In my many years of studying leadership, I have tended to focus on the leader himself. Any follower of my posts will be aware of the frequent biographies I allude to or the excerpts I include from fascinating leadership-development books.
But one aspect of leadership that has become a “front burner” interest for me is the subject of what is it about leadership that not only is sparked by the leader, but permeates through followers, so that the team moves from being average, to good, to becoming exceptional?
In other words, what makes the best, the best? Whether it’s a family, a team, an organization, an empire, a rock band, a special projects team, or some kind of committee, any collection of individuals more than one—what makes them (or made them) special. What makes them willing to unify in the pursuit of their mission, care about each other, commit to one another, sacrifice for one another, and enjoy each other through their whole experience?
I don’t know, but that is the quest that now intrigues me.
I remember being a part of a mission team at a church over 10 years ago. The 40 plus members of our team, were scheduled to go on a mission trip to Jamaica. We spent a lot of time together in preparation for that trip, planning a children’s program, planning work projects, conducting fundraisers, seeking prayer partners, etc.
Midway through our 6-7 months of preparation, I believe God put on my heart for us to have as our theme, “expect the unexpected”.
Approximately 1 week before our trip, a hurricane was barreling down on our destination in Jamaica. The unexpected had occurred. Our trip was going to be cancelled. However, this big problem was no problem to a Bigger God. Within a few days, He miraculously provided for our entire team to go to an entirely new destination in Miami, FL, where we were still able to participate in children’s ministry, as well as to do manual work.
Not only was the whole experience miraculous in seeing God’s Sovereign power displayed, but the spirit of the group was noteworthy. The group was filled with people willing to have their plans changed, willing to encourage each other, willing to put in great effort in their preparation for this trip, willing to sacrifice and all the while enjoying each other and feeling as though we were all apart of something special.
The “book of remembrance” that was written before, during, and after the trip by those who participated in it, was filled with testimonies, one after the other, witnessing to the fact that this was a unique experience.
I am going to start trying to find out why it is that in some extraordinary circumstances, people feel as though they are a part of something special. Why is that?
For example, why is it that some people seem to make their work such a place? They just love being there. They love the work they do. They find satisfaction in the product or service their organization is able to produce. They enjoy the people they work with.
But, as we know, places like this at work are rare. Most people don’t find this kind of pleasure at their jobs. That’s all they are for most people-just jobs. So what makes the experience different for some?
The same could be said for a church or a committee you are on ? Why is it so many of these groups of people functions are average at best, whereas some rare situations are exceptional for people. They can’t see missing any opportunity to be a part of their group.
So, one final thing to add tonight:
If by chance, you have a personal story or you know of a team, group, a band, a company, etc. where people are invested in it because they enjoy their group and feel as though they are a part of something special—-I would like to know about them. I’m on a mission.