Becoming A Purpose-Driven Leader

Do you realize that you are a leader?

No, no, let’s move to a more basic question:
Do you view yourself as a leader?

Believe it or not, every person on earth is born to be a leader!

Well, that sounds too cliche. Then let me rephrase it.

Not every person is born to be leader, but every person has to be able to lead!

Lead is not a matter of small fact. In the end, becoming a leader is pushing every resources needed to achieve one goal, and it’s often has to fight the “gravity law”.

What is the “gravity law” I’m talking about? The gravity law in literally talking about the gravity. It means that when you toss an apple to the air, then without any interference, the apple will be drop again to the ground. It’s simple. But the key note here is not that the Apple went down, but the Apple will always went down if there’s no interfere.

The same things happen with life. If you see anything good surrounds you, the monitor, the CPU, the wall, the lamp, your cellphone, your cloth, anything, it will almost can be correctly guessed that to create all that needs a good leadership. It all doesn’t happen overnight.

Let’s imagine the bulb. To create a bulb, we need glass, wire, fuse, and plastic or metal covering, correctly and precisely assembled into one. To create just the fuse itself, we need a thin copper carefully cut from a plat of pure copper purified from a hunk of raw copper, mined from the earth’s belly in a man-made cave dug with heavy machines that transported from another city with a giant transporter, which all of it in turns need assembling from iron machine workshop.

You see, just from this small example, we can already named several project leaders needed to accomplish all that goal. We need a lamp factory production manager, distribution manager, copper production manager, copper mine supervisor, and all the other related leaders. It’s just to make a simple bulb. There’s no way the bulb can appear out of nowhere without someone invested time in it. If there’s no challenges and problem, there’s no need for a leader.

A leader exists to drive the peoples through impossibility. If there’s anyone who thinks that becoming a leader is an easy task, then he/she never experience the true meaning of becoming a leader, or maybe he never lead anything at all.

Let’s talk some fact about leadership.

  1. Leadership is about lead yourself first. If you never do anything you say, how could people you lead can trust your words?
  2. Leadership is about serve others. People never care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
  3. Leadership is about delegate wisely, while still being responsible. Delegating is not only reduce the work overload, it also give you time and result to analyze your people, and train them.
  4. Leadership is not about position, but impact. Even a newbie can lead the whole entire group if he really knows what he’s doing.
  5. Leadership is not about goal, but purpose. What the point of setting goal, if you can’t drive people there?
  6. In the end, leadership is about getting the goal done! It’s still not about the goal, but the goal plays an important role, if we can put it into the right perspective.

Leadership is About Lead Yourself First

I’m not perfect. You’re not perfect. We all are. We still susceptible to mistakes. But what I need to emphasize today, leaders, is that if you don’t have any will to overcome your limitation and live your words, then your people will very likely do the same.

You orders them to arrive on time at a 8am, but you show up at 8.15am. Believe me, next time, they’ll very likely to show up at 8.15am. Coming late is a small but very bad example of a leader. It shows that you can’t even lead yourself. If you can’t be firm to yourself, your people will have the idea that you can’t be firm either to them. It will lead a slow degraded people over time. The faster the situation is fixed, the better it will be. Without a will to resolve the problem that comes from within oneself, it can spread like cancer.

I have a church cell group, where I’m positioned and tasked as a leader in that group, from the leaders above me. It consists of 8-12 persons each week. The cell group is scheduled to start at 6pm every Saturday, with a preparing prayer at 5pm. I admitted: I wasn’t very good at keeping time promises in the past 2 – 3 years before, as that 6pm always missed into 6.30pm, 7pm, even 7.30pm at the very worst case. At first I never give a damn about time keeping. I thought, as long as the cell group is run every week, it all doesn’t matter.

Then I started to see degradation of character in my cell group members. They also started to not to come on time. They started to come late at church. Some of them even begin to not attend the cell group. When I asked myself, why this is all happened, a voice arose in my heart: check yourself before you check on other people. And then I have the answer.

So, you see, as a leader, before you point your index finger on someone else, try to remember that the other three fingers (middle, ring, and little finger) all points to yourself. Check yourself before you check on other people really bring us a humble heart, and a will to always learn something new.

Leadership is About Serve Others

Who doesn’t irritated if someone who just order us to clean the toilet, is sitting in a soft couch with feet over the desk, sipping a hot coffee, and he’s just a leader?

While you may feel that sitting around and doing nothing is not of their business, it does affect his performance towards the goal. A awfully-wise man said than whoever wants to be the greatest, he has to be the servant of all others.

Leaders will often fall into this trick, to always feel that something is not their business. Well, it’s your business if you commanded it. It becomes your responsible in the instant you ordered it. And by shutting eyes and ears out about what you’ve just said will not going to help anything to accomplished whatever goal you’ve set.

