I’ve been reading and reflecting a lot lately on “next generation” leaders. These are people who are on the way up in terms of their leadership development. Maybe they are just waiting for their first opportunity, or maybe they don’t even recognize the leadership potential they have. But developing next generation leaders is critical for the future of our church.
While thinking about these next generation leaders, I came across a blog post that began with this:
“While sitting with a group of teachers as they reflected about their own leadership, it became clear quite a few of them were struggling. This group was known as the Leadership Team for their school and most had been part of this group for a few years. Yet when asked to assess themselves as leaders the majority of them were seemingly paralyzed. As we discussed why… an underlying theme emerged.
While they had respect for their principal they did not want to ever be like many of the people in leadership positions they had seen come and go. Blinded by what they thought being a leader was supposed to look like, they did not even consider the possibility that they could determine the kind of leader they wanted to be.”
One fundamental breakdown I’ve often noticed is that people often draw a distinction in their mind between themselves and “leader.” People feel that in order to be a leader, they have to become someone different than they are. They look at others and model their leadership after those people, ignoring their own God-given gifts and abilities. And, while being a leader means you have to intentionally foster a certain skill set that you perhaps didn’t excel at before you were a leader, your fundamental personality shouldn’t change. Whatever unique thinking and energy you bring to your current role should be replicated in your leadership position.
Being a leader means you bring the best version of yourself to the table–not trying to become some mythical “leader” version of yourself.
Have you seen this in your own life? How did you manage it?
Take some time to reflect on your own uniqueness. Are you utilizing that in your leadership?