Leadership Disciplines [3]

Last week I wrote about two priorities for me right now ~ to stop telling others what to do and to stop doing things that others could do just as well.

I stand by them but while I press on with a new found focus to empower I am mindful of some other leadership truths…

Some people prefer to be told what to do

Some people prefer to not do the things that I do

The challenge for me as a leader is to know when to push on these and when to back off. Unfortunately I don’t think there is any guidelines or 3-step plans for learning this either. It’s trial and error. I have done it well and I have done it badly. Maybe it’s more about that elusive leadership intuition, that ability to understand something or in this instance, someone, instinctively, a belief that there is more inside the person that they can see in themselves.

With this in mind here are two more aspects of my leadership which I will continue to be disciplined about…

I won’t stop seeing the ‘more’ in you than you see in yourself

I will keep telling you that you can do the ‘more’ than you think you can do

What leadership disciplines do you have?

[Read the previous posts here: Leadership Disciplines & Leadership Disciplines 2]


Leadership Disciplines

Over the years I have learned many things but one of the simplest is this: to become a better leader requires discipline. 

We will all end up somewhere, doing something, there is no doubt in that. Maybe for leaders there is a need to develop a different approach, one not relying on a default way of life but rather one through discipline and design.

I was not always great at this and I am still learning.  As I watch other leaders and wonder how they achieve what they do I discover this same simple truth: they have developed their leadership disciplines.

As a leader I have had to ask myself, am I happy with my leadership? Am I willing to do what it takes to improve? How can I grow myself as a leader, so that I can become a leader who has what it takes to grow others?

What are your specific leadership disciplines? I have a few and will unpack them in some upcoming posts.

Will You Step Up?

My recent posts have been about looking out for the one, being willing to invest in one person in that apprentice style role. However, this is about the other side of this opportunity…

Who will be the one who wants to be invested in?

Lots of people want success, want to progress but are not wanting to learn. The opportunity is there but not all are willing to do what it takes to own it. There’s risk in being the one who invests in others. There is risk in being the one who wants to be invested in too. Perhaps that’s why some people back off from putting themselves in this position.

Step up. Grab a hold of the chance to learn. Be listening. Ask questions. Put yourself in the world of someone who can teach you. Just never stop being someone who wants to learn.

Will you be one of those who steps up?

Leaders: Be Impatient for the Right Things

Among the many things I have learned on my leadership journey this particular ability is an ongoing area for improvement. Sometimes you get it right, others times, not so much. Tell me what you think after reading this.

It is tough being in charge. Making things happen. Getting others to make things happen. It can bring you great joy but it can also bring you great frustration too. The challenge is to not become impatient for the wrong things, only for the right things.

Being impatient can be good BUT it can cause us to react badly, to become excessively brash, to assert our authority inappropriately, to make rash decisions, to upset the team, to be overly nit-picky, to miss out on what is being done well, or just not explain ourselves clearly enough. Impatience for the wrong things can cause us to become passionate about things that in reality don’t really matter.

Patience maybe a virtue but I do think a good leader can be impatient about some things too…

  • Wanting the best for people and to see them flourish.
  • Rooting out bad practices that hinder the right results.
  • Getting rid of gossip, slander and all wrong kinds of negativity.
  • Helping people remember the why and inspiring them about the future.
  • To not being stuck but making progress with the vision.
  • That we are not seeing the right kind of change in people’s lives, we are not making a difference in our community, we are not fulfilling the call of God on our lives.

This is why I think leadership is an art. Getting that balance right can be tricky. People don’t like it when we become impatient about the wrong things or even about the right things but in the wrong way. Yet they will follow us wholeheartedly if we are impatient for the right things and in the right way too.

Your thoughts?


How to Be a ‘Get Out of the Way’ Leader

Been thinking about this recently and how difficult I find this. I don’t think I’m alone either in finding this essential aspect of leadership such a challenge. Empowering others is the only way to bring about all that we want to see but that doesn’t make it easy though.

