5/30/2012

Leadership: Moving From a Boss to a Guide

I've had the joy of working with (and for) one of my lifelong heroes for the past 8 months. One of the things I love about our partnership is that, even though we've got a lot of differences, we still work really well together. In fact, I've learned a lot about leadership from him.

Here's the biggest thing:

Just the other day, I posted this on my Facebook page:
"I used to think that leadership was all about telling someone that they're wrong and how they can fix it. Now I know it's about helping them to see it for themselves and walking with them to the promised land."
I used to think that, as a leader, being right was the most important thing, and granted you magic powers of influence. In other words, as long as I was correct, I could just tell people they were wrong and they would automatically realize it, agree with me, and follow my instructions on how to make things right.

What I realized (through trial and much error) is that being right isn't enough. You've got to deliver the message in a way that people can hear it.

This is where my boss comes in. Since coming back to our church (he grew up here too), I've seen him exhibit loads of patience, grace, and humility while leading our volunteer team and students. And, you know what? Our ministry is better for it.

You see, when it comes to leading people, being right doesn't mean you can just say whatever you want. That's not leading. That's being bossy. Real leading is more like guiding people to see how they can be better. And, after helping them to see it, walking with them towards health.

That's the kind of leader my boss is, and that's the kind of leader I want to be.

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