My just completed leadership trip through Australia and India reminded me that every day can be a day in leadership school.
As I wrote yesterday, regular readers of this blog and of my Twitter feed will know that my role with the Willow Creek Association involves quite a bit of global travel, working with our partners in the development of the Global Leadership Summit worldwide.
And so while this particular trip was simply another in a long line of such travels, this time I took with me a heightened intentionality to keep my “leadership learning” radar on full alert.
Here’s what happened next…
Day 5: “Forceful” Doesn’t Equal “Right”
My first stop in India was in Mumbai, and in one of my first meetings I found myself across the table from someone with a very strong personality.
Quickly I began to see that his opinions were beginning to sway the meeting towards his way of thinking. There seemed to be an unwritten understanding that, since his opinions were so strong, they must be right.
I had to navigate this with great dexterity. Because forceful doesn’t equal right.
Day 6: Opportunities for Servant Leadership Can Appear Anytime, Anywhere
The next stop in India was in the city of Nagpur, where I found myself in conversation with a pastor; this was a pastor with a problem.
His only son had recently left home to attend university overseas and, like any loving father, this pastor longed to see his son connect with a good local church.
It blew me away when he told me where his was living; He was in Kelowna, Canada. Not only was this my hometown, but I would be there in a few weeks.
An opportunity for servant leadership had presented itself, and I was able to set about connecting this young man with some great contacts in Kelowna.
Leaders should be grateful when an opportunity to serve presents itself.
Day 7: The Most Effective Leadership Flows from Relationships
The next stop in India was the city of Lucknow, and a meeting with the Lucknow Global Leadership Summit team.
This was a team made up of pastors from across the city, and it quickly became apparent that these people genuinely loved one another.
“No wonder,” I thought to myself, “that this is such an effective team. These people would do anything for each other.”
Such relationships form the bedrock for great leadership results.
Day 8: A Leader’s Word is their Bond
That night we flew to Chennai on a late flight, and at 3:00 am as we arrived at our hotel, my colleague reminded me that I was preaching in two church service the following morning. I would be picked up at 8:30 am.
True confession; I had forgotten I had made this commitment weeks earlier.
Seeing the look of concern on my face my colleague assured me he could get me out of this commitment.
“Thanks, but I made a promise,” I replied. “With God’s help I’ll be fine.”
A night of prayer and preparation made up for a night without sleep, and God enabled me to carry through on my commitment.
Leaders must be people of their word.
But my real-time leadership training school was far from over.
Tomorrow I’ll share some of the most important lessons of the entire trip.