Everything rises and falls on leadership. The impact leaders can have on the people they love and the teams they lead is immeasurable. At the Global Leadership Summit I had the opportunity to learn from some of the greatest leaders in the world.
I was quickly and profoundly reminded why leadership is an essential key to changing the course and trajectory of the world we live in.
At the Global Leadership Summit in Chicago last week, I heard some of the greatest leaders in the world talk about their leadership journeys and how building up and empowering leaders has been the key to solving world health issues, attacking poverty, addressing community crises and improving business performance.
Here are a few of my learning’s and observations from this incredible gathering of leaders.
Bill Hybels, Founder of Willow Creek Community Church, got things started with a very simple definition of leadership, “Leadership is about going from here to there.” It is the power of vision—to inspire people to go to a level of community and contribution they could not achieve on their own. It is the journey to a better future—a preferred future.
We can’t be reminded often enough that our ability to inspire people must come from our heart. There is no doubt that people will follow a leader who has a genuine heart for them—a true commitment to their well-being.
Have you taken a leadership physical?
It’s important to take a “leadership physical” from time-to-time—checking to make sure our heart has not been consumed by goals and metrics that harden our heart to the human condition.
If you had worked hard, experienced good fortune and amassed enough wealth to retire, what would you do? Most of us would retire and pursue a life of leisure—enter Melinda Gates. Melinda, wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, could surely retire to any lifestyle she could imagine.
So why is she working as hard, maybe harder then any time in her life? Impact! Using her time, talent and resources to positively impact people who cannot help themselves. Melinda said something that caught my attention. She said, “I can’t ignore my values.”
Leadership rises when a heart dislocated by suffering won’t let your mind rest and keeps you awake at night. Few of us, if any, will have the resources of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. But is leadership and impact really contingent upon the depth or breadth of our resources? It may change our approach but at its core it is a matter of whether we can ignore our values.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is leading. It is said where there is no vision people perish. Leadership is vision centric and their vision thrives on the belief that “All lives have equal value—they are impatiently working to reduce inequality.”
It would have been easy to dismiss Melinda Gates as a member of the social and economic elite. Maybe embarrassing to admit, I already had. Then you meet her, watch her and listen to her and you realize she is elite—an elite leader. She demonstrates what an engaged leader living out a vision can do.
Here are a few learning tidbits I took away from listening to Bill Hybels and Melinda Gates at the Global Leadership Summit.
- Take time to be silent.
- Listen to what breaks your heart.
- Relentlessly pursue data and knowledge that will contribute to making better and faster decisions.
- There will be things that just have to be done—figure out a way to do them.
- Lead from where you are. Don’t wait for a bigger stage or platform.
- Be humble—humility opens the door to self-reflection that opens the door to personal learning and growth.
“Vision is at the very core of leadership. Take vision away from a leader and you cut out his or her heart.”
Take a deeper dive into leadership with Bill Hybels by reading what he calls his most important book, Courageous Leadership: Field-Tested Strategy for the 360° Leader. It will challenge you to think about the core of leadership, its role in transforming the lives and how to grow as a leader.
The Global Leadership Summit was a great opportunity to learn and grow as a leader and you can access these resources today. Check out GLSNext—here you will find a wonderful collection of leadership resources to help you grow as a leader and positively impact the people you love and lead.