Tag Archives: leadership

To Walk Alone

Policeman with BB Team

   What is leadership? In a nutshell, it’s the ability and the willingness to walk alone – whether anyone goes with you or not. Leadership is courageous; it’s the will to go where others fear to go – regardless of the consequences. Leadership is visionary; it’s the ability to perceive or imagine a trail that no one else yet sees or even believes in. Leadership is honorable; it’s the determination to stand for what’s right in the midst of temptation, compromise, and corruption.

   True leadership is rare.

   Alas, however, not everyone who possesses the persuasive ability to attract followers uses those skills for noble purposes. Many times over the years I’ve had to pull aside a strong-willed, classroom trouble-maker and inform him that he has leadership skills – which means he has a choice. Either he can use his leadership abilities to lead others down the wrong path or he can influence them to do right.

   One who has leadership skills and yet is afraid of his followers is dangerous. He or she will always do whatever is necessary to please those followers without regard for whether what pleases them is right or wrong.

   True leaders, on the other hand, don’t worry about whether or not they have followers; real leaders naturally attract followers.

What real leaders are truly concerned about is their own faithfulness to their followers even when that faithfulness is not popular with – yes, those followers.

   Are you a parent? Have you ever had to say “no” when everything inside of you wants to say “yes”? Have you ever had to deny yourself or watch your own behavior for the sake of your children? Then you’re a leader.

   Are you an employer? Have you ever had to roll up your sleeves and set the example of hard work and commitment to your employees hoping that they’ll one day make that same commitment to your business? Have you ever had to sacrifice yourself in terms of hours, energy and even pay so that they’ll benefit? Then you’re a leader.

   Are you an employee? Have you ever had to take a stand among your colleagues and co-workers for what you won’t do: gossip around the microwave, “borrow” office supplies, fudge a timesheet or expense voucher? Then you’re a leader.

   Are you a teacher? Have you ever had to require students to do the hard work that they just don’t want to do? Memorizing math facts when the calculator is just “easier”, rewriting a paper even though it’s not necessarily fun, studying for a test rather than simply cheating on it? Then you’re a leader.

   Are you a student? Have you ever had to stand up to a bully for your own sake or that of another when everyone else just stands by and cheers on Goliath? Have you ever taken a stand to behave in a classroom when others think it’s funny to disrupt the class? Then you’re a leader.

   If your decisions are not guided by fear of what others think, then you’re a leader.

   If your sole concern is not what’s best for you but what’s best for everyone, then you’re a leader.

   If you’ve ever had to look into the wind to cast a vision for the sake of the greater good – regardless of what’s visible to the greater masses, then you’re a leader.

   If you’ve ever had to walk alone for the sake of what’s right, then you’re a leader – even if no one’s ever told you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who Are You??

Frustrated teacher  Let’s say there are five different teachers (or business owners or nurses or pastors or – pick a profession). And let’s say they have five different kinds of personalities.  So let’s take a peek at what they might be like . . .

   Teacher #1: This teacher has a very black-and-white personality. There is right and there is wrong. There might be gray but not very often. It’s not that she’s mean; she simply sees everything in terms of rules and fairness. The bottom line is justice for all.

   Teacher: “So Johnny, tell me why your homework is not done.”

   Student:  “I forgot.”

   Teacher:  “That’s a zero.”

   Student: “But that’s not fair! I should get another chance!”

   Teacher: “Johnny, this is the third time you didn’t do your homework. Would it be fair to give you another chance when everyone else did their homework?”

   Student: “You shouldn’t give me a zero!”

   Teacher: “I’m not giving you a zero; you earned a zero. Explain how I can give you points for something you didn’t do.”

   Johnny couldn’t explain it so Johnny got a zero.

   Teacher #2: This teacher sees people in terms of resources and of getting the job done for the good of all. The bottom line is – well, the bottom line.

   Teacher: “So Johnny, tell me why your homework is not done.”

   Student: “I forgot.”

   Teacher: “You’re not learning anything if you never do your homework.”

   Student: “It has too much reading! I hate reading!”

   Teacher: “How are you going to pass your final if you can’t read the material?”

   Student: “Don’t care!”

   Teacher calls across the room: “Lindsey, you’re good at reading. I’m sending this boy over to you. Partner read with him.”

