7 High Costs of Leadership Every Leader Should Pay

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Leadership can be expensive. If we desire to be leaders it will likely cost us something – maybe even something we value greatly. There are high costs of leadership that every leader should be willing to pay. 

The reality is that leadership is a stewardship. It’s the keeping of a valuable trust others place in you. Therefore, cheap leadership is never good leadership.

What high costs are you paying for leadership? 

Let me give you a few examples.

7 high costs of leadership:

Personal agenda

Good leaders give up their personal desires for the good of others, the team or the organization. 

Control

What you control you limit. Good leaders give freedom and flexibility to others in how they accomplish the predetermined goals and objectives.

Popularity

Leading well is no guarantee a leader will be popular. In fact, there will be times where the opposite is more true. Leaders take people through change. Change is almost never initially popular. I wrote a whole chapter about this principle in my book The Mythical Leader.

Comfort

If you are leading well you don’t often get to lead “comfortably”. You get to wrestle with messiness and awkwardness and push through conflict and difficulty. It’s for a noble purpose, but it isn’t easy.

Fear

Good leadership leads into the unknown. That’s often scary. Even the best leaders are anxious at times about what is next.

Loneliness

I believe every leader should surround themselves with other leaders. We should be vulnerable enough to let others speak into our life. But there will be days when a leader has to stand alone. Others won’t immediately understand. On those days the quality of strength in a leader is revealed. This one should never be intentional, but when you are leading change – when it involves risk and unknowns – this will often be for a season a significant cost.

Outcomes

People follow worthy visions. Of course, we should create measurable goals and objectives. We should discipline for the tasks ahead. We don’t, however, get to script the way people respond, how times change, or the future unfolds.

As leaders, we should consider whether we are willing to pay the price for the high costs of leadership. Good leadership is not cheap!

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You Must Do THIS if You Want to Attract Leaders

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If you want to attract leaders to your team there is one thing you must do – above everything else. It’s a philosophy of leadership, but it is HUGE.

One of the most frequent concerns I receive from young leaders about their organizations is they aren’t being given adequate responsibly or authority. Instead, they are handed a set of tasks to complete. They don’t feel they have a part in creating the big picture for the organization.

Since most of the young leaders I talk to are in ministry, this means it’s happening in the church too.

The other side of this dilemma is most the pastors I hear from are looking for leaders. They want someone to take the reigns of leadership and actually do something.

How do we solve the problem?

Can we attract leaders for our churches? How do we allow younger team members to feel included? And how do other successful organizations (churches) attracts leaders?

If you want to attract leaders, here is one thing you must do:

Hand out visions more than you assign tasks.

In order for the organization to be successful, you’ll need to attract leaders. You know that, right? You need to know something about leaders and potential leaders.

  • Leaders want to work towards a vision – a big vision, more than they want complete a set of tasks.
  • They don’t get excited about checklists and assignments.
  • Leaders want to join an adventure, then help develop their own tasks to accomplish it.
  • Real leaders get excited about faith-stretching, bigger-than-life, jaw-dropping acts of courage.

An organization that “gets it” attracts leaders.

“To do” lists often get in the way of that kind of fun. Visions excite people. The details to complete them don’t.

So, if you want to create a successful organization and recruit leaders hand people a big vision with lots of room for them to choose on the implementation side.

Of course, they may indeed need to create checklists. I would even suggest they do if I were coaching them. They will need measurable action plans. They need to have a list of assignments in order to complete a project successfully. All those are necessary to accomplish a worthy vision. A vision is simply an idea until someone puts legs to it so it can walk.

But start with the vision. Start with the big idea. Help people see what you hope to accomplish some day. Make sure you’re real clear about illustrating the problem to be solved or the opportunity to be seized.

Then get out of the way and let people figure out how they will accomplish the vision.

This doesn’t mean your work is over though. People will need your help along the way. They’ll still need your help to develop structure, discipline and follow through. But that’s way different than handing them a set of tasks in the beginning. And it’s practicing good leadership and delegation skills.

