Willow Creek Leadership Summit has meant to my life. These have been some of the most life changing moments for me ( I've not been able to attend for 3 years now and I really miss the re-charge that I used to get about early August to be ready for the next season of ministry)
While digging through some papers the other day I found my manual from 2006 and the first session was on THE LIFE CYCLE OF LEADERSHIP.(see Tony Morgan's notes from this session) I must have taken pretty good notes because I could immediately recall the teaching from that session and I guess it must have stuck because in my post yesterday I mentioned the life cycle of an organization and it was directly drawn from this talk where Bill talked about the life cycle of a product.
Bill used the analogy of music products --from LP's to 8 tracks to Cassette to CD to IPOD and how over time the method and delivery of the product changed and evolved. He theorized that leadership changes over time as leaders are exposed to experience and more information.
Here are some gems from that talk that I think are important:
1). Leader should start leading at the earliest age possible. I believe this. I'm constantly watching for younger leaders and trying to encourage them. Hybels says that the more experience you have at leading the more seasoned you are.
2). Followers can only take so much height and heat---meaning that a seasoned leader will know when to press and pull back on the organization. There are optimal times of leadership and a season leader will read those seasons well.
Hybels suggested these things for leaders to do to perpetuate the Life Cycle of Leadership:
1) Read everything you can---boy do I try to do that. I have a stack of about 6-8 books beside my bed that I'm working on, have finished or want to start. I've found that using AMAZON'S Wish list and Shelfari have helped me keep track of the books that I want and am reading. I try to read broadly to gain as much from as many voices and experiences as I can (Business, Spiritual, Recreation, Travel, Education, Technology, etc)
2)Go where leadership is taught. This is why I went to Leadership Summit. It was the best soaking experience of leadership in 2-3 days.
3) Get around other leaders who are better than you--ask questions. That's the reason I love now to go to RECREATE Conference where there are so many more leaders who are doing things that I would love to do or love to know how to do. This energizes me.
4) Keep leading something--if not you'll lose your edge. Every leader needs to be utilized and there are organizations that are constantly in need of leadership. If you can't do it one place there are going to be instances that will need leadership and leaders just naturally lead.
5) Leaders develop other leaders---it's a natural cycle. For me its not only a necessity but a passion to see other leaders rise up and take their place. It didn't start with me and it won't end with me (Leadership) but I must do my part to raise up the next generation of leaders. If not, then I fail in this respect of leadership.
6) Leaders develop a constellation of colleagues (this is huge!) Leadership is shared power. Power in leadership is derived from the permission granted the leader by the followers. As such, when the leader leads he develops those around him that are colleagues with whom he can share the power. Ultimately these are the ones that the leader must be unafraid to share and even empower to lead beyond and to the next level.
The life cycle of leadership is important to keep a leader fresh, alive and productive in the organization.