   Johnny passed his final. Barely.

   Teacher #3: This teacher sees all people as fallible and believes in second chances. And third chances. And fourth chances . . .

   Teacher: “So Johnny, tell me why your homework is not done.”

   Student: “I forgot.”

   Teacher: “Why? Is something going on at home?”

   Student: “I dunno.”

   Teacher: “There must be a reason.”

   Student: “I hate reading!”

   Teacher: “Do you want to come in after school for help?”

   Student: “No, I’ll do it tonight, but will you take points off?”

   Teacher: “As long as you try, I’ll give you credit. But I expect to see something tomorrow.”

   The teacher didn’t see anything the next day. Or the next day. But she still believes.

   Teacher #4: This teacher is a “just the facts” kind of person. It’s her responsibility to teach, and it’s a student’s responsibility to learn. That’s all.

   Teacher: “So Johnny, tell me why your homework is not done.”

   Student: “I forgot.”

   Teacher: “Why? Are you having trouble with it?” 

   Student: “I hate reading! It’s hard!”

   Teacher: “Then let’s see what we can do. Pull up a chair.”

   Student: “But I don’t like reading.”

   Teacher: “You will once you can do it. Now read that paragraph. Let’s figure out the problem.”

   Student: “I don’t want to.”

   Teacher: “Not going to force you. Is that your final answer?”

   Student: “I’m not doing it.”

   Teacher: “Fine. I will be calling your father. Take a seat.”

   The teacher informed Johnny’s dad of the problem and suggested Johnny practice reading at home. The ball is now in their court.

Teacher #5: This teacher believes that, with enough financial resources, any student can succeed. She believes school districts are responsible to provide those supplies if parents cannot or will not supply them.

   Teacher: “So Johnny, tell me why your homework is not done.”

   Student: “I forgot.”

   Teacher: “Where’s your book?”

   Student: “I lost it.”

   Teacher: “Where’s your notebook and pencil?”

   Student: “I lost them.”

   Teacher: “Here’s another notebook and pencil. Here’s a book to take with you – just remember to put a cover on it.”

   Student: “We don’t have any.”

   Teacher: “Here’s one. Now sit and read.”

   Student: “I forgot breakfast, too.”

   Teacher: “You didn’t have any breakfast?”

   Student: “No.”

   Teacher: “Okay, you can have a cereal bar, but you have to read the book.”

Student: “What book?”

   These five women have all had the same education and training. Nevertheless, they operate very differently as teachers. This is because each one has a different personality type (as listed in Romans 12:6-8) which colors how each perceives the world and responds to it.

   The first teacher has what the Bible calls the prophet personality. In God’s big picture, the prophet-type is the person wired to keep order by informing and enforcing the rules and laws in any given culture, organization or family. These individuals often operate as the law enforcement or judicial branches of businesses or families.

   The second teacher has the administrator personality. This person is a natural-born leader geared toward casting vision for the bottom-line goal of any organization: success and/or profit. The leader also has a natural ability to pinpoint the strengths of individuals and to use them for the common good. CEO’s, coaches, and politicians often have this personality type.

   The third teacher is the mercy person and a natural cheerleader. This personality believes in the inherent goodness of every person and that, given enough chances, anyone can succeed. They simply need encouragement. While every organization needs its encouragers, sometimes this personality sees accountability as “unloving” and so can tend toward enabling. Often the mercy person and the prophet-type do not get along.

   The fourth teacher is a natural-born teacher. (Here “teacher” is a personality type, not a profession.) The teacher personality is primarily interested in imparting information and the application of it. This personality is rather neutral; students may choose to learn or not – that’s not the teacher’s business. Imparting knowledge is. Every organization needs trainers, but don’t expect a babysitter-type.

   The fifth teacher has the “giver” personality. These are the people in God’s economy who fund other enterprises and are supernaturally generous. If taken to the extreme, these people will “give away the farm.” In the natural, they are often investors and philanthropists.

   Every person on the planet has one of these personality types coloring his perceptions, motivations and actions, and every organization needs a combination of these personalities in order to succeed. As people seeking our destinies, we need to understand which personality type we have as well as its particular strengths and weaknesses. We also need to work with the other personality types to ensure the success of our endeavors.

   After all, success is a team sport.