms (classroom, books, etc.) and rarely learns outside of those.
Great leaders (like John Maxwell) are willing and ready to learn from anything and anyone. We never know where leadership lessons will originate, but great leaders learn from everything.
The danger we all face, regardless of our age, is limiting learning to locations. We can learn leadership everywhere, but that’s no excuse to sit back and wait. Leadership growth is also a pursuit. Read books, listen to podcasts, subscribe to blogs (convenient, right?), talk with other leaders, ask more questions, and observe dynamics around you.
The world is our leadership classroom, are you ready to learn?
We are one month into the New Year. At the beginning of January I posted how I love the momentum a New Year brings. Today, I thought we would check in to see how you’re doing after the first 30 days.
Carey Nieuwhof has become a leader in the ministry leadership space, and I found this post on his blog: 7 Reasons You New Year’s Resolutions Go Up in Flames and How to Change That.
I think evaluating is a key part of leadership, so if you set some goals on January 1 and aren’t making progress toward them, maybe it’s time to reevaluate and see what you need to do to make some progress.
One down. Eleven more to go. Let’s make progress this year.
Have you ever had a light bulb moment? Maybe you were driving in your car and a statement from earlier in the day popped into your head, followed by a moment of clarity.
Maybe you’ve been wrestling with an issue for quite some time, then while brushing your teeth, it hit you.
Maybe your light bulb moments come when you exercise, or drive, or shower.
But I think we can all think of a time when we had a breakthrough in our thinking, a moment of unparalleled clarity. From there, you gained clarity, focus, direction, purpose, and possibly even motivation.
I had one of those moments this weekend. Because of a family situation, I ended up taking Sunday off. Normally, when I am going to miss, I make a point to line out the hurdles and get someone to cover all the bases. This weekend, however, I forgot one thing: the sound board.
I am a bit of a sound board nerd. I always tell kids if I wasn’t on staff at a church, I would serve in the sound booth. A few years ago, we were able to upgrade our sound board at church to a really nice board, and I am constantly amazed at the power and capabilities. There is so much to know, and I haven’t gotten around to training someone else to run it. I haven’t brought myself to ask the 3rd question when it comes to the sound booth.
After realizing my shortfall, I sent a text Sunday morning, and then received one right before the service. There was some shuffling, but they were able to get the board to work without a hiccup.
And now my lightbulb moment: Sometimes it’s okay to let go of something I enjoy in order to bring someone alongside and train them to accomplish the same thing. After all, and this is a common mantra here, what if the someone I ask to help actually enjoys it more than me? What if they, and this is hard to fathom because I’m awesome, can do a better job than me?
The question for each of us comes down to this: as a minister, is it my job to do the work of the ministry, or to equip others to do the work of ministry?
Not a minister? Then, the question for you is similar: as a leader, is it your job to accomplish tasks, or to equip those around you to accomplish tasks?
We are better together. It’s okay to ask someone to help.
Do you remember being a child and watching clouds, trying to imagine what shape they’re making?
“Ooh, there’s a lion.”
“Whoa, look at the mountain!”
“Hey, that looks like a centaur attacking a cat.”
As a parent, I thoroughly enjoy hearing my girls talk about what a cloud looks like, and then listening as the other one tries to find it. The truth is, just because one daughter thinks it looks like an animal, the other one can think it looks like food, and neither can be wrong.
The difference is perspective. Each girl looks at the same thing and see something different.
The same is true in leadership, and especially in developing student leaders. Perspective makes all the difference. There are teenagers I watch grow and develop and see one thing, while someone else sees something different. One person’s frustration is another person’s compassion.
When we set out to develop student leaders, we have to understand something from the get go: every student has the potential to lead. Let me say that again.
Every student has the potential to lead.
The challenge for us, though, is viewing a student with the right perspective. Some students are natural up front leaders. Their peers naturally look to them, respond to them, and follow them. But what about the student in the background? Are they chopped liver?
My compassion point is not for the up front personality, but for the behind the scenes student. If I can find a student who loves to serve, but does not desire credit for serving, then my heart starts pumping. I know if I can teach that student not only to serve, but to find someone like them and train them to do the same thing, a movement will start.
Now, my compassion for the behind the scenes student does not mean I neglect the up front natural leader. I develop both, but approach each with a different perspective.
Today, what perspective shift do you need in your life? If you’re a youth leader, what is your natural compassion point? How does that influence your actions? What change can you make today?
Can I confess something? I love the New Year! I don’t love resolutions as much as taking time to reevaluate and set some key goals to guide me through the year.
As I have been thinking through what might happen over the next 12 months, I have had an idea keep coming back to me. I have written about it before here, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to write a fresh post for a fresh year.
So, let’s talk about the Horizon of Possibility.
The Horizon of Possibility is a leader’s ability to look at a situation and imagine what could be.
A leader looks at a struggling ministry and sees the lives that could change with a healthy ministry.
A leader looks at a failing organization and sees the steps to put the organization on the right path.
A leader looks at a person and does not see who they are, but who they could be.
A leader looks at a mirror and sees the potential they have to make a difference.
The Horizon of Possibility resides at the heart of every goal and resolution. Everyone who set a goal in the past week (and everyone who has ever set a goal), has looked at where they are and where they could be, and said this is what I want.
What change can you see but those around you have a little more difficult time? What picture do you need to paint? What goal do you need to set? What target do you need to lead others to strive for?
Let me encourage you to take some time to set one or two goals to kick off the New Year. I won’t tell anyone you’re making resolutions or anything crazy like that. Instead, you’re marching toward the Horizon of Possibility.
Let 2019 be a year of influence and change.
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