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Where Are You Leading From?

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Where do you lead from?  The comedian Michael Jr. sometimes takes a break from doing his stand-up routine and talks with the audience.  Once, he was chatting with a music teacher and he asked the teacher if he could sing a little bit of a song for the audience.  Well…I don’t need to describe it, watch the video below:

Daryl did a pretty great version of Amazing Grace the first round, but it was also apparent that he was holding back.  Michael Jr. noticed this as well and asked him to go for it.  Daryl shifted from singing from his head, to singing out of something deep inside of him.  He sang out of his heart and what happened? A standing ovation.  Listen to the crowd as he started singing out of his heart – they exploded.  There is something about this new Daryl that exudes passion.  There is something about this new Daryl that is infectious.
Where do you lead from? This past week I was at a leadership event and had the opportunity to talk to a minister of a local church.  Part way through our conversation, he told me about an event that a member of his congregation was organizing that upcoming weekend.
“It’s not a church-run event, but just something that’s organized by a person of the congregation…I really don’t want to go, but my wife told me I really should.  I know I should go, I know it’s the right thing to do, but I really don’t feel like it.”
How often do we, as leaders, lead from our head? Sure, we can definitely do a decent job.  When Daryl sang the first time it was pretty clear that he had skills! He knew what he was doing! As leaders, we can also do a pretty good job of leading from our heads.  In fact, we likely lead from our heads more often then we want to admit.  The Pastor that I was talking to the other day was also leading from his head.  It’s not like it’s a church event, so do I really need to go? Is it really in my job description to go to this event? You could tell in his tone and body language that we weren’t talking about healthy boundary settings, but rather that the event was more of a burden to him then something he was looking forward to.  He was leading from his head, not his heart.
What would it look like for my Pastor friend that didn’t want to go to his congregant’s event if he stopped looking at the event through the filter of his mind and rather looked at it through the filter of his heart? I wonder if he would not only be excited by the initiative and drive of this congregant, he may also want to attend the event.  I wonder if this change of filter would renew his energy levels and drive for the work that he does.  I wonder if this change of filter would inspire other congregants in his church to venture out of their comfort zones and try something new.
What about us? What would it look like if we lead from within more than from our heads?  What might our congregations and organizations look like? What might our surrounding communities look like? How might that passion for our work -our calling – infect those that are around us?
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Jason is in the business of helping churches move from conflict situations to creative solutions. He has particular skills in conflict management, social media, and leadership development.

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