A Leader People Want to Follow

August 16, 2018

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Written By: sara

By Sara Luke

Each year, the Donor By Design team attends the Global Leadership Summit to be inspired and challenged. Last week’s two-day summit kicked-off with one of my favorite speakers, Craig Groeschel, Co-Founder & Senior Pastor of Life. Church.

His enthusiastic presentation encouraged the audience to “be a leader people want to follow.” And while I took feverish notes and would love to recap his entire hour-long talk, I’ll share just a few of the highlights.

He outlined the three characteristics of this type of leader: a heart to care, a passion to inspire, and the one I’ll dive into a bit deeper: a willingness to empower.

To empower means you must give up control. He said,

You can have CONTROL or you can have GROWTH, but you cannot have both.

A thriving — and growing — organization needs employees whose opinions are valued and feel empowered to act on their ideas.

Groeschel encouraged leaders to make the decisions only they can make and delegate all others. It’s not tasks that leaders delegate, rather authority. Leaders: think of how many times an employee walks in to your office seeking an answer. Next time, rather than giving it to them, respond with, “You decide,” or “I trust you.” And mean it. Know that they might not do it your way and may even get it wrong sometimes. But by giving them authority you are growing their ability to think and act, and likely the organization’s ability to grow. Everyone gets stronger.

But here’s something he said that stuck with me:

If you don’t trust your team, you are either too controlling or you have the wrong people. Either way the problem is yours to solve.

Oof. Let that one sink in. If you can’t delegate authority to someone on your team, think about why. Are you having a hard time giving up control? Or do you have the wrong person/people in place? Whatever the case, as the leader: you need to fix it.

If it’s control, think about how freeing it will be to allow someone else to make the decisions and do the work. You can focus on leading and casting the vision, not sweating the small (or even big) stuff. And if it’s the wrong person, I can almost guarantee the rest of the team already knows and craves to have the right person in place. And chances are that person also knows there is a better job out there that suits their talents and abilities.

Leadership carries great responsibility and also the potential for great reward. Be a leader others want to follow and watch your people – and organization – grow and thrive.

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5 responses to “A Leader People Want to Follow”

  1. John C Alexander says:

    Excellent, Sara…thanks for sharing. i was unable to attend the GLS this year due to a state Y event. I missed some great presentations.

    • Dick Bennett says:

      Thanks Sara. The concept of developing a growth mindset has been a priority for us this year. Looking at it through the lens of control is a fresh idea for me and unfortunately, painfully obvious. You have to empower in order to grow and build leadership. Really appreciate your insights. DB

    • sara Sara says:

      Hopefully you’ll make it next year! Always a good couple of days.

  2. Jim Austin says:

    Great article, Sarah! This is something I think every organization and everyone in a leadership position needs to read and follow.