We recently kicked off our first Pastoral Internship & Residency program at Redemption Gateway. We’re reading and discussing a number of great resources. The most recent book we’ve looked at is Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley.
The subtitle is “Five Essentials for Those Who Will Shape the Future” and these five essentials shape the major outline of the book: 1. Competence, 2. Courage, 3. Clarity, 4. Coaching, and 5. Character.
This book is easy to read, enjoyable and chalk-full of great wisdom for leaders. Whether you’re in the marketplace, education, ministry, or athletics, it will sharpen and improve your leadership.
Here are some of my favorite lessons with accompanying quotes:
1. Character is a crucial, but often overlooked, aspect of leadership — especially in young leaders.
Character is the will to do what’s right even when it’s hard. (133)
Your talent and giftedness as a leader have the potential to take you farther than your character can sustain you. That ought to scare you. (151)
Your accomplishments as a leader will make your name known. Your character will determine what people associate with your name. (132)
Every leader wears two badges: one visible, one invisible. The visible badge is your position and title. The invisible badge is your moral authority. (139)
2. Good leaders see what needs to change and have the courage to act on it.
Simply recognizing the need for change does not define leadership. The leader is the one who has the courage to act on what he sees…A leader is someone who has the courage to say publicly what everybody else is whispering privately. It is not his insight that sets the leader apart from the crowd. It is his courage to act on what he sees, to speak up when everyone else is silent. (50-51)
3. Leaders need to remember they are not competent at everything.
Every leader has authority over arenas in which he has little or no competence. (24)
Leaders who are successful in one arena often assume competency in arenas where in fact they have none…Worse, the more successful an individual is, the less likely it is that anyone will bring this unpleasant fact to his attention. (25)
4. Leaders who acknowledge their own weaknesses make the organization stronger.
Acknowledging weakness doesn’t make a leader less effective. On the contrary, in most cases it is simply a way of expressing that he understands what everyone else has known for some time. When you acknowledge your weaknesses to the rest of your team, it is never new information. (26)
5. Having a position of leadership doesn’t guarantee having actual leadership.
Many a leader has wrongly assumed…that his position alone would ensure the loyalty of the people. He wasn’t mature enough to understand that every follower is a volunteer. Abuse your position as leader and you will lose those you lead. Nobody has to follow. You can’t force people, even subjects, to follow. You might be able to force them into submission, but you can’t force them to become loyal followers.
6. Leaders need to own the responsibility of raising up others to accomplish important things.
Leadership is not always about getting things done “right.” Leadership is about getting things done through other people…When a leader can’t find someone to hand things off to, it is time for him to look in the mirror. We must never forget that the people who follow us are exactly where we have led them. (27-28)
In leadership, success is succession. If someone coming along behind me is not able to take what I have offered and build on it, then I have failed in my responsibility to the next generation. (11)
7. Uncertainty isn’t failure — it just means we need leadership.
Uncertainty is not an indication of poor leadership; it underscores the need for leadership. It is the environment in which good leadership is most easily identified. The nature of leadership demands that there always be an element of uncertainty. Where there is no uncertainty, there is no longer the need for leadership. The greater the uncertainty, the greater the need for leadership. As Jim Kouzes puts it, “Uncertainty creates the necessary condition for leadership.” (79)
BONUS: A Great Prayer to Pray for Your Kids
I’ve started praying this prayer:
Lord, give Abby and Caitlin the wisdom to know what’s right and the courage to do what’s right, even when it’s hard. (158)