Leaders Set the Pace

Share this:
Share

I’m a thinker. I think about options constantly. It could be options for an event. Options for guitars. Options for meals, or grilling, or yard work, or house work. I’ve jokingly said in the past that I spend about 90% of the time thinking about things and only 10% doing.

One upside when I finally do something is I’ve thought through it and have a good idea of what I want to do, and usually trust that it’s going to be pretty good.

So years ago I had to learn a pretty hard lesson. Change stimulates grief. Even for me, as a leader. I grieve the loss of what was comfortable and normal. But by the time I’ve acted on it, I had already processed my grief and am ready to move forward. But, as a leader, I was wrong.

Leading organizational change isn’t like changing shampoo. If I switch to another shampoo, you have no emotional attachment to the level of hair care I provide myself, aside from excessive dandruff.

But if I am changing something that’s known and comfortable, the process gets sticky. There needs to be space for grief before we can move forward.

I realized it when I led a previous church to separate middle school and high school for a season.

It’s happening now with changes due to COVID.

Just because I’ve spent days and weeks thinking about the change and the implementation of the change, doesn’t mean everyone else has. And if people don’t get the benefit of grieving change, they are going to be more resistant (even hostile).

That’s why our job as a leader is to set the pace. If we get too far in front, we leave everyone behind. If we move too slow, no one stays with us.

As you lead change during this time (or any time), remember to set the pace. Just because you’ve spent countless hours thinking about it, do not assume the people you’re leading have. Help them process the grief of loss, but set a healthy forward pace.

Because at the end of the day, if we outrun the people running with us, we stop being a leader.

Multiplication vs Addition

Share this:
Share

Open your text books chapter 2 section 1. Today we are going to talk about multiplication.

Just kidding, kind of. The math concepts that come to mind apply to leadership as well. Would you rather be given $100 plus $100 or be given $100 times 100?

As we seek to develop leaders, we’re not looking to just add leaders. We are looking to add leaders who add leaders. I want to develop students who in turn develop students.

If developing students who develop students is my goal, then my approach is different. My training doesn’t only center on the tasks of a leader, but on the tasks of a leader and how to train others to fulfill the tasks of a leader.

So how do we do this?

  1. Begin with multiplication in mind. Sure, some of the best development comes from places we never anticipated, but if we know we want to multiply in the end, how we begin changes. We don’t accept just anyone. We set a higher bar. We encourage commitment. We encourage but don’t coerce.
  2. Keep multiplication in mind. Relational investment plays such an integral part in multiplication. We cannot expect someone to grow if we do not understand where they need to grow. That’s where relationship comes in. Get to know those you lead.
  3. Model multiplication. Continue to invest in and grow leaders. Do not stop with one or two. When it gets difficult, push through. When it becomes a challenge, keep going. Model the behavior you want to see repeated, and it will be repeated.

I love investing in students. I love the conversations we get to have as a result of the time we spend together. But, at the end of the day, my influence is greater as I learn to multiply. Yours will be as well.

Set the Path

Share this:
Share

When we go on vacation, I have to fight a battle in my head. Part of me wants to plan each day out so we know what we’re doing when. A plan helps me manage my expectations. I know when to save energy and when to expend it.

But something we’ve figured out over the years is even in the midst of the plan, we have to schedule a day that has no schedule.

Most vividly, I remember a couple years ago we were in the Historic Triangle in Virginia and decided one day was a day just to spend at our resort facility.

I finished a book I had been reading for over a year. We swam. We watched a movie. We just hit the brakes. And it was refreshing.

And then I realized that I need both a path and a pause.

I think the people we lead are no different. If we want to lead someone, by definition, we need to set a path. We are going to ask them to take a next step, but it cannot be any step. We need to clarify what that step may be.

Setting the path helps ensure everyone is moving in the same direction. When we all have a target to move towards, the journey becomes clear. I don’t set a destination to the south and start driving to the north for a prolonged period.

For whom do you need to set a path? The people you lead, students or adults, need direction. They may be wrestling with what comes next. Your next step may not be the only one, but if it helps them get going, it’s a win.

Moving Past the Shadow of Should

Share this:
Share

I’m going to depart from my usual tone today. I wrote this a couple months back as I talked with a student who felt the weight of the things she should be doing. I think the concept is universally true, both in our relationship with God and in our leadership.

Have you ever thought about the oppressiveness of the word should?

