It’s a classic leadership scenario a lot of leaders of the next generation face.

There’s a teenager in the program, but he or she just can’t make it on time to evening practice or rehearsal or small group. The teenager is too young to drive, and his or her parents or older siblings aren’t around, so they repeatedly show up late despite being apologetic.

Does the leader punish the teenager or simply let this slide?

Well, neither really.

Leadership is about finding solutions to problems, not just disciplining people uniformly for infractions. Sure, rules apply to everyone, but not all situations are created equal, so adaptability is the only steadfast option.

Has anyone offered to take the young talent to practice on their own? Has anyone tried to see if someone else on the team or in the band or in the cast or in small group can drive the teenager? Is there a bus or some sort of ride-share alternative that might alleviate the struggle? 

We frequently talk about our faith communities and teams being a big family, and strong families try hard to find solutions to their problems. As a leader, perhaps we should consider that it’s important that we make everyone embrace this individual issue as a team problem, understanding that circumstance, not defiance, is the reason for the tardiness.

When a team solves problems together — when one person’s issue becomes everyone else’s — a deep bond is formed that will build cohesiveness. As a leader, you can’t just preach teamwork and brother/sisterhood, then at the first obstacle, punish a violation of the rules without really understanding the root.

Perhaps we should make sure we’ve exhausted every possible resource to get the teenager there on time. Find the reasons first, then enact solutions for the good of the whole.

The best leader is neither the one who puts forth the harshest punishment, nor the one who gives a teenager the most free passes.

The best leader is the one who solves the most problems.

As we press pause this week in the middle of July, we at INFLUNSR. want to challenge you to spend some time this week considering the people within your sphere of influence. 

How can you help solve someone else’s problem?

Existence exerts energy. You are a leader simply because you exist. The question: are you a leader worth following?

It doesn’t really matter what you do, unless what you do really matters. It doesn’t really matter who you know, unless who you know really matters. It doesn’t really matter what you know, unless what you know really matters. It doesn’t really matter where you go, unless where you go really matters.

It’s not what you do…it’s why you do it. It’s not what you do…it’s how you do it. It’s not what you do…it’s who you do it for.

To matter is to value significance. To matter is to live life on purpose. To matter is to want your existence to change the course of history. 

To matter is not the same as being famous. Too many of us misinterpret activity with purpose and notoriety with mattering.

Tomorrow needs you today.

Love God. Love people. Solve problems. 

Be anxious to matter.

Leave a Reply