The key to developing lots of leaders

I remember being 18 years old sitting in the car of someone that I respected and he spoke vision into my life about being a leader. The moment was so important I still remember what intersection we were at (The stoplight at Faron and Woodbine), how many cars were in front of us, and even what the sky looked like that day. I can remember every detail from this life changing moment 16 years ago. bullseye

Photo credit to Tim Snell

There is a difference between a leader who produces lots of leaders and a leader who doesn't. The leader who produces lots of leaders has the ability to speak vision into the personal life of another person.

How do you speak vision into someone else's life?

1. Choose a private moment - It's hard for people to take the seriousness of what you're saying in a social situation instead of a private moment. If the receiver can't hear you clearly the message will always be lost.

2. Name the place - "I think you would be a good ________________ ." A key to speaking into the life of a person is to give them a destination. People will think to themselves, "Maybe I could do that?" As leaders we get to be the people who say, "You can do that."

3. Ask for their thoughts - You may have dropped a bomb on someone, it's important to allow them to process. Insecure leaders will want to back up their vision in order to convince the person they are right. Don't do this, allow processing time. Say, "What do you think about when I say that?" Shut up and listen.

4. Now the "Why" - Why you believe in this person is SO important! Make sure you have prepared in advance for this moment. Now speak into their gifts and how those gifts will equip them to be successful at the vision you put out there.

5. Say it one more time - Don't drag out the conversation but end it with, "I just wanted you to know that I think you would be an amazing ___________"

In leadership we can screw up and assume the people we lead know what we think they are capable of. The bad news is we make the wrong assumption. The good news is that we can speak vision into the lives of people we care about.

Please leave a comment about how someone spoke a vision into your life that stuck!


The Apostle Paul: freakin brilliant

When leading a community of people it's critical that the leader can say, "this one thing is what it's all about." Have you done this?

The apostle Paul when leading a new community of ragamuffins reminds them that they are to use their gifts and that they have entered a time and space where they will operate within three things: faith, hope and love.

How many of us wish we had a job description where the key result areas were just three things?

But then it gets even better because Paul says, "But the greatest of these is love."

Ugh, he's good.

(Somehow in the this post I have abandoned paragraphs, very Rob Bell-ish of me)

My point is that every team finds freedom in the "one thing". For the community that Paul was speaking to it always, when it doubt, boiled down to one thing: Am I demonstrating love? That's freakin brilliant leadership.

What about your team? What one thing does everything else hinge on? If you haven't communicated this you need to.

Get your butt in the room!

So we've been talking about millennials leading other millenials, which I think is so challenging.  The question has been how do we have EPIC leadership (Experiential, Participatory, Image driven, and Connected)?  So let's finish this sucker off and talk about the value of connectedness. Anyone who has ever led a team has felt the advantages of a connected team and the disadvantages of a disconnected team.  A connected team runs through walls together.  A disconnected team stops short on the charge and lets the leader run head first into the wall splitting his/her forehead open, drooling and screaming incoherently, and then weeping on the curb wondering where everyone else was when the wall fought back.  I've seen it a hudred times.

[youtube jCyaXh-VZco]

So how do we create an environment where people feel connected to one another?  Really, the question is how do we create a community and not just a team?

Patrick Lencioni in The Five Dysfunctions of a Team (This is one of my must reads if you are a leader.  Get out from under the rock and open a book!) notes that the first breakdown of a team is absence of trust.  Lencioni's challenge is that vulnerability always begins with the leader.  I think this might be the scariest thing when leading your peers because it's like handing a shank to the person your sharing a prison cell with.  But here's the good news: the imperfect leader allows for imperfect people to do great things.

When imperfect people are engaged in changing the world they should recognize that not one of them is capable of fixing everything.  After all, they're imperfect.  If this is a faith based mission, prayer is the greatest resource to connect one another.  It's invaluable, because it allows the imperfect people to focus on the one who is able.

To paraphrase the author of Hebrews, let's not stop getting together in a room.  Because as soon as we stop meeting together, the wheels are going to come off this community and we are all going to be stranded not doing anything effective.  Meeting together is a principle but actually getting together is a practice.

Millennials need to get together in the same room often and pray together.  But don't we all?

Let the mother burn

I laughed out loud in my car today when I pulled up next to:










And on the very back of the tanker there was attached a:






Which would only result in:

[youtube WL77RYq47R8]

I couldn't help but think of leaders I know who have had to deal with people who are like fuel tanker trucks waiting to explode and the only thing the leader had was a small fire extinguisher.  I guarantee that if you asked any leader they would be able to share with you a story of someone that they were so intentional, gentle,  and caring  towards (fire extinguisher) that eventually exploded.

How do you recognize fuel tanker type people (be careful, they can explode at any moment)?

1.  They want it their way.  A whiner is like a tanker with a valve open.  All it takes is a spark for things to go boom.  These type of people will have a primary focus, "If WE do this, how will it effect ME?"

2.  Everyone behind them is running on fumes, but notice the tanker is full.  These people are always takers or consumers.  They will get involved looking like they have a ton to give and will energize the organization or company.  However, they explode and  leave saying they were undervalued or not appreciated.  After they leave, they will continue to take with them energy from the team like they drove off with the hose still attached to the team, sucking all the fun out of everything.

3.   In their mind a fire extinguisher is plenty.  As a leader, this is all you are to these people.  They will constantly show up in your office, or get scheduled on your calendar, so that you can take the extinguisher and spray it at their tank.  There's actually no fire yet but they think that's what you're there for, to make sure nothing starts an explosion in them.  You can recognize these people by listening to where the blame falls, on everyone else even though they are the tank of ignitable gas.  When the explosion happens they will blame the person who caused the spark and never recognize they were full of ignitable gas.

4.  They will inform you of what they were made for.  Especially in volunteer situations, people who are like tankers waiting to explode will quickly define what they will do instead of asking, "How can I help?"  (See point 1)

Leaders you have to be aware of who are the tanker trucks built to explode.  I wish I could tell you the tanker is not going to explode but it's going to, it's just a matter of time.  I just want you to be aware so you don't use your own tears trying to put out the fire when it was unavoidable in the first place.  If you're a wise leader, just let the mother burn and back away.

As a leader, you owe it to everyone you lead to check yourself.  Are you a tanker waiting to explode?  Please, empty all the ignitable fuel in your heart.  I suggest you give it to Jesus.  There are some of you who just need a flippin vacation.  The clearest way to know if you are a tanker is if something needs to change in the organization and your first thought is how you will be affected.