The Leader’s Edge

Yesterday I watched one of Bill Hybels‘ talks called “The Leader’s Edge” from the 2003 Willow Creek Leadership Summit.  If you have never been to one of the Summits or seen any of their sessions online, I would highly recommend them for any type or level of ministry leaders.

The main theme throughout his talk was about maintaining your vision and momentum, your edge as it were, as a leader.  This is one of the biggest issues that leaders face: how to keep your leadership sharp and focused without drifting off course or fading out.  I know from my own experience that this is hard to do.

Here are some of his quotes and my reactions to them from Hybels’ talk.

“The hardest person you will ever lead is you.” — I would completely agree with that.  Sometimes the hardest person to sell your vision to is yourself, as strange as that might sound.  God shows you His vision for the next stage of your life and sometimes you’re sitting there wondering if it’s even plausible or if God even knows what He’s asking you to do. (Example: Moses)

“Self-leadership is still the biggest challenge in leadership.”  — Leading yourself to maintain your vision and reminding yourself of the reasons God has given to you is one of the hardest things a leader has to do.  By the way, if you go to remind yourself of the reasons God has given to you for a particular vision and you don’t know of any, then God might not be wanting you to follow through with what has now become a you-generated vision.

“When you’re starting something new, put your best people on it.  If the growth engine has some risk elements in it already, don’t add to the risk profile by giving it to a rookie leader.” — There’s a lot of wisdom in this.  Why add additional risk with an inexperienced leader if you don’t have to?  On the flip side, having a great leader who picks crappy team members isn’t much better.  Build a team wisely; build to fill your weaknesses.

“Leaders constantly live in the land of problem assessment.” — This pretty much speaks for itself.

Hybels says that he asks himself a ruthless set of leadership questions that help to direct his focus.  The questions expose the true answers that will help him get a better understanding of where his vision is and where it needs to be.

What do you think?  What are some ruthless questions that leaders need to be asking themselves today?

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