The 2022 is here! You know this year will bring challenges that are not currently on your radar. You probably brought some of your 2021 problems with you into 2022. How can you and I intentionally cultivate our growth as a leader this year?
As you develop your leadership growth plan this year it will be helpful to remember these truths:
Leadership growth is not optional for followers of Jesus. Leading God’s people requires more than just skill. The Bible says that David shepherded God’s people with a pure heart and guided them with his skillful hands.” Our growth as a leader should include work in three areas.
Heart: Who we love
Head: How we think
Hands: How we do the work
Leadership growth is the result of a process not an event. Going to a conference can be a helpful. Reading a book or a blog is a good way to acquire important information. But good information is not enough. Growth begins when I challenge my old thinking with new information to gain understanding. It accelerates when I apply what is important to real issues in my world and actually try something new. Learning that leads to personal growth combines information, understanding, action and feedback over time.
Leadership growth is not likely to happen in isolation. It happens in community. Leadership at its core is expressed in service to others. There is very little that can be learned without someone to serve and someone to provide feedback about what it is like to be served by us. Jesus plan did not include enlisting a few super star leaders to change the world. He instead gathered a learning community, equipped them and empowered them to make disciples.
My leadership growth is not all on me. It is God who brings the real growth in our leadership. Jesus told Peter and Andrew, “Follow Me, and I will make you fish for people!” It is God’s work in our life to transform us but we have to participate. Paul speaks of being transformed by God in Romans 12. His part in that transformation was to, “not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Leadership growth is about learning to lead out of my intimacy with Jesus. As I listen and respond to God I can lead as if Jesus is in my place. Paul makes this pattern clear in 1 Corinthians 11:1 as he writes, Be imitators of me, as I also am of Christ.
Leadership growth is determined by our attitude not our circumstances. Growth can happen any moment I am willing to posture myself as a learner. A learner is willing to admit that there are things they don’t know. They are not afraid to admit there are gaps in their knowledge or experience that limit their ability to lead. They proactively seek resources and relationships that will bridge those gaps.
Leadership growth is not limited by my background, lack of education, personality, family of origin, or season of life. These circumstances become the starting point of our leadership journey. Joseph the braggy kid with a special coat, David the unlikely giant slayer and Peter the loud-mouthed fisherman are all evidence that our influence is not limited by our starting point.
Leadership growth is not limited to a single pathway or set of experiences. The path will vary from individual to individual and situation to situation. Leaders are not the product of an assembly line. They are not mass-produced. They are custom produced by the providence God for the assignment He chooses.
Leadership growth is not primarily about the effectiveness of my life at the office. God is not interested in my spiritual life. He is interested in my whole life. Leadership growth makes me a better person at home, at church and in my community. Leadership growth is demonstrated by an increased love for God and His people.
As you think about your leadership growth this year how would you answer these questions from the perspective of a learner?
Where is there a gap in your ability to lead?
What is one discipline you can begin in the next 7 days that will reduce that gap?