September 10, 2009

Your Leadership Timelines-Pt. 2

Yesterday I stated that we as leaders have two timelines that we must be aware of: our positional timeline & our legacy timeline. As we lead we must understand both of these timelines, & we must make a decision as to which one is more important. Now most every one of us would say, "My legacy timeline is the one that matters." All of us want to leave an impact that outlasts our time in positional leadership, but what does that really mean & how do we do it?

As I was taking part in The Nines online conference yesterday. I heard something awesome from a guy I have never heard of; his name is Bill Easum. This statement is priceless to those of us in leadership. Write this down: "Your legacy is not what you leave behind; your legacy is who you leave behind." Here is the breakdown for many of us in leadership. It's so easy to get caught up in what we are trying to accomplish that we don't really develop other leaders around us. If we want to stretch our leadership legacy timeline, we have to develop people not programs. After all, deep down we know that a lot of our programs & accomplishments will be wiped away by whoever follows us in the positional leadership role. If you want to leave a legacy, it has to be about growing other leaders. For those of us in ministry, that means discipling others & preparing them for ministry.

The second thing we think about is the "how". How do we stretch that legacy timeline out so that it outlives our positional timeline? The answer to that flows out of the statement above. You start by developing others. That means you & I don't have to be the ones with all the answers or ideas. Our job as the leader means that we make sure those ideas align with the vision & direction of our organization or ministry, but they don't have to be our ideas. Again quoting from yesterday & something I've heard Craig Groeschel say more than once: "When you delegate tasks, you're recruiting volunteers. When you delegate authority, you're raising up & releasing leaders."

That means, Senior Pastor, every time you hold that Associate Pastor back from tackling a project or you reject that other leader's idea, not because it's out of alignment with the vision, but because you didn't come up with it, you are sacrificing your legacy timeline for the sake of your positional timeline. Managers & business leaders, when you micromanage an employee rather than releasing her to do a job, maybe better than you could, you are stifling her potential, & again your leveraging your positional timeline at the expense of you legacy timeline.

The ironic thing is that if you leverage you positional timeline at the expense of your legacy timeline long enough, your positional timeline will get cut off because no one will follow you anymore. I think very few of us intend to do this to ourselves & to those we lead. I really believe that if we embrace the idea that our legacy is a who not a what, we can begin to solve a lot of our problems & dysfunctions as leaders.

What do you think?

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