Check It Out: Be Careful Who Speaks Into Your Life

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Today’s Check It Out post links back to one of my early posts, but one whose content I have been pondering a little extra the past week or so. I hope you enjoy it: http://www.threequestionleadership.com/2017/03/02/be-careful-who-speaks-into-your-life/ 

 

Leaders Learn, Part 2

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Earlier this week, I blogged about one of the leadership lessons I’ve shared with a group of kids at camp. You can read the initial thoughts here.

The basic idea is as follows: Leaders Learn.

Pretty revolutionary, right? Okay, maybe not, but sometimes necessity breeds simplicity.

If we truly expect to learn as a leader, we have to be willing to change things about ourselves based on what we learn.

This week at camp, as I’m spending time pouring into leaders, I am being forced to evaluate my own leadership learnings. I am being challenged, taught, stretched, and pushed. I am finding areas where I need to work and improve.

Changing things about ourselves does not mean being wishy-washy or insecure. It is recognizing mistakes and make a conscious effort to minimize those mistakes.

If you are constantly late, learn what it takes to show up early (usually a mindset change).

If you are consistently critical, learn how to speak life to those around you.

If you are continuously defensive, learn how to see things from another’s perspective.

As leaders, we can never get to a point where we feel we have it all figured out. I know there are times where I have no clue what I’m doing, or I make silly mistakes. But if I am unwilling to admit my mistakes and embrace the changes that are necessary, then I can never grow as a leader.

The same is true for you. As you lead, whether it be a group, an individual, or anything in between, take time to learn as you lead. Trust me, those who follow you will appreciate the effort, and your willingness to learn and change things about yourself will rub off on those you lead.

Influential Leadership

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As I’ve studied leadership more and more, and as I have tried to become a student of leadership, a few things have stuck with me.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is the foundational definition of leadership comes from John Maxwell: Leadership is Influence. (here’s a blog post from 2005 written by Maxwell that starts with this idea)

In my job, I get to watch as students display influence and leadership over those around them. Many of them do not realize what’s happening, but some of them do.

One of the things I enjoy doing is finding someone who is exhibiting excitement, point in them in the right direction, and let them lead.

One example comes from our Vacation Bible School this week. During the music rotation I noticed a lack of energy coming from my group of students, and the lack of energy negatively influenced the younger kids in the room.

But there was one boy, in particular, who was displaying some excitement. So, I pulled him aside, pointed this older student in the direction of some younger students, and watched as he walked over, stood by, danced by, and after a short while, influenced these younger kids to join him.

Leadership doesn’t always have to be leading organizational change or altering the course of mankind. Sometimes, leadership happens by encouraging the person next to you to dance a little.

We all influence someone. How can you maximize your influence today?

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A Lesson from a Busy Street

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Yesterday, after making a hospital visit, I sat in my suburban and watched as a student driver tried to parallel park two spots in front of me. (If it had been the spot directly in front of me, I may not have been as patient.)

The car pulled up, waited for a while, then slowly started backing up. Every passing car on the busy street caused greater hesitation, and I could sense the anxiety of the driver from where I sat.

The car ever so slowly inched into the parking spot, except the driver had turned too much and was almost perpendicular with the curb instead of parallel. After waiting for a moment, the car pulled forward and moved on like nothing had happened.

The driving instructor in that car could very likely parallel park with the best. All he would have to do is get out, and switch sides with the driver. But that’s not why the instructor rides in the car. The instructor guides the driver.

Often times, leading others unfolds in a similar way. We ride with them as they attempt something that seems completely foreign and unnatural. We talk them through the strategy, the thought process, and the mechanics. Then, in the moment of truth, they over correct and cannot pull it off. So, we move forward with them, taking the opportunity to help them learn from the experience.

More than likely, we are asking someone else to accomplish something we could accomplish on our own, and often times more efficiently. But if we buy into leadership development as a calling and a responsibility, then very rarely does anyone benefit from our sitting in the driver’s seat.

Instead, if you want to help others grow as leaders, learn to ride in the instructor’s seat. Instruct, guide, advise, but avoid kicking them out of the car because you can do better.

So, do you buy into leadership development as something you are called to do? Are you capable of letting go to see someone develop? Are you willing to let go?

Click here to see how I’m training student leaders to expand their leadership influence.

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Get More Out of Camp, Pt 2

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On Tuesday, I introduced a concept I’ve stumbled into the past few years at camp: find the gaps in the schedule. Click here for the full article.

Today, I’m going to spend some time explaining how I’ve used our schedule to help grow leaders.

As I mentioned in part 1, our schedule at camp is pretty laid back, and offers quite a few blocks of free time. So, last year, I split our leadership team into two groups and would meet with each group once a day.

While meeting with the group, we had a few repeating questions we knew we would talk about each day, one of which being “how did you pour into someone younger or older than you?”

I am actually pretty big on building relationships across grade levels. We have a smaller group, so it is important for our older kids to understand their influence on younger kids.

But at the same time, last year I had some younger kids on leadership team and I wanted them to learn their responsibility in developing relationship with older kids. Sound strange? It is, but I tried it.

So, imagine my delight when I saw a soon to be senior walking back from water activities with a soon to be 8th grader.

Those “gap” meetings were simple, short, and something I plan to repeat this year. They were a way for me to help teach a new mindset to a group of students.

So, if you’re a Youth Pastor, let me challenge you this summer to make the most of your schedule at camp. Do not try to force anything, but if the opportunity arises, make the most of the schedule gaps you have at camp.

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