What Kind Of A Leader Will You Be?

pegsThis is the season of leadership transitions on many of our area campuses.  As outgoing leaders move on, new leaders are taking their place, making this a season of change and re-evaluation.

Expectations and enthusiasm are (rightly) running high, but leading well isn’t always as simple as it seems.  How do you do it well?

(Footnote: these posts aren’t just for people in a formal, present-tense leadership position.  Reflecting about where you are in your leadership journey is an important part of improving and having more to give).

Over the next month or so, I’ll be exploring that question in my next series of posts.  I’d love to hear your feedback and comments along the way.

In this first post, we ask the question, ‘What kind of leader will you be?’  Everyone wants to lead well, but intentionally considering where you are – and, who you want to be – will help you follow through as exams and ‘life’ threaten to push your role as a leader to the back burner.

In my experience, every leader takes on one (or more) of these roles.

  • the no-show.  These leaders signs up with good intentions, but, at some point, stop showing up to events and responding to emails. They are leaders only in theory.
  • the wallflower.  Unlike the no-show, these leaders come out to many club activities and answers communications from the other leaders.  However, they rarely come up with their own ideas or provide leadership.
  • the misfit.  These leaders are faithful, active participants in the campus group.  At the same time, they don’t ‘fit in’ among the other leaders.  The reasons may vary – coming from a different faith tradition, having a personality that doesn’t ‘gel’, feeling that their ideas aren’t valued, not agreeing with key aspects of the group’s vision, or, being asked to serve in a way that doesn’t fit their gifting.  If this dynamic doesn’t change, they can become disruptive, or, more like the no-show or wallflower.
  • the savior.  These are the take-charge types, full of ideas and motivation.  They’re natural ‘presidents’ and talented, go-to people.  At the same time, they may not listen well or help others play the roles God has called them to.  As a result, their groups become overly dependent on them and reflect their interests rather than that of the entire leadership team.  When they move on, those that follow aren’t prepared, or, feel that they can’t live up to ‘the savior’ that went before them.
  • the biblical leader.  Biblical leaders know the role that God has called them to play on the leadership team, and, they exercise that role with a blend of confidence and humility.  They come in a million different ‘flavors’ – they may be ‘presidents’ or more suited to a supportive role – but, they’re all proactive yet recognize they’re part of a larger team.

Since you’ve lived with yourself for a while now(!), you probably know where your tendencies lie.  Your new leadership team may be just forming, but where do you think you’ll naturally ‘land’ among the team if you just let things unfold?

Take a few moments and reflect, praying through where you are and where you’d like to be.

In my next post, I’ll offer a few key thoughts on each leadership type that may help you move forward.

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Principles For Choosing New Leaders For Your Campus Group

Wondering what sort of leaders to choose for your campus next year?  At most of our healthcare campuses, leadership transitions are just a month or two away.

Although the context of this post by Dave Kraft focuses on churches, most of the principles are really helpful in many other arenas, too.  The emphasis on seeking God’s wisdom is priceless, and, the four sorts of connections new leaders should ideally have provides a simple but useful paradigm.

Thinking about this short post in light of the specific, potential leaders on your campus next year could prove very insightful.

Re-Defining Leadership: Three Gifts You Can Give

Leaders Who Last, by Dave Kraft

We commonly think of leaders as type-A, take-charge visionaries that everyone follows effortlessly.  Some of us, not seeing ourselves in that job description, find ourselves wishing “I was like that.”

But God defines leadership differently and more fluidly than we do.

In this blog post, author Dave Kraft mentions three unheralded, but absolutely critical, “gifts” that all of us can offer:

  • affirmation,
  • freedom to fail, and
  • a listening ear.

Although these may seem like small things, they’re not.  When we give people these things within a biblical framework, we’re giving them the gospel in the nuts-and-bolts of real life.

As for me, I need to give more affirmation, especially at home.  It doesn’t have to take lots of time, but I need to be more intentional about it.

Which one of these gifts can you give to the people in your life this week?

Growing As A Leader

Are you a leader on campus, at work, and/or somewhere else?  If you’re not yet, do you want to be?  It can be really hard to keep growing in this role when we’re busy, but we need to keep chipping away at it.

To that end, I just discovered these short leadership posts and videos by Mark Driscoll, Senior Pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle.  They’re quick and very helpful.  You may need to adapt them a bit to your context, but that’s part of what leadership is all about – pulling ideas from a million different places, talking them through with God, and figuring out how He wants you to use them right where you are.

To get you started, check out this video on why we need more than one mentor.

Going Deeper, Leading Better, Having More Fun

This one’s for those of you working on teams.  Campus leadership teams come to mind first, but it could be any situation where you have to work with others.

Here’s a question to reflect on: when you think about your team and its meetings, what do you want them to be like?

If we’re honest, most of us want to have a clearly-defined objective, and achieve it as quickly as possible.  We hope we like the people on our team, but “getting it done” often feels like the bottom line, even if we know there ought to be more to it.

I was challenged – in a good way – today at one of our campuses’ first leadership team meetings of the year.  Instead of ramming through a fourteen-point agenda, they actually decided to shelve official business/planning/strategy and make it a relationship building time.  We ate together, caught up on each other’s summers, and just relaxed.

Just before I had to leave, one of the leaders started guiding us through a time of more purposeful sharing.  Each of us had the chance to share “what God had been teaching us over the summer.”  It was great.  As we shared, we realized that most of us were struggling with prayer and finding real intimacy with God.  All of a sudden, I felt like our relationships had just gone to a new level.  We were living out the sort of vulnerable, Christ-centered friendships we hope to call others to throughout the year.

Although teams like this aren’t always “efficient”, it’s commonly-accepted that they are actually more productive and effective.  And they’re certainly a lot more fun!

As another academic year begins, here are a few suggestions for making your team more connected, productive and enjoyable:

  • consider having a more relaxed kick-off meeting where relationships, not business items, are the primary agenda;
  • balance informal time with a season of more focused sharing that encourages honesty; not everyone needs to ‘open up’ about everything, but everyone is invited to;
  • think about devoting a portion of future meetings to these same kind of things.

If this seems a little awkward to you (and/or others on your team), that’s OK.  Feel free to start small and nudge just a little.

The key is understanding that relationships are part of God’s agenda and should be part of ours, too.  May God bless your team as it goes deeper in the coming year.