In September of last year, my daughter, Cathy, accepted the position of Preschool Director at Graceland Baptist Church in New Albany, IN. Fearing we would set up roadblocks, she kidnapped our three grandsons and fled for Indiana in the middle of the night. Eventually, to keep from being disinherited, she called and confessed, we forgave her, and thus began a seven month saga of new jobs for her and Sam (the husband and co-conspirator), a new school for the boys, selling a Tennessee house, buying an Indiana house, loading trucks, trailers, a POD, etc., then unloading them all. The unloading was finished last Saturday, and that brings me to Scott, the subject of this post.
Scott is Pastor Scott Miller, the lead pastor at Graceland and Cathy’s boss, except he’s not a boss, he’s a servant leader. There is lot about Scott’s leadership I don’t know, but there are three things—very important things—I have observed and he gets bright red bold check marks for all three.
√#1 It is never about him. In 2003, Jim Collins identified his list of the TOP TEN CEOS OF ALL TIME (in Fortune magazine). They were very different except in this one regard:
“Much depended on them, but it was never about them.”
Scott Miller is the pastor of a large church; much depends on him, but it is never about him.
√#2 He supports his staff. Whatever is going on, even a preschool sock hop, Pastor Scott shows up. Not to interfere, take charge or grab the spotlight, but to let his staff know that he cares about their stuff as much as he does his own. (Sunday morning is his prime time.)
√#3 Back to unloading trucks and trailers, when a group of men showed up on a rainy Saturday morning to help Cathy and Sam move in, Pastor Scott was there too. He always does what he asks other people to do. There are no jobs “beneath” him.
If you are a leader of any type or size of organization, follow Pastor Scott’s example:
You’ll be a much better leader because:
“…people buy into the leader before they buy into a mission statement.”
“Dick, they hate you.”
“Who hates me?”
“The people who work for you hate you.”
That was a tough day. Someone decided to tell me the truth about how I was doing in my first position as a boss. It was the day I learned that boss is a four letter word. It was the day that I learned that controlling is not leading. It was the day I learned that leadership is a job, not a position. It was the day I began to transition from “me” to “we.” It was one of the hardest days of my life, but one of the most important.
Have you had a day like that? Do you know if you are a boss or a leader?
If “authority” is a word you use a lot—you’re a boss.
If you believe people work for you, not the organization—you’re a boss.
If you control and approve every action and decision—you’re a boss.
If you believe you have all the answers—you’re a boss.
If you love policies and rules rather than principles and values—you’re a boss.
If those same policies and rules don’t apply to you—you’re a boss.
If the best and brightest don’t stay long—you’re a boss.
If everything comes to a standstill when you’re gone—you’re a boss.
If you use budgets as a hammer—you’re a boss.
Don’t trust yourself to answer these questions objectively. Ask someone. If you are as fortunate as I was, they will tell you the truth about yourself. It may hurt, but you need to know because, “Boss is a four letter word.”
"The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."
Kouzes & Posner