I realize this is especially hard for some leaders who may want to control the desired outcome. (Leaders often like me – just being honest.) You’ll have to take a risk on the people you’ve recruited to lead and discipline yourself to let them work in their own way.

And you will get burned a few times, but overall, you’ll find more success and attract leaders when you: 

Paint big visions – rather than give out specific tasks.

When you do this you’ll attract leaders and a more successful organization will be built and sustained.

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When I Allow It to Fail or When I Step in to Rescue

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I try to create a leadership culture where failure is considered a part of the learning process. It’s okay to fail on our team. It  may seem unproductive to some, but many times I have watched someone on my team fail. I probably could have stepped in earlier to rescue by taking control of the project or delegated to someone else more experienced. We might have saved a failure from happening. Yet, I let the failure happen.

I was mentioning this at a conference breakout I led once. During the question and answer portion, someone asked a valid question. It went something like this:

I am in the middle of this now and it is tough. Many times I wonder if I should just step in. I am trying to exercise patience. Is there a time you save people from failing?

Great question and that’s a delicate balance.

When do you rescue someone and when do you allow them to possibly fail?

Here is my basic “high-level” response:

The balance for me in the decision to let fail or to rescue is in how much allowing them to fail will injure them (or the team) versus how much it will teach them (or the team).

At times I allow them to fail.

I will admit, this is the harder one, but if I would be stunting the individual’s personal growth by stepping in to rescue them, I may let them fail. Failure is one of life’s greatest educators, so most people grow through trial and error.

If, for example, someone on my team wants to try something new. I may feel it isn’t the best decision, or it isn’t the way I would choose to do it, but I usually can’t guarantee it won’t be a success. Instead of going with my gut, I may let the team member follow his or her gut and take a chance. We may discover a home run and I would happily admit my hunch was wrong. And, either way, it didn’t hurt too much overall, but the individual team member learns something far more valuable which will help them and the team in the future.

This is probably the most common example I’ve seen in risking whether to let them fail or step in for the rescue. Most of the time the outcome isn’t going to be earth-shattering for the individual or the team either way. But the learning could be huge for the individual and the team. It’s a risk I’m usually willing to take.

But the bottom line for me is to discern the greater value – to allow a fail or to launch a rescue. 

  • Growth of a team member by allowing failure, which ultimately helps the overall team.
  • Or, protecting a team member from needless injury, which could ultimately injure the overall team.

So, at times I do step in to rescue

Sometimes I can save someone from unneeded heartache. I’m likely to step in an try to help if it wouldn’t teach them as much as it would simply hurt. This includes for them and for the team.

There are failures we can learn without the need to repeat them.

Two Examples: When I was in business, I had people give me fair warning about doing business with certain individuals. I was thankful to avoid the pain of those associations. There would be others I couldn’t see coming and would learn on my own and help others avoid the pain.

Also, in business, I learned the secret of making your banker your friend and not your enemy. Unfortunately, I learned it the hard way and it cost me lots of money, but I have given that piece of advice to dozens of young business owners over the years. That’s a “failure” which impacts the business and everyone in the business.

If the failure is going to derail the progress of everyone on the team, or the recovery is going to be greater than the teaching experience, I’m likely to rescue them.

I realize this doesn’t answer the question directly. There are no clear cut lines on leadership issues like this. Every situation is unique. That’s why we keep learning and developing in these areas.

How do you decide when to allow someone fail and when to save them the agony?

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Ways I Lead as a Leader of Leaders

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I have been asked the difference in being a leader of leaders and leading followers. It’s one of my favorite questions. The question ultimately points to a paradigm of leading people by which I try to lead.

I know I want to attract and retain leaders on our team. I don’t want a bunch of people waiting for me to make a decision or who fail to take initiative. Ultimately, I want people who will lead me.

