Leading Your Team Into the Unknown

Innovate or die. That’s how one great leader described the dilemma of change. If we hold back innovation we do so because of fear of change, fear of losing people, fear of the bottom line.

But leaders lead. Either they lead or someone else will. Innovative leaders assess and they insist on change based on their assessment. They evaluate effectiveness and productivity, and then they make the hard choices.

Great leaders empower their church, team, business and organization to innovate. They challenge the status quo, they model the way forward, they encourage the hearts of the faint-hearted, and they inspire a common vision of what can be.

The last thing a great leader does is accept the status quo. Great leaders appear everywhere we look: in the home, at school, in the office, at church and on the playing field. They are great because they are not satisfied with what is... they know about “change resisters” and “slow-change adapters”, but they flourish in spite of those who don’t do change well.

Great leaders create a culture that says, “We change. We care enough to make hard choices. We believe yesterday’s solutions will not solve today’s problems and will not meet tomorrow’s challenges.”

Great leaders attract other great leaders in the making. They are not interested in creating followers, they want more leaders. Great leaders know an innovative culture attracts more leaders, and more leaders make things happen.

Innovative leaders are not threatened by other leaders. They welcome other leaders to join them because they value leadership more than they value status or comfort or power.

Mindfulness

“When you’re mindful… rules, routines, and goals guide you - they don’t govern you.”  Ellen Langer (Harvard Business Review, March, 2014)

The skill of “observation” is a lost art for many leaders.  Observation, or “mindfulness”, is the art of actively learning new things from our daily experiences.

Mindfulness makes you more sensitive to context and culture.  Mindfulness is intentional, but not stressful or exhaustive.  It comes naturally once you develop the skill.

Why is mindfulness important?  You can’t solve today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions. The rules you have been given are the rules that worked for the person who created them. If someone says, “This is the way we do it, learn this until it is second nature”, bells should go off in your head.  If they are speaking about values, that is one thing, but if they are speaking about methods, that is another thing entirely.  Principles never change, but methods always do.

Benefits of mindfulness:

  • You learn to observe what others are doing, how they are feeling, and what they are communicating non-verbally
  • You pay attention more easily
  • You ask better questions
  • You learn by listening and observing
  • You become more innovative
  • You are more fully present
  • You are able to take advantage of opportunities when they are available
  • You become less judgmental about others
  • Mindfulness alleviates boredom