I have an apple tree in my back yard that has never borne fruit. Year after year, we sought signs that something would come of our efforts to put it in good soil. But nothing revealed indicators of growth. How about you? Have you been feeling like there’s no fruit from your work?
Pastor Bill Hybels says leadership begins with yourself. When you are dormant, people won’t follow you. So, how will you push yourself? He suggests taking leaders to lunch and asking questions, exposing yourself to new ways of looking at things, and developing character.
If leadership begins at home, then it does matter what we do when no one’s watching. We are all managers of:
In Psalm 39, David said he would watch what he said around others. But he also affirmed in Psalm 40 he would tell of God’s goodness. He sought the Lord’s help to know when to speak and when to be silent. What would that look like for a leader? We have opportunities to speak truth into people’s lives. Will it be laced with criticism or kindness?
At The Global Leadership Summit, Leadership Coach John Maxwell challenged all to add value to people’s lives every day. He said we can learn from the way Jesus valued Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman and even children. It takes intentional living to see things from someone else’s perspective.
Let’s get back to the basics in our leadership habits. Find ways to stretch yourself and your team. Expose yourself to new ways of doing things every day. Ask questions. Listen. Put your house in order. Speak kindness into the hearts of others. Hold yourself accountable to a high standard of integrity.
This year, however, something is different with my apple tree. The branches are heavy laden and getting ready for harvest. Maybe you’ve been waiting for the fruit of your labor that seems negligent in coming? Don’t give up. Keep building on the basics of love and faithfulness. Let integrity be your hallmark. When God’s timing is ripe, you will see a harvest of His faithfulness in your life and in your work.
In what ways is the Lord nudging you to stretch your leadership skills today?
Could an author of 46 titles have anything more to say? John Maxwell is known for good content, but can he deliver again? Scanning the Table of Contents, my curiosity is piqued. Titles like “The Toughest Person to Lead Is Always Yourself,” “Influence Should Be Loaned but Never Given” and “Experience Is Not the Best Teacher” draw me in.
Maxwell tackles topics like integrity, priorities and the burden of leadership with his characteristic honesty, and doesn’t hold anything back as he challenges leaders to take ownership in a new level of change needed for a new generation. His stance is to build leaders, who will in turn build leaders. The power of influence creates impact when a leader invests in the modeling of the next generation. And that is where this book goes to a different level than other books on leadership. Maxwell creates a game plan for mentoring by giving tips, formulas and questions to pursue with a mentee. By investing in a life, the mentor is creating a legacy that will outlive the natural course of work.
Maxwell says, “If you want to make an impact, then work on your influence. If you want to add value to others, help them work on theirs.” (p. 194)
He does deliver again, by adding value to those who pick up his book. Not only does The Leadership Handbook provide practical application, but it calls the leader to rise to a new level of accountability and personal investment in the lives of people. Maxwell says, “You must come to realize how unimportant you are in comparison to the task with which you have been entrusted as a leader. That requires a level of objectivity, maturity, and humility that many leaders never attain. Your goal as a leader isn’t to be indispensable to the people you lead; it is to leave your people something that is indispensable to them.” (p. 248)
And therein lies the mark of a true leader, when that leader learns how to serve.
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