It was the apostle Paul who wrote to the church in Corinth "I urge you to imitate me". Although Paul saw himself as the "chief of sinners", he also realised that there was much that the Corinthians could benefit from by watching how he lived his life and copying him.
One of my favourite pastimes is people watching. Many times it will be in a coffee shop or, my favourite, an airport arrivals lounge, trying to guess peoples life stories. Although interesting I'm not sure how much I ever gain from doing this. But I know that I have learnt huge amounts by watching other leaders, by observing what they do and don't do, and how they handle certain situations. Ben Davies in particular has sown huge amounts into my leadership, simply through being able to observe him leading week in week out over 18 years.
But of all the leaders I've observed, I'd have to say that Bill Hybels is the one who has impacted me the most. Now Bill Hybels has no idea who I am. I have been introduced to him on a couple of occasions, but if I met him tomorrow he'd have no idea what my name is, where I'm from or what I do. Yet observing him lead at events like the Leadership Summit, at Willow on a Sunday, when he's come over the the UK and even seeing him on DVD and CD have had a profound impact on how I lead Kerith.
I want to write about a couple of those observations on Bill Hybels leadership in forthcoming blogs, but for now I just want to encourage you to be an observer of leaders. Church leaders, political leaders, business leaders, parents leading their children, people leading clubs. There is so much we can learn from what other people do. Some things which will be good, which you want to copy, and some things which you'll resolve never to do in your leadership (and we're all leaders in one way or another in life).
Happy leader watching!