Leaders see it, AND do something.  It doesn’t seem to matter if it is a TSA line in an airport or candles at a wedding – leaders see it, AND do something.  I have to be honest – sometimes I wish I didn’t see things, because then I wouldn’t have to do anything.

A few weeks ago I was traveling through Denver.  I was in the TSA security line awaiting my ticket and identification check.  The line was very similar to the line for Space Mountain.  It had a switch-back that made it appear you were closer than you actually were.

I noticed that there was a third place for people to go, but no one was living up there.   As the line I was in reached the front – it dispersed into two, but in actuality, it could have been three.  The two lines would need to make room and we would have a straight shot at a nearly empty line.  I was three switch-backs away.

I thought to myself, “Someone will say something.  Keep your mouth shut.  Surely, someone will say something.”  I was now two switch-backs away.  “Do not be that guy – you are in no rush.  Just let it go.”  At one switch-back away I could not contain myself.  I directed the two lines to make room and then directed the entire TSA line in front of me to make their way to the open lane.  You want to know the surprising moment for me?  Four people said something to the effect of, “I was waiting for someone to say something.”  There was both a sigh of relief and a small applause for my direction and leadership.

Two nights ago I performed a wedding for a great couple.  The father was on a local Young Life committee and did work crew at Windy Gap decades ago.  It was a fabulous night.  The setting was a golf club, the outdoor dinner was beautiful, and all was truly spectacular.  I did fix a wobbly table, and I did lower the sun shade for an elderly patron who was in the glare.  Again, once you see it, don’t you have to act?

The sun had gone down and the white lights strung around were fabulous.  Yet, every table had candles both in a wonderful large vase coming out of a floral arrangement and tea lights in small votives.  As I looked out at the 12 tables it appeared so dark to me – they were missing the moment.  I could help myself no more.  I borrowed a lighter and lit as many as I could manage.  It made a huge difference.  Every table I went to said, “Thank you!  We wanted to light them but didn’t have a way.”   There were a 100 people at this wedding . . . why me?  The only answer I can give is that I am in a role of leadership – looking after people.  Leaders see it, and then, leaders take action.

What about you?  Are you a leader?  Do you see how things can be better for those around you?  Do you take action to make it better?

This can be anything from the school your kids go to, the ministry you lead, the business you work for, the neighborhood you live it, or the local businesses you support.

Five ways you can be a SEEING and ACTION-ORIENTED leader:

  • Look around.  Do not let life glaze you over.  Do not let your screen isolate you.  Our pastor this week told a great moment where he was in line with his wife at a fabric store and the cash registers were down.  They were in line a long time and he finally struck up a conversation with the woman in front of him.  It was regarding her tattoo and what it meant.  15 minutes later, 12 people were now engaged in the conversation and the registers started working.  People wanted to keep talking.
  • Ask this question:  “Is there anything I can do to help make this better?”  We were at a little league baseball game and the sponsors sign was hanging down.  The “zip ties” were broken and it was flapping in the wind.  It was also blocking the view a bit of the game.  I called Marni and asked her to bring some ties when she came.  One garbage can turned upside down, three zip ties, and a little effort and we made a difference.
  • Be willing to be different.  People do look at you differently when you speak up, light candles, hang a sign, or whatever it is you do.  You are in some ways “putting yourself out there.”  I will be honest, sometimes it doesn’t work out.  I would say that is a very small percentage, though.  I think what keeps leaders from stepping-up is their own insecurity.  I am confident that others “see it,” but seeing it and taking action are two different things.
  • Step out of yourself.  “For Christ came not to be served but to serve.”  (Mark 10:45)  It says in Philippians, we have to “learn to see things from other people’s point of view.”  The key to seeing things is to look around at those around you.  This is where you will see the mom struggling to get the groceries in her car, the elderly person having a hard time folding up a chair, a plate of cookies being passed around with two left and three people yet to have one – look!  You will be amazed at what you see.
  • Efficiency and hospitality eyes catch it!  As I think back to most things that I see it seems like they stem from one of these two words.  Usually things are not as efficient as they could be . . . or, I can see that the guests could be better served.  As you go about your day put on these lenses –  efficiency and hospitality and see what happens.

Hope you have a great day!  Hope you see it . . .  hope you take action!



  1. I like your thoughts Sco. How about trash that is out of place? Like the paper towel on the public bathroom floor – or the dirty cup in the company sink that someone just put in the sink and left it for someone else to clean or put in the dishwasher? Don’t write a note. Just clean it up… and don’t NEED to be praised for it. Just DO it! It’s a great way to be reminded that Jesus came to serve – and got crucified for it on our behalf.

  2. I love this, Sco. And it is true that once you start acting on things, more things come into your vision. So you have to have margins, or you would spend all your time picking up garbage. A great example is Brent Cunningham who was just doing what any of us might do, stopping and loving on a person that needed a personal touch. Although, giving away your medal was genius.

  3. Reblogged this on brad and kelli's blog and commented:
    What a great post on practical everyday leadership. I believe this type of leadership can work in any culture. It requires being ok with discomfort / embarrassment that may / may not happen when others judge us on failed leadership attempts. Like Eric says in his post… sometimes it doesn’t work out, but that is a small percentage. Be willing to be different. Lets get over ourselves.

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