Since this week is a bit different because of my graduation tomorrow (Friday 4th), meaning that I’m not in Nottingham today as we’ll be travelling to Chester, this blog will also be a different to reflect that. I want this to be more of my thoughts on the Bill Hybels chapter than usual. Maybe on a different occasion I could look in more detail at the Richard Foster chapter for that week too.
This week’s chapter about developing emerging leaders is a true and honest assessment of the impact that developing leaders can have. I think that it’s largely true that [one of] the best things that a leader can do is to make more leaders, and also that this is something that easily drops to the bottom of the list of priorities. It raises to mind a question for all christians; namely, who are you discipling? We can make this more complicated than it needs to be but if each of helped someone who is even a small amount less experienced or developed than us, we could have a much larger overall influence. I can also relate to the common themes of how leaders are developed, as these are things that have happened to me too.
What I’m not always too sure about is the danger that Bill’s qualities of leadership could easily be tailored towards extroverts. I don’t think this is necessarily the case, and having read some of his book on marriage, I don’t think that he only values those that are loud. But ideas such as influence, drive and people skills could fall in to the trap of favouring the person who is most forward and direct. I think these qualities are fine, but they need to allow for those who aren’t necessarily the loudest, but have a consistent influence because of their presence and ability to build a reputation and lead well wherever they are. I also find that the language of “only leaders” can be a bit exclusive and could exclude those who don’t see themselves as up-front people despite having great potential. I’m particularly unsure about the comment on p.129 that ‘in traffic, action-oriented people spend most of their time in the passing lane’ and are eager to rush around while shopping. There’s a fine line between being driven and being obnoxious, and to call all of those speeding around in BMWs leaders is to miss the point.
I also thought it might be helpful for me to look at the 5 qualities of leadership and see how I match up.
-Influence
This one can be hard to measure, but I do think that in groups I do speak up and direct conversations. This can of course lead to talking too much and I can definitely grow in this, but I think that this is something that comes fairly naturally to me. But again, is this just because I’m an extrovert?
-Character
Looking particularly at the list he gives; honesty, humility, stability, teachability and integrity, I think how I match up is a bit of a mixed bag. Stability is certainly something I’ve lacked previously but am now trying to put in place, whereas teachability is something that I think I’m good with, often to a fault. The danger can be only being teachable when certain people are talking, and that’s a problem. As for honesty and integrity, I think this is where my problems lie. I do try to be honest but so often I’ve spent a lot of time trying to be perceived in a certain way, rather than putting in the work to be like this deep down. And as for humility, I don’t think I think too much of myself, but I definitely think of myself too much. Necessarily, I know, but this blog is very “I” focused and I do need to do better to consider others.
-People Skills
This is something that I think that I’m quite good at, but I am guilty of talking too much and not thinking of others enough. I don’t know that I really do properly listen and empathise sometimes.
-Drive
I can be very driven when I want to be. I’m very motivated when it comes to church work and exercise, for instance, but when I lose enthusiasm I can lapse in to laziness. I can also be passive in areas that are hard work, and don’t display all around character in terms of being a directed person.
-Intelligence
I have an enquiring mind and love to learn but again, only when it suits me. I often lack common sense and should take more care to learn hard things and practical skills.
A helpful exercise I think!
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