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Leadership Begins with Self-Leadership

Cleaning closet

The simplest form of leadership is directing one’s self. Am I doing what is most important right now? If you are looking for the easy answer on this, check out our website’s Resources page for the Captain’s Log.

For today, I want to take this discussion on a little different path because of some of my recent experiences. I know there are places where decisions that shouldn’t be made at a top level goes through a “top” person. For example, some businesses require a single person to have the responsibility to approve interns for all departments (even those not under their “jurisdiction”). Others have one person who approves adding new items to the storeroom. Really? Isn’t there someone else who can handle either of these responsibilities? Could the top person delegate it to a support person?

This situation is not limited to businesses. There are many churches where the pastor acts as the secretary and, sometimes, even the maintenance technician. Please don’t mistake my intentions—there are some cases where the situation calls for this (use your imagination)… This is basically a leadership issue.

In these situations, the organization must look at the salary being paid and ask themselves several questions: Are we paying the appropriate wage for this work or are we paying much more? Are we getting what we pay for? Should we find a way to hire someone to be the assistant so the person that we are paying so much more is doing the valuable work that we want them to do? In some situations, people will say “we cannot afford to hire someone else to do the work.”

I wonder… what message do we send to the one handling both levels of responsibility? What message do we send to everyone else? We are saying, “I’m sorry, people, but the company cannot afford not to hire the right people AND to do what is right, so it will dump this task on you.” This is a message of scarcity.

With this approach, the single person currently responsible is likely believing their value is less than it really is. In fact, the whole organization is likely developing the same perception of scarcity. Once a company reaches the “We don’t think we can afford it” stage, then no one is going to “buy.” This applies in many situations—the people you hire, employ, or who are coming to your church. The people you hire overall will be of lower quality, producing lower quality, and accepting lower quality, affecting sales. In regards to churches, donations begin dropping because the church gives the perception that they “do” less than other churches (or even worse, care less about others).

If you don’t think highly of yourself, why should someone else? If you work for a company that treats its employees like that, how does it make you feel about yourself? How about the people you work with?

Approach the situation from an abundance mindset. Do the right stuff first. One of my favorite leaders said, “I have life, that life may be lived to the fullest.” If you want to be treated as a leader, then be the leader. Make the tasks you are paid to do a priority. Find a simpler way of doing (or consider not doing) the other stuff. If you need someone’s approval, ask: Is this what you are paying me to do or would you like me to do the work that you hired me to do?

Don’t do the work that could be hired for a lower wage that would be perfectly acceptable to someone else. If the right responsibilities get done by the right people, then the organization will prosper. If they don’t, then they aren’t going to prosper anyway.

Lead on, my friend!

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