Is This the Most Exhausting Part of Leadership?

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I hate to be a broken record, but today I want to remind you of what may very well be the most exhausting and least flashy part of leadership.

The Redundancy of Leadership. I’ve written about it before (fitting, right?). You can read about it here, here, here, and even here.

Redundancy is not what they put in the brochure to recruit you to be a leader.

Redundancy is not flashy.

Redundancy is not exhilarating.

But redundancy is necessary. In fact, learning to master the art of redundancy may very well be the key to unlocking your leadership.

If you’re too flaky, moving from one point to another, then it’s difficult for someone to follow your leadership. Have you ever tried to chase a fly? Following a leader without redundancy is very similar to that–you can try to guess their next move, but there’s no real way to know.

If you’re too redundant, the people with you feel like they’re staring at pot of water waiting to boil.

Your role as a leader, is to find the magic mix of redundancy that keeps the vision alive and keeps the mission moving forward.

Redundancy is not flashy, but it’s absolutely necessary. Hang in there, and keep reminding the people you lead of the mission you’re working towards. You can do this!

Is This The Hardest Part of Leadership?

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Do you know the hardest part of writing a blog? The consistency of having to write another post. It comes up two times each week, like clockwork.

Ministry is the same. Sunday is always right around the bend (or Wednesday for many youth ministers).

Farming was the same. No matter how many years in a row you planted a seed, the next year it was time to plant it again.

I imagine CPAs have the same feeling. Regardless of how hard you work from January to April 15 one year, the next year you will have to work just as hard.

But in the midst of the mundane, there is beauty. In the midst of the repetition, there is opportunity.

Something a mentor pointed out to me not long ago is what he called the “redundancy of leadership.”

What does that mean? Simple: a major part of leadership is repetition.

Take, for instance, the three questions (you can read about them here). The three questions work great when you use them one time, but they find their greatest impact when they are asked and answered on a regular basis. The more frequently you answer them, the more integral they become to your leadership style and effectiveness.

The problem, however, is when redundancy carries a negative connotation. Who likes getting their teeth cleaned every six months? Or, who enjoys shooting hundreds of free throws? Or, what parent anticipates the excitement of yet another dirty diaper?

The redundancy of leadership means having the same conversation over and over. Sometimes the audience changes, but sometimes the message and audience remain the same.

The redundancy of leadership means yet again casting vision for your organization, even though you did it last week, or last month, or last year, or all of the above.

This week, embrace the redundancy. Find the beauty in the mundane. Excavate the excitement of the repetitive. And, above most other things, hang in there.

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Will You Carry the Burden?

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I’ve been blogging about leadership for the past 4+ years. While I think a lot of what I write has universal practical application, my burden is to challenge and equip youth ministers to challenge and equip students (and other adults) to become leaders.

I believe junior high and high school students are faced with incredible opportunities everyday to make a difference, but so many times they just don’t know what to do. I believe we have adults attending our churches who desperately want a place to serve, but they just don’t know what they can do. I believe we have people all around us who are simply waiting for permission to step up and lead.

But none of this happens if we as leaders don’t take our own personal leadership development seriously. I cannot lead someone where I have not been. I cannot challenge to step up and meet a need if I’m not practicing the same thing.

And so the ultimate challenge simply becomes: carry the burden. I will continue to encourage you to grow your leadership influence because I think until we learn to grow as leaders, we cannot encourage those around us to do the same.

But the action falls on you. Are you willing to put forth the effort to grow as a leader. When it’s not easy. When it’s lonely. When it’s challenging. When it’s exhausting. When it’s rewarding. When it’s easy. Are you willing to do what is necessary to grow as a leader and to lead those around you to do the same?

Say It Again and Again

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Have you ever gotten frustrated because you’ve had to repeat yourself? One of my biggest pet peeves is having to say the same thing over and over. But maybe, as I think about it, that’s a completely irrational pet peeve.

I write these posts for basically people that fall into one of two categories: 1) People, generally Youth Ministers, who desire to develop student leaders and value thought generation, and 2) People, generally Youth ministers, who want to grow their own leadership influence.

After doing this fairly consistently for 4+ years, much of what I write comes from in the moment experience. I see a situation I’m having to address in my own ministry or in my own leadership, and find a leadership principle to share. As a result, this blog becomes a time capsule of sorts-chronicling my own leadership journey and growth.

But even in the midst of the lessons and principles I try to extract from my current situations, there are a few ideas to which I always return.

And the redundancy of leadership may be one of my favorite and most central principles. I’ve written about it several times, which actually only makes sense. You can read some of those former posts here, here, and here.

But the idea is simple (and not original to me): Vision leaks. No one is as passionate about your mission and vision as you. As you seek to grow your leadership influence, impact your realm, and develop leaders around you, NO ONE is as passionate about your mission as you.

But there are people who are waiting to be invited into your mission. They want to help. They are begging to serve. But they need to be reminded.

And that’s where the redundancy of leadership comes in. Be prepared to repeat yourself. You’re going to have to do so. You are going to have to stand up time and time again and remind people of the target for which you’re aiming, because if you don’t help them know what to shoot for, they will pick their own target.

Few people love doing the same thing over and over and over and over and over. Redundancy gets a bad reputation because it’s boring. But redundancy is necessary.

So whatever vision you’re casting, whatever mission you’re trying to unite people around, whatever goal you’re striving for: Say it again and again.

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Why You Need to Say It Again

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This week I encountered a scary scenario. Do you ever begin reading a sentence and try to finish the thought in your head before finishing the…sandwich?

Well, that happened to me. I was reading something, and I honestly don’t remember the end of the sentence, but I remember where my thoughts went, and it was somewhat alarming.

The idea was simply this: if you want to know how you’re doing at casting vision (or clarifying the win), ask your leaders what they’re aiming for.

This bothered me for two reasons. First, I tend to constantly run different scenarios through my head, and I generally try to bounce them off people to see what the response may be. I do that without the intent of being committed to the direction or thought, but as a way of helping me process or see roadblocks. But the by-product is a pasture full of ideas. They all have room to graze and grow, but they’re not easily accessible.

Second, I don’t know that I’ve cast a clear and concise vision for the incredible volunteers I get to lead. In part because I’ve not built a clear and concise vision capable of being cast. That’s something that needs correction.

So, take a moment right now and ask yourself this question: If you were going to ask someone you lead what their goal is, how would they answer? More importantly, would their answer match yours?

That’s where the redundancy of leadership comes into play. As leaders, we have to continually repeat ourselves, but with purpose. Repeat your vision so clearly and concisely that everyone will know why you exist. If you think you’ve repeated enough, keep repeating. Trust me.

The moment we as leaders stop casting vision, we stop communicating a clear direction.

Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself today, but make sure it’s something worth repeating.

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