Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What I know about leadership today that I didn't know then

Learning to lead well is something that is learned the hard way over time. I took time recently to consider what I know today that I didn't know well enough as a young leader. It is a long list which simply says how little I knew about good leadership as a young leader. The raw stuff was there but there was and is a lot to learn. If you fit that young leader category, these may be things to consider.

  • Many issues are not as urgent as I think they are. Relax and don't equate all issues to have the same urgency. 
  • Flexibility is critical for good leadership. Most of life is not black and white and compromise is critical in getting things done. 
  • Necessary or desired changes do not need to take place immediately. As a leader I can only move as fast as those I lead can follow. I need to be patient and sensitive in leading through change.
  • I don't need to take differences personally. It is about the mission, not about me. Pushback and disagreements are healthy as long as we can come to healthy solutions.
  • The key to everything is relationships. It pays to develop relationships even with those who disagree with me. Mutual respect and understanding comes through relationship.
  • Anxiety is wasted energy. Don't worry about things that one cannot control. The worst is unlikely to happen anyway.
  • I can be wrong and it does not hurt my leadership. Develop a "noting to prove and nothing to lose attitude" and one gains freedom.
  • Just be myself. I cannot lead like anyone else. God made me who He made me and I need to lead from who He made me to be. Learn to be comfortable in one's own skin.
  • Don't die on anthills! It is painful and unnecessary. There are some hills to die on but not very many. Be wary on which one you take your stand on.
  • Don't judge motives. We usually don't know what they are and almost always when we attribute poor motives to others we are wrong.
  • Relationships are everything. Influence comes through relationships so press into those hard with those one needs to work with even if they seem to be detractors. 
  • My own inner life must take precedence over all other things. The healthier I am emotionally, spiritually and relationally, the better my leadership. The inner life always comes first.
  • I don't need to change the world - and cannot. What God does want me to do is influence my small corner of the world.
  • God is sovereign. When I carry around great anxiety and worry I am trying to do His job. I can relax knowing that He is always ultimately in control.
  • Not all things get fixed this side of heaven. God is always sovereign but He does not force people and there are situations and people issues that I will not be able to fix.
  • Humility is at the core of all good leadership. Arrogance and thinking more of myself than I should will get me into trouble. We all overestimate our gifts and importance and underestimate our faults and shadow side.
  • Emotional intelligence matters a lot. The more I grow my EQ, the better my relationships, leadership and personal health.
  • God died for the Bride and not the brand. God wants me to focus on His kingdom and not my particular evangelical brand. I should appreciate all of his players and not just a few.
  • I don't need to compete but to be faithful. I am not in competition with others but rather called to be faithful to what He wants me to do. 
  • It is OK that not everyone likes me. In fact, if everyone likes me I am probably not leading well. Popularity is not the end goal of leadership.
  • I am only good at a few things. It is how God created me (Ephesians 2:10) and it is why I very much need others around me. Their gifts make up for my many deficits.
  • I can never give enough credit away. As a leader I give credit to the team and take responsibility for the failures. It is what leaders do.
  • God can guard my reputation. Which means that I don't need to - even when people are obnoxious or hurtful.
  • If I am threatened by others that is my problem not theirs. The question is "why do they threaten me and what does that say about my own inner health?" To the extent that I lack personal security I need to press into those EQ issues.
  • Perceived failures are usually just opportunities for growth. What we define as failure, God is simply using to grow us into who He wants us to be.
  • God can superintend my ministry path. He knows where I will be most useful and influential. I don't need to seek success but be faithful to where He has called me.
  • Position does not equal influence. I can have as much influence as He wants me to have from whatever position or platform God' gives.
  • Success must be measured from His perspective rather