Even though I have a leadership blog, podcast and book, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I am not a perfect leader. I have so much room to grow as a leader. I have discovered, however, is the difference in how I lead if I want to lead leaders. And the difference is huge.

I could choose to be a boss and simply require people to perform for pay. To lead leaders requires a different skill set. It challenges the way I lead.

As a leader of leaders…

I say, “I don’t know” a lot. If I have all the answers, the team will have fewer of their own. I need to be leading people – encouraging them to lead – more than I’m instructing people.

I often have to admit “I didn’t know about that”. Whatever “that” is – until after a decision has been made, I simply didn’t know it was happening until it was. Granted, I don’t like surprises that may cause controversy in our church, but our team needs the freedom to “lead out” on things without my involvement if they are truly leaders. And if I’m leading well you won’t hear me say anything negative about what I don’t know, because I support my team’s ability to make decisions.

I encourage learning from someone besides me. After all, I don’t have all the answers. Some days, without my team, I don’t have any. They need to be learning from others so they can bring new ideas back to the team.

I allow people make mistakes. And I’m glad they let me make some too. It’s one of the best ways we learn from life and each other. This is created by culture. People know whether or not they can try new things by the way a leader responds when things don’t work as well as they team hoped they would.

I try to steer discussion more than have solutions. And I find meetings become more productive. Work becomes more efficient.

I believe in dreams other than my own. People have opinions and ideas. The best ones aren’t always mine.

I say “we” more than I say “me”. (Except in this post) A team is more powerful than an individual effort. A leader of leaders has a leadership vocabulary that’s inclusive of others. It’s not “my” team it’s “our” team.

I strive to empower more than I control. Leadership stalls when we try to determine the outcome. It thrives when we learn and practice good delegation.

I’m not afraid of being challenged by people on our team. I’m not saying it “feels good” to be critiqued, but I know it’s a part of making us better.

I seldom script the way to achieve the vision. In fact, I never script it alone. I try to always include those who have to implement the plan into the creation of the plan. And, by experience, it seems to be a more effective way to do things.

If you try to lead leaders, what would you add?

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7 Ways to Earn Trust as a Leader

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People follow people they trust. And there are ways to earn trust as a leader.

I’ve found trust develops over time and experience – as we witness trustworthy behavior. Honestly, as a leader, I’ve felt a delicate tension in maintaining trust. People look for a leader to be strong, independent and confident. Yet, we trust people who are approachable, inclusive and humble.

Jesus is the perfect model of this type of trusted leader.

How do we combine those traits to be trusted leaders?

Here are 7 ways to earn trust as a leader:

Display confidence, but never cockiness. People will trust a competent leader, but one who is arrogant will be dismissed quickly.

Follow through, which means you never over-commit. When a leader does what they say they will, people gain trust. When the leader always bails on responsibility – when they have a new idea every day, but nothing ever comes to reality – people begin to doubt everything the leader says.

Put trust in others, so you’ll have an opportunity for them to put trust in you. Trust is a mutually exclusive commodity. People won’t extend you trust they don’t feel they receive from you. This means you must not be controlling, micro-managing, or negative towards every new idea they bring to the table. It means you must empower, delegate, and give authority to people.

Extend grace but be firm in some non-negotiables. I have written previously about the non-negotiable things for me in leadership – things such as responsiveness and mutual-respect – and I share them often with our team. We should have some standards which are not open to discussion. Those should usually be issues of character, vision or values. But, we need to allow people the freedom make their own way, including the freedom to fail, make mistakes, and be assured we will forgive them if needed.

Try to be knowledgeable and aware by constantly learning but realize you don’t know everything and you’ll know far more with a team. People trust a teachable leader. They are leery of a leader who knows it all – or pretends they do. We must ask questions, allow others on our team to teach us at times, continually seek wisdom and develop individually, just as we expect those we are trying to lead to do.

Exhibit humility but have courage to do the hard things. A trusted leader is humble enough to share recognition, but diligent to do the things everyone expects of the leader – such as lead through the hard seasons, remain calm in crisis, and encourage others when they need hope.

