Where to Look for Leaders

Howtofindaleader

Culture, and an even bigger leadership market. What I mean by this is that many people will pay for courses, training, books (or whatever!) on how to develop and find leaders.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with any of this. I, too, go to the conferences and read the books. But, there is a current discussion in the leadership world about a leadership deficit.

What this means is that as the Baby Boomers age, there is a leadership vacuum and people needed to fill it. In essence, there is a leadership crunch. And, there are numerous opinions on where to find the right leaders and how to develop them.

I don’t want to offer my opinion on this, instead I’d like to reflect on a theme I see in the Bible: The best leaders are first servants.

I just believe this is true. We see this in Jesus’ teaching when He says that leaders aren’t called to lord it over others, but to serve (see Matthew 20:25-28). We see it in Peter’s teaching in 1 Peter 5:2-3 in his calling to serve one another. And, we see it in Matthew 23:11-12 in which Jesus says the greatest among you will be the servants.

I think the reason for this is obvious: Leadership positions don’t create character, serving does.

The best leaders are also people who understand serving and aren’t into leading for themselves, but rather leading for others.

So, I write all this because if you are business leader, a hockey coach, a pastor or leading anything at all, and you want to find more leaders, the place to look isn’t at leadership conferences. The place to find the best leaders isn’t from a group of people vying for the position.

The place to find the best leaders is wherever someone is faithfully serving. 

That’s the place to start, because these people will already understand that leading isn’t about themselves; it’s about others, and that’s what matters.

Don’t Forget About Trust

you are a leader.pngYou might not feel like it, but I bet, in some area of your life, you are a leader. I bet there are some people with whom or places in which you have influence or impact. I know this is true in my life, and I want to make sure that my leadership is not only healthy and good, but also impactful.

Sometimes, when we think of leadership, we think of principles, strategies and management tips and tricks. But, what I think we should think of is this: trust and relationships. 

Stephen Covey writes this, “Trust impacts us 24/7, 365 days a year. It undergirds and affects the quality of every relationship, every communication, every work project, every business venture, every effort in which we are engaged. It changes the quality of every present moment, and alters the trajectory and outcome of every future moment of our lives – both personally and professionally.”

Trust does alter all of that and trust does matter.

So, today, I write all this to remind you of something that is easy to forget: you are a leader and good leaders focus in on trust. Whether you are trying to lead a three-year-old, a project at school or a team or company, I think it’s easy to focus in on the task (getting the three-year-old to eat, getting an “A” in school or getting better exposure in business) and forget about trust.

But, again, good leaders focus in on trust. So, today, do something that builds trust for those with whom you have influence. Don’t just focus on getting something done; focus on being present for someone. Because great leaders not only lead, they also know that trust undergirds everything.

The Expectation Gap in Leadership

mind-the-gap-1484157-1280x960I want to talk about something in leadership I call the “expectation gap”.

The truth is that all leaders are always looking forward, and see “where we could be”. That’s inherent in being a leader, seeing the goal, the vision, and the hope.

But that creates an “expectation gap”. The “gap” between where we are at, and where we hope to be. And this gap exists for leaders in all sorts of areas in business, church, or even in relationships. We see where we hope to be, where we are working towards, but we aren’t there yet.

The trouble is that this “gap” can cause discouragement easily and quickly, because we have never “arrived”. We are never able to be content, and at ease because there is always more to do. This is inherent in any leader to drive for continual progress, growth, and excellence. But what do we do with the “gap”? How do we not let it discourage us, nor also create in us a sense of apathy?

Well to ensure that I don’t get discouraged, or apathetic I ask myself one question: is the gap shrinking or growing? Are we getting closer to the goal? Are we making progress? Because that’s what really matters to me – progress and movement. This helps me not to be discouraged that we’re not there yet, but also not apathetic that the journey is never completed. That question focuses me on the things that I think matters for leaders: movement, progress, and growth. Because the gap will always exist; so the point isn’t to get rid of the gap but continually shrink the gap.