Leadership 101

simple insights for those in leadership

The Nuttle Principle

This coming Saturday I will be attending the memorial service for a good friend of mine, Bob Nuttle. Bob was an older gentleman that I got to know at my old church. We got off to a rocky start but became good friends.

One day, early on in my time on staff at Aldan Union Church, the other pastors and I were taking a walk through the complex to find a right location for a new welcome center. As we were talking and passing through the sanctuary, Bob, who was doing some work there in the sanctuary, popped up and started loudly speaking at us. “That’s the problem with all four of you,” he said, “Every Sunday you just walk by all of us because you’re too busy for us. You act as though we don’t even exist. You’re all too busy for those of us here in this church to even say ‘hello’.”

I was fuming mad. I walked back to my office, slammed the door, sat down at my desk and started mumbling to myself, “Who does he think he is? He has no idea how busy we are on Sundays. Where does he get off . . .” Before I could get another word out, I realized that Bob was right. As a leader, I forgot that my job was taking care of the people. It wasn’t about the task. As I sat frustrated with myself for my reaction, the story John Maxwell used to tell about a new staff member, Dan Reiland, came to mind. Dan had been recently hired by John at his church and on his first Sunday, came briskly walking through the hallway past where John was stopped and talking to some people. Upon finishing the conversations, John walked to Dan’s office. He asked Dan, “What are you doing?” Dan’s reply was, “I’m getting to work.” John said, “Dan, you just walked right by your work.”

After hearing John Maxwell tell that story, I remember him using the line, “Always remember, as leaders, your job is to walk slowly through the crowd.”  That’s good advice. I wish I could say I’ve finally got this down. I admittedly don’t get it right all the time and easily slip back into “task” mode. I just got nicely called out by someone a few weeks ago at my new church. I had to apologize. She said she was just joking with me for rushing by and not saying “good morning.” I told her, it wasn’t a joking matter. It was a weakness I continue to have as a leader and something I need constant reminding of when I fail. I thanked her and asked her to please let me know if she ever sees me failing in that area again.

I am thankful for my good friend, Bob Nuttle, teaching me that lesson. I will miss him. I am a better leader because he called me out. I will forever refer to this leadership principle as “The Nuttle Principle.” Thanks Bob.

June 22, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment