Good Leaders are like good parents. They take responsibility for the lives of their people.
This morning, I wanted to teach a small group of young leaders how to become better leaders by taking personal responsibility of their organizations. Finding a way to put that message across to them, I thought, “Leaders are like parents.”
Good parents are always thinking about they future of their kids and how to help them become successful in life. They are always thinking about how to put food on the table, how to make sure that the bills are paid, the lights are on, their kids have tuition, their kids are healthy, and their kids become better and go further in life than they ever did. That’s the heart of every good parent. Unfortunately, not every parent is like that.
Like good parents, good leaders are always thinking about the future of the people. They are not thinking of the organization as an end but as a means to serve their people. The organization is simply a vehicle to serve their people. Good leaders think about the future of every single team member and every single family working with him. A good leader takes responsibility for making sure that their people have food on their tables when they get home in the evening. They make it their responsibility that their people are able to send their kids to school and save something for their retirement years. A good leader makes it his responsibility to help his people achieve their dreams and callings. To a good leader, the only reason the organization must be strong, bring in enough money, and grow is so that it can meet the needs of his people. The organization is a tool, a necessary tool for helping change people’s lives. That’s why they grow the organization and create a vibrant culture within it.
If you want to grow as a leader within any organization, take personal responsibility for the success of the organization. From today, start thinking, acting, and feeling like the organization belongs to you and you have to work to make sure that the people within the organization are taken care of. By the people within the organization, I mean all the stakeholders. For example, take Shaping Destiny, an organization whose goal is to help people shape their destinies, especially orphans and other poor people. If you want to grow as a leader there, start acting as though all the orphans AND staff were your little children and you need to keep them safe, provide food for them, healthcare, and make sure they have a bright future.
You don’t need a leadership position to do that.
All good parents want their children to grow up to achieve more than they have ever achieved. For example, as a father, I want my boys to go farther than I ever have in life. As a leader, I want everyone within our organization to succeed and do more to shape the destinies of others than I have ever dreamed or imagined possible. I want everyone within our organization to be able to have the best family life possible, provide for their children, raise their children to become amazing successes and achieve their dreams in life.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” Jesus of Nazareth
I think in the quote above, Jesus shows this heart of a leader. He desires that his people be able to do greater works than he did. Not only so, he intends to help them make that happen. He promises they will do greater things than the ones he did because he will be by the father’s side and will help them make sure that happens.
What Jesus was saying was that if you are a son/daughter after his own heart, he will help you do greater things that he ever did and he was going to use his connections to make sure that happens. His connection to the owner of the universe was what he was counting on using.
That commitment is the commitment of every good parent, and of every good leader. It is my personal commitment to all the people at Shaping Destiny, an organization that I serve.
A big obstacle for us is that many of our biological parents have NOT acted like ‘good parents’ and so we don’t even believe that there is such a thing as a good parent. Also, many leaders within organizations have never acted like good leaders. They have instead used the people to enrich themselves or achieve their own personal agendas. Because of that, we don’t believe. That unbelief is the only thing that can stop us. The quote above echoes this sentiment. Only the people who actually believe will do the greater works.
And, by the way, that’s what servanthood is — and that’s one of our core values at Shaping Destiny. Good parents are servants, so are good leaders.
Great leaders have the ability to dream like a parent and to guide and nurture like a parent.