Thursday, April 8, 2010

Flying Solo: Not a Great Leadership Model

I don't always read Maxwell, Collins or Whitaker when looking for leadership material. Occasionally I venture off the beaten path in search of something different. This week I came across a few interesting thoughts in Follow Me to Freedom: Leading and Following as an Ordinary Radical by Shane Claiborne and John M. Perkins.

One of the temptations I struggle with as a leader is the old adage "If you want something done right, do it yourself." While I believe there is some truth in this proverb, not much will get done if I do everything myself. I may be able to do some things more efficiently by flying solo but not if I want to do everything. I would no longer be a leader if I do everything myself. Furthermore, if I try to do everything, I won't have much buy-in from those I lead. Claiborne and Perkins reminded me of this with the following two thoughts:
  • "I know you're strong enough to do it alone, but are you strong enough to do it together?" (a quote on Claiborne's wall, author not credited in book)
  • If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together. (Perkins indicates this is an old African proverb)

You don't have to be a control freak or a micro-manager to need reminding that leadership, especially servant leadership, is not a solo act. Make a conscious effort not only to be strong enough to work together with those you lead but also to be committed enough to be slow and steady so as to win the race together.

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