Becoming a LEADER is the adventure of a lifetime. However, the moment you you tell yourself you have arrived is the moment you begin to lose your grip on being a leader. To not be too cliche, leadership is a journey, not a destination. It's not so much about what you get to do, but about who you become along the way.
What kind of leader do you want to become?
If you Google the key skills of a leader, you will be on your way to making a very long list, one which you may or may not find helpful. Joel helped us to narrow things down, to focus on just a few things, which if we can get a handle on, will not only help us as leaders today, but will help us to be leaders for the next 30 years.
LOVE creates an environment for building trust and trust is important for long-term leadership success. As Christian leaders we are called to love God, and to love our neighbour as we love ourselves. To love those we like is easy. To lead those who we love is easy too. We are challenged to be the kind of leaders who can lead those who are more difficult to love, to lead those who we wouldn’t naturally choose to be on our team or to be friends with.
EXAMPLE is hard. Paul wrote to Timothy and called him to be ‘above reproach’. This is such an old-fashioned phrase which can be easily dismissed in our culture, yet it holds the power to set you apart from the crowd. What kind of example are you? Really? Be honest. Everyone has room for improvement. To be the best example takes discipline. It requires a willingness to open up your life to the awkward questions, to make yourself accountable to someone, so there is nothing which can cause you to be caught out.
Don’t hear what I’m not saying. This is not about perfection, that’s impossible. We will all make mistakes. To be a good example is to do our best, to be the kind of leader for others we would want to have. No skeletons n the cupboard. But, when we do mess up, we are quick to apologise, respond with repentance and make things right.
ACTIVE GROWTH We all grow. If we don’t grow properly physically, we would visit the Doctor. When it comes to leadership, active growth isn’t the default position. The right kind of growth happens by design. Creating the right habits, increasing our self-awareness, focusing on where improvements need to be made. If you sat with someone today and asked them to tell you one aspect of your leadership where you need to grow, what would their answer be? Start your active growth right there!
DISCIPLESHIP and leadership are inseparable, you don't have to choose between being a great leader or disciple-maker. You can be both. John Maxwell says 'leadership is influence'. If our leadership is not helping others in their walk with God, and their walk with themselves, we may be missing the point of the greatest value of leadership. It's more than a title, it's about people. This is where we move from ourselves to others, from inward change to making a difference in our world.
EXPAND YOUR CAPABILITIES In contrast to Active Growth which is about your character, this is about your skill set, your gifts, using what God has given you, your competency. Are you getting better and what you are being asked to do? Even those aspects of your leadership which don't come as easily to you?
So keep learning. Keep practicing. But understand, your competency has to be compatible with your context.
RESPONSIBILITY takers are the best kind of leaders. They own it. They celebrate the team, rather than themselves, when all goes well. Yet they look at themselves, rather than blame the team, when the opposite is true. Don't play the blame game. Don't have a 'below the line' attitude. Instead, live 'above the line' and be a carrier of responsibility.
Becoming a leader is one step every day. It's a choice. It starts right where you are today, not when you get to where you hope you will be one day. It's not about the title or the position you have. It's about you as person, living your best life with God, and allowing Him to shape you and mould you into who He needs you to become, for the future He has planned for you to walk in. This is why leadership is the adventure of a lifetime.
Which of these challenges you the most?
What one thing could you do to begin to grow in this aspect of being a leader?