I know I should have a quiet time, I just don’t.

I know I should be sharing my faith, I just don’t.

I know I should memorize scripture, I just don’t.

I know I should read the Bible, I just don’t.

Should has an uncanny ability to hang over us like a dark cloud. We should keep our room clean. We should do the dishes. We should put our laundry in the hamper. We should do a lot of things. 

In reality, the word “should” only reveals something we feel guilty for not doing. No one says they should play more video games. They play enough. No one says they should eat more junk food.

Should is a trigger for guilt. When we feel like we should do something, what we are saying is we think our lives would be better, but do we really believe it?

Should reveals a misplaced priority. It allows us to feel good about not doing something. We don’t do it, but we know we should. It’s the thought that counts, right? Even if the thought never moves to action?

After my third helping of cobbler and ice cream, I know I shouldn’t have eaten that much, so it’s okay.

Should is actually guilt wearing a mask. We only say we should do things for which we feel guilty for not doing. Some things are meant for our good, but we still run away. Some things will actually make our life better, yet we still don’t put forth the effort or energy.

The problem with should is it leads to regret. And regret leads to more guilt. And more guilt hides itself as should, and the cycle repeats.

But we are meant to have victory from the Shadow of Should. 

I should have a quiet time. Wrong. I’m free from the guilt of having or not having a quiet time. I’m free from the shackles of my faith being tied to what ritual I have. 

But I want to have a quiet time. I want to have time with God each day that connects me to Him. I want my life to be changed by setting my mind on things above at the beginning of my day. I want God to open my eyes, to soften my heart, to remind me of His presence before I do anything else. 

Should is crushed by desire. When my desire outweighs my should, the supernatural is unleashed.

When we desire to read God’s word more than we feel we should, His word comes alive.

Spirituality based on obligations eventually gets choked out by the oppressive strength of should. But when our desire to know God and to know Him more grows, our passion for Him crushes the should in our lives.

Relationships based on should are short term. Relationships built on desire endure. Ask God to give you a desire for Him today.

Three Struggles of Leadership Development

Share this:
Share

I work in a world where the next “event” is always coming. There is always another lesson to prep, a service to plan, an event to brainstorm, and a calendar to create. There’s a frantic pace to what we do in churches.

That’s why over the years I’ve noticed something. As I started this blog back in 2017, I started to ask around about how my peers were developing student leaders. And do you know what I found?

Leadership development was an important part of what these incredible ministers wanted to do, but there were usually three things that held them back, and I think the same three things are true for all of us.

Developing Leaders is Important, but Not Critical.

The truth about leadership is that if I’m a good leader, then I can generally fake it until I make it. A strong leader can plan, execute, adapt, and perform in the moment. So if I’m capable, the temptation is to do everything myself. In fact, I might enjoy most of what I do, so it doesn’t always even feel like work. That means I may agree that developing leaders is important, but I can survive without it.

And so leadership development gets pushed down on the list somewhere between cleaning out the youth ministry closet and washing the church van. It’s something we know needs to be done, but it’s probably only going to happen occasionally.

Developing Leaders is Messy.

I mean, seriously, have you ever dealt with people? Some of them just wear you out. They have a different sense of humor, or a different set of priorities. They don’t prioritize the way you think they should. Some are just downright flaky.

Worse than all of that, sometimes after you invest in developing someone, they leave. All that time poured into them is now wasted because your organization doesn’t get the benefit.

I saw this happen in a previous position. As I helped students grow as leaders, their schedules became more and more packed because other people started to see their potential. As a result, the time I had with them to help them develop and grow was diminished.

Developing Leaders takes Time

Finally, one of the biggest struggles in developing leaders, whether it be students or adults, is the time investment. I can train a group of students in a workshop, but that limited investment doesn’t pay off fully without months and months of real life experience.

The same is true for me, and for you. I’m not the leader I was 10 years ago. I’m not the leader I was 5 years ago. I’m (hopefully) growing. I hope I’m taking steps so that I’m not the same leader I was 1 year ago.

How can I expect anything different from the students (and adults) I lead? Training take time. Developing leaders is more of a low and slow process, not microwave.

So, what’s your greatest struggle when it comes to developing those around you? What holds you back? What steps do you need to take today to move forward?

Have you subscribed to get 3QL posts in your inbox?

WP to LinkedIn Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com
%d bloggers like this: