This post was originally submitted as a comment on Leadership Germs. It was so good I asked Tony if we could make it into a post on Leading Saints–he agreed.

Tony has the background and experience of someone who should have started a resource like Leading Saints, so I am really excited to have him contribute. See his full bio at the end.

Enter Tony

I have a piece of paper that I will forever cherish. It is mere paper composed of fiber, but it is truly a mirror to me. And the most endearing part of that document, is a hand scrawled note, quickly jotted, but with such an effect to cause me to stop what I was doing, and repent……

I have a Bishop’s counselor who is fairly young in leadership. He is a highly educated guy, and I have spent quite a bit of development time with him, seeing him grow. I have expressed through instruction and empowerment that one part of his stewardships is the facilitation and effectiveness of PEC. My other counselor, an ex-bishop, does the same for Ward Council.

The primary focus tool for both meetings is an assignment matrix that we call our focus list. It is formatted to allow identifying and assigning actions needed by each auxiliary or quorum towards the rescue effort of individuals or families. Names and actions only go on the list when cross auxiliary cooperation or activity is needed. Our goal is to focus on people first.

Now, back to my sheet of paper, the current day’s list. I had perceived that we were drifting in our people first focus. With end of year activities and lots of other “important” issues to address, I had been feeling that we were losing some of our drive towards rescue, and I did not want to falter in our efforts. That morning I had given appropriate instruction on the subject during Bishopric meeting, and as I usually do, I had expressed my love and confidence in my counselors. But the true test of that sentiment came during PEC.

During one part of the PEC, it seemed to me that we had gotten bogged down, merely brushing the surface of the needs for a particular individual, so as my counselor started to move on to the next family, I jumped in and asked if that was all that could be done. This question, and the way I asked was appropriate. But then, rather than let the direction of the conversation go back to my counselor, I became it’s center, prompting for further input and commitments, happily driving forward.

Luckily I have a very loving and perceptive counselor. He quietly and without drawing undo attention, took my copy of the focus list out of my hand, and wrote this sentence; “You are not to take over.”

As I looked across at the note he had written, I faced a crossroads, not only for myself as a leader, but for he and I in our relationship. At that very moment, I could prove to him what I truly wanted. I grinned at him, relaxed back into my seat, and went back to being one of the participants in the meeting. I don’t think anyone but he and I knew that an “ahah” moment had taken place, and that our working partnership had been solidified. After, as we setup the Primary room together, I briefly thanked him for his action and again told him of my love for him.

Though I may have many years of experience, and teach leadership development for a living, I have found that I need frequent reminders to live the things that I teach.

Guest Post: Tony Webster

Tony Webster is from the San Francisco Bay Area. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Management, with post graduate work in Human Resource Development. He has had a varied professional life ranging from working 20 years as a Tool & Die Maker, through Production & Plant Management positions, to his current assignment as a Continuous Improvement & Leadership Development Coach for an Automotive Manufacturing Supplier. He currently coaches individual leaders and departments to success, and is involved in developing training and mentoring processes for the company. He is a certified trainer for Crucial Conversations and Crucial Confrontations, teaching skills both at work and under a grant in his ward. Tony has enjoyed serving in a variety of callings in the church including missionary in the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission, Ward Clerk, YM & EQ Presidents, Bishop’s Counselor, High Councilor, and his current calling as Bishop. 

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