Friday, 23 December 2011

Leadership: real people, inspiring leaders

Like most people who have worked in many jobs and in different industries I have served under and alongside many leaders, probably hundreds. I am certain that everyone of them has shaped and influenced me, for good or bad, even if I didn't realise it. So I sat down one day a while ago and spent a few minutes listing leaders I have known and one thing that I would remember them for. These are real people that I know or have known and not the 'great leaders' of platforms and books that you and I have read and heard but actually don't know.

Martin Harrison - the first person who ever led me, he particularly taught me the importance of training people properly, giving the necessary feedback and coaching and then letting them (me) make their own mistakes.

Elizabeth Gooch - an incredibly driven and focused woman who showed me the importance of getting the right people together to make a great team.

David Stroud - I worked on one of the regional teams that David led. During this time I organised a church leaders weekend. This was the first such weekend I had done and unfortunately my calculations went wrong and we were looking at a £2k loss (it ended up only losing around £200). When I shared the details with the team David simply said, "Well you won't make that mistake again". In a stroke he removed my fear and guilt and showed trust in me for the future (all my church leaders weekend since have turned a small profit!).

Tony Thompson - I led the team that organised Together@Shuttleworth in 2008 & 2009 for the regional churches he and his team oversaw. These events were a great success but on a personal and family level they were a real struggle. So after completing the 2009 event I had to step down from leading the event. Tony arranged support and care for me because in his words he felt responsible that someone from his team needed support. It was good to feel care that went beyond the confines of the role to serve and support me, the person.

Melanie Crane - I worked with Melanie over a number of years and the thing that struck me about her was the way she included and developed people. She seemed to easily gather a crowd but many people can do that. Leaders do something with the crowd, take them on, give them opportunities as see them as more than just workers but as future leaders also. This fully struck me when she was in the process of leaving her job in our church and she gave us a long list of the people who she has worked with and what they have done and what they could do.

Nic Lines - the final person I will mention here is Nic. I work alongside Nic, our youth leader and have seen him at close quarters, especially when I have been on the catering team at Newday. The thing I admire is how after inheriting a team he brought in his own style of leadership. Still a young in leadership (years) but he clearly has the ability to listen and give space to people whilst having a definite sense of what he wants to see achieved.

If you were to name leaders who have shaped your life who would be the first you would remember?

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