The Courage Leadership Requires, Bill Hybels


Bill Hybels is the Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church and the visionary leader for the Global Leadership Summit. Hybels opened the Summit with, "The Courage Leadership Requires." Here are excerpts from his talk.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

1. Leaders must have courage to act on a God-given vision.

  • God didn't make you a leader to suck air, but to move people from here to there.
  • Vision is a picture of the future that creates passion in people.
  • Visions from God are holy commodities that need to be treated with the utmost respect.
  • You have to step out in faith even when you are vibrating in fear.
  • Don't kill off visions in late night fits of cowardliness.

2. Leaders must have the courage to define reality.

  • "The first job of a leader is to define reality." Max De Pree
  • Leaders lead in organizations "going down." Declare an emergency (Code Red). Create a plan of action. Move.
  • Leaders lead in organizations that are "sleepy" or status quo. The leader has to start a fire. Status quo is a precursor to certain death.
  • Leaders lead in organizations that are "going up." The leader has to pour fuel on the fire. Give pep talks, innovate, provide raises, keep the momentum going.
  • The toughest part of "defining reality" is declaring where you are: Going down, Plateaued, Going up. Leaders must be brutally honest and declare their current position.
  • Your whole team knows the reality you are in and they are waiting for you to lead them out.

3.  Leaders must have courage to build a fantastic culture

  • "People join organizations. They leave managers." Marcus Buckingham
  • The staff culture will only be as healthy as the CEO or Senior Pastor wants it to be.
  • You cannot delegate culture. People will only take the culture as serious as the senior leader takes it.
  • It will take enormous courage to build a healthy culture, starting with BRAVE APOLOGIES from the senior leader. (via Niles Holsinger)
  • You will have to have tough conversations with your leaders, either get on board creating a healthy culture or get off the bus. (We are no longer going to pay people to bruise or bust our culture!) (via Niles Holsinger)

4. Leaders must have courage to establish and enforce values

  • There comes a time when a leader has to throw down the gauntlet, i.e. we are not just envisioning this, we are establishing the values that make us this.
  • Hybels noted that the more he uses social media the more hungry he gets for true community. Social media provides the illusion of community, but not the real deal.
  • There’s a time to cast vision and then there’s a time to cast an inviolable value.

5. Leaders must have courage to keep leading strong the face of blistering criticism.

  • Leaders must have the courage to finish strong.
  • To sustain the endeavor through the ups and downs, leaders will have to totally reinvent the organization and themselves. They will have to say "good-bye" to colleagues and this will mean being strong and courageous.

Memorable quote:

  • "So many of God's great rewards for leaders are reserved for late in the race." Bill Hybels
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9