A Check-up for Vision-Driven Leaders by Tony Stoltzfus
With our current emphasis on visionary leadership, we tend to assume that God will evaluate our lives as leaders based on how well we accomplish our vision. And in business, the success of that vision often gets narrowed down to two things: how much we grew, and how much we made.
That’s not how it works in Heaven. As a leader, you will be judged on who you are first, and second on how you steward the people God has placed in your charge. In other words, if you accomplish your organizational mission, hugely grow your business, make money, and find great significance in your work, but you use up a lot of people in the process, you have failed as a leader. As a businessperson, you aren’t a pastor, but you are a steward. Too often we get so caught up in the task of work that we forget what we are working for– to make people’s lives better.
So how do you know if your vision has become the monster that ate your calling?
The process is simple: you turn your focus away from where you are going and look at the state of your team. You want people to be better off with you than without you. If your vision is so all-consuming that the lives of those in your inner circle have gotten worse since they joined the mission, something is out of whack.
Here’s a set of practical questions that will help you think about how you are stewarding your people:
• Are your team members’ lives more or less joyful since they started working under you?
• How is your turnover ratio? How many people have burned out, quit or asked for a raise because of the demands of their jobs in the last two years?
• What are people joking about in order to cope? (For instance, if the crazy amount of work we have to get done is a common topic, what does that tell you?)
• When was the last time you had a fifteen-minute conversation with a person on your team about life outside of work?
• When people leave your team, is there a sense of celebration of who they are and how they are moving to a new stage in life? Or are your people replaceable parts, where we just plug in another one and keep moving without really missing the person who left?
• Do you know your people’s big dreams for their lives?
• How has each person’s job role been adjusted to prepare them to reach that destiny?
• What has your business sacrificed in the last year to invest in their dreams, even at the expense of your own vision?
• How are you stewarding the calling of your spouse? How are you actively investing in what he/she can do as person with a big call in his/her own right?
People are eternal; tasks and organizations are not. Stewarding the people in your charge well means that their lives are more important than what they can contribute to the organization’s mission.
Here’s the payoff: when a leader takes good care of people, God notices. He’s a wise investor, and He invests His personnel assets where He gets the best return. When you invest in people and develop them in their destinies, you will find that God sends you more—quality people with great ability and huge upside. The individuals with the largest leadership potential are always attracted to the place that will develop them most. And why would God send his best sons and daughters, the ones with the most potential, to a place that doesn’t develop them? That would be throwing good money after bad.
Do you want to have great people on your team? Treat the ones you have well, and aggressively prepare them for their life’s callings, even if that means you are preparing them to leave your company one day. God will notice, and He will send you many more.
Tony Stoltzfus is the owner of the Coach22 Bookstore (www.Coach22.com) as well as the Leadership MetaFormation Institute (www.Meta-Formation.com). He trains leaders to engage life and work from the heart, and is the author of 10 books on coaching and leadership.