Recently a great friend and I were talking thru an interesting leadership situation. A young leader, in his late 20s, with a successful business, makes a ton of money, lives in a nice house, drives a nice car and isn’t interested in input and can do no wrong. Now, thru a number of situations, is showing contempt for input, even light, question based instruction.
This morning, I’m reading Proverbs and this verse leaps out at me…
“The one who has contempt for instruction will pay the penalty, but the one who respects a command will be rewarded.” Prov 13:13 HCSB
After reading this verse, like a beagle chasing a scent, my thoughts began to chase this idea really hard, I didn’t even finish the rest of the chapter…
As kids growing up we normally have parents in our life, teaching, instructing, giving direction, insight, wisdom, etc. But when we leave home and begin to strike out on our own, who fills that place in our life? The verse isn’t age specific, if anything the verse leaves age completely out of the equation. So, for the first 20 years we have key people in our lives, but what about the next 40 years? Who helps us avoid leadership mistakes?
For more than 25 years I’ve had the privilege of having an awesome leader in my life. When I wanted help I could always walk in his office and get it. And there were many times he would walk in my office, close the door and apply instruction I didn’t know I needed until he showed up. He was proactively helping me avoid leadership mistakes and I didn’t realize it most of the time.
This verse in Proverbs clearly communicates there is a penalty for not applying instruction (which always results in leadership mistakes) and a reward for respecting and accepting instruction. We would all agree that children need great parents, good teachers, solid coaches for their sports teams and doctors we trust when there are health problems along the way, but as adults who do we have in our lives? As an adult needing legal advice I get a lawyer, when I’m looking to sell or purchase a house, I have a realtor, when things aren’t going well physically I go to my doctor. Yet, in regards to managing life, leadership, problems, dreams and the phases of life, shouldn’t we have people who can speak into our world? Parents grow us into adults, but as leaders who do we have helping us with what we face?
Here are some key roles each of us need and how they can help:
Mentor – Older, more experienced person that will walk thru life with us, this is someone we respect and trust because they’ve “been there, done that.” They will help us, point us in the right direction, slap us when needed, pray with and for us, point out potential life mistakes, show us how to avoid them and are always there.
Coach – Help you grow your skills, and motivate you toward a win. Someone that will push, crawl up your tailpipe, get in your face, cheer for you and improve your game.
Doctor – Someone to turn to when there are problems, when things are broken or headed the wrong way, and can be there to help. A person that can diagnose problems and prescribe solutions.
Each of us needs to build these people into our lives and be these three things to others.
Who fulfills these roles in your life?
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