Being the Leader is Fun…Until it’s Not

“Follow the Leader” is kind of a mediocre game.  I mean think about it.  Red Rover, Red Rover is SOOOO much better even though it’s been banned from most playgrounds for safety reasons (which, come to think of it is EXACTLY why it is so much better).  Duck, Duck, Goose is also better.  So is Blob Tag, Freeze Tag, Octopus Tag, and plain old tag Tag.

So what’s wrong with Follow the Leader?

Well, nothing at first.  I mean everyone can get into it at the beginning.  First, you start out with your faithful followers and head off toward the monkey bars on the far side of the playground.  You begin by patting your head.  You don’t get any creativity points for that, but you are just getting warmed up.  Your mighty little band snakes around the playground and moves from the head-pat to the arm-flap, then the swinging elephant trunk, followed by the monkey scratch (heads AND armpits at the same time) and then things get really crazy and you start hopping on one foot.

It’s the hopping on one foot where things REALLY start to fall apart.  It’s hard to believe, but certain followers of yours (who will remain nameless) are completely unable to hop on one foot without immediately falling over.  Once they fall over, they lose their passion for the game and never bother to rejoin the line.  Their abandonment inspires a couple of other defectors and pretty soon, there you are.  You are quickly running out of tricks and your followers aren’t nearly as engaged as they once were.   The whole episode lasted 42 seconds.

You feel a little deflated and REALLY wish that they hadn’t banned Red Rov.

If you have EVER led anyone in anything, maybe you can relate.

So many of you got into the foster care space because you were passionate about caring for the kids.  You just wanted to use your life to impact the life of another.  Then, you started having conversations with other people and realized that this wasn’t just about you and the kids you can care for.  This was about all of the people you can inspire to care for a lot of other kids as well.  You discovered that you had some influence — some leverage that you could use so that more kids could get the care they deserved.  That’s a pretty awesome discovery.  Pretty soon you found yourself leading a ministry at your church or starting a non-profit.  You ended up there, not because you set out to lead something, but because you were the most passionate person in the room when it came to kids who needed families.  That made you the leader.

And at the beginning that was enough fuel to get things off the ground.  But then, many of the other aspects of leadership began to clamor for your attention.  Volunteer management.  Staff management.  Delegation.  Conflict.  Internal politics.  Fund raising.

Some of it has tarnished the joy you first felt when you were using your gifts to help kids get the families they deserved. You continue to faithfully lead, but often feel stuck and wish you knew how to better navigate this leadership thing.  You have used all the tricks in your leadership bag and feel a little like you are cycling through the head-pat and the wing-flap for the hundredth time.

It may not make you feel much better, but there are a LOT of other people just like you. Those feelings are common in this space and that is why we are offering something a little different this year as a pre-summit intensive in Dallas on May 9th.  We are hosting Free to Lead:  A One-Day Leadership Inventory Experience for People Passionate about Kids and Families.  Once you register, you’ll fill out a leadership profile (as will those closest to you) and you will receive a 360 leadership inventory when you arrive.   The experts from Integrus Leadership will guide you through your results.  You will come away with much more clarity about the things you do well and how to address the things that will make you a better leader.

We couldn’t be more excited about helping you be the leader God created you to be and the leader that the kids and families in your community need you to be.  It’s going to be a great intensive and a great Summit.

However, it’s probably safe to say, there will be no Red Rover.

To learn more about the Free to Lead Pre-Summit Intensive, CLICK HERE.

This post originally appeared in our Foster Roster e-newsletter which is delivered each Friday. We keep it short and sweet and fill it with practical articles, videos, blog posts and other tools for leaders like you working to help kids and families in foster care.  To sign up, go to