Tag Archives: Leadership

Leading With A Limp

The majority of my life has been spent either leading or wanting to lead or feeling like I should be leading. Leadership has been on my radar a long time. As I notice leaders who inspire me and leaders that seem most effective, one thing is clear in most of them. They have a limp. Not a physical limp, but a spiritual or professional limp brought on by failing, sometimes failing many times. What do I mean by that? It means that humility, compassion and the ability to relate to the people they lead is a major part of their leadership package. They know what it is like to win and lose on this leadership journey.

The Bible says to “not think more highly of yourself than you ought to” which I believe is the most important part of leading. If you don’t have that attitude you will look down upon the people you lead as being less than you and will never really be looking to promote or expand someone else’s leadership role. You see this most of the time with leaders who never give away leadership of major projects because no one can do it as good as them. That does two things, it makes a culture where people will not think on their own and will feel like they have to ask for permission to do everything AND it will run off the good potential leaders you have. I mainly work with churches in the area of leadership and organizational development. One of the biggest failures I see in churches who are stuck numerically is they have not recruited and released leaders, so those leaders move on to an organization that will make room for their leadership dreams and skills.

So when you are tempted to just do something because it is easier to just “do it myself” think about that unassuming potential leader who has experienced failure and humbly serves in the background. Give them an opportunity! The limp that they lead with is powerful because people can feel the humility and want to follow someone like that.

Don’t let competency keep you from growing

As I consult and coach with many people and organizations, one thing seems to always come up when talking about leaders and leadership.  It goes something like this.  “So and so is a hard worker and a great leader, always gets a lot done, works a lot of hours and is very competent” 

Now I am not saying that great leaders are not hard workers, but just because you are competent at something does not mean you can lead others to be effective, and just because you find someone who is very effective at a certain task does not mean they should be the point person for that task.  Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less as my friend John Maxwell says, so if you or the person you are wanting to lead does a great job but is not able to influence others to do what they are effective at, what you have is a very valuable doer, but not a leader.  A leader would recruit, train, release many to do the task, see the challenges and opportunities and navigate from a different perspective.  And then they would be on to the next thing, looking for competent people to help achieve the next goal.

Being competent does not make you a leader, but part of being a leader is being competent.  Next time you are tempted to put someone in charge of a department or project, don’t just look at their effectiveness, look to see if anyone is following them and do they have influence.  Put a leader over that department, and watch  it grow!