Friday, August 4, 2017

Lead, Don't Pull

I love serving with great Pastors and Leaders at Christ Fellowship!
If you have a big goal that you begin working toward, if you have some set objectives and numbers you want to hit in your job, your ministry, or with your team, you soon realize that you need to enlist the help of others to get there.

Rebecca Vardian (right) is one of the best leaders I have ever worked with.  People love serving along with her! #ServantLeader
I work in church ministry for my career.  I love it and feel called to it.  Working and serving in a high impact church like requires that I build a team of great people around me who can help me accomplish all of the needs of people and the ministries that we offer.  In fact, it takes me getting high impact leaders who can lead teams of people to manage all of the demands of building our church!

Philip works at Christ Fellowship, but serves along with our teams  #ServantLeader
In your job, in your ministry or in your team, I imagine you must also depend on other people to help you manage.  If you don’t, you will never hit your goals, and you will never survive the pressure of responsibility!

The challenge comes in getting your team to follow your direction, to get them all moving together in harmony and working effectively toward reaching the goal.  Easier said than done, right?

Tim Leads a team at our Stuart Campus, yet is always serving  #ServantLeader
THIS is why I write so much on leadership.  THIS is why I am so intrigued with leadership, learning it myself.  I talk with so many great high impact people who struggle with getting team to come along with them.  They feel like they are herding cats! Or….horses.

I love the movie THE HORSE WHISPERER with Robert Redford.  I own it, and watch it every once in a while when I am in the mood for a heart-warming story.  The story is about a girl and her horse who are in an accident with a car hitting the horse, throwing the girl out of the way to protect her.  The horse is badly injured and the doctor advises that the horse is beyond repair and should be put down.  The girl can’t stand the thought of “punishing” her horse after saving her life, and demands that they find some way or some one to restore the horse.  The family find this man living in Montana who is affectionately called The Horse Whisperer.  He has an unconventional, untested practice working with horses, having almost magical powers of getting unruly horses to follow his lead.

Robert Redford, the Horse Whisperer agrees to work with this girl’s horse, inviting the family to his Montana ranch.  In the first encounters with the horse, Robert Redford does no training, no talking, no rehabilitating.  He simply watches the horse, sitting a far distance away from the damaged horse.  The family grows anxious and frustrated with him after a while of “nothing happening.” The are expecting some type of conventional training to happen.  However, the Horse Whisperer is taking plenty of time to establish some deeper things to happen between him and this horse.  He does not use a whip or tools.  He does not pull or tug at the horse.  He almost “whispers” to the horse, slowly wooing the animal to his voice and his presence.  Redford continues building repoire with this damaged animal, eventually begins testing the horse, and ultimately invites the girl to ride the horse - something that is highly risky and dangerous.  Miraculously, the girl rides the horse with ease and the once damaged horse is now healed and restored, along with the girl! Beautiful story.

I see great leadership principles in this:

Don’t Pull the Horse,
Lead the Horse

Our Church got to serve Paul and Dunbar Childrens Center!
When you are working with High Impact People, you cannot pull them along.  As a leader, you want to get your team to get in line and follow you, follow the plan.  But High Impact people many times are slow to follow your direction, hesitant to adhere to your system.  Sometimes out of impatience to get our team to perform, we treat them like horses trying to pull them along.  Or, like a Horse trainer, we may even pull out the whip and start beating them with intimidation.  This may work with weaker people or followers, who will comply out of a sense of fear; but High Impact people are like high-performing horses that will not budge, no matter how hard you pull, no matter how much you whip.  

You Must Lead Them

Leading is different then pulling.  Leading, by definition means that others are following you, not because they HAVE TO but because THEY WANT TO.  Leading takes a lot longer, but it is so much easier on your back 😃 You do less pulling, less cracking the whip, and more interacting with your High Impact People.  

I once heard John Maxwell, a great teacher of Leadership say:

Before people follow a leader, they first ask themselves three questions about the leader:

  1. Do They Love Me?
Is this leader using me? Or do they truly care about me? 

  1. Can I Trust Them?
Is this leader trustworthy? Do they have credibility? Have they demonstrated wisdom in their life? Have they achieved prior success?

  1. Can They Help Me?
Can they help me accomplish what I feel I am called to do? Before I am willing to help you achieve your goals, I need to see that you are helping me achieve my goals.  

If High Impact People can answer YES to all three of those questions, they will follow you to the ends of the earth.  On the front end, you must proof your love, your trust, and your desire to help them.  This takes time.  This takes investment.  This takes sacrifice.  

I want to give you one action step in how to accomplish your goals:  STOP

Stop trying to achieve your goals and your tasks.
Start Investing much time and energy in being with your people, in serving them, in listening to them.

Stop trying to pull them along with your plan, cracking the whip when they question or hesitate.
Start learning what their passions are, what their questions are, and help them get where they are going.

Stop demanding they they follow you, stop asking them to trust you.
Start loving them, start modeling servant leadership.

Proud of my daughter, Madison Pilot!

If you shift your focus to people, you will discover you will achieve your goals.  If you slow your pace in the front end, you will accelerate your progress on the back end.

Leading people is easier than pulling people; but it takes more time