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3 Leadership Lessons

Happy July 5th. I know, doesn’t have the same ring as you settle back into the workday. I want to share with you a few things I’ve learned over the past several years of leading people. These come from leading in small group environments, leading small group coaching teams, leading staff teams, leading sales teams, and leading flag football teams. here we go.

1. Focus your energy on developing people first, achieving numbers second.

This one is true universally in leadership I think. We all know you need to focus on achieving results right? At the end of the day, your numbers are what you get evaluated on. Whether it’s sales quotas or weekend worship attendance, numbers are weighty. I would never just give that lip service. What I’ve found is that if I want to achieve those results, as a leader I need to spend my time developing a quality atmosphere that can foster numbers success. In one word, your team needs to be able to trust you. When they do, they will shift from ME focus to WE focus. Team objectives will override individual career goals. You may even keep people around longer because a healthy work environment is worth a lot of cash, I promise. Practical starting point: get your team out of the office together. Dinner, bowling, baseball game, I don’t care. Just go do something fun. Do NOT start with trust falls. you gotta build up to there.

2. Push them to be better than you. And when they get there, deal well with it.

Do you know how easy it is to say “man I want you guys to outperform even me in this area!”? Do you know how hard it is to swallow your pride when they do? Over the past 2 years I’ve watched 5 guys who came on my staff as interns or part time employees move on to roles of far greater responsibilities. 2 of them are lead pastors now, another is on his way to that role, another just left town to be on the leadership team of a church plant, and the 5th is leading church planting efforts in another country. The only way you are going to recruit top talent, and develop it, is if you can deal with their success. For those guys, they developed into great pastors that could be best leveraged in other settings. If you are in a business however, you need to be ready to promote or create new positions for people on your staff who succeed. Reward Success both verbally and monetarily. Even if you are a middle manager and it means watching a subordinate become a peer on the org chart.

3. Prioritize Clarity in your Communication.

Make sure both you and your team members are crystal clear on responsibilities and objectives. I thank my flag football team for teaching me this and my lead pastor, J.D. Greear, for showing me the value in this principle over the past few years. We have a zero tolerance policy for ambiguity around here. Before you leave a meeting, verbalize and agree upon WHO is responsible for WHAT by WHEN and then schedule in your calendar a FOLLOW-UP to make sure it is happening. Otherwise you just wasted a meeting. We also have a zero tolerance policy for wasted meetings. You cannot come out of a huddle unsure of where everyone is supposed to go. well you can, but those teams don’t accomplish much.

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