In my previous post, I introduced the concept of L.E.S.S. Leadership. This idea is born out of the idea of what it would look like for leaders to pursue downward mobility. What would it look like for leader leave behind the pursuits of power, prestige, and position and to instead desire downward mobility? How would a leader forego acclaim, achievement, and accolades to pursue the sort of downward mobility—of being less?
The 80 steps down are my “95 Theses” of Leadership. The “L” included leadership truth and leadership desires. The “E” focuses on other-centric leadership behaviors. I expand on the two “S” letters in following posts.
L.E.S.S. Leadership: 80 Steps Down
L-Leadership Truth & Desires
S-Leadership Practices and Postures
S-Leadership Roles & Realities
Part 2: Leadership Behaviors
OTHER-CENTRIC LEADERSHIP BEHAVIORS
20. Empathy for Others
Leaders have empathy for those they lead. Poor leaders pay no mind to the pressures, pain, and frustrations of their followers. LESS Leaders are keenly aware of the issues their followers battle.
Empathy creates leaders who can become burden bearers. LESS Leaders bear others burdens because they serve and lead for a burden-bearing God.
21 Enlist Others
If leadership is lonely at the top, you are doing it wrong. Bring others with you.
Jesus invites, calls, and commissions all followers to leadership. Jesus calls the weakest, the smallest, the most unlikely. Jesus does more than call, Jesus commissions us all to lead others, teach others, guide others, and model for others the life of Christ. Who can be a leader? All of us can.
22 Explain to Others
Leaders are teachers. They do not hoard knowledge but share it.
23 Enlarge the Vision of Others
Leaders help others see what could be and what will be. Unique to LESS leaders is how vision is communicated to those they lead. Most leaders push vision down the organization, but the LESS leader must push vision up because they have placed themselves at the bottom of the organization is better to serve those they lead.
Are your followers committed to the vision, or complying with the vision? A God revealed vision generates commitment.
24 Engage Their Abilities
Leaders know that everyone has an ability, not just them.
A LESS Leader has the faith to see beyond their abilities to God’s abilities—beyond their leadership to God’s.
25 Embrace Risk
There are few guarantees in leadership. Leaders must risk in faith. This includes taking a risk in trusting and loving others.
26 Equip & Edifying Others
Poor leaders want everyone to know they are the genius.
A wise leader makes everyone around them become a genius (smarter and capable)
Nehemiah shows us that once you build the wall you must continue then to build the people.
A poor leader will always hire the most skilled because they can’t grow others. A LESS leader can hire those with potential then develop and equip them.
27 Empower Others
A Poor leader refuses to delegate because they don’t think others able.
A LESS leader delegates because they know others must become able.
LESS leaders understand knowledge, data, and information is for sharing and empowering others, not privately hoarding
28 Entrust (Entrepreneurship) in Others
Poor leaders give too many or too few directions. A LESS leader gives a destination and empowers their followers to determine directions.
Leaders need to have fewer, not more limitation and create space for followers to be entrepreneurial and make decisions.
29 Encourage Others
Poor leaders ask only how can you help them reach their goals.
A LESS leader will ask how they can help you reach your potential.
Poor leaders want their authority felt by others. A LESS Leader wants their love felt by others, and so encourages others.
30 Emancipate Others
A weak leader permits their followers to speak.
A LESS leader emancipates their followers with the freedom to think.
A LESS leader believes that being mastered by Christ means they can give freedom to their followers.
31 Evaluate Others
Valuable and precious things are weighed, measured, assessed, evaluated, appraised. There is nothing more precious to the LESS leader than the people who they lead. A LESS leader loves those they lead enough to give them the truth, reality, and hard facts. They need truth and reality to grow.
Leaders let people fail at the task without allowing them to become failures as people.
There is a big difference between letting people try and fail and letting them become failures.
One is leadership; the other is neglect. Feedback is essential.
Leadership requires leaders who do more than desire to know the truth. They must also tell the truth, be confronted with the truth, and be conformed by the truth. LESS Leaders evaluate themselves against this reality.
32 Exalt Others
It’s not about you.
It is easy for some leaders to be exalted in the eyes of others and even easier to be exalted in their own eyes.
As LESS leaders we have a God and His power in Heaven. We do not need to pursue being God or having power on Earth. We do not need to be exalted ourselves.
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” ~ Philippians 2:3
33 Engender the Next Generation
Any organization that is not developing people to become the next generation of leaders is not an organization that can sustain itself. Trust and Empowerment scales.
Mistrust and micromanagement stifle.
Great teaching creates more teachers- not more students. LESS leaders create more leaders- not more followers.
Reproduction not replacement.
Right now matters, today matters. Don’t miss it. Not everything a leader does should be a means for what follows. Don’t miss the moment.
Influence is not position, authority, or fame. Influence is as simple as a smile.
Leadership doesn’t always have to be about changing the world. Leadership can be about changing someone’s day.
“He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” ~Isaiah 53:3 ESV
Conventional leaders would consider those marks of failure. Jesus did not.
The ultimate model of leadership did not seek to avoid these worldly marks of failure. On the contrary, Jesus’ vision for His life and purpose was so grand that he would endure the worst of this world.
Ask, what you would be willing to suffer for, be despised for, and endure to achieve?
A LESS leader bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things
“But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” ~ Matthew 10:22
You have enough. Stop trying to get more.
You don’t need more power, prestige, fame, or acclaim. Stop it. Enough!
Leaders overcome pride and pursuit of power when they believe nothing of value or benefit is missed in pride and power.
Poor leaders want their authority felt by others. A LESS Leader wants their love felt by others. Love is enough of a reward.
Focus not on the pursuit of the corner office, but on the Cornerstone. Not on the throne, but on the One who sits upon it—He is enough.
A LESS leader seeks to crucify daily their pride and our ego.
God calls and we humbly follow…prideful leaders call themselves into leadership and then ask God to follow.
A LESS leader can produce a different and abundant crop, but the leader must first plow under the old crop of power, control, and pride.
A LESS leader sacrifices to God, not a strong and powerful mind, but rather a broken and contrite heart.
38 Embody (Example Setter for Others)
Can’t delegate serving others
Can’t delegate presence with others
Can’t delegate leading from the front
Can’t delegate being the example.
The leader is more than an example to followers the leader IS THE example.
Leaders who fail to lead by example fail to lead. You are either the example as a leader, or you are just a boss.
A weak leader gives examples of how they desire to be respected by their followers. A LESS Leader IS a respected example to their followers.
A LESS Leader can always say, “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.” ~ John 13:15
39 Emptying of Self for others
A LESS Leader is full of grace and truth. A weak leader is full of them self.
Jesus set aside His heavenly glory. Jesus set aside His independent authority. LESS leaders completely submit themselves to the will of the Father.
“emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” ~ Philippians 2:7
LESS leaders are self-aware and self-disciplined without being self-absorbed—they are selfless.
The call on a leader to follow Jesus requires leaving behind of many things most importantly our old self.
A LESS leader’s prayer is to remind themselves daily that it’s not their Kingdom, it’s not by their Power, it’s not for their Glory.