02 February, 2010

Leadership

So one of my favorite blogs is actually written by someone I know and have admired for years. Brad worked at the ranch from the time I was in grade school until, um, I entered middle school I think. Brad had a very dynamic impact on my life. I can count on two hands the men who worked at the ranch whose impact still reaches me today - and Brad in one of them (Big Bro is another, Jason Shipman, Steve Miller, Bob Parsons, Ben Martin...)

Brad was the head wrangler and watching him I learned about leadership. I observed how he led the men he worked with, how he spoke to the guests, how he treated the other staff in the dining room. Brad was the culmination of what we wanted in a staff member. He was (and still is) a servant to the core, he loved people and loved serving God by serving people. I can't remember Brad ever being angry or short with me. I remember him being a light in the room, I remember lots of laughter, and wisdom. He did things with humility. It was a very sad day when Brad decided it was time to leave, I knew God would do amazing things with him - his personality, quirks, strengths and passions would only lend themselves to someone dramatically impacting the world for Christ.

And Brad is.

His blog is one of the ones I will always read regardless of what is going on. His insight into leadership is truly incredible. So when Brad wrote about attracting young leadership to an organization I was intrigued. Instead of writing about the power of the young leader he noted what attracts the young leader to want to work for the organization/person.


Here is his list:
  1. Humility, combined with incredible passion and skill. Jim Collins writes about this as the key characteristic of a level 5 leader.
  2. Unwavering commitment to reaching their desired audience and accomplishing the mission. Know the hill they are climbing and willing to fight to get to the top. 
  3. The IT factor- hard to explain, but easy to spot. 
  4. Collaboration and not competition, celebrating others victories along with your own.
  5. Willing to give over responsibility vs. a "wait your turn" mentality- will allow young leaders to lead if they are qualified and can handle it. 
  6. Authenticity- They keep it real. Young leaders clamor towards authentic and honest leaders. 
  7. Open to change- if they are not open to change no one will follow them (thanks Shinabarger on this one)
  8. Can have at least a little fun. Like attracts like. It's a reality= regardless of age, demographic, and style.
  9. Passionately create a culture that takes risks, allows for failure, and thinks outside the box.

I think this list defines Brad to the core. People long to be close to someone who is humble, real and is willing to reach outside the box. They value someone who values them.


When I was reading this list another name came to mind - the man I worked for at WHI. I really did enjoy my time there and, a lot of that can be attributed back to him. If you had asked me to list what about boss I appreciated my list would have been similar to what is above, only not as well articulated. Brad poured into me indirectly by his example. my boss poured into my directly, by challenging me and allowing me to figure things out. Many of the things I bumbled through in leadership in college were refined once I reached DC.

But what is leadership? I think too often we equate popularity or a slogan for leadership. Surely if they are dynamic or able to capture a room they can lead people through the trying times instead of looking for the quiet leadership that you want to be telling you where to go. 

Another leader I deeply respect is Wess Stafford at Compassion International. He is one of the most humble, authentic, passionate, God-centered men I have ever met. I worked at CI before college and have been involved with the organization since I was 12. There is that "it" factor at CI and Wess Stafford is the reason. His book changed my life and helped develop my view of development and what it means to work on behalf of someone. Another quality in a leader is that it is rarely, if ever, about them. It is about their company, their organization, their calling. While Wess might be the face of Compassion it is not about Wess or his reputation or what a great job he has done. It is about the children in their projects, and ensuring they have enough. He often says that The opposite of poverty isn't wealthThe opposite of poverty is enough. And that perception trickles down through his organization to the country offices and those who sponsor kids. 

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© Amanda Lunday