Thursday, August 14, 2014

Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit -- Patrick Lencioni

(Here at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit in an effort to improve my leadership as a volunteer with Operation Christmas Child.  Learn more about OCC at ) -- Patrick Lencioni --

 The Most Dangerous Mistakes Leaders Make

Sometimes in leadership we're looking for "what's the key?"  We make a big deal about how we stand or how we look  I want to look at what are the foundational things we do that cause problems for leaders.  These are things that hurt people.

3 most dangerous mistakes (I have made them all.)

Let me tell you a story about a CEO I worked with.  He was a good, humble CEO.  The company was at a billion dollars and couldn't get beyond it so they hired a new CEO.  He asked why real estate costs were so high and then he realized people were always moving offices.  He eliminated office moves.  Two weeks later there was a construction crew in the lobby tearing down the wall of the conference room and moving it to the east.  They found out it was because the new CEO wanted the room to be big enough for his new office furniture.  We all are susceptible to this--

1)  Becoming a leader for the wrong reasons -- many of us are motivated by notoriety, fame, etc.  We tell graduates "Be a leader.  change the world."  We shouldn't tell everyone to be a leader.  Many want just to be known as a leader for prestige.  You should become a leader because you want to sacrifice yourself for the good of others even if you don't know if there will be a return on that investment.   When you choose leadership for the wrong reasons you lose passion and stop caring for the people you are supposed to lead.  If we are doing it for ourselves it's going to leave a trail of tears behind.  ( In the example above, the employees went from being leaders to cynics. )

I'm tired of hearing about "servant leadership" because I don't think there is any other kind.   When people calculate the Return On Investment, it's just economics.

We don't need to look far in the Bible for selfless leadership.  Imagine Peter--was he a successful leader?  He was crucified upside down; suffered constantly; most people thought he was a fool.  The only payoff for leadership is eternal.

Another CEO I worked with was famous, brilliant, and intimidating and no one ever challenged him.  The head of HR said you need to do something because no one is talking to you.  They did a 360 survey which he shared with no one.  The head of HR told him he needed to share the results.  He shared the results at a meeting and all the employees told him only what he wanted to hear.  That CEO was making the second major mistake of leadership

2)  Failing to embrace vulnerability -- The CEO in the example above should have admitted to his mistakes and told his team he would try to improve.    I don't think you can be too vulnerable.  People have a right to expect us to be competent but they don't expect us to be perfect.

What does it mean to be a vulnerable leader?  Tell people you're sorry, ask them to help you, admit when you don't know.

In the above example the entire economy of a state was undermined because the leader was not vulnerable.

3)  Making leadership too important -- Most of the time when we're thinking about leadership we're thinking about work.  If we make it too important, that means our identity can get wrapped up in being a leader instead of a spouse, a child of God, a parent, etc.   Our primary vocations may be ignored.  We need to go to our families, our spouses and ask, "Do you think my job and my employees are more important than you?"  The cost of failing in those relationships is so great.  At the end of my life I don't want my employees to come around my bed and say what a great manager I was.  We get more feedback at work sometimes and that makes us put more effort there.

It's all about PRIDE--

Pride is what all of these dangers have in common.  Jesus introduced humility as a virtue and in doing that He perfected leadership.  We will never be done with working against pride.   Do I think my success as a leader is about me doing things well?

My success is being docile to the will of God.

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