Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Phase 2

Up to this point, our leadership development blogs have focused on non-positional leadership – the kind we all have the capacity for, regardless of whether or not we are the leader assigned to the specific moment.  We’ve talked most specifically about recognizing the everyday influence we have and using it for God’s honor and glory.

This week we are going to begin talking about leadership in a positional context.  As we continue our discussion through the leadership development blog, we want you to begin to think about your influence in more specific terms.  We want you to now consider the very specific influence you will have in the lives of our summer team members.  Accordingly, our upcoming discussions about leadership will be based on the assumption that you will be leading a specific group of people.

Some of you will be leading ministry teams this summer.  Others of you will be leading training teams.  Some of you will be staffing those training teams.  But you will all be leaders in our summer program, because you will all have influence in the lives of these summer team members.  Do not take yourself out of the game by refusing to think of yourself as a positional leader.  This discussion continues to apply to all of you.

During your Spring tour, we will be basing our leadership discussions on excerpts from a book by John Graham called Outdoor Leadership.  The relevant chapters are attached.  I want to share a few words about this book and why we’re reading it.

I discovered it and read it for the first time in 2004, a year after leading the last of my 5 CTI teams.  I was stunned by how much sense it made for our exact application, and wished I had read it before leading those teams!  In retrospect, I’m not sure I would have know what I should have been paying attention to if I had read it before being a CTI team leader, but I can definitely draw those things out now.  So Paul and I want to help you gain the benefit of the wisdom Graham has to offer by helping you filter the information he presents through the lens of the CTI-specific leadership experience.

The book uses the context of leading outdoor adventure groups as an opportunity to discuss some leadership principles, so almost all of the examples that Graham uses come from some sort of outdoor adventure setting.  Though the context is specific, the principles are not – they are transferable to almost any aspect of life in which one is called upon to lead.

Having said that, I also want to highlight some relevant similarities between leading outdoor adventure teams and what we do here at CTI.  The most notable one to me is that in both cases, one of the primary objectives of the leader is to “shape the framework upon which an adventure can unfold” for the participants.  In other words, in the outdoors or in CTI, leadership is all about helping our team members have the kind of experience they signed up for (regardless of whether or not they understood what they were signing up for.)  Another of my favorite quotes from the book says “Good leaders not only care for those they lead, they also see any trip or event as an opportunity to help people learn and grow.”

So here are our expectations of you:
  1. Beginning on Monday, April 12, we will have a weekly reading assignment out of the book for you. 
  2. Your reading assignment for the week will be posted on the blog.  Each week, Paul or I will post a blog entry telling you what to read, and asking a few questions about the content for you to consider.
  3. At the end of each week, you will get together as teams and discuss the content and the questions in the same way that you did during winter tour.
Your first assignment will be to read the Preface and Chapter 1: What is Leadership?  You can expect the discussion starter post to be up by the end of Monday.

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