Lead something!

This post kicks off a series of ideas us at FoodCircles operate by. These operating principles are paraphrased by Bill Hybels’ great book Axiom. Leaders will often get asked by aspiring leaders, “How do I become a better leader?” Seasoned leaders may smile and say, “Just lead something!”

Though leaders improve when on the job, pushing a ball upfield, the best way for them to get better is by taking charge on something not their “main thing”. And lead something totally unrelated to your main thing. The community YMCA, an interesting NGO, a sports team, something complex and diverse. The effects could surprise you! I led a project called the Northside Ballers at U of M; free networking for those who liked to play sports. When putting together the leadership team, I involved a lot of people and a lot of long emails. These people hadn’t met each other and hadn’t the time for blog posts in their inbox. The experience was helpful in starting to learn the value of

1. brevity,

2. face-to-face communication

when handling even a somewhat complex issue. If you’re a marathon runner, then you try to play wide receiver, you might feel like you’re about to die.  If you love playing football but never work out (<- me), some bicep curls might make you want to die (it would). When you use different muscle groups, it forces your body to adapt and grow in different ways.

Arguably, leadership ability works in the same way. As we grow here @ FoodCircles, each partner will be required to lead something outside of FC. Part of our company time will be spent talking about it recreationally. I’m looking forward to it. The more varied the places you exercise leadership, the more effective of a leader you will be.

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