About a year after I’d been leading a local campus team I finally received some formal team leader training. Roughly 20 of us gathered in Austin, Texas, for a week of lectures, discussions, and workshops. Each participant’s experience in leading ranged somewhere from 3 weeks to 3 years.
I’m sure I received a notebook filled with very important materials. I can also assume that the facilitators and trainers invested hours preparing their messages. I confess I remember only two specific things from that week.
One was Ray Anderson. Ray was a legend in our organization. Ray had built one of the largest and healthiest student-led movements in the States. As he shared from his life experiences, his successes, and his failures, I remember thinking: “Hey, if God can use this guy to do big things, maybe he can use me, too.”
The second thing I remember was Ray’s list. During the first morning of the training, Ray asked each of us to take out a blank piece of paper. “Fold it in half, top to bottom,” he said. “Write these things at the top of each column:”
What Good Leaders Do _____________What Poor Leaders Do
“Now, we’ve all been led before. Each of us has had people lead us well, and we’ve had people lead us poorly. Take a few minutes and write five actions in each column that you’ve observed in those who led you.”
After some group discussion, Ray simply asked us to do three things.
1. Keep adding to the list.
2. Emulate actions in left column.
3. Avoid behaviors in the right column.
That lesson was nearly twenty years ago and I’ve never forgotten it.
Message to us: With every act we train the next generation how to live and lead.