Value people more than you value progress. This is especially difficult for driven leaders. We want success and this often is measured in numbers. But, people trust people they know genuinely care for them. We must see people as individuals, get to know them, and genuinely love the people we are trying to love – considering their interests even ahead of our own.

What other ways would you add to gain and keep trust as a leader?

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1 Critical Leadership Error and 4 Ways to Avoid It

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There is one critical leadership error most leaders make at some point. I make it frequently. If you’re leading you probably do also.

The critical leadership error:

We forget people are trying to follow.

We get so caught up in our own world we forget people we are trying to lead are trying to follow us. We “think” we know where we are going and we assume they do also – almost like they can read our minds.

Have you ever tried to follow someone in a car?

Some are good at this kind of leading and some aren’t. I have followed people who take quick turns without using a blinker. Some dodge in and out of traffic – forgetting the person behind can’t react as quickly. Others fail to tell you a general direction or give you an address in case you get separated. Some don’t have their phone handy where you can call them if you fall behind.

Do you understand the analogy?

In a similar way it is with a team or organization when the leader forgets people are trying to follow.

The leader sets the pace for the organization. As the leader goes, so goes the organization. And some leaders get so passionate about what they are thinking and doing they forget others are trying to keep up with them.

Good leaders frequently evaluate to make sure the current pace doesn’t leave someone behind – unless it is intentional – which would be the subject of another post.

What can a leader do to keep from losing those who are trying to follow along the way?

Here are 4 suggestions to avoid this critical leadership error:

Ask questions.

Granted, most people are not going to call out the leader. This is true regardless of how “open” the leader’s door might be. So, good leaders ask lots of open-ended questions. They are continually evaluating and exploring to discover what they wouldn’t know if they didn’t ask. They check in with people often to make sure they understand where they are going, have what they need and are able to continue the pace healthfully.

Be vulnerable.

While the leader ultimately sets the speed of the team, good leaders allow others on the team help set the pace. They share leadership across the team. It’s more difficult to argue against the pace when the team helped to set it. It takes humility, but good leaders allow the decision-making process of the organization to be spread throughout the team. They are open to correction – giving people permission to speak into their life and are not easily offended when someone challenges them – or even sometimes corrects them.

Be systematic.

One way to control pace and overall direction is to operate under well-planned and executed written goals and objectives. These are agreed upon in advance. Of course, things still change quickly – that’s part of life – and we must be flexible to adapt, but having even a short term written plan gives people a direction which keeps them making progress without chasing after every whim of a leader. (Creative leaders tend to have lots of whims.)

Keep looking in the mirror.

Back to the car illustration, if someone is trying to follow you frequently look in the rear view mirror to see they are still behind you. In the organizational setting it is ultimately up to the leader to self-evaluate frequently. Clueless leaders push and pull people with no regards to the impact it is having on organizational health or the people trying to follow.

(By the way, we are all clueless at times – we only know what we know.) Good leaders attempt to be self-aware. They know their tendencies to push too hard or their struggle with contentment – or they’re lack of clarity in details. Whatever it is that makes them difficult to follow at times they try to minimize the negative impact on their team. This requires intentionality.

Here’s a hard question every leader should consider:

Are you allowing those attempting to follow you a fair opportunity to follow?

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7 Ways to Lose Favor with Leadership

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There are some common ways to lose favor with leadership.

Now before that sounds arrogant, please know I can be pretty hard on senior leadership. Having been in such a position for over 30 years, I know the bad side of senior leadership. I’ve witnessed it and, in full candor, I’ve been it.

My goal is always to improve senior leadership for all of us, which has been a chief goal of this blog. When I’m coaching other leaders, predominately I’m coaching senior leadership.

But what about those who follow leadership?

Any good leader knows he or she is nothing without the people on their team. Without people to lead there is no need for leadership. And a huge part of good leadership is having confidence in the people on is trying to lead.

