Developing Followers

Developing Followers - 1In leadership we are seeking to help the people we are leading discover their purpose and potential. Each leader also may have certain goals, objectives and processes that they are supposed to meet and follow-through on, however the ultimate objective of leadership is the development of our followers.

As leaders we need to engage, equip and empower. As leaders, our followers need to know that we care, that we are available to them, that what we offer is to help them and open new doors for them. In an overly-simplistic reductionism I would assert that leadership is about the people and management is about the work. In other words our leadership ought to be for the development of followers (their lives, abilities, skill-set and productivity) but our management ought to focused on company/organization objectives, benchmarks, action-steps and of course the bottom-line.

Follow the LeaderWe need to lead in such a way that our followers know

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The Pot Bowl?

details of my garden
MendezEnrique / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

I want to make clear this viewpoint is from a leadership perspective and NOT a political view. It has plenty to do with the decline in leadership of core moral values that has made America a great country, and Colorado and Washington great states respectively. I have been following this issue with a keen interest for some time and feel now is an appropriate time to share my thoughts. I have arrived at this conclusion largely due to Wyoming being a peripheral state to Colorado.

As many of you know Colorado and Washington have recently embraced the use of marijuana. I have no real issues with people using marijuana, but here is where the real rub comes in. Does Peyton Manning really want to be associated with retiring after the “Pot Bowl”?

Seriously now; During this time when Colorado and Washington are embracing (according to federal law) an illegal drug, for the sake of revenue, Colorado has lost to the state of Wyoming (so far) three legal revenue generating manufactures.

Magpull Winner
abcovey / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

An even deeper look at the issue of safety shows these states are lacking in judgment and are neglecting to provide their residences reasonable safety measures for a “few more dollars”. This is also indicative of a continued moral decline in leadership of both the Federal and State governments by telegraphing the message, “You don’t have to step up and be responsible, we’ll lower our standards to meet you where you are”. Meanwhile signaling danger to all who travel the highways as well.

The short term effects afforded the states are as follows:

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Some Thoughts on Maturity

RMM Logo for 20130921Leadership Voices is partnering with an organization here in the Houston area this week-end. It should be an exciting time and we are expecting a great turnout. One of the key words in the title of that event is the word “mature”. The more I “mature” in age, the more I find myself listening to folks older than me. And by folks older than me, I mean people in the silver and golden seasons of life.

Here are a few reasons why those who would be leaders should listen to older people:

Old people have lived more of life than most of us. When they stand up to speak, they have a long track record of life from which to draw. And much of that time was spent actually focused on living life rather than memorizing passwords, tweeting trivia, engaging with video games, facebooking, and texting.

Some Thoughts on Maturity - 2Please don’t tune me out at this point. I am not against those things. I have a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and even a Pinterest account. And, as you see, I am an active blogger.

But, the difference between the young and the not so young is that much of their time was spent on doing real things–often hard things– rather than watching people pretend to do real things on television. They know more about the human experience and the struggles of the human soul than I do.

Old people are done with “ladder-climbing”. That means they can speak the truth without fear of losing a job, donors, followers, blog readers, a career track, supporters, customers, conference invitations, record deals, or a popular reputation. Old people can truly view people as…well, people, rather than consumers. They are prepared to give people what they need, rather than what they want. Having lived most of life, they have a better understanding of what people need, whereas younger people have a better understanding of what people want. That makes them incredibly valuable as mentors.

Some Thoughts on Maturity - 3Old people are more self-aware than you think. The older they get the more aware they are of their own shortcomings and the vastness of the grace of a loving and forgiving God. They aren’t all that impressed with themselves and they don’t waste much time on nonsense. They know that they probably don’t have another 50 years ahead of them and so the things of eternity are becoming clearer to them as the clutter of life is pulled away. They still believe God has a sense of humor but they somehow sense He isn’t laughing at most of the stuff we are laughing at on television and in our society. They are more serious about life, and yet often less anxious at the same time. They spend less time stressing on the pursuit of power, position, and coolness and more time resting in the pursuit of Godliness.

Is there sometimes a tendency in old age to become a grumpy old man and become resistant to change and technology? Yes, but those tendencies sometimes are more tied to personality than chronology.

So that’s why I increasingly listen to the senior guys.

  • Do you want to know what is hip or cool? Talk to a millennial.
  • Do you want to know how to make money? Talk to a boomer.
  • But if you want to be a wise leader, then listen to some faithful old guys and gals who have walked with God two or three times longer than you’ve even walked the earth.

On days like today, I miss my father-in-law who went to be with the Lord a few years ago. He was a tremendous mentor to me. However, I am very fortunate to still have my father alive and just down the road from where I live. And I have found a man at work who is older than me and who has taught me a great deal about things that I need to know to be successful in my current assignment.

What about you, young leader? Who are you looking to and listening to?

Join with me and learn from those who came before us and yet are still with us.

Photo credit: jaymiek / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA
Photo credit: Neil. Moralee / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Courage

Ty Carter -1Courage — A vanishing trait?

While pondering this topic… I’m not so sure I’m all that qualified to write of it, but I will mount the challenge with courage.

Courage is one of those character traits that is not a necessity for leadership but is mandatory!

The development of courage in the right person is to first understand that there is a price pay for following the convictions of their heart. Consider the life of the most recent Medal of Honor winner Sgt. Ty Carter. When Carter spoke with the media he stressed the importance of supporting soldiers both deployed and when the return home from war.

