Leadership Grows

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Our own personal leadership should always be growing and evolving.

On Tuesday I made the statement that we are not who we are today without who we were yesterday. I promise that’s not my attempt at philosophy.

Do you ever find yourself being content with where you are as a leader? I don’t think I’m alone in this. The struggle is always going to be “is this it, or can I grow some more?”

The answer, by the way, will always be yes, you CAN grow some more. But there’s comfort in what we know.

Don’t settle for comfort. Don’t settle for anything.

So, how can you grow in your leadership? Here are a few tips:

  1. Learn to ask good questions, and ask them a lot. I love being around people who can ask a question that inspires me. Find someone like that and learn to ask good questions.
  2. Find people who are doing something different, and learn. This is true of craftsmanship: if you want to learn how to sew, find someone who knows and learn. But it’s also true in leadership. You don’t have to lead like someone else does, but you can definitely learn from what they’re doing well and apply it to your life.
  3. Find the way you learn, and grow. I’ve blogged about this before, but find out what learning style you are, and get after it! Embrace your unique giftedness, and learn.

If you’re not growing as a leader, take some time to evaluate and ask the question “why”?

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Check it Out: Same Destination, Different Paths

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I cannot tell you the amount of time I’ve spent in my life moving cattle. But, that doesn’t mean we can learn something anyway.

That’s where this post comes in. Here’s a line:

Mapquest can’t map out a cattle drive.

Click over for the rest.

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Losing Teeth & Growing as a Leader

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Have you ever considered that you are not who you are today without who you were yesterday? Is that confusing enough for you?

Think about it like this: in the last few days, my youngest daughter has lost 2 teeth. This is a normal part of the growth process. Every adult has lost at least one tooth along the way. But, if we didn’t have our baby teeth come in first, those adult teeth would be a killer.

If you’re a parent, think about that for a little while. What if your baby never cut teeth? Then what do you blame the nasty diapers on? Oh, and there’s the whole chewing food thing that becomes essential for health.

So, in order to have our adult teeth come in, we have to have baby teeth come in first. This seems like a simple concept, and it is, but do you think about your leadership the same way?

If you’ve been leading for very long at all, I’m sure you can think of a time where you were cutting your baby teeth. It was undoubtedly a big deal at the time. Then, as you’ve grown, that baby tooth has fallen out and been replaced by another tooth, one that has stood the test of time.

One example would be the foolishness and arrogance of a minister in their early 20s. I knew everything at 23-24. Except, I didn’t. As that baby tooth of confidence (which was important at the time, but eventually taken too far) made the initial cut, it made the way for the adult tooth of realizing I don’t know everything and I need to ask more questions, and always be learning.

What’s your most recent tooth loss? How have you grown in the past few weeks as a leader? Are you willing to grow some more? What tooth do you need to pull?

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Everyone Wants to Have a Voice

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Very few things frustrate me more than feeling like my opinion does not matter. In fact, if I feel like someone is listening to what I have to say, I am generally okay with the outcome of a decision, even if it is not my decision.

I have seen this happen in rooms when planning summer camp. There will be a discussion, ideas being tossed about, and then I offer my opinion. Several times, I have offered a foolish or small-minded opinion or suggestion, and the conversation moved on. And I’m okay with that.

But the reality is that when I feel valued, I want what’s best for the situation.

The next question then becomes: if I feel that way when I’m not in charge, how am I treating people when I am in charge? Am I listening to those around me, or am I bulldozing ahead with what I want to do?

The challenge of leadership is knowing the people you lead and learning what speaks to them. Leadership, therefore, is not something we do in a vacuum. On the contrary, leadership is very much a process focused on people.

How are you connecting with the people you’re leading? You don’t have to bow to their every idea, but find what motivates them and watch your leadership influence increase.

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