What 2017 Taught Me About Leadership and People

2017 taught me a lot about working with people in the context of relationships at work, church, and life. Sometimes it went well and other times it didn’t.

The Value of People

I can be tough on someone, but something I heard on a podcast resonated with me. ‘You can be tough on someone, but there is no reason not to be kind while doing it.’ Seth Godin, in a blog post, wrote that “at the end of the day everyone is a volunteer,” even the ones that report to me at work.

The closer I am to someone, the more I can influence them. That means any discipline has to have the goal of restoration. The relationship allows me to be blunt with them if needed.

People are more than a source of labor; they’re giving increments of their lives to serve others, especially true with unpaid volunteers.

Motivating People

For the ones that work for you, don’t use destructive fear to motivate them. Influence gets you far, but I learned everyone is at different levels with everyone else. While I may have the respect of one, I have the scorn of another for example.

A positive fear is good. It looks like this: ‘this order needs to be done or we’ll lose this customer (or what I hate most, working weekends)’. Working weekends is my positive fear. If they make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world, it’s a teaching moment.

Motivating volunteers? I got it from Jocko Willink on his podcast. Gamify it, make it a game. Also, find out why the volunteer is there to discover what motivates them so it can be encouraged and rewarded.

Levels of Leadership

There are 5 according to John Maxwell. It’s what I’ve been working on all last year and continuing this year. To see through that grid. From his post, I linked to:

The lowest level of leadership—the entry level, if you will—is Position. It’s the only level that requires no ability or effort to achieve. After all, anyone can be appointed to a position! While nothing is wrong with having a leadership position, everything is wrong with relying only on that position to get people to follow.

Level 2 is based on relationship. At this level, people choose to follow because they want to. In other words, they give the leader Permission to lead them.

The best leaders know how to motivate their people to GTD – get things done! And getting things done is what Level 3 is all about. On this level, leaders who produce results build their influence and credibility. People still follow because they want to, but they do it because of more than the relationship. People follow Level 3 leaders because of their track record.

Level 4 can be summed up in one word: reproduction. Your goal at this level is to identify and develop as many leaders as you can by investing in them and helping them grow.

The highest level of leadership is also the most challenging to attain. It requires longevity as well as intentionality. You simply can’t reach Level 5 unless you are willing to invest your life into the lives of others for the long haul.

As I wrote about in Legacy and How To Make An Impact, Jaime’s a good example of leading through the five levels of leadership with us.

Being there in the big moments count, cultivating the relationships, that lead to getting the calls when someone needs help. It’s countercultural in that you’re developing relationships for what you can do or give, not what you can get. Your influence is at the production level at that point. From there you can lead them to Jesus.

That’s who it’s all about, Jesus, people, and introducing them either at work, public, and at church.

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