Crawford Loritts says in his book Leadership as an Identity that someone pays for your leadership – either you or those you lead.
Let’s look at it a bit differently – for whose benefit are you leading?
Are you leading for your personal benefit? Are you leading to advance your career, impress your bosses, or to improve your resume?
Who should be benefiting from your leadership? How about those you lead? They are the ones who should be benefiting most from your leadership.
Lead for the benefit of those who have been entrusted to your leadership. See them as unique individuals who have been created in the image of God. People who want to do well, but so often have been beaten down by life.
Lead them, grow them, serve hem, show them a better way – give them hope.
Lead not for your own personal gain, but for the benefit of those you lead. You will be surprised by the impact on your own life when you do so.
Recently I came across a post online talking about Bonnie Ware’s book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing. I can’t speak to the quality of the book as I have not yet read it, but the blog post on the five regrets was gripping.
She had worked for many years in palliative care where she was with people in their last three to twelve weeks of their lives. She spent much of her time talking with them and one subject that came up often was their regrets. Over time she noticed there were five regrets that were the most common:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
So as a leader, how do these apply to you and those you lead? Let’s look at that question by question:
1. Are you living a life that is authentic? Do you know your calling in life and are you living accordingly? Or are you living a life full of the “fear of man” only trying to curry the favor or approval of others? Are you helping those you lead to discover their calling and helping them to live accordingly? What kind of environment are you building – one that encourages people to grow or one that demands that they please you?
2. Do you derive your sense of value from your work? Does your work take priority over your relationship with God, your spouse, your children, and your friends? How about those you lead? Have you created a “family friendly” environment or do you try to wring every last minute you can from those you lead?
3. Are you more concerned with keeping the peace or image management so that you don’t express yourself fully? Are you too busy being nice (maintaining harmony at the expense of truth) or are you more concerned with kindness (telling people what they need to know – with the right motivation)? How about your team? Do you make it safe for them to be fully honest? Can people really talk to you or are they taking a risk expressing themselves to you?
4. Are you making friends, especially old friends, a priority? Are you allowing a crowded calendar (which is your choice) to crowd out important friendships? We need friends – people that are speaking into our lives and that really know us deeply.
5. Are you making the choice to be happy? It is a choice you know. As has often been said, we most often don’t control our circumstances, but we can choose how we react to hose circumstances. Are you choosing to be joyful;? Are you teaching those you lead how to choose joyfulness? Remember, your mindset is your choice.
Hopefully this has been of some help to you and maybe started you thinking about what is really important in life. I hope that you, and me, start living our lives in a way that reflect day-o-day what is really important.
Would it not be a shame to get to the end of our lives and our nurse hear is saying these same things?
Have a blessed Spring day!
relentless: showing or promising no abatement of severity, intensity, strength, or pace (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/relentless)
“no abatement” is the key part of that definition. Relentless is often used in a negative sense, but here it is very positive. Positive, when it applies to our efforts to learn, grow, and become more effective in what the Lord has called us to do with our lives. We have the capacity to grow and learn no matter our age or station in life. We have the capacity to change. Not only do we have access to the knowledge required, but we have Christ in us as well. We have no excuse to not be growing and becoming more effective. However, we have to develop that attitude of pursuing growth in a relentless manner. The reason is that there are so many things that distract us and get in our way. Usually it is our own laziness.
So, how do you make sure that you are on a pathway of learning and growth? How are you becoming more effective, daily, in what you have been called to do?
Are you relentless in your pursuit of growth? Growth that is for the glory of God and to serve others in your community?
Blessings on your week!
When I was a boy, my Uncle Edward owned the general store in the very Mayberry-like town of Wadley, Alabama. It was a huge store with wooden floors where you could buy groceries, guns, fishing tackle, clothes, tools and most importantly – comic books and toys! He also had a rack of bumper stickers and one always stuck out to me. It said, “Now that I know all the answers, They changed all the questions!” Do you ever feel that way nowadays? Our world is so dynamic now and the challenge that we face as leaders is avoiding the temptation to simply go on cruise control working off our years of experience instead of being intentional about continually learning and adapting to the new reality.
It is so easy to simply rely on past experience and to keep applying the same methods we have always used in our leadership. The problem is that things have changed and are changing – rapidly. The people we are leading are changing. The greatest change seems to be in regards to he different generations that are now working together and the way the different generations think and approach work are very, very different. If you are trying to lead the way you always have in the past, it is a good bet that you are alienating a portion of those you lead.
Being a leader you don’t have the luxury of using cruise control. We have to be acutely aware of the changes that are happening and to be intentional about learning how to better lead in this new context.
Have a great weekend!
It’s Friday! This may seem funny to you, but I get excited about Friday because that means that tomorrow morning Angela and I will go on our Saturday breakfast date. We have been doing this for almost ten years now and it my favorite time of the week.
Recently I was talking to a leader that is a friend of mine and he was dealing with some challenges and discouragement. He’s a hard charging guy who is trying to make a dent in this world for Christ. He has high standards and is always leading his people to grow and to make an impact in their community. As we were talking it occurred to me that his eyes were fixed on the top of the mountain that he was climbing. Like all good leaders, the gap between where he (and his people) were and where they could be was frustrating. He sees the potential and strives to lead himself and others to reach that potential.
However, a steady diet of “mountain climbing” will take its toll, so we all need to learn to stop on occasion, turn around and see just how far the Lord has brought us on the journey. We need to stop and pause and give Him thanks for what He has accomplished in our lives. Then, we need to take some time to celebrate with those who are on the journey with us. That simple act of turning around and acknowledging how far the Lord has brought you will give you perspective, cause you to develop a more grateful heart and allow you to reconnect in a more meaningful way with your fellow sojourners.
So stop for a bit, turn around and enjoy the scenery, give thanks to the Lord and your traveling companions, and then gather some strength before you tackle that next ridge on the mountain.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend,