“Everyone wins when the leader gets better.”
– Bill Hybels
So how do you become a better leader? An even better question may be, who are you as a leader right now? In the first session of the Global Leadership Summit, Bill Hybels outlined four lenses through which to examine your current leadership style and dissect how to “get better.”
Did you know a motivated worker will out-perform an unmotivated worker by nearly 40%? What matters most to team members is to work for and around a passion filled leader. Typically, that passion comes from one of two places: the mountain top of vision or the valley of desperation.
Have you been through the valley before? It is not a pleasant place to be. But true leaders don’t stay in the valley. Instead, the valley is often simply the birth place of holy discontent: when something frustrates a leader to his or her boiling point. But just as water escapes a sizzling hot pan, this boiling point allows a leader to leave the valley with new resolve and passion to fix what is broken. Unbridled passion.
So how full is your passion bucket? This passion is key in leadership. And only you, the leader, are responsible for keeping your bucket full. Every leader does this differently, but each must be self-aware enough to know how.
Bill mentioned his passion is filled when he reads about other passionate leaders, or physically visits places that stir the soul. Take the time to discover what fills your bucket. Often it only takes one encounter, getting outside your normal environment, to re-ignite passion. So find your passion, feed your passion, keep your passion bucket filled…everyone wins.
Bill had a very different start as a leader: His dad ran a fear and performance based culture where there were no ping pong tables, suggestion boxes, or exit interviews. Thus Bill began his leadership looking through a “shattered lens.” How many leaders do you know who are broken, shattered, in one way or another?
Even with a shattered past, a leader can still develop great culture. It’s about people. Leaders have the opportunity to change not only their storyline, but the storylines of people in their care. Leaders can introduce life changing impact that builds up instead of breaking down.
Make an effort to build the healthiest, life-giving, passion filled culture for your team. Even if your vision is fine-tuned and methods are air tight, Bill says it best, “An organization will only be as healthy as the top leader wants it to be.” A great leader cannot sit in conference after conference and still not take action to improve the organization and culture. What needs to shift in your culture to make it one of the greatest places to work?
Have you ever worn transitional lenses? When they first became available, they were more of a hindrance than a help because they took so long to change: you had to pause when you first walked in a building to avoid tripping while you slowly regained your eye sight. But as technology improves, the reaction speed of these lens has grown. Now, they make the transition from outdoors to indoors almost seamless. The same concept can be applied to leaders: the speed of the leader sets the speed of the team. Leaders must fly with the punches and be ready to re-adjust as quickly as the setting changes.
These adjustments are crucial for your team. It’s human nature to want to see where we’re going and how we’re doing. Let them know every six months whether or not they are hitting their targets. Without your vision, your team is flying blind, never knowing if their anywhere near the mark.
How can you be a better lens for your team? Anticipate change. Readjust goals as needed. Maintain forward vision.
While the goal is always to be looking forward, at times we need to look in the rear-view mirror and ask the questions: What legacy will we leave? How will I be remembered as a leader? What will my employees, family and friends say?
Would you be proud of how you would be remembered? A leader is not just his or her work. We are far more than “commerce machines” or “cause machines.” God intended for us to flourish holistically in all our life domains. So where is your energy currently going? It helps to divide into five domains and look at each equally: Work, Faith, Community, Family, and Self Replenishment.
Many leaders fall into the trap of addiction to one domain. When things are thriving at work, and great stuff is happening, the tendency is to think, “Why would I ever get off that train? Why would I want to change a diaper? Serve at a church?” and the other four life domains are neglected. So are you thriving in all domains or pouring all your efforts in to one?
Leadership Matters Disproportionately. We Must Get Better.
Maybe you haven’t found your passion: if your job, your life, your world isn’t very exciting it is likely because there is nothing exciting in you! Take some time to self-examine:
What do you need to do to fill your passion bucket?
Can you recognize healthy culture? Or have you only lived in shattered environments?
Do you need to recalibrate goals in your organization, better sharing with your team so they know if they are winning?
What legacy are your leaving? What pivots may be needed to change your future reality?