Today’s Leadership Meditation
So today’s devotional by John Maxwell stated that “the strength of any organization is a direct result of the strength of it’s leaders.” Namely, “Weak leaders = weak organization” and “Strong Leaders = Strong organization.”
Sadly, I have yet to encounter an organization that values growth. I mean I have read about them and seen them online. However, here in my communities I haven’t found one. Actually, I know of three organizations who have grown so fast so quick that they are about to explode. The leadership isn’t strong enough to handle the growth. And what’s the reason? The leadership doesn’t want change! Things have been the same for generations so why change them now? That’s the attitude I hear all the time. There’s always that voice that say’s change isn’t always good! Um.. Sorry, but it’s inevitable. Whether we like it or not, we are always changing or dead.
So as I ponder this principle in relation to my community I am left fearful. Because if the next generation doesn’t embrace change & growth, then our communities with be destroyed through divisions.
What Can I do For my growth?
Personally, I can seek mentors & accept criticism. I have learned that humility truly is the key to implementing this principle too. If I am not humble enough to honestly evaluate myself then how can I find my weaknesses or accept those others point out? In my marriage I am constantly learning about my weaknesses :p And to be honest I am glad! I haven’t grown this much so fast. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t fixed all my shortcomings. Not at all. But I have learned what currently are my greatest weaknesses, my wife is sincerely working with me to grow & not just criticize, and I am making slow progress! So as I become a better husband, so too my family becomes a stronger family. And what was the beginning step? Humility. Other character traits that helped were forgiveness, patience, love, dedication, faithfulness, sacrifice.
One last thing before I move on. I would like you to notice what doesn’t make a stronger me or a stronger family: money, fame, or power. No, it’s love, humility, and sacrifice.
What can I do for others?
Listen. Another thing I have learned through my marriage is the necessity for listening. You might think that to really inspire people to change & improve skills like inspirational speeches or writings are needed; or maybe you just need to convince them of your superior perspective & knowledge. Well take this from someone who has tried that approach, they don’t cause growth, rather confusion & judgment; even if you’re absolutely right!
Why is listening vital to inspiring change?
I remember learning about how no two people experience anything the same. To illustrate this they showed us a picture that could be two things: an old woman or a young woman. People would argue about which one they saw and try to convince the others that they were right and the other was wrong. The silliness is easy to see, but the implications of this are important; especially for understanding how listening is so vital.
Here’s a real life example from my life. One day I came home from work to a house that must have been hit by a tornado. I’m sure we all have seen a house like that one time in our lives. So after working myself to provide for my family, I had expected to come home and see the fruit of my wife’s work. So when I looked at the mess before me I saw laziness, neglect, and dissatisfaction. Walking farther into my house I am greeted by our 6 month old baby daughter! She is smiling & as cheerful as can be. I scoop her up and see her mother laying on the bed resting. It doesn’t take a genius to imagine what was running through my head. The rest of the evening I play with our daughter & clean up. Inside, however, I am dissatisfied with my wife’s performance.
Now here’s her perspective. At 1’oclock, 3’oclock, and 5’oclock our daughter gently & calmly woke her mother up the night before to feed by screaming at the top of her lungs. No daddy didn’t hear a thing; honestly. While attempting to get things done around the house she had to keep watch of the baby, entertain the baby, clean the baby (multiple times), change the baby (multiple times), sooth the baby, rock the baby, all the while laundry needs done and food prepared. O and did I mention our 6 month can climb & crawl? So she can destroy things quite fast too! So little to no solid sleep, constant expectations & responsibilities with our young one, laundry, cleaning, and cooking. Simple enough right?
For months, I try to persuade her to take her responsibilities more serious. To stop playing with our baby girl all the time & resting during the day. Yea, stupid man! She is crushed, hurt, and frustrated that I am demanding so much of her. How can I ask for more knowing that she is constantly attending things? My answer: because I didn’t know. I didn’t take the time to even ask how her day was. I saw, judged, and acted to improve things.
We have since learned to ask questions, intentionally listen & seek understanding, explain each others perspective, empathize, list priorities, and plan together to accomplish our goals. But the first & most important step is listening. You can’t take someone on a journey of growth without knowing where they need to be picked up from; where are they now?
The strength of any organization or group is only as strong as it’s leaders. And that strength comes from humility & listening first. Sure there are many things to do for growth, but this is how I apply this principle in my life
How would you apply this principle in your life? Please share your wisdom with us!