A little while back I had the privilege of attending the seminar Leadercast put on by Chick-Fil-A and Giant Impact. There were many good speakers throughout the day that inspired me to be a better leader. As with any type of seminar, there were a few of the speakers that really seemed to hit home for me. One of those speakers was Andy Stanley. He is a sought-after leadership communicator, author, pastor, and the founder of North Point Ministries, Inc. One quote that is highlighted in his biography is, “The goal of leadership is not to eradicate uncertainty, but rather to navigate it.”
Andy spoke about changing your perspective to have a new perspective on leadership. By changing your perspective, you will change your life. I had a lot of thoughts come to me as I listened. Below is a compilation of what I heard him say and the thoughts I had as I listened.
As a leader, you are not there because you are the smartest, best equipped, or most talented. Leaders should not feel like they are better than others. Leaders, in fact, are in their positions for a number of different reasons. Some are there because they have been around the longest, they had the idea first, or because they had the right connections.
As the leader, you have more responsibility that you willingly accepted. You are responsible for making the hard decisions during uncertain times. Leadership is needed to deal with uncertainty. One common misconception is that uncertainty is a result of poor leadership, when in fact, leadership is needed because of uncertainty. In uncertain times, there are three things you should ask yourself to transform your leadership.
1. What would my replacement do?
When new leaders come in, they look at the organization from an objective point of view. They are not bogged down by thoughts of the past or even feelings of nostalgia. They look at what is happening within the organization and identify whether or not it is working. Rather than wait for the next leader to come in and make those changes, you should stay relevant and learn from the past. Don’t get stuck holding onto the memories of the past. Instead, think through things objectively when you make your decisions.
2. What would a great leader do in my situation?
I am sure that you have a leadership hero. Think about what they would do if they were there to make your decision for you. What would they do? As you think like this, you will see a transformation in how you lead. If you are faced with a tough question that you need to answer, don’t be afraid to take yourself out of the situation for a few minutes if you need to, so you can ask yourself the above question. As you ask that question, you will get past your own insecurities and learn a lot about yourself.
3. What story do you want to tell?
What legacy will you leave behind? Will they tell stories about how you were family-oriented or work-oriented? Don’t do anything now that you will be ashamed of in the future. Don’t do anything that will make you a liar when you tell your story. Your story will be with you forever. All your day-to-day decisions will make up your legacy, so be sure to set the right priorities. In the end, where you set your priorities will determine the story that is told. People generally set their priorities on money, work, fame/notoriety, family, church, etc. When setting your priorities, always remember that money, work, and fame/notoriety come and go, but you will always have your family.
As you think about the questions above, your leadership will change. You will begin to hold yourself to a higher standard. So how do you answer the above questions? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!