One of my favorite things about my job is overseeing a new group of emerging leaders each year. For 10 weeks each summer, our church hosts a summer camp and part of what I do is select and guide the leadership team. These are typically college age students who have in some why already shown that they are prepared to over see a group of high school and college students who are working with around 100 children each day.
In a future post I’ll share some tips on attracting influential leaders into these kinds of positions, but this week I want to start with a caution…you’re going to attract people who are attracted to you. We’ve all heard that opposites attract, but my caution is that, in leadership, we tend to attract people who are similar.
Last month, as I sat down to the first meeting of my 2014 leadership team for camp, I was reminded of something John Maxwell has said time and again:
“Who you attract is not determined by what you want. It’s determined by who you are.”
As snow fell outside, the leaders who sat around the room ready to dream big for the summer were not there because I had a picture of a prefect employee and had diligently hunted them down. They were there because I’ve worked with each of them in the past and they wanted to work with me to shape the camp for the future.
To get a feel of what I would need to pour into them over the summer I asked them each to share the biggest strength and their biggest weakness. The first shared that he had trouble with creativity. The next shared that she was terrible with conflict and wanted to avoid it at all costs. And one by one I wrote down their weaknesses and watched as a list of all my chief weaknesses formed. I was a pretty stark reminder.
So the warning is this: Those who work for you and who lead under you are going to possess many of the qualities you possess. Your team is going to, for good or for ill, be a reflection of your values, your attitude, your energy, your leadership ability, and your weaknesses.
Although I pose this as a warning, it is also a great opportunity. This summer, as I assist in developing these leaders, I’ll also be able strengthen my own weaknesses as I strengthen theirs. You can do the same withyour team as long as you know where they are just like you.