The word voracious has been defined as “devouring in great quantities.” We have all met voracious eaters—people who devour food in great quantities. You may have one living in your house. A voracious learner is one who devours knowledge and wisdom in great quantities.
“Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.”
Proverbs 1:5 (NIV)
It is so easy to get sidetracked and replace learning with entertainment. I’ve been watching a show on the Discovery Channel, called Gold Rush, about a bunch of guys who dig dirt in Alaska, run it through a “wash plant,” and hope to capture some gold from the dirt. Every episode is the same: “Let’s get some more dirt.”—“Good idea, but the wash plant is broken.”—“Let’s fix it and maybe we’ll find some gold.”—“Yeah that would be great.”
There are hundreds, if not thousands of shows like Gold Rush on TV. I don’t watch it to learn something; I am never going to move to Alaska to become a gold miner. I watch it just to be entertained. But a leader must ask, “What percentage of my available time is spent pursuing entertainment?” If that percentage is too high it will definitely sidetrack you from being a lifelong voracious learner….
Though I don’t travel as frequently these days as I used to, I do find myself on enough flights to recognize that the laws of physics never change. The pilot of the plane knows exactly what speed he must attain before he reaches “rotation” (where he can pull back on the yoke and lift the plane off the ground). That speed is normally about 140 mph.
Now what I’ve learned is, the lighter the airplane—the less packed it is, the fewer number of passengers, etc.—the more quickly the airplane is able to lift-off. (Obviously, that is why commuter planes can take off and land on a much shorter runway.) On the other hand, if it’s a large airplane or if it’s loaded with passengers and luggage, it can take an extra mile of runway space to reach “rotation” speed.
The same is true when it comes to changes in leadership. Smaller changes may take place in a shorter period of time because the communication effort and amount of administrative and/or organizational needs are not too extensive.
In contrast, major changes such as leadership succession take a very long time to execute effectively. The reason is that these decisions affect everyone who is on the “plane” and have a great deal of “weight” attached to them….
Leaders Influence People. Great leaders don’t just influence people to follow them; they create more leaders who influence others. When you are leading people, you can affect their ultimate path. They follow your leadership and accomplish goals or reach destinations they wouldn’t have achieved on their own. When those goals or destinations are reached, you can say that you’ve done a good job as a leader. The problem is that everyone has a limit to how many people they can lead effectively. However, when you stop creating followers under your leadership and start creating or developing leaders, the number of people you can influence will grow exponentially.
Every church leader wants to see his or her congregation grow. Spreading the Gospel to all people is what we are called to do. Jesus said to “go and make disciples”. If all a church leader does is make disciples, it won’t be long before he finds the limit of how many disciples he can care for on his own. At that point, there are only a couple of options. A leader can either hire someone to share the load or he can learn to make disciple-makers instead of just making disciples. Churches don’t grow because the Senior Pastor is a great preacher or the worship experience is phenomenal. Churches grow because they are actively making disciple-makers….
Recently, my wife was on a business trip. When she returned home, she told me a story of what happened while waiting for the plane to taxi. I asked for her permission to share it, because I believe there is a significant truth in what she and the rest of the passengers experienced. Here is what she told me:
Finding our seats on Flight 551 from Houston to Chicago, our demeanor changed from ordinary to extraordinary. The Southwest employee (we’ll call him Fred) who was greeting as we entered his plane set the tone. When he was asked by one of the customers, “How are you tonight?”, his response was impressionable. “I’m fine as hair on a mouse, and how are you doing?” He continued these types of comments and responses during the loading of the plane. He engaged the passengers by asking trivia questions and telling one line jokes. The atmosphere on the plane was energetic. It was positive and promoted laughter. Fred made the experience enjoyable for all, except for one. This passenger raised his hand, Fred called on him, and what came next changed the climate as the disgruntled passenger asked this question, “Do I have to listen to you much longer?” Fred was stunned with the question as were the rest of the passengers within ear shot. He responded professionally by saying, “No, you don’t.” And with that the air inside of the cabin began to change. No more jokes were offered. No more laughs were heard. All because one person found it to be annoying….
If you don’t have the ability to influence others in a positive way, you will never be able to lead others. People have many misconceptions about leadership. When they hear that someone has an impressive title or an assigned leadership position, they assume that he or she is a leader. Sometimes that’s true. But titles don’t have much value when it comes to truly leading. True leadership cannot be awarded, appointed, or assigned. It comes only from influence, and that cannot be mandated – it must be earned.
Great examples are Princess Diana and Mother Theresa – neither had any real authority, but both exercised an incredible amount of influence that outlived their individual lives. The only thing a title can buy is a little time – either to increase your level of influence with others or to erase it….
Leadership has become a buzz word in recent years. From books like Good To Great and The Leadership Challenge to the plethora of personality tests and leadership style assessments, it seems like everyone wants to know the right way to be a leader. You can read books, take quizzes, attend seminars, and even get a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership, but do any of those things make you a leader?
Leadership is a relatively new word, but it seems like it is the hot topic to write about. A quick search on Amazon.com for the word “leadership” returns 560 books that were just released in the past 30 days with another 455 more coming soon. Everyone is writing about leadership but they all have different definitions and opinions about what it is.
Is leadership a trait that one can be born with, or is it something to be learned? What are the traits that every great leader has? What are the nine steps to becoming a better leader?…
Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. Everyone is a leader – from the stay-at-home mom, to the elected government official, to the big brother/sister, to the CEO. Leadership ability determines a person’s level of effectiveness. The collective leadership ability within an organization determines that organization’s effectiveness. The stronger the leadership, the greater the effectiveness. Leadership ability – for better or worse – always determines your effectiveness and the potential impact you can have on those around you and your organization.
A great example of this is the story of the McDonald’s Corporation. The original founders in 1937, were Dick & Maurice McDonald. They had a vision for speedy, economical hamburgers with a drive-up window capability. Unfortunately, their vision, as well as their leadership ability, never enabled their restaurants to expand to more than a few outlets. Eventually (in 1955), they sold their business to Ray Kroc, a business man with a much greater vision and leadership ability. By 1998, McDonald’s had expanded to 21,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries. His strong leadership allowed the corporation to grow exponentially.