Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve Jones here… What can we learn about leadership from a study that included one million survey participants? The researchers have studied this topic for 30 years with their claims validated on six continents. Pretty impressive, eh?
In their new best-seller, “The Truth about Leadership,” Kouzes and Posner identify outstanding truths that will help every leader. But don’t miss this, the first truth that the researchers discovered is that all good leaders believe in one foundational truth: YOU MATTER!
In their foundational first chapter the authors clearly state: “You have to believe that what you do counts for something. If you don’t, you won’t even try. Leadership begins with you.”
You already have more influence than you know. After analyzing the data from more than one million people, Kouzes and Posner state emphatically: “Leadership is not about who you are or where you come from. It’s about what you do.” That means you and I can improve our leadership by changing our behaviour.
When asked about the most powerful Leader Role Models that they had personally met, 18 to 30 year olds say the following:
· Family member: 40%
· Teacher or Coach: 26%
· Community/Religious leader: 11%
· Business leader: 7%
When asked the same question, people over 30 years old responded:
· Family member: 46%
· Teacher or Coach: 14%
· Community/Religious leader: 8%
· Business Leader: 23%
That means that if you are a parent, work with youth, or if you are a community/religious leader, you have more impact over young people than anyone else. And if you are a business person, you have significant influence over the people who work for you, especially those who report directly to you.
People see leaders as role models. And people model what they see and experience under our leadership. Therefore, a leader’s values, attitudes and behaviour is critical.
Research reveals that the very best leaders practice model behaviours in five particular areas:
· Model the Way
· Inspire a shared Vision
· Challenge the Process
· Enable others to Act
· Encourage the Heart
Drs. Kouzes and Posner also discovered that when it came down to one primary word to describe the best model (practices) of leaders, they said it is CREDIBILITY. Without it, most leadership fails.
There is good news here, even for those of us who have failed as leaders in the past. Credibility, or believability, is an expectation that can be met in the future, even if it wasn’t in the past. It has to do with personal character and if the expectations are met, people are more willing to follow.
Leaders from every kind of organization and every ethnic background were asked to identify the top seven characteristics they admire in leaders they would willingly follow.
The top ten answers are:
· Honest 85%
· Forward-looking 70%
· Inspiring 69%
· Competent 64%
· Intelligent 42%
· Dependable 37%
· Supportive 36%
· Fair-minded 35%
· Straightforward 31%
· Determined 28%
Note the obvious gap between the top four answers and the rest of the field. If we can embrace and grow in the top four areas, our future opportunities to lead willing followers will grow exponentially.
Leaders, our assignment is clear! We must tell the truth and be worthy of the trust that is afforded us. We must have an increasingly clear sense of our direction and how others share in our vision. We are to be optimistic and share the future with enthusiasm. And “let your yes be yes”; we must do what we say we will do.
Which area do you need to work on? Let’s make sure our beliefs behave well.
Have a blessed week,