Whenever I learn that by being not on time is the biggest time bomb I actually had, I try to change my mindset. I learn from the Sunday service of how on time the service is, even by setting the countdown for the service to starts. My church was also always late at Sunday service. They always late for 5 or 10 minutes. Even 15 minutes. But that was 5 years ago. Now, since the Sunday service always scheduled with the countdown, it’s never missed.

I also heard from one my friend that one big church in Jakarta called JPCC is also known for it’s on time Sunday service. My friend said that in JPCC, they had principle: “We value your time. We know that you’ve spent most of your time at the heavy jammed traffic, just to go to the church. Therefore, the least we can do to value your precious time is to start and to end the service on time.”

I thought about it. I thought about it over and over. And then I started to plant it on my mind. I tried to value my cell group member’s time as how the JPCC did.

And I failed. I still failed all over the time. Whenever I came on time, there’s a lot that isn’t on time. But when they’re on time, it’s me in turn that’s not.

It’s very, very hard to change bad habit that has been lived within me for years. But one thing that changed now is, I’m more determined now. I was easy to give up before, especially in terms of starting on time. But now, I have a more firm stand that I will be able to eventually on time at everything. Everything. Zero late occasion.

And it works! Little by little, my cell group members started to afraid to come late to the cell group. Some is still late, but some already try to come on time, even earlier. And now, I do a heavy apologize when I’m late, whereas I said nothing and still feel innocent when I’m late in the past. Now I set goals that one day my cell group members have to able to learn how to be on time from me.

Leadership is About Delegate Wisely, While Still Being Responsible

Life is a game. Some may say that. And just like in a game that needs strategy, no one can wins all without the help of others. And while in some strategy game, one maybe can master the skill of micromanagement, but won’t that effective in the life. When the count of the people under your command rises, there will be a point where you’ll need second-in-command. And third-in-command. And soon, you’ll have yourself a group of trustee board to help you manage all the excess details while you manage the overview.

Delegating responsibility is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of the leader’s maturity combined with his ability to select and trust the right people. Ever heard about the phrase: “If you want something to be done, you ought to done it yourself” ? Well, it’s a sign of immaturity of not being able to trust anybody enough to delegate them part of his responsibility, and it’s a sad ending story guaranteed.

Delegating responsibility is not a sign of laziness either — except if it is come from laziness. When you delegate, it’s you who still need to be responsible for your man’s delegated job. Therefore, you need to supervise their job.

You don’t really have to wait until people in your rank counts to hundreds, then you started to delegating tasks. You can start delegating minor task to the people who you can trust (and you want to test whether the person can be trusted or not). You have to test people from small responsibility first — if he can’t be faithful in small responsibility, how can he handle the bigger? Many leaders lack of people he can trust because he never test them with small responsibility.

I tried, with many ways I’ve tried, to delegate the leader responsibility to different members of the my cell group. To one, I give her the responsibility as a secretary and treasurer. To one, I give him responsibility to teach and equipping new members with the basic knowledge required. But I still supervise them. I regularly checked the treasurer’s journal to make sure everything is correct as the written. I also regularly checked the new members about what they’ve learned from the regular meeting they attended, do they have any difficulties, or maybe there was no meeting at all? I’ve to know all of it as soon as possible, so I can fix the situation as soon as possible.

And with delegating, you’ll know which person will fit to succeed you when you have to leave that group. You’ll know which one is growing, which one is not. You also will, intentionally or not, upgrades them into your capacity, therefore even you’re not there, they can handle all by themselves. The standard of successful leader is not by how high he can climb, but by how many he can bring together to climb with him. It’s very lonely up there, you know, if you’re the only one there.

Leadership is Not About Position, but Impact

You can’t really say that the flower is a blooming flower if it never blooms. You can’t really say the sun is bright if the sun never rise. Likewise, you can’t really say that someone is a leader if he never leads. Even if his position or title is a leader.

I bet you already know, even better than me, the list of people that you can immediately recognize him as a leader, even before he’s gaining the title of a leader. Maybe he’s just an ordinary man. But whenever he speaks, people listen. And people suddenly obey him, more than current de jure leader.

Leader firstly talking about impact, influence, function. I would be gladly to choose someone which has a charisma that whenever he opens his mouth, people listen and obey. But the person I will truly choose is the one who always offer a constant help for the cause, because in the end, people will hear a leader who act, not speak. People can always relate themselves with something practical, rather than an abstract speech. Therefore, as the second fact shines again, leadership is about serving others, because by serving others, you’ll show how humble you are, and that humbleness will drive people towards your goal.

Secondly, after people has been attracted into your goal because your action, now it’s time to talk about reason and purpose, which will be explained in the next role.

