Leaders Help the Team to Enlarge

I have been on the road a bit lately.  One evening I found myself in the hotel flipping through channels and stopped at the movie Braveheart.  I love the movie and the story behind it.  In 1296, King Edward I of England crossed into Scotland with a large army.  Edward had just recently subdued the Welsh.  He set up a puppet king in Scotland and then bullied that king until he rebelled, giving Edward a reason to invade Scotland. 

King Edward sacked the castle of Berwick and killed all the inhabitants.  Other castles surrendered quickly.  Many believed that the Scots were destined for the same fate as the Welsh.  But they did not take into account the efforts of one man, Sir William Wallace.  Wallace is still revered as a hero in Scotland today.

In Braveheart, Wallace is shown as a fierce and determined fighter who valued freedom above everything else.  William was the second son and was originally groomed to be in the clergy.  He was taught the value of ideas, including freedom.  William grew to resent the oppressive English after his father was killed and his mother sent away to exile.  William became a fighter when a group of Englishmen tried to bully him and by the age of 20 he was a highly skilled warrior. 

During this time, warfare was usually conducted by highly trained knights and professional soldiers.  The larger and more skilled the army, the greater the power.  When mighty King Edward faced the smaller Welsh army, they did not stand a chance.  But the Scots were different.  Wallace had the unusual ability to draw people around him, and to make them believe in the cause of freedom.  He inspired and equipped them to fight against the seasoned worriers of England.  He caused them as a group to ban together and enlarge their abilities. 

Wallace was unable to defeat the English and gain the independence of Scotland.  When he was 33, he was executed.  But the legacy of enlargement, of having a group believe in something greater than themselves, carried on.  In the year after Wallace’s death, noblemen Robert Bruce claimed the throne of Scotland. He carried on Wallace’s example and the peasants and nobility banded together. Scotland gained its independence in 1314. 

Team members always admire a player who is able to help the team go to another level.  I always admired that about Michael Jordan.  He was able to help the level of everyone around him play beyond their talents.  By doing so, the Bulls were able to win six championships. 

John Maxwell writes about the characteristics of leaders who enlarge their team.  Enlargers first value their teammates.  Charles Schwab once stated, “I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.”  The approval we show helps others give and achieve more.

Enlargers also value what their teammate’s value.  Leaders who do so learn what things are important to their team members and understand it.  Their ability to relate to their fellow players creates a strong connection among the team.

Enlargers add value to the individuals on the team.  This is often finding ways to improve the individual team members’ gifts, attitudes, and abilities.  The mining of these skills, gives the individuals the ability to use their talents more freely, thus increasing the reach of the team.

Finally, an enlarger will add value to themselves by how they have added value to others.  You cannot give up what you do not have.  An example of this, now that we are in NBA playoff season, is a basketball great like Karl Malone is helped greatly by a great passer like John Stockton.  If you want to increase the value of your team, add value to yourself. 

As a leader the question here is if you help others on your team achieve more and enlarge them, or do they wither under your leadership.  For a team to accomplish great things, it starts with the leader believing, serving, and adding value to others on the team before they do the same for you.