How to Serve a Visionary Leader

Overwhelming, isn’t it?

You are working hard.
You already have 35 irons in the fire.
Not to mention, a personal life.

Then just when you have your head above water, more ideas.

I’ve worked with and for some fantastic and overwhelming (or fantastically overwhelming) visionary leaders in my life.
Today, I confess that I may have become one.

Leaders must have vision.
If “everything rises and falls on leadership” and “without vision people perish”, then leaders must produce vision.

I’ve found it nearly impossible to both produce vision and implement it myself.
I get too overwhelmed. There is too much to do.

Yet to be effective, each of us must implement the vision of those we are serving.
Bonus Point: We are all, to some extent, serving someone else’s vision.

Here are a few thoughts on how we can best implement the vision of our leaders.

1. Allow your leader to vomit.

Seriously, their plans may make you want to vomit or overwhelm you so much that you actually do vomit.
Yet, you must seriously allow them to get it all on the table.
Don’t put out their fire by bringing up the problems, obstacles and issues with what they are thinking.
Give them space to let it all out.

The best way to allow this is to ask great questions.
Here are some examples:
-What is your ideal end product?
-What is your top priority?
-How much of this are you comfortable with me handling for you?
-Is this what you mean? Is this what you are trying to say?
-Is there anything I can do to immediately make this happen?

Here’s a practical way to think about it.
God spoke mankind into existence, formed them from the dust of the earth, then breathed life into them.

A visionary leader needs to determine how to speak the vision and what God is leading them to do.
Great followers take what has been spoken and help to form it into a masterpiece.
When leaders and followers work together this way, God can breathe life into their plans.

2. Give suggestions without sucking the oxygen out of the room.

It doesn’t take a lot of life experience to realize you can have the right answer or say the right thing and still be wrong.
Your approach is everything.
So much conflict in leadership and relationships is not caused by someone being wrong but by someone being right and handling it the wrong way.

I’ve experienced the frustration of walking into the room with an idea only to have it picked apart and challenged by those who are supposed to help me form the vision into actionable steps.
When this happens, I want to walk out of the room.

We have a saying on our staff: “Nobody gets to raise problems without offering solutions.”
It does not take a genius to call out the problems with an idea.
But it does take diligence and wisdom to offer solutions.
Be a solution-oriented follower and your leader will find an environment with you where they can share their ideas openly.

3. Do more than your part.

It’s rare these days to find people or places that go “above and beyond”.
Once you catch the heartbeat of your leader, work hard to fulfill it and do more than expected.
A quality leader will not be upset that you did too much though they may be disappointed when you don’t do enough.

The greatest way I can serve those that I’m following is by taking the burden they are carrying off of their shoulders and putting it on myself.
Thankfully, I have followers who will do the same for me.
This is how we are called to build a support system…each of us carrying each other’s burdens.

It’s amazing what happens when leaders are surrounded by followers who are willing to let them vomit, give oxygen to their ideas, and do their part.
Think about all we can accomplish if we all adhere to these principles!

Overwhelming, isn’t it?