I’ve limited my list of things I could do better to the top ones, and I’m feeling good about this one even though it made my list? Why? Because I’m pretty sure it’s on everyone’s list. What is it? It’s leadership. When it comes to leading other people, I could surely do better, but it’s more important than that….I NEED to do better.
I’ve read a bunch of leadership books, listened to leadership tapes, been to leadership seminars and taken classes on it and there’s so much more out there. I laugh at people who teach or write or speak and think they can boil leadership down to a few bullet points. It always sounds simple but putting it effectively into practice is never that easy, I don’t care what they say.
Here are a few of the things I’m working on to help me improve in this area:
- Listen a lot. Sometimes this is hard because I feel like I know what needs to be done and I just want to communicate that, but I need to listen first and make sure I understand where people are coming from and how to best communicate with them. I practice this a lot in my marriage and it keeps me out of trouble….listen first.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate again. I have this problem with assuming that people know what I’m thinking and know where I’m going and then I get frustrated because they haven’t read my mind (hold on, that sounds like a woman). I’m really working at clearly communicating expectations again and again. Since I think about it so much though, it’s easy to fall into the trap that everyone else must have too. I’m learning you can’t assume people know anything. If you want them to, you need to communicate it to them yourself (after you’ve listened to them) and do it over and over.
- Stretching. No, not the calisthenic type before you work out, but the mental type. I read blogs, magazines and books that challenge me, push me and stretch me to consider different approaches or solutions. I pick people’s brains – which is even more stretching if it’s people that are not like me. Force yourself to think different or you might end up thinking you know everything.
- Seek wisdom. One of the best things I’ve done is hired a coach. This is someone who asks me questions to help me process from different angles, leadership decisions that will effect the health and growth of the church. It’s not that I think I’m too stupid to figure it out on my own, it’s that I know I am and there’s wisdom in a multitude of counselors. Sometimes all it takes is someone asking the right question.
- Apologize. Nobody likes to be wrong and that includes me. But inevitably, I make mistakes and oftentimes it effects other people. When that happens, I work to find them and apologize for my mistake. And I don’t stop at saying I’m sorry, I ask them for their forgiveness even if it’s a so called “little thing.” It seems to me that raises the bar.
Like I said, this is what I could do better and what I’m working on when it comes to leadership. Any ideas that you’ve run across which have really helped you?