Sunday, 15 May 2016

The Small Miracle of Leadership

I am not a natural leader. You know the type--charismatic, wise, interesting people who draw a crowd of followers wherever they go. That's not me.

I'm the one at the back of the crowd. I'm listening and processing what's being said, and perhaps making notes. I'm following slowly until I am sold on what the leader is saying, and then I will speak passionately about the same topic. But if the leader wants something done, I'm the first one in line. When I believe in something, I will work tirelessly to accomplish it.

For a long time, I didn't think I was a leader at all. Then I looked behind me.

There were people following. Wow.

Here is what I've learned about the style of leadership that fits who I am. I recently had a performance appraisal which asked about leadership and if I am a leader, and I waxed eloquent on the subject. (Good thing those little boxes expand when you are typing!)

Quoting myself: "I prefer the term 'servant leader.' A servant leader is someone who gets to know and is in tune with their team. If someone is having a bad day, they notice it and find out what is going on. The servant leader knows things about their team's lives and is interested them as people. They work together with their team, and is there to help and give support when needed. A servant leader has relationship with the team, and because of this they all (the leader and the team) work together.

However, the servant leader is also able to address issues if they come up, and hold the team members to the highest standard. There is an aspect of both strength and vulnerability. There are times (whether they feel like it or not) when the leader has to be strong and take a tough stance. There are also times when the servant leader needs to be vulnerable and open with the team, and let the team minister to them.

Am I all these things? I think I am growing in this. Strength and toughness doesn't come naturally to me, but I am learning to stand strong for the good of the team, the residents and our neighbourhood."

"You add value to people when you value them." John Maxwell

Over the years, I have many supervisors. Some made me nervous, and I never felt safe around them. Others micro-managed, so that I never felt trusted. A few left me to my own devices, and I didn't feel supported.

It's not easy to be a good leader. What I have found, though, is that the best leader pours into you, so that all the leadership qualities in you, stretch and grow. Under a good leader, you can become your best self--a servant leader. Today, right now, I have the privilege of serving under an excellent leader who is allowing me to grow into the leader God wants me to be.

I am thankful.

What about you? Let's keep the conversation going. What kinds of leader have been the most valuable to you, and which ones stunted your growth? How are you growing as a leader?

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