So, a good leadership question might be: What causes leadership to lose confidence in the people they are trying to lead?

How do you lose favor with leadership?

7 ways to lose favor with leadership:

Give half-hearted devotion to the vision.

Speaking for those in senior leadership, who feel the weight of completing the vision before us, there’s little time to waste on people who don’t share the same vision. It’s one thing not to understand it, to have questions about it, or need development. Everyone has bad days and bad seasons, but, it’s a completely different story when the person has lost passion – or never had passion – for the vision. Especially when they demonstrate it by their work.

Sometimes the best thing for the rest of the team – and the person – is for them to find a vision they can support. These are tough decisions leaders often have to encourage.

Work for a competing vision.

This one is slightly different. In the previous one, the person has lost heart. This person has plenty of heart – but for a completely different vision. Any team will crumble under competing visions. When a team member starts competing, it is hard to maintain the support of senior leadership.

Eventually, competing visions cause others on the team to choose sides. The division results in ineffectiveness and poor morale. Again, hard decisions may have to be made.

Always bringing surprises.

As a senior leader, there’s a surprise everyday. Something is always coming we didn’t see coming. It’s part of the job – and honestly – it keeps most leader-types energized, even when the surprise presents a new challenge. But, because they are so frequent, a healthy team helps limit them.

If someone on the team, for example, knows there is a problem brewing, and doesn’t share it with senior leadership in a timely manner, there is the potential for a bigger, more complicated challenge. It might have been avoided with prior information.

Whether in the person’s area of work or in their personal life, if there are frequent “surprises” the senior leader begins to lose confidence in the team member. The key here is good team members practice good communication. It’s paramount to a healthy team. It’s much easier to address an issue with advance knowledge. We can get through almost anything if we handle it together.

Never learning from mistakes.

Everyone makes mistakes. Good leaders actually expect them as a part of the development process. It’s easy to lose the confidence of senior leadership, however, when mistakes made never produce improvement – or when there is an attitude of indifference towards them.

Failing to follow through.

Work has to be done. And, every great idea is just an idea until someone follows through with a plan of accomplishment. This is what separates great teams from mediocre teams. When team members never complete the tasks assigned, they lose the confidence of senior leadership.

(This one deserves a sidebar. If there are more tasks assigned than possible to complete, there could be a problem on the senior leaders side. This is another post, but sometimes you have to “lead up” to help senior leadership understand this, but make sure the problem is too many tasks and not a need to develop as a task master. Make sure you’re doing all you can to get better at time-management, for example.)

Act disrespectfully towards leadership.

This one will raise eyebrows, but it’s true. Obviously, this requires a vision worth following and a leader worthy of following. But respect (and even an amount of loyalty) towards leadership is necessary to complete the vision.

Of course, respect (and loyalty) must start with leadership and go both ways. Mutual loyalty and respect – from leaders and team members – is necessary to carry a team forward in a healthy way.

Say one thing. Do another.

There’s no place where letting our “yes be yes and our no be no” is more important than on a healthy team. And every good leader knows this. People-pleasers don’t earn respect on a team once they are exposed. Yes, this starts with leadership, but it must be carried through at every level of the team.

These are meant to be helpful. I work with a lot of ministry leaders who report to a senior pastor. I have never met one who didn’t want the support of the senior pastor, even if they didn’t necessarily agree with everything the pastor did. They want to be supported.

When you want to be a team player, this is simply a gut honest look at some common ways to lose their support.

Again, to be clear, the same goes for senior leadership. We want people we can support, believe in, and want to work with on our team. Every senior leader I know is trying to build such a team. And that culture starts with us – the leaders.

Granted, some leaders are better at this than others. Frankly, there are lots of senior leaders who aren’t worthy of much of the items on this list. They are difficult to follow, because they are difficult to trust. They may be incompetent, lack drive and be very controlling. Those are subjects of other posts – subjects I write about frequently. If you’re in one of these situations there may be a natural push-back to a post like this. This post assumes at some point you believed in leadership.

