Sunday, June 7, 2009

Leadership 101: People do what they're lead to do

I've heard my pastor speak several times about leadership within the church world. One of the topics he often deals with is in the form of a complaint from pastors and leaders about their followers. "My people won't _____." The blank can represent a lot of things for church leaders; tithe, serve, go on missions, love one another, practice evangelism, etc. Many times, a leader will experience this frustration, not for lack of communicating the need, but because they haven't lead their people in this area by actually modeling the desired action themselves. A leader can't lead someone to do something that they themselves are not doing. Tough talk, but nevertheless, reality.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch where you and me and everyone else lives, the question arises: "so what?" Well, here's where it applies to me.

Over the last few days, i have experienced a lot of frustration with my 3yr-old daughter. She back-talks frequently, talks very rudely, all with a less-than-desired-tone... Up until now, this has not been a regular occurance, and when it did happen, our usual discipline approaches correct these behaviors. So what do you do when your normal parenting approaches don't work? That's right! You raise your voice, give them the mean parent face, and use every threat you can think of, but never follow through... very inneffective, unproductive, and harmful at best.

So my sweet, loving, meek wife brings this idea to my attention after we had another behavior problem this morning. Not her exact words, but the idea is this: "she is only acting out the way she sees us act out." No way to counter the wisdom of a Proverbs 31 woman... My daugher is doing what I've lead her to do. If I want a certain behavior in her, if I want her to respond a certain way when things don't go well, if I want her to share and be loving to her friends and neighbors - you guessed it. I have to do it myself if I hope to lead her to do the same.

People do what people see. This applies to anyone who has a position of authority or influence on another person - that includes moms, dads, brothers, sisters, co-workers, employees, teammates, and even church leaders :). What is it that your "people" won't do, that you haven't lead them to do?

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