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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, August 19, 2018 1:00 am

Good leaders able to show others they care

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

It's about trust and influence. That's how Craig Groeschel sums up leadership.

Friends have it. Parents have it. People new to a job can have it.

“One of the biggest myths about leadership is you have to be in charge to lead,” Groeschel said during the opening session for this year's Global Leadership Summit on Aug. 9 and 10.

When people are under great leadership, they will always feel valued, be inspired and empowered, Groeschel said.

So how do leaders create that kind of environment? They need a heart to care. You will never be a leader others love to follow if you aren't a leader who loves people, said Groeschel, co-founder and senior pastor of Life.Church, which is based in Oklahoma City and has several locations in the U.S.

The Global Leadership Summit, or GLS, is an annual event that attracts hundreds of thousands between the host location, Willow Creek Church in South Barrington, Illinois, and dozens of remote locations around the world where attendees watch via satellite.

The Allen County War Memorial Coliseum was again the Fort Wayne host site, the most well attended of all remote locations. About 2,850 registered locally, said Sweetwater Sound executive Kelly Byrd, a longtime local organizer and promoter of the event.

This year's attendance was down from about 4,200 last year. Byrd, through email, attributed the decline to the controversy and allegations surrounding GLS founder Bill Hybels and the subsequent withdrawal of several high-profile speakers. Actor Denzel Washington and author Daniel Pink were among those who canceled.

Multiple allegations of sexual misconduct have been made against Hybels, who accelerated his planned retirement this year as pastor of Willow Creek and dropped his leadership role with the summit.

The local event had more corporate sponsors this year than previously, Byrd said, noting it has never been about one person but “encouraging, equipping and inspiring as many local leaders as possible.”

Groeschel addressed the allegations involving Hybels as part of his opening, saying he has felt a range of emotions, including “being sickened.” He is married and has daughters.

“Leaders are entrusted with power and must always only use it for the good of others,” Groeschel said. “Anything else is reprehensible.”

Speaking more broadly on leadership, Groeschel said there are four important words that can be used to help demonstrate having a heart for people: “I notice” and “you matter.”

Good employees don't leave organizations, they leave bad managers, Groeschel said.

Say it. Show it. Write it. Celebrate it. “Never rob your team of the blessing of showing you care,” he said.

Some leaders will make you think “they” are important. Better leaders help you understand that “you” are important.

Employees who describe themselves as inspired are twice as productive as those who are simply satisfied, Groeschel added.

One firm found 33 different attitudes that can inspire people, including an optimistic outlook, posture of humility, a leader who is generous with recognition and consistently an empathetic listener.

All you need, Groeschel said, is one of two well-developed strengths to inspire people.

Good leadership also requires delegating and allowing others to grow by doing. Leaders should make the decisions that only they can make. The strength of an organization is determined by how deeply into it people have the ability to say “yes.”

“You can control or you can have growth,” Groeschel said, “but you can not have both.”

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at Lead On also appears online as a blog at