(If not, that too is a subject of another post, but maybe this post serves as another reminder to you it’s time for a change.)

Leaders, anything else you would add?

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I’d Prefer To Say “No” Than “I Don’t Know”

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As a leader, I’d almost always rather say “No” than “I don’t know”.

Don’t misunderstand. I love when a leader admits they don’t know something. I believe every leader has something to learn and one of the best places to learn is from the people we lead. So, say “I don’t know” when you want your team to share insights and ideas.

And do that often. Collaboration is key to a healthy team culture. 

What I’m referring to here is saying “I don’t know” when the real answer has already been decided. When the answer is already No.

When I know the answer is no I prefer to say no

Weak leaders use phrases like:

“Let me think about it” – which often means I don’t have the guts right now to let you know how I really feel.

“We might consider this” – which often means we will never, ever consider this, but I feel better telling you we will rather than look you in the face with the real answer.

“Let me pray about that” – which often means I have no intention of praying at all, but I sound so much more spiritual when I act like I will.

“We’ll see” – which often means I’ve already “seen” and the future does not look promising for your idea.

“It could be an option down the road” – which often means it will be so far down the road neither of us will ever be here.

Afraid of potential conflict or in an attempt to please people, weak leaders make you believe there’s a chance for your idea even when they’ve already decided there is not a chance.

What’s the damage in saying “I don’t know” if the real answer is “no”?

  • Unanswered questions bring confusion to the team.
  • Energy is wasted dreaming about something that will never happen.
  • Disappointment is bigger when the person learns the real answer (Or never receives one).
  • The team loses confidence in the leader.

Strong leaders, even though they know “no” is not what you want to hear, tell you the truth up front. They eliminate the guesswork.

Hopefully if you follow this blog you know I believe the answer shouldn’t always be no. I’ve written numerous posts about how good leaders empower rather than control. I prefer to say yes to people’s ideas far more than to say no

In fact, I’d be in favor of letting people mistakes before I would be in favor of telling them no – even when I sense no is the right answer. We learn best from mistakes.

If, however, you’ve made up your mind, stop people from guessing, stop building false hope, and say what you’re really thinking.

Leader, what door have you kept open even though you know you’ve already closed it?

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5 “Secrets” That Made Me a Better Leader

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I am thankful for the people who invested in me and made me a better leader. 

When I became a leader, I had no clue what I was doing. I was a high school student and had just been elected student body president. Although I had served as class president and in a few other positions, there didn’t seem to be a lot of responsibility which stretched me prior to this. As president of the study body, I quickly realized lots of students and teachers were looking to me for leadership.

What in the world does a senior in high school have to add to the field of leadership?

We were in the second year of a new school. Most of the students were forced to leave their previous school to attend this one. Many were reluctantly bused to a school absent of many of their friends. As a junior, I was one of the reluctant students. In my new position, I knew firsthand the need, as well as the challenge, to encourage the morale and build momentum in this new school.

Recognizing a need is one key to being an effective leader, but I still had no clue how to accomplish this.

Thankfully our principal was a seasoned leader. Mr. Huggins was a retired Army colonel who loved seeing students succeed. He became my mentor and my biggest supporter as a new leader.

Every new leader needs someone who believes in them, mentors them, and helps them get back up when they fall.

Through his leadership of me, I learned a few “secrets”. They helped me as student body president. I carried them with me as I entered the business world and later as I led my own businesses. I used them in an elected office.

Even today in ministry, these same “secrets” have made me a better leader. They are more comfortable to me now and are still are pillars of my understanding of what good and effective leadership looks like.

Good leaders learn good principles and build upon them, contextualizing them for each leadership position.

5 secrets that made me a better leader:

Letting go of power

The more you learn to delegate the better your leadership will appear to others. When you let go and let others lead, it will actually look like you’re doing more, because your team will be expanding the vision far beyond your individual capacity.

