Is This What’s Missing In Your Leadership?

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Is leadership that is not expanding truly leadership?

Bear with me for a minute.

If I’m teaching students to ask and answer the three questions but it stops there, is my leadership influence growing? Even more pointedly, if the students I’m leading are stopping short of answering the third question, aren’t we missing the point completely?

Leadership influence expands when more people fall into that influence. That means I can teach 10 people to grow their influence, or I can teach 10 people to grow their influence who in turn grow their influence by teaching 10 people each. At that point influence isn’t growing, it is multiplying. Like chills in the movie Grease.

Let’s get specific: if I pour into a leader who never into another leader around them, am I really pouring into a leader? Leadership influence is most efficient when we first lead ourselves and then lead others. And leadership influences multiplies when the people I have led begin to lead others.

But secret expectations are rarely met and almost never healthy. You know this. I know this.

How are you equipping those you lead to truly lead others? How are you inviting them to repeat the process?

Let me challenge you today. If you are a regular reader, find one person this week in whom you can start investing. It could be a student. It could be an adult. It could be your child, your spouse, or your neighbor. Teach them the three questions, and then add a fourth: who can I teach the three questions?

Don’t settle for addition. Aim for multiplication.

Will You Lean Into Momentum?

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One of the things that has shocked me was how old I was when I first read John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. I’m ashamed to admit that it was only a couple years ago. As I read about each law, so many of them made sense, but a few went further than that.

For example, Law 16 is the Law of the Big Mo. Simply put, Maxwell says, momentum is a leader’s best friend.

I’ve spent a lot of time pondering this law lately. We are starting to see some momentum building in our ministry, and so I’ve been asking myself how I can make the most of the momentum we are sensing. Is there some way to take the momentum and curtail it into growth? Is there some way to replicate the momentum down the road? How long should I wait to act?

I’m starting to see momentum all around me. The way things progress and grow (momentum building). The way things slow down (momentum waning). The way I handle things in those moments–my response, my actions, my inaction.

So today I have two questions for you: Where is the momentum around you? And how can you make the most of the natural momentum you’re seeing?

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Do You Hate Saying Yes?

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I’ve been reading through the book Hero Maker with a couple friends. There have been some interesting concepts that have jumped out to me along the way, and a few that have popped in to mind in key moments.

One of the points the author (Dave Ferguson) makes in the book is learning to say yes. I realized a while ago that my default is no, but I can often be talked out of that no.

I don’t think that I’m a negative person, but I do have a tendency to see potential roadblocks. Okay, maybe that makes me a negative person. But sometimes I will point out a roadblock with the singular intention of solving it.

But when push comes to shove, as a leader, am I willing to say “yes”?

I can think of two situations with students within the past few days where my default would have been “no”, but am instead trying to lean into a “yes”. And for the first one, I’m so grateful I was able to do whatever possible to help. The second one is another strong idea, and something I’m hoping will turn out really great as well.

But it’s not without hesitation deep inside of me. I want to save the day. I want to prepare them for the hiccups and protect them from disappointment. But at the end of the day, the struggle is what makes the end profitable.

So, what about you? To whom do you need to say “yes” today? What do you need to let go of, personally, in order that someone else may thrive and grow? What are you waiting for?

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The Pain of Letting Go

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One of the most difficult things to do in leadership is to watch something grow, and then to let it go.

If you’ve been in a leadership role for very long, you have had the opportunity to oversee something. Maybe a project, or a program, or even a person. You pour time, resources, and emotions into making your something the best it can be.

But, inevitably, if you’re going to grow as a leader, there comes a point where you have to step back and let it go.

Letting it go could mean inviting someone else to play a key and critical role, thus begging the question, “Will they do it as good as me”?

Letting it go could mean launch day, thus begging the question, “Did I cover my bases”?

Letting it go could mean releasing a leader (or student leader) to oversee a project or program, thus begging the question, “Did I train them well enough”?

All of these things are painful. But that does not mean they’re not the right move. Simply put, if we never let go, we will never grow.

If we want our own leadership to grow, we have to let go.

If we want the people around us to grow, we have to let go.

No one has learned to sustain themselves by being spoon fed all along the way.

What are you holding onto today? What can you let go? Who can you invite to step up as you let go?

Our leadership influence grows as those around us grow. Push through the pain today. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Where Do We Start?

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I started the Three Question Leadership Blog 4 years ago. I thought I would spend the next few weeks sharing some of my first posts, in their entirety, here. Whether you’re new or have been with me all along, I hope you find these concepts applicable.

So much of my experience in developing leaders comes from working with teenagers. Over the past two years, as I have talked with other youth workers, I have started to notice a common thread in a few of our conversations:

The necessity for a student to show a readiness to lead before being given opportunities.

My approach to developing student leaders takes a slightly different path. Instead of waiting for students to show a competency for leadership, I have tried to redefine leadership potential.

I treat teenagers as though they are capable of taking a leadership role, regardless of their age. Why? Because, they are capable of leadership regardless of age. Yes, Juniors and Seniors are more mature and can exhibit stronger leadership, but what are we missing by not developing those Juniors and Seniors as 8th and 9th graders?

I’m so grateful that in 9th grade my youth minister gave me the opportunity to start developing my leadership and passion for Christ. It was a decision and discussion that set my life on a path I never would have dreamed.

Who do you need to give an opportunity this week? What are you waiting for?

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