Welcome to Today. This week's Leadership and Personal Development tip embodies "buy-in".
Maxim: "People buy into the leader, then the vision." - John Maxwell
My intention was to elaborate on the leader's vision today. But the more I thought about vision, the more I thought about character, reputation, and having a proven track record. Thoughts of many in prominent positions came to mind. These were people with tons of great sounding ideas. However, their ideas did not grow feet. No actions were taken. Why? They had no buy-in from the people regarding their personhood. Perhaps a story from Henry and Richard Blackaby will help illustrate the point.
A sincere young pastor serving in his first congregation was deeply concerned for a nearby town that had no church. He wanted to begin a mission church. Unfortunately, his people were unsupportive of his proposed project. No one volunteered to help. Several members openly questioned the wisdom of extending their ministry to another city when there were so many needs in their own church. The pastor was grieved because his people were unwilling to follow his leadership into this exciting new ministry. He asked what he should do to lead his people to embrace the Great Commission.
This scenario always creates an awkward situation. When people are discouraged, it seems unkind to point to their leadership as the primary problem. It is tempting to concur that the fault lies in their followers, the downturn in the economy, the unresponsive community, or the previous leader's mistakes. But to shift the blame elsewhere would not free this struggling leader from the shortcomings crippling his effectiveness. This minister sincerely wanted his church to extend God's kingdom, yet his own church was in dismal condition. The facilities desperately needed repair, the church was running a deficit, and there was a chronic shortage of Sunday school teachers. The pastor was wholly ineffective in addressing these problems.
Members who saw their pastor struggling to organize and maintain one church had every reason to question whether he could effectively establish and maintain a second congregation. Further discussion revealed he was experiencing financial problems personally due to poor money-management skills and he had put on a great deal of weight under the stress. He began to see the problem was not with his congregation but with their leader. This pastor had not established a successful track record in his personal life or in his current leadership tasks, yet he was asking his people to trust his leadership in a major new venture. His people were wise to resist moving forward on his suggestion.
The above situation magnifies the need for small accomplishments. New leaders should be cautious in immediately undertaking large projects. Better first to prove themselves in smaller tasks that can be successfully completed in a relatively short time. When people experience a string of small victories, they will be more willing to attempt something larger. The best area to demonstrate small triumphs is in the leader's self-mastery.
The leader may have an incredible vision. He may know exactly where the organization needs to go. She may understand the rewards of getting there. The vision is clear, the pathway is illuminated, and the gold at the end of the rainbow is shining brightly. However, if the people do not buy into the leader, they will not buy into the vision.
John Maxwell quipped, "People follow worthy leaders who promote worthy causes." Examples include Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther, Winston Churchill, Princess Diana, Florence Nightingale, etc. Examine great leaders in history who have helped shape the world and you will find people who bought into the person and then their vision/cause.
As you work to hone your vision, be sure your character is above reproach. Grade your track record. Do you have enough wins behind you? Does your team trust you to take them to the next level? Are there any blind spots that a trusted advisor can point out for you? As stated in last week's post, "Leaders realize that while they may not always like feedback, it is the only way they can really know how they are doing as someone's leader. Seeking feedback provides a powerful statement about the value of self-improvement and how everyone can be even better than they are today."
Remember, people buy into the leader, then the vision.
To learn more about the Law of Buy-In, please contact us. At Apogee, we work with entities to strengthen their pipeline of leaders. We specialize in strengthening the pipeline of diverse leaders. We welcome the opportunity to help you grow your team and/or you personally in the area of leadership.
That's it for now. Until the next tip....