Are you improving as a leader? Are you content with where you are right now? Are you anticipating the changing seasons in a tech driven world? Are you prepared for these changing seasons? Do you have any leadership books that have been published in the last 3 years? What resources are you regularly digesting to help you develop new skills?
Your answer to questions like those listed above, says a lot about your leadership trajectory. Leading a non-profit full of volunteers in a fast changing world is as tough as it gets and as leaders we need to constantly be growing and developing. If you want to develop and improve your leadership try the three things listed below.
1. Put yourself out there.
There was a time, not too long ago, where I would never have spent time with a group of pastors. I skipped conferences, avoided phone calls and generally felt like I didn't fit in with all of my other colleagues. Part pride, part insecurity and part immaturity had me operating as a Lead Pastor in relative isolation and as we all know, that simply is not healthy. I always stiff-armed other pastors until a few of them ignored my stiff arms and accepted and loved me as I was. Those men showed me that I was valued, had a lot to offer and that I needed them too. I am so grateful for these pastors who were loving examples of Christ to me. I needed them and I still do. What they taught me was to put myself out there, to use my gifts not just in my own context but to help others. It is called adding value to others. Strive to add value to others in every context and it will make you a better leader. I still want to retreat into isolation sometimes, but I know I continue to grow as a leader by putting myself out there and by being willing to add value to others. If you want to grow as a leader, abandon isolation and put yourself out there with the hopes of adding value to others.
So, what are you waiting for, put yourself out there! Send an email offering to help someone, send an encouraging text, set up a lunch with someone with the goal of adding value and learning from the interaction.
2. Surround yourself with high level, high achieving leaders.
Context plays a big role in your leadership development. Show me the 5 people you spend the most time with and I can show you where you will be in 5 years. Sounds crazy but our context is an incredible predictor of our direction. You probably spend a lot of time with your family. Great. You probably spend some time with your staff. Also great. Maybe you have a mentor or two. Awesome. You probably also have a friend and maybe that friend is also a colleague. Really happy for you. Those things a great, but don't stop there. If you want to become a better leader, surround yourself with other high level, high achieving leaders. Surrounding yourself with high level leaders helps you grow as a leader. You will learn so much from watching, listening and dialoguing with people who are thinking big and have been down the road a little further than you. Don't know where to start?
Here are 4 options:
Go to a leadership conference and develop relationships with others that attend. If you are in our district this one is an incredible EDA Leadership Conference.
Join a leadership cohort. I have wanted to join this one but the dates never seem to line up for me. EFCA Transformational Learning Cohorts
Join a mastermind group. A mastermind group is peer mentoring concept used to help members solve problems and accomplish big things with input and advice from the other members of the group. I have benefited greatly from being a part of one. There are not a lot of options out there for pastors but if you have more questions about a mastermind group for pastors or church leaders email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Find A Leadership Coach. I have one and his coaching has played a huge role in my growth as a leader. Having a coach has benefited my church, my personal ministry and my life at home. If Tom Brady still has a personal throwing coach (Go eagles! ) I am guessing we aren't to successful to seek some coaching ourselves.
3. Be a Leadership Scavenger.
Scavengers grab nourishment when ever they can from where ever they can. They are constantly searching for opportunities to fill their bellies with nourishment that will convert into energy that they can expend on their journey as they survive the changing seasons. If they don't eat, they die. Be a leadership scavenger. Be hungry. Never stop learning. Tear what you can apart, dissect it and use what you can apply to your context. Constantly look for opportunities to grow and learn. The seasons change so fast in our technology driven world. Be prepared for the season around the corner by being a leadership scavenger.
What opportunities can you grab right now to learn and grow from? Is there a library on your way home? If so, leave work 10 minutes early and grab a book for entrepreneurs and read it tonight. Download a leadership podcast and spend your commute listening to it. What are some questions about ministry you have been pondering lately (if you don't have any, you have been on cruise control for far too long)? Email someone that question right now! Maybe they can't help, but just maybe they will have an idea or perspective that could change everything. Be a scavenger.
Your voice matters.