I’m sitting here at Kensington Church in Troy, MI, for the Willow Creek Leadership Summit being simulcast to sites around the world. Here at Kensington, the coffee is free and the screens are clear.
Right now Bill George (writer of True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership is speaking. Some notes I’m taking as this guy talks… really really really fast:
People ask me all the time if we will ever have an authentic leader in the White House.
Each of you is a leader. You don’t have to have the 23 competencies to be a leader. You have those gifts. You must develop your gifts. Many of us hold back. You don’t use your gifts.
We’ve been choosing the wrong leaders for the wrong reasons. We’ve been choosing charisma over character; style and image over substance and integrity. We have been choosing leaders who are takers rather than givers. Why are we surprised when they fall? People lose their true north because they get called off course because of money, fame, power.
Leadership has to change dramatically in the 21st century… be 21st century leaders. The difference? 20th century — Leadership is about leading and following. Now it’s time to ask leaders to step up and lead. Give people in your organizations a chance to step up and lead. People are looking for meaning and significance in their work. Everyone has a right to find this.
21st century leadership: align, empower, serve, collaborate.
First job of any leader is to align people on mission and value of an organization. We need to bring people together around that. Balancing a budget is much easier than getting people aligned. The job of a leader is not to get people to follow you; it’s to empower them to step up and lead, to unleash their power. If we can empower people, top to bottom, we will outcompete an organization with a powerful leader up top. Serve — people are there to be served by the leader. The customers, the workers, the parishioners. Forth — collaboration. Great leaders of the future will be collaborators. To bring together the best talents to solve really difficult problems.
What are the traits and competencies of a leader? No one knows the answer to this like they do their own life story and how they found their passion to lead; their life story, their calling to lead. Our life story gives us a sense of what really matters in our lives. 99.9% of all people go through a crucible in their lives — when they see how a tragedy in their youth shapes their lives, they understand better their leadership drive.
6 things leaders do:
Understanding the purpose of your leadership. Are you in the place you should be? Follow your compass and not your clock. Where is God calling you to be? It’s not the time, it’s the direction in your life. Are you going to your true north, to the place you’re called to be? It’s not about being something by the time you’re 30. It’s about doing what you’re supposed to do.
Gain self-awareness. Why are we afraid to talk about who we really are? We’re afraid of rejection. Get out and do it — get out and be you. Get feedback. Without feedback you have blind spots. See yourself as others see you. Then it’s time for prayer, discussing with people, looking within.
Values. Will you be true to your values?
Following your motivating capabilities. Are you using your strengths every day? Are you doing what you’re supposed to be doing with all you’ve got? What motivates you? Work from your greatest strengths. Operate from your sweet spot. You’ll be in your sweet spot. Think about what you do well and are motivated by to make a difference.
Build a support team around you. Leadership is lonely. In the church, so many people are depending on you. Have someone you can communicate with — someone who can give you real honest feedback and to whom you can say anything. Mentors, support groups, prayer groups, support team.
Lead an integrated life. No such thing as perfectly balanced life, but what you can do is be the same person in all environments. Lead your life with integrity; being whole, no putting up someone else. Be yourself.
Think about the end of your life, where someone looks at you in the closing hours of your life and they ask “what did you do to make a difference in the world?” How will you answer that question? What history are you writing? If we come together, we can make this world a better place. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. When we do that, it’s the greatest fulfillment of your life. This is the fulfillment of leadership — to make a difference. Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works…
People who fail as a leader didn’t fail to lead others; they failed to lead themselves and tried to be someone they’re not. They’re not well rounded and trying to be something they’re not, getting caught up with the worlds great publicity, power, money.
Hybels is killing time.