The weekend before Easter I once again had the pleasure of attending E:Con, the IFES Ireland conference for leaders of CUs. As ever, I was there as a volunteer, which mainly involved running the coffee shop and babysitting.
Being at a leadership event, though, gave me cause to ponder my own journey in leadership, from 1999 (8 years ago!) when I first became a student leader, up till now, as I serve on Church Council in CMC. What have I learned about leadership in that time?
The main thing that has come up again and again is how unimportant many of the leadership decisions I make as a leader actually are. Things that get debated for hours and caused huge amounts of head-scratching very often (although not always) turn out to not really matter. The decision gets made, everyone goes with it, and that's that.
People may sometimes admire busy leaders, but they don't follow them.
What does matter, though, is who I am as a leader, and what I concern myself with. Invariably, I have been successful as a leader when I have been able to listen to people with one ear and God with the other - kind of like John Stott's 'double listening' idea. And when I have taken seriously 'my personal holiness' as someone (famous) once said, I have been in a much better place to do that.
Unfortunately I'm not always good at doing that, and I often mess around with worrying about the decisions to be made and the things to do. But the more I see it happen, the better I get.