- Bridge Building Team
My expertise is in personal, relational, ministerial, and spiritual growth. So, no, I’m not Michael Hyatt who has loads of CEO experience. But, I tend to notice things that others don’t, and I know a few things about pitfalls.
Most of us are in some form of leadership. Maybe it’s in our community, as a youth sports coach, at our 9-5 job, as a parent, within an organization, or in some form of ministry. Honing our talents and skills is vital to our leadership success.
I’ve identified 4 things many leaders forget. Do any of them describe you? What critical thing (or things) do YOU think leaders forget?
1. Leaders forget to notice untried (or potential) leaders and develop and mentor leadership in others.
2. Leaders may forget that leadership is more about character than capability or charisma.
3. A leader’s greatest strength will be tested by his (or her) corresponding weakness.
4. Failure in leadership is part of the process.
Unpacking those 4 Things:
1. Notice and develop leadership in others. A critical part of leadership is realizing that the role of guiding outstrips that of commanding. Mentoring up-and-coming leaders is too often overlooked. Sadly, sometimes helping nurture other leaders even seen as an existential threat to one’s future leadership. But, nothing could be further from the truth.
2. Leadership is more about character than capability or charisma. I recently experienced a situation of, “Too many chiefs, and not enough Indians.” (Bear in mind, this phrase is actually misunderstanding regarding Native America tribal leadership. So-called “chiefs” functioned more as “big men” style leaders, not like a monarchy type of leadership and not often lineage-based. No elections either. A lack of confidence would propagate emergence of other “big men” leaders within tribes. Members would break off from the bigger group to follow them.) Sometimes when I work on a group project where action is needed, and I will opt the role of “minion worker bee”, even though the project may be an area of expertise or gifting. Weird, huh? I purposefully do not vie for a leadership role. At all. Why? Well, I learned this little gem “on-the-job”. Depending on the group, I may sense when a team possesses a quality of dominion instead of concert. That means “being heard” is overshadowing the project itself. In this situation, people will display the quirkiest parts of their personality in response to stress. They may appear overly opinionated, stubborn, emotional, or unduly vested in the matter at hand. Control or significance is the force at play, and usually the results will not turn out for the best. Sometimes personal growth comes from stepping back.
In those cases, modeling character is more important that who’s message is the loudest. As leaders we can show the group through cooperative service the spirit and attitude that will achieve the best outcomes.
As a leader, be willing to take a back seat for the greater good in the long run. Now is not the time to peacock your intelligence, capability, or persuasiveness, but rather to act in good character.
3. A leader’s greatest strength will be tested by his corresponding weakness. This one is easy to miss. This one needs your full attention: What has helped us in leadership can be our very downfall. Here’s an fictitious example: Joe Winnar is an extrovert. He’s great at taking action, and exciting others to join him in his vision for what lays ahead. So, his corresponding weakness could be that he steamrolls other’s ideas or contributions. For every gift we possess, we also have a weak point (or points) that can reveal a growing edge. This means it’s a likely pitfall where we will fail somehow in our leadership.
4. Failure in leadership is part of the process. This one stinks. Far more leaders fail instead of succeed. And in what regard? 9 times out of ten it will involve interpersonal issues. Leadership is made or broken at the relational level.
For example: What happens when a leader cheats, lies, becomes abusive, or breaks faith with the group? Integrity is shattered, and relationships are damaged. If we are going to fail as leaders, it’ll likely center on, or least include, this aspect. There is no better way to avoid this other than keeping a close reign on our issues of humility. Not if, but when you fail, admit to your mistakes, don’t act faultless, work cooperatively, and don’t lose a teachable spirit.
Comments? Suggestions? Insights?