Here are some quick thoughts ~ why we don’t ‘get out of the way’, then why and how we should…


We like control. We like to be in charge, to know what’s going on.
We don’t trust others. No one can do it like we do it.
There isn’t anyone to ‘get out of the way’ for. Or at least that’s what we convince ourselves.
We are scared of change. They will do it differently to how we have done it.
We will have nothing to do. We could become outdated, unwanted, or redundant.
What if they get it wrong. It’s just not worth the risk.

What if they get it right. What we were doing might come in to question.


We wont achieve the vision. The bigger the vision the more we need others to help us. One person can only do so much.
We stifle growth. Other peoples, maybe even our own and definitely the organisations.
Be willing to challenge the process. Just because its always been done ‘that way’ doesn’t mean it should continue to be. Sometimes we need that ‘upstart’ to say ‘Why not?’
New people can bring fresh energy. This is in turn can bring life to the organisation.

They may leave if we don’t. If people cannot see that they will ever be included, then they will probably go to a place where they will be.


On purpose not haphazardly. Have a plan on how responsibility will be given. Create a programme with a clear pathway, so those who are getting involved know what to expect.
Through coaching and not just through teaching. You can’t really ‘have a go’ without being given the opportunity to ‘have a go’. Hands on experience alongside some teaching can work really well. John Maxwell would teach us ~ know the way, go the way, show the way.
Let go. The first time is the hardest but if you have invested in them well then it’s not the challenge you really fear.
Be an inspiring leader. Spend your leadership being the kind of leader that others would want to be like. Inspire with vision, with attitude, with integrity, with your work ethic, with communication, with encouragement and every facet of your leadership.

Resource them. Just keep passing on everything you know, everything you have learned. Talk all the time about the why behind what you have asked them to do.

It’s a challenge but the rewards mean all that we are building can outlast us. If we make it all about us then what we are doing may well die when we do. If we make it about others then what we are building can last for generations to come.

What would you add to this?

What’s Next?

Tonight we will have had our final session with this years participants on the Xcel Future Leaders course. I absolutely love stuff like this. For over 16 years now I have been involved in some form of leadership development.

I began my leadership journey when I was 19, a similar age to many of those who have been a part of this course. When I reflect on what I was like back then, I am thankful for the investment of one couple who poured their life into me and helped me understand more about what it means to be a leader. Just as well really, because when you are 19 you feel pretty invincible and don’t consider that you need to learn anything.

But here I am, just over 25 years later. The book about what I would tell my 19 year old self is being written and maybe this thought should go in it. After everything you have learned, and are continuing to learn, a question definitely comes to mind…

What’s next?

So you’ve finished a leadership development programme. What’s next? One thing is for sure, completing a course doesn’t make you a leader. It’s hoped that it has helped you and once you have reflected on those things, the question comes again, what’s next?

How will you continue to grow? Where do you need to focus your attention? What is the next challenge for you and who can help you with it?

Here’s another secret…that question never goes away. Whether you have been a leader for 1 year or 25+ years the question of what’s next, and all that is encapsulated within that simple question never disappears. It may just be that the complexity of the answer grows, which, ironically, is the reason for asking the question over and over again.

What’s next? Can you answer that in regard to your leadership?

7 Things Leaders Have to Think About

This reads simpler than it actually is.

1. What the preferred future looks like

2. The detail of that preferred future

3. The strategy required to move towards that preferred future

4. The leaders who will own the strategy that moves us towards that preferred future

5. The teams that the leaders will grow who can work together with the strategy that moves us toward the preferred future

6. The resources that those leaders require to give their teams, equipping them so they are more capable of achieving the strategy that can move us towards the preferred future

7. Are we on track in all that we are doing in respect of the preferred future we have seen?

Would you agree? Or would you change the things you think leaders have to think about?