Leading from the Front

I was sharing with some friends tonight a leadership principle that I learned after about a year into Pastoring some 15 years ago.  This is such an important principle that I would definitely make this a key point to share with any new and emerging leaders.  So here it is:

A leader who tries to move everyone together is destined to go nowhere.

Here’s the deal, any group of people can be categorized in three ways:

1.  The highly motivated. These are the people who are with you and ready to go.  They usually make up about 15-20% of your group and they’re the people you wish you had more of because they are the ones with whom you can get things done.

2.  The unwilling.  These are the people who aren’t with you and there’s nothing you can do or say that will change that.  They usually make up 5-10% your group and when you think of them you wonder why they even bother.  You don’t expend energy attempting to lead these folks, because there simply isn’t anything you can do for them.  So for the remainder of this article, we won’t focus on this group.

3.  Everyone else.  70-80% of your group, church, organization, is made of people whose hearts are in the right place and they aspire to good things but they need something extra – motivation, wisdom, guidance…something.  There’s al kind of potential hidden within this group if you could just pull it out.

One of the biggest mistakes a leader can make is believing they can take a group made of the three types of people listed above, and get them moving in the the same direction, together.  It’s not going to happen.  Everyone is going get frustrated.

So what’s a leader to do?

Here’s the one strategy that will benefit everyone: Identify the highly motivated people in your group, pour into them and get them out in front of the crowd.  Lead from the front. Those highly motivated people will relish the opportunity to run the race in pursuit of their passion and their energy and momentum will be fuel for you.  But what about the “everyone else” group?  Well your choosing to focus your energy on the highly motivated will prove to be the best thing you can do for them as well.  For most of these people, when they see a group of people out in front, blazing the trail and advancing forward, it will stir them and motivate them to follow and get themselves moving.  When this happens, and it will, your group, church, or organization will achieve an almost unstoppable momentum.  You’ve focused your energy on the right people.  You’ve led from the front.  Everyone wins.

Now it’s your turn: what’s worked for you in getting people moving?


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