4 Shifts to Make to Unlock Your Leadership Growth, Part 3

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How have you grown in your leadership capacity over the past month? The past six months? The past year?

Growth isn’t always immediately noticeable. But I really hope you can look back at the past twelve months and point out how you have grown. Maybe you added an arrow to your quiver, like moving conversations from surface to something more using intentional questions. Maybe you’ve spent more time pouring into someone. Maybe you’ve swung for the fences and learned something along the way.

Today we are looking at part 3 of a four part series. You can check out part 1 and part 2 to catch up.

Let’s get vulnerable for a moment. Mistakes bother me. Especially mistakes I make that could have been avoided. But that leads us to our next point:

Evaluated Mistakes Unleash Growth

Some situations require swinging for the fences, only to strike out and learn from the misfire. Mistakes don’t mean failure. Unevaluated mistakes mean failure.

Did you catch that? Once again, evaluation makes the difference. I am constantly amazed at what growth can be unlocked when we learn to evaluate our mistakes.

But that means we have to make mistakes. Not mistakes of ignorance, but mistakes of innovation.

A mistake of ignorance is making a mistake when you should have known better. Going to a Mexican food restaurant and binging chips and salsa when you’re trying to cut carbs, for example. Or planning an event without checking the necessary calendars, again.

But mistakes of innovation are mistakes made when trying something new. You plan an event you haven’t done before, or introduce a new emphasis for a season. Sometimes these things work really well, sometimes they flop.

Ultimately, mistakes provide an opportunity for evaluation, which in turn will unleash growth.

I’m going to guess you’re in one of two camps: you’re like me and cautiously move forward, rarely making mistakes, but also not innovating very well, OR you repeat mistakes over and over. I guess you could be in a third place and have this nailed down, to which I cheer you on.

But no matter where you find yourself, what’s your action step going to be? Do you need to do some evaluating? Do you need to take a risk on something? How can you improve? How have you learned from a recent mistake?

We all face an abundance of decisions during the day. Some of those are as simple as what to wear, what to eat, when to eat and so on. But some decisions take a little more intentionality and thought.

Make These Three Decisions Today To Unlock Your Leadership

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We all face an abundance of decisions during the day. Some of those are as simple as what to wear, what to eat, when to eat and so on. But some decisions take a little more intentionality and thought.

Today I would like to share with you a simple framework to help you unlock your leadership throughout your day. These are not the end all questions, but they do put us in a place where we are willing to meet the needs that arise around us.

  1. Is This A Situation Where I Need To Be First? Sometimes we meet an opportunity and find ourselves waiting for the response of others. But what if you need to be first? Be the first to send the text or email, to make the phone call, to start the conversation, to acknowledge the problem, or to meet the need? Sometimes leadership is as simple as making the first move and letting people around us respond accordingly. Where do you need to be first today?
  2. Is This A Situation Where I Need To Be Second? A few years back I was shown this video, and it has stuck with me. Every leader needs someone who will respond to their leadership. That includes people with whom you work. Maybe the best leadership move you can make today is to be the first person to go second, thus validating an idea or project. Where do you need to be second today?
  3. Is This A Situation Where I Need To Be Last? I am the type of person who hates to leave, so I always find myself hanging around to the end. But being last isn’t just waiting, it’s serving until the end. Be the last person working, the last person making effort or progress. Being last means you’re setting the tone for what finishing really looks like.

My theory is you do one, maybe two, of these really well. Maybe you like to take charge, or maybe you naturally respond to the leadership of someone else. Great. I’m glad you know that about yourself.

Now, push yourself a little further. Unlock your leadership and push yourself to work on the others. Which of these decisions does not come naturally, and how can you lean into that decision today?

This Might Be the Best Hidden Gem I’ve Found

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TLDR; Click here for a phenomenal interview on student ministry.

A few years ago I remember having a conversation with a friend who was a faithful reader of this blog. She constantly affirmed me when I needed it, but she was also honest (which was even better). I’m chuckling to myself this morning remembering one comment she made.

“Yeah, when you do your podcast week, I kind of just check out.”

And that was the end of my annual podcast week. Probably for good reason.

But today is an exception. Yesterday I stumbled onto a podcast interview with Doug Franklin, founder of Leadertreks.org, and it was solid gold.

I’m not going to wax eloquently about it, but if you’re in student ministry, take the time to listen to it. As a 19 year ministry veteran, I found myself consistently nodding my head in agreement, amazed at the insight Doug brought to the discussion.

If you’re not in student ministry, but are invested in the health of student ministers you know, Doug provides some incredible insight for you as well!

Enough talking. Here’s the link to the Total Ministry Makeover podcast Bonus episode with Doug Franklin.

The 2nd Question You Need to Answer for Leadership Growth

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Last October we had some work done on one of our flower beds. The bushes that were in the planter box were too big and breaking the box, so we had them taken out and replaced with some different plants.

Now, the fact that I can’t tell you what the plants were reveals a shortcoming in my master plan for beautifying my house, and conveniently enough, gives us a framework for today’s post. Funny how that works, right?

Last week I wrote about the first question you need to answer for leadership growth: “is the desired result worth the effort?”

For our planter box, the desired result (keeping the roots of bushes from destroying the box) was worth the effort. But I never asked the next question: am I willing to do what’s necessary to help the replacement plants grow?

The result? I arrive home most days and hope my new plants are just dormant and not dead. But they’re probably dead. I wasn’t willing to consider the effort it would take on my part to make sure the plants grew, which was a pretty low bar.

The same is true in our leadership journeys. Once we decide if the desired result is worth the effort, we stare face to face with the next question: Am I willing to grow as a leader?

This seems simple enough, but the reality is the two questions go hand in hand. Asking one without the other will only provide partial results – your planter box will be saved (1st question) but your new plants will die, OR you won’t actually do anything because you’re willing, but didn’t exert the effort.

Once again, ultimately the decision belongs to you. How will you answer?

The 1st Question You Need to Answer for Leadership Growth

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Do you ever chase mental rabbits? I’m genuinely curious. I *think* other people do this, but I don’t know for certain.

Yesterday, I chased a mental rabbit. But, first, a short preface.

My goal with this blog is simple. It’s the tag line at the top of the page: helping you grow your leadership influence. The framework for that growth is actually remarkably simple: the three questions. I truly believe if you 1) learn to ask and answer the three questions, and 2) teach others to ask and answer the three questions, you will grow your leadership influence.

So much of what I write is geared towards student ministers (who actually don’t read this very often, #fail), but I honestly believe anyone willing to grow can benefit from the ideas and concepts I share.

Ultimately, however, whoever you are and however you found this post, every single one of us has to answer one question before we embark on a leadership journey. Whether you’re debating whether or not you need to take steps to grow your own leadership, or whether or not you need to take steps to grow leaders around you, there is one question that should come before all other questions. Are you ready?

Is the desired result (leadership growth) worth the effort?

We can never grow our leadership influence in the long run without intentionality. It just doesn’t happen that way. No one stumbles into success. No team ever trips into winning a championship. Success takes intentionality. Growth requires a mindset shift.

So, is growing in your own leadership development worth the effort? Guess who gets to answer that question? YOU!

Or, maybe, you know the answer and you’re trying to decide if you should start developing the people around you, whether it’s teenagers or adults, or both. The same question applies. Is investing in the growth and development of potential leaders around you worth the effort? Surprise surprise, there’s only one person who gets to make that call: YOU!

If I may be so bold, let me nudge you in the direction of yes. The desired result (leadership growth for you and those you influence) is absolutely worth the effort. But you wouldn’t expect me to answer any other way, right?

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