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Two Stories About Leadership

Story 1

A group takes an overnight trip into the woods. A member of the group decides that it would be wise to build a campfire just in case the weather turns and they need the warmth. The leader of the group disagrees but leaves the campfire builder to his task as he hikes through the woods with the rest of the group.

Our campfire builder works hard gathering wood, igniting the fire, and keeping it stoked as night and the rest of the group approaches. Sure enough the weather takes an unpredicted turn for the worst.

As the group huddles around the fire sheltered by its warmth the leader speaks up taking credit for the fire and how the strategy of making one of the members stay back paid off.

Everyone assumes the leader had the foresight to instruct the member to build it and that his wisdom saved the group from a miserable situation. He absorbs the credit. This guy is a horrible person. I would no longer want to work with him.

Story 2

A group takes an overnight trip into the woods. A member of the group decides that it would be wise to build a campfire just in case the weather turns and they need the warmth.

This time the leader turns to the member and supports him in his endeavor even though he is unsure that the fire is needed. He recruits the members to gather the wood cutting down the build time so that everyone can go on the hike. When they return they work together to light the flame. When the weather turns abruptly and everyone is grateful for the fire the leader praises the member of the group who first brokered the idea.

The member is validated in front of the group and the leader is appreciated for his belief and faith in individuals who make up the team. Even if the fire was not needed he would not make mention of it and would just have enjoyed the adventure with his team member.

The leader has reinforced to the group that everyone is valued. He has engineered support when needed and has given recognition for the idea. This leader is doing it right. He does not suck. I would work for this guy/girl gladly.

Moral

Don’t be an egotistical glory hound absorbing credit in secret, public, or elsewhere for things you did not do. Don’t choke your team to death with your insecurity to look like you’re in charge and the gift to all of leadership mankind.

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chadswanzy@churchleaders.com'
Chad Swanzy has served in youth ministry for 15 years and currently works as the student ministry director at Gateway Community Church in Austin, Texas. Learn more from Chad and ask him your questions at ChadSwanzy.com.