The Power of Informality in Leadership Development

April 29, 2010 - Mac Lake - Leadership Development
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It’s highly likely that you’ve received some sort of formal training to do what you do.  If you’re a Pastor you probably went to seminary.  If you’re a Accountant you went to business school.  If you’re a Realtor you attended a Real Estate Course.  Formal training is valuable, but most organizations aren’t purposed to provide formal training.  That’s why we must work hard to create healthy informal training atmospheres. 

In 1986 I went to work for a pastor who became a mentor and a friend.  Each week I would meet him in his office.  There was rarely an agenda, he would just talk to me about life, leadership and my area of ministry.  The thing I valued most was the meetings were less like meetings and more like conversations.

Looking back I see now he knew exactly what he was doing with me.  He would engage me in conversation about things in my life so he could create connection with me.  Then he would move the conversation to leadership and ministry.  As we discussed the challenges and successes he would ask questions, toss out ideas all which would stimulate engaging conversation.  Ideas would lead to dreams, dreams would lead to goals, goals would lead to action plans…all generated out of a “conversation”.  

He was not only coaching me but he was collaborating with me.  We were a team.  During those meetings it was less like meeting with a superior and more like meeting with friend who valued the same things I valued.  A friend who wanted me to win.  A friend who shared the same values and vision.  It had such a informal feel yet with each meeting he was coaching me and growing me into an expert in my field.

There are several benefits to creating this type of informal development atmosphere.

  1. The leader becomes a fellow learner
  2. The follower gains confidence
  3. The follower learns to become a better thinker and decision maker
  4. The level of trust and loyalty between leader and follow is extremely high

I understand this approach may not be for everybody but it seems to be an approach many people respond to well.

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Mac Lake

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