“Know that a soldier or veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress is one of the most passionate and dedicated men or women you will ever meet. Know that they are not damaged. They are simply burdened with living when others did not,” Carter said.

How can we even connect to those thoughts or feelings or know the weight of a burden so heavy?

Here are a few traits connected to courage that need examined.

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Can You Help Me, Please?

Can You Help Me PleaseNature vs. Nurture — Leadership.

I have been pondering this ancient theme for some time and the evidence of its impact really came to light recently in Florida.

Let’s consider first for a moment if you will something equally ridiculous. The law of gravity (nature).

We could pass a law (nurture you), (if it is not already on the books somewhere), that prohibits you from falling. Now that would really be cool because you could no longer “fall down”. We have conquered gravity with the stroke of a pen! Imagine, no more being tripped-up, falling down stairs, or most importantly…no more huge masses of body’s during football games! Injuries would be in huge decline.

Now that law is as ridicules as the one that presented itself in the Florida “teenage bus beating” case a few weeks back. But when viewed through the prism of “nature vs nurture”, what did we really see?

I was involved caring for foster kids at point. To illustrate the nature vs nurture disorder I am drawn back to one particular situation that involved a set of three siblings we had for nearly two years.

There was a relative that lived down the street from us and to say the least the relationship was NOT “mutual”. They had a son (Matt) who was the same age as the oldest sibling (Joe) we were caring for at the time. For weeks on end Joe would come home frustrated because he was being bullied by Matt. I would talk with Joe and settle him down. To try and talk to Matt’s parents was futile at best. It went nowhere.

After about the fourth week and the frustration (nature) building in Joe and the attempts to get him to understand that we were (nurtured) not allowed to let them engage in any activity in which they may be harmed. The next day things come to a boil and the efforts to hold Joe back were failing badly. I took Joe aside…I said look, I understand the frustration (nature) you are dealing with. However, if it gets to the point that you must make a stand for yourself (nature), then you had better

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As a soldier sees it

As a soldier sees itI came across another great quote the other day. But, as I am getting old and didn’t write it down, I have to try to recall it from memory. The gist of it was the way that a soldier sees leadership. Leadership as a soldier sees it went something like this:

I do not follow orders, I obey them. Instead I follow a leader.

Let that sink in for a few minutes.

Now what does that mean?

Try as I might, I just cannot get some of the courtroom scenes from “A Few Good Men” out of my head. If you take some of the military bashing out of the film you are left with some riveting dialog. At some point along the way the characters Dawson and Downey lost sight of the impact of following an order from a leader who is not worthy. They followed an order and things went terribly wrong.

The premise of the movie is not a perfect analogy for me. But it does point out to me that we need to be clear regarding those that we chose to follow. And further, we need to be aware of the impact that we have on those who follow us.

And consider this as well.  We don’t always get to choose our leaders.

Are you following, obeying or leading?

 

Photo credit: Atfyfe / Foter.com / Public Domain Mark 1.0

The Following Leader

The Following LeaderLeadership is an issue in our culture. Too many people, men and women alike, seem to shrug off their responsibilities allowing others to either carry their weight or simply leaving those in need of their leadership wanting. There is no question this is a problem and thus the purpose of this blog; to encourage purposeful leadership back into our culture. However, in my last post I proposed leading can be done simply by being a follower. You can read the article hereI’d like to build on this thought.

I think too many of us, myself included, see the glory tied to leadership. The praise given, the accolades attributed and then pride happens. And when I’m called upon to follow, I rebel. I may drag my feet, defy guidelines, or inappropriately have the notion I could do better if I were in charge. This type of pride only helps the culture in its downward spiral. We need followers. We need to be followers. We can’t all be leaders, all the time, in every capacity. In some way, you and I are followers right now.

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Lead by Following

Surfer ChicksI have been thinking a lot about this subject: Leadership. The more I’ve tried to wrap my mind around it, the more I’ve come to a conclusion. It may be simple. Common even to some, but here it goes: We are all followers and leaders. In fact, to effectively lead, one must be a capable follower.

Allow me to use my family as an example. I’m a homemaker, a stay-at-home mom, who runs the household affairs. I work to keep our house clean, schedules running smoothly, finances balanced and bellies fed. I forefront the needs at home, while my husband is the spiritual leader of our family; he continually points us to the Lord.  I seek to follow his direction within our family structure, while he strives to follow God in order to lead fruitfully. Without his devotion to the Lord, dedicating his efforts to the One who knows the outcome, his time and attempts to lead would be wasted. So as he leads me and our family, he is following the Lord. As I follow him, he follows God. See how that works?

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Seeking Leadership

Hiker StuffI have seen lots of good things written about leadership, both here and in other forums, but, I had a thought today. I thought about maybe what drives me the most

How do we find the people who are seeking leaders to lead them?

Do those people exist? Isn’t that the real reason that we strive to be leaders? Does a leader actually have to have followers to be a leader? Or is leadership like integrity? Do you know the old saying, “Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking”?

I wonder if seeking leadership is like

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Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense

Diseased HandThe story of Naaman has an interesting leadership lesson for us today. Naaman was the commander-in-chief of the ancient Syrian army. He was a man with both position and power. By all earthly standards, Naaman was a recognized leader: he had worldly abilities, fame, respect and authority.

However, Naaman had a really big problem. He had leprosy. In that day and time, leprosy was an awful incurable disease. It required total isolation from everyone for fear of spreading the dreaded disease. And it is really hard to be a leader when you have to be isolated from everyone that you are leading.

Can you just imagine for a few minutes

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