Good leadership involves empowering people to carry out the vision. (You may want to read THIS POST as a test to see if you’re an empowering leader.)

Giving up the right to control

You can’t control every outcome. Have you learned this secret yet? Some things are going to happen beyond your ability to guide them.

Leaders who attempt to control stifle their team’s creativity, frustrate others on the team and limit the growth and future success of the organization. (In fact, you might want to read THIS POST about controlling leaders.)

Not always having an answer

If you don’t have all the answers, people will be more willing to help you find the answers. Equally true, if you try to bluff your way through leadership, pretending you don’t need input from others, your ignorance will quickly be discovered. You’ll be dismissed as a respected leader and will essentially close yourself off from gaining wisdom from others.

The best leaders I know are always learning something new – many times from the people they lead.

“Wasting time” is not always wasted

Great leaders spend developing relationships with their teams. The time may initially feel unproductive to driven leaders, but it ends up being among the most productive use of their time. (I wrote a post about this principle HERE.) Great teams laugh together, share personal life with one another, and build relationships beyond the work environment.

Therefore, spend time with people, in ways which may or may not produce immediate results. Over time, you’ll find your team to be more satisfied and more productive in their work.

Bouncing attention

The more you deflect attention from yourself to others the more people will respect you. People follow confidence in a leader far more passionately than they follow arrogance. You can be confident without demanding all the attention or without receiving credit for every success of the team.

Great leaders know that without the input and investment of others they would never accomplish their goals. They remain appreciative of others and consistently share the spotlight. (You may want to read the attributes of a humble leader in THIS POST.)

Those are some of my secrets in leadership. Thanks, Principal Huggins! My life of leadership has continually shown these to be true.

What secrets have you learned which make one a better leader?

5 Leadership Situations I Tend to Micromanage

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I like to lead leaders, so I prefer to be a macro-manager. This means I try to cast the vision for a team and get out of the way, releasing each team member to do his or her work in their own individual way. There are times, however, where I tend to micromanage.

In those times as a senior leader,  I am needed for more coaching, encouraging or correction for a season.

5 times I tend to micromanage:

When a team member is new to the organization.

New people to an organization need to learn your culture and way of doing things. They don’t know. This doesn’t mean you don’t allow them to invent, dream and discover, but they also need to know how decisions are made, the unwritten rules, and the internal workings of the environment. It will serve everyone well and they’ll last longer on the team if these are learned early in their tenure.

When a team or team leader has been severely crippled by injury or stress.

I’ve had a few times where a member of our team just wasn’t mentally or emotionally capable of making the right decisions. It could be what they were dealing with in their personal life or with the stress of their work. I have had to step in and help them more than I normally would for a season to help them succeed.

When in a state of uncertainty, transition or change.

I once had a strong leader quit abruptly from his position. His team was devastated. I quickly realized they had relied too much on his leadership and were now lost without him. It required more of my time initially until we could raise up new leadership and better empower everyone on the team.

When tackling a new objective, critical to the organization.

This is especially true when, as the senior leader, I’m the architect of the idea. They need more of my time to make sure things are going the way I envisioned them to go. That doesn’t mean the outcome will look exactly like I planned. In the initial start, the team can waste time and resources trying to figure me out without my input, rather than doing productive work.

When a team member is underperforming in relation to others.

As a leader, I feel it is part of my role to help people perform at their highest level possible. Sometimes this requires coaching, sometimes instruction, and sometimes even discipline. Part of being a leader is recognizing potential in people and helping them realize that potential within the organization. For a season, to help someone get on track for success on our team, (or even to discover they aren’t a fit for our team) I have to manage closer than I normally prefer.

Obviously I wrote this in the context of an organization. While not specific to the church, these principles equally apply in the church. The important thing is that the end goals and objectives need to be reached. So, at certain critical times a leader must step in and ensure the vision is being accomplished.

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