There are so many leadership books, podcasts, seminars, and conferences that it can be overwhelming and sometimes very redundant. The lessons I have learned from these wells of information are countless and I am very thankful for them. But, sometimes, I get a valuable leadership lesson that changes how I see my role as the leader of my organization.
Recently, being a good husband, I watched an episode of “Dog Whisperer,” with my wife. Usually when this show comes on, I tune out and find something else to do, but for some reason I actually watched and I am glad I did. In this episode, Ceaser (The Dog Whisperer) was teaching about how to get different types of dogs to follow him as the leader. He said it was impossible to develop just one way to walk a dog and think it would work with all types of dogs. He talked about how he would fail as a leader if he expected every dog to just blindly follow him because he held the leash. He talked about the length of the leash, how we held it, how he talked to the dog, and that all of that varied based on the dog. Then it hit me….
Leaders, we need to adopt this type of thinking. I have spoken with so many leaders that have a “leadership style,” and just expect all of their staff to adapt to it. Sure, some will, but many times they are never going to reach their optimal productivity level. I believe it is the leader’s responsibility to be able to adapt somewhat to what each staff member needs. A famous leadership quote says that “Leadership is getting things done through others.” Getting the most out of our staff is about adapting to their individual needs. I am not saying that you can be every style of leader totally, but I do believe that being intentional in some areas to help them be led is possible.
I am not an expert in this, but I am learning that I can be more effective by adapting to them instead of expecting my whole staff to just “get on board with how I lead.” I truly care about my staff and I believe I owe to it God (who placed them under me) and to them to do what I can to make their job, ministry, and life more enjoyable and productive.
Maybe I should watch more of my wife’s tv shows….nah.
By the way, if you want infor on finding out your team’s strengths and how to best lead them, I highly recommend Strengthsfinder 2.0. There are two types of tests: one for the leader and one for each staff member. Click here to find out more.