Sunday, June 19, 2016

Live in the Margins - A Young Leader's Guide to Growth

Do you live in the margins? This profound question was revealed in a recent podcast from Entre-Leadership series podcast, involving Craig Groeschel. Though it sounds simple, I want you to think about its power. Then apply this to leadership. Before moving forward, perform this thought experiment, think about some of the best leaders you know. Now think about how they use their time. If you’re like me then you start realizing they almost never seem constrained by time, always seemingly having time to perform the ordinary task extremely well. Or as Dave Ramsey says, they display excellence in the ordinary. So how do they do it? If the best things in life happen in the margins, how do effective leaders develop large growth margins?
One of the defining characteristics of these leaders is their ability to delegate. Now, I know what you’re thinking, delegation is a positional power in which leader’s pawn off task. It may surprise you to know that the effective delegation looks nothing like that. In fact, while the definition of delegation in a dictionary may look uninspiring, the synonyms for it can be quite powerful. Words like trust or authority surface. After all if you think back to the thought experiment from before, those leaders most likely did more than just pawn off task, they gave authority. They probably didn't micromanage, instead, they entrusted you with a project giving you complete autonomy to improve it however you saw fit. As Craig Groeschel said it, leaders can have control or they can have growth, but they cannot have both.
Live in the moment. This powerful statement was proclaimed by Dave Ramsey. When he described this, he was speaking to his team about excellence in the ordinary. Further, he says you have to be able to separate areas of your life. When you’re at work, be at work; when you’re at home, be at home. In other words, minds clouded with “the next project” or “what you forgot to get done” quickly become minds without innovation and creativity. We have to live in the moment, and if you think back to those great leaders you will quickly begin to see vision for what this looks like.
The tale of two leaders. In my first year in administration, I witnessed a leader who seem to never get task done. She showed up to work before 6 am and left… well I’m not sure when she left, maybe never. She seemed to never get caught up, and with reference to this article “she had no MARGIN.” Then fast-forward to this year. I witnessed a different type of leader. During the school day he was never seen in his office, never looked stress, and is always visiting and developing relationships with his staff and students. So what was the major difference? The ladder leader knows how to delegate, live in the moment, and most importantly has managed to develop a large growth margin.
So, with that being said what does your margin look like? Are you more like the first leader I discussed, always sprinting from task to task never getting ahead, or have you advanced in delegation and other skills to look more like the second? I want you to think about one more critical thought. Did you know that Google originated genius hour? As a matter of fact I once read, the majority of Google's innovations have come in these allotted hours of time in which employees are allowed to work on any project they want. In this case genius hour is just another name for living in the margins. And if growth always occurs in the margins, then what should leaders do to protect it? How can we become more like the leaders of your thought experiment? My goal.. become more reflective. Start reflecting on my daily schedule and how I utilize the people around me. Start delegating authority not task. And live in the moment.

And remember two things:
If you're always succeeding then you're not thinking big enough. &
Have a great day, every day, seriously it is your choice!

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