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Monthly Archives: April 2013

What Kind of Leader Do You Want to Be?

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?

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Are You FAT?

I meet a fair number of people who are interested in being mentored. Honestly, almost all of us would love to be mentored in our faith. The hardest part of a mentoring relationship is the first step: getting connected to a mentor. My advice always is to ask someone. Most people don’t sit around thinking, “I’m such a spiritual giant, I should be mentoring someone.” But, most people will respond if you ask them to mentor you. So, find a person you have a connection to, and ask them.

By far a more important trait to foster if you want to be mentored is to become FAT. I don’t mean weight gain, but FAT represents these traits:

Faithful-any mentoring relationship (or lasting spiritual growth, for that matter) depends on you being faithful to pursue God. As the old saying goes, it is much easier to steer a ship that is already in motion. If you are on the move spiritually, you are much more likely to get something significant out of a mentoring relationship.

Available
-One of the other big challenges to mentoring is creating open space in your life to pursue a deep relationship. It is a sacrifice for both the mentor and the mentee, but being available is a good sign that you are committed to a real spiritual challenge.

Teachable
-Finally, an intimate spiritual friendship requires a degree of humility on the part of both people. If you are interested in being mentored, you need to ask yourself, how interested am I in being changed? in being challenged? in being pushed into places in my life I can’t see clearly now? If you are willing, God will be faithful to provide an opportunity for you to grow.


What traits might you add to this list?

What experiences do you have in mentoring others or being mentored?

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Leadership Development: A Balanced Diet

This week I listened to a podcast from Henry Cloud. He’s written a new book, called Boundaries for Leaders. In his book, he talks about how to develop yourself as a leader. He described your leadership development as having a balanced diet of four “food groups,” or four areas in which you need to make investments. The areas are:

  1. Relationships that will develop you. These could be mentors, coaches, examples, or models. Also, there is room here for challenging relationships. The more you learn to get along with that boss who pushes all your buttons, for example, the better leader you will be.
  2. Information. Simply put, you must gain expertise and knowledge in your field. Learn your business well, but also devour information on leadership itself. Books, conferences, and podcasts can all be valuable sources of information. A leader is a learner.
  3. Experience. You wouldn’t go to a surgeon who has only studied books but never actually performed a surgery. Leadership is the same way. If you are called to leadership, you need to gain experiences and get out of your comfort zone.
  4. Structure. Leadership Development can’t be a haphazard process. You must have a plan. You need to be balancing these categories in some kind of systematic way, so that you are maximizing your efforts.

What do you think of these categories?

What would you add?

Which has been the most valuable to you?

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Authority

When we hear the word “authority” in our culture, we think of a lot of different things. Most often, though, we associate that word with control, or with wielding power in a negative way.

Yet biblical authority is much different. We know from the Great Commission that Jesus has been granted all the authority in the universe (Matt 28:18). What is unique about Biblical Authority is that it has a natural corollary-submission. In order for Jesus to say that all authority has been given to him, he is implying that the other members of the Trinity–the Father and the Spirit–have willingly given that authority to him. Even though all three members of the Godhead are equal, they willingly submit one to the other out of mutual love. They know something about authority that we sometimes forget:

Authority is a gift. Authority expresses love from the one submitting to the authority.

As leaders, we’ve been given a gift from the One with ultimate authority. Yet we’ve also been given the gift of submission from those we lead. Whether we are a husband, a parent, or a leader in a corporate or ministry position, we should recognize that whatever authority we have has been given to us by God, and continues to be given to us by those we lead.

 

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2013 in Uncategorized