Senior Manager, Technical Support at Heroku / Salesforce. Former full-time traveler. Current homesteader. Huge fan of @emccartie.

Leading Up: LifeChurch.tv Q3 All-Staff Meeting

My notes from our quarterly LifeChurch.tv All-Staff. Senior Pastor Craig Groeschel presenting


Leading Up

How do I lead when I’m not in charge? How do I make changes when I’m not at the top of the organization? How do I lead up?

  • No organization will ever be what it could be without honest, upward communication
  • When there is something to blame, there’s nothing to do. (I’m too young, they’re not going to listen, etc.)
  • Your ability to lead up now will help determine your ability to move up later.
  • Just like salesmen love to be sold, leaders love to be led

3 Myths About Leadership
  1. You have to be in charge in order to lead
    1. Positional power (“She’s the boss”). This had more influence a few decades ago, but is now almost resisted.
    2. Personal power (Group of people collectively believe in that person). This is what’s powerful today. If you want influence, care about people. People will follow a leader with a heart faster than a leader with a title.
  2. The best leaders are always in the spotlight.
    • Collins’ “Level 5” leader.  Humble and behind the scenes.
    • Not about Craig — it’s John Davis, Cathi Linch, etc
  3. Leaders are born, not made.
    • Simply not true. 
    • Everyone can learn to lead

Leading up can be risky. 
  • If you lead up in the wrong way, you will be labeled a troublemaker or someone with a critical mindset.
  • Harder if your leader is insecure or a know-it-all

5 Things That Matter When Leading Up
  1. Honor matters
    • “Honor publicly results in influence privately.”
    • “I could do better than my boss” <—God didn’t put you in that role
    • Before you are over others, you must learn to be under others
    • Respect is earned. Honor is given. You MUST give honor to WHOMEVER is above you — it doesn’t matter who or what they’ve done.
  2. Timing matters
    • Look at the rhythms of the week for your leader (Monday is usually crazy busy and I’ll usually say no)
    • When you meet with them, come prepared and organized. The higher the leader, the more valuable their time is.
  3. Approach matters
    • Know it all? No way
    • Examine your motives. Don’t come in if you want credit, or be promoted.  Your only motive should be to push the organization forward. Make your leader look better and make the organization stronger
    • “The leaders most sacred duty is to purify his own soul and to cast out from it all unworthy motives.”
    • Don’t just point out problems. Bring solutions.
    • If you have a critical spirit, you won’t have influence for long. 
    • There is a massive difference between thinking critically and being critical.
  4. Truth matters
    • If you are a “yes man” you will not have influence
  5. Initiative matters
    • If you want to gain influence, take initiative and lighten your leader’s load
    • Don’t say: “I don’t have much to do, so can I take that from you?”
    • The best team members don’t need to be told what to do because they intuitively find things to do.
    • Serve those above you, you earn their trust
    • If you’re wiling to do what others won’t do, you’ll earn influence others don’t have.
    • If you’re waiting to be handed something significant, you lower the chances of being handed anything at all.

If you are the point leader, you need to do everything you can to give opportunities for others to lead up. If you do not do this, you are failing as a leader. You create the climate.
© 2017 Jon McCartie