Leadership Isn’t Always Flashy

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I think it is safe to say everyone has a situation in their life where they would enjoy being the leader. Is that a generic enough statement to start today?

What I mean is this: everyone has a desire to lead, something.

But the reality is leading is often the hardest thing you can do in a situation. One of the most consistent struggles I see in student leaders (and in my own ministry) is the constant battle to find ways to leverage leadership influence.

I’ve written about the redundancy of leadership before, and this is similar to the feeling of redundancy. Being a leader who makes a difference is a choice we make when we walk into a room or encounter a situation.

The 3 questions actually establish a different foundation for leadership. Instead of starting from a position of top-down authority, the 3 questions look for ways to exert influence with simple actions.

Effective leadership, whether it be top down or simply exerting influence, maximizes impact when pursued on purpose. In other words, part of being a leader requires conscious effort. Everyone can lead a little without thinking about it, but the best leaders work on their craft.

So, what are you doing to work on your leadership? Read books that help you become a better leader. Surround yourself with people who make you stronger. Strive to become a person of positive influence. Find blogs or online articles that challenge your processes.

It may not be flashy, but find ways to grow as a leader. Put in the effort and work, and you’ll see the benefit.

When It Clicks

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Developing student leaders is a slow process. It takes time, patience, repetition, and lots of reminders. But, when a student gets “it”, very little compares.

Over the past year I’ve had several discussions with one of our students, giving her permission to take ownership of running the computer on a Wednesday night. That doesn’t mean she’s the only one who runs the computer (we have a team for that), but it does mean if she’s sees a problem or deficiency, she can take the necessary action.

Last night, during worship, one of the songs did not get put up on the screen. The kid running the computer was having a hard time and couldn’t find the song. I knew this student leader was in the room, and pushed forward leading worship. As I did so, I saw her walk back to the sound booth, help the other kid find the song, and got us back on track.

She saw a need (the kid running computer needed help) and met it.

My goal in developing student leaders is not to have a private group. Instead, my goal in developing student leaders is to see students step up, take initiative, and make a difference (big or small). When it clicks, it’s amazing.

What conversations are you having with students giving them permission to step up and meet needs that they see?

Some students more naturally see the needs, where others need help with the beginning.

Some students need permission to step up, whereas others may need to be reigned in.

Some students need a conversation giving them ownership, where others get it from the beginning.

The same is true for adults.

What steps do you need to take with those you are leading to give them permission and ownership? What’s holding you back?

Flint-Like Friends

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Proverbs 28:18 says “as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

Over the years I have been fortunate enough to build some key relationships with some great people. Many of those relationships are ones which I try to keep fresh on a regular basis. Some of them, however, go dormant for a season.

Last week I had the honor of reconnecting with some good friends. It was a joy to talk about faith, life, ministry, family, and several other things. We asked each other questions to help us understand situations and problems, and even shared some great dreams we have for our lives.

In the end, I’m so grateful for the men and women who surround me and whom I am able to engage in mind stretching conversations. I was challenged by the things we discussed (and hopefully did the same in return), and I believe we were better for the time we spent together.

What about you? Who are you engaging on a regular basis to make you a better leader? Is there someone you need to re-engage? It may not be someone locationally close, but with modern technology most people are only a text away.

If you cannot answer the question above, take some time today to write down a few names of people you can start trying to bounce ideas off. Then, over time, see what starts to develop. You might be surprised at what happens next.

The Leadership Struggle

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I took a Sunday off last week for the first time in longer than I care to admit. But in so doing, I realized I am not doing a good job of answering the 3rd question (click here to read about the 3 questions–a framework for growing as a leader).

You see, I’m great at understanding what needs to be done and what I can do, but I struggle with inviting others to help along the way.

Thankfully, there were enough people willing to pick up the slack and learn before we left that everything went smoothly (life goes on with or without us!). But, I’m still left with a clear step moving forward: train others. Answer the 3rd question.

I’m actually pretty consistent with asking the 3rd question when it comes to things I struggle with doing, but something I really enjoy, like running the sound board, it’s a lot harder to hand off.

But if I want to allow other people to serve, if I want to develop people who are willing and capable of stepping up, then I have to learn to let go, even of the things I may enjoy doing. Who knows, I may find someone who has more passion than me and can do a better job!

What about you? How are you doing at answering the 3rd question? Are you able to put aside your personal enjoyment for the betterment of other people? What steps do you need to take to let go of something close to you to allow someone else to explore their calling?

Check It Out: Work Until the Job is Done

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This will be the end of my check it out series for a while.

Today’s check it out is the final post in the series I titled “Lessons from the Farm”. You can check it out here.