Are you acting as if you’re the last leader your team will ever have?
I’ve noticed a trend among leaders lately. It is not a healthy trend. In fact, it is probably one of the unhealthiest ways to lead a team that I can imagine. Instead of leading our teams in a way that teaches them how to be better followers, and how to work under a leader, we treat them like we are the one, the only, the LAST leader they will ever be under.
Last leaders lead as if their way is the only way. They teach their teams how to follow their preferences, their policies and procedures.
Lasting leaders teach their teams how to be better followers. (I wrote about how to Follow The Leader recently.)
Last leaders are focused on what they can accomplish. They work very hard – don’t get me wrong. But they work hard at accomplishing their own agenda.
Lasting leaders are focused on what they can lead their team to accomplish. They recognize that their team has more potential than they have alone, so they focus on pouring unto their teams in a way that multiplies their results beyond what any one person could ever accomplish.
Last leaders are short sighted. Their goals only reflect the here and now.
Lasting leaders are far sighted – they can see far beyond their own reach and subsequently plan and lead in a way that sets their teams up to succeed both now and in the future.
Jesus was certainly a shining example of a lasting leader. There was a time in his ministry, after he had been out teaching and doing miracles, when he started coming under severe scrutiny. The religious leaders (those who held a lot of political and cultural power) were beginning to question who he was and what he was doing. After a particularly nasty run-in with those leaders, Jesus went away to pray all night long. And in the morning, he pulled together his disciples and chose 12 men to follow him even more closely. Jesus, the most powerful leader of all time, chose to accomplish more by investing in a team of people. I don’t doubt that he could have accomplished everything by himself, but he chose to set an example of what it looks like to lead beyond yourself.
Take a moment to reflect on which type of leader you are – a last leader, or a lasting leader.