Leadership is Not About Goal, but Purpose

What? Leadership is not about goal? Oh c’mon, you must be joking, right?

Let’s be logical: you can’t drive people towards the goal if you never shows why the goal is important to them. Some source says that in order to lower the group morality of a arrested enemy soldiers, a famous general isn’t killing them one by one, but order them to dig a hole in a concentration camp by morning, and buried it by night, without any reason. Within months, the arrested enemy soldiers was turned into, like, a walking zombies. They lost their hope to live, and willing to done anything to leave that camp concentration, including leaking the top secret information about where their secret base located.

Doing something without a clear purpose will erode the spirit as the time passes by. Stating the clear purpose with an honest and sincere heart will keep the people moving toward the goal, as they know what they expect to encounter when they arrive at the goal. But the true leader would not only stated the purpose of the goal, but also the purpose of the journey itself.

Not everybody can really visualize what they still can’t see. So sometimes, emphasize about the goal itself is not enough. Nobody can see that their marketing team will be the best by the end of this year, only their leader can. And if the leader only focusing his team’s eyes toward the goal, they will either give up in the middle of the way, or having a great depression if the current goal can’t be reached.

But if the leaders also emphasize the purpose of the journey itself, then the journey will be much more “fun” to be ride on. Supposed that team marketing is given a motivational speech, that they got a vision of becoming the best marketing team by the end of the year. But the leader also said that, even if at the end we didn’t reach the goal, we still learn many valuable things. We learn how to approach the costumer, how to handle the rejection, how to strife towards the goal, so therefore we can do better next year. By doing that, not only the team marketing will be more enthusiastic, but they will also do “the right way”. They will not cheat, as they know that cheating maybe worked at quick period, but in the end won’t contribute much to their knowledge in marketing.

It’s also true in my cell group. I can give them the “sounds” of heaven, but since I never got there, I can’t visualize it to them either. So, besides I set their goal toward the heaven, I also remind them to take a quick look at the side of their road — hey look at the joy of bringing one of your friend to also be saved, hey look at the blessing of doing everything right and not following your friends to cheating at the test, and such. That will keeps them energized and charged up to run for the heaven.

In The End, Leadership is About Getting The Goal Done!

This is what many people who seek the purpose-driven leader have been wrong. They only think that all needed is giving them the reason why they have to run towards the goal, but then left the decision all to them. Don’t be wrong: the leader’s job is to decide! You can give time to them, but you also have time limit. If you allow such a doubt arise in a healthy group, it will spread like cancer. Oh, I have use that analogy. Then, it will spread faster than your dog can wag his tail.

In the end, it’s all depends on you leaders to decide. If you’re not going to decide, then the decision has been make for you that you’re not deciding anything. And that’s the worst failure a leader can make.

I’m one of the example of a person who’s hard to make decision. And to be placed in such position that forced me to makes so many decision is making me crazy. But I still have to do it. And sometimes, even if I had to, I just don’t. And the result is apparent: people confused, one suspicious another, friends disappointed, and such. If I just can decide quick, right at the time, then all of those would never happened. In fact, all of those doesn’t need to be happened. But that’s the beauty of a leader: when you fail to decide, you decide to fail. Wait, I think I hear an echo of a resemble parable, but oh never mind.

The Conclusion

You see, in the 6 rule that I’ve stated above, almost none I’ve already excel. But I’m in the process to go there, and I believe when we together learn to walk while sharing our experience, we will finally able to lead the people, not with iron arms, but with reasoning and purpose, so that even you’re not there, your cause and what you’ve started will never die because there will always people who can continue your dreams and visions.

Being a leader ultimately talking about how you getting the job done. You need — no, you have to be harsh on yourself to getting the job done. But if you only focused on how getting the job done, maybe you won’t finish the job after all. It’s like playing tennis while fixing your eyes on the score board. Your victory doesn’t comes from the score board; it comes from playing well and paying attention to the field. But that doesn’t gives you right to forget at all about the score board. Just don’t fix your eye on that.

Have a wonderful, purposeful day. 🙂

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By Martin Tjandra Posted in Life

4 comments on “Becoming A Purpose-Driven Leader

  1. I agree that everyone is a leader in their own right if we’ll base it on John Maxwell definition of leadership: “Leadership is influence.”

    In the Bible though, leadership means “servanthood.” I believe that’s the purpose of leadership, to serve people around us and to make things better for the good of many and to God’s glory.

    Here’s a related post, I’d like to share with you and your readers >> http://seekersportal.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/archive-notes-4-best-leadership-practices/

    • So true. Anyone, no matter how good he is, if he has nobody to follow or to coach him, sooner or later he will become astray. Someone has to had other one covering his back, to see his blind spot, to see what he can’t see himself. That way, he can become models for his own followers, that a good leader must be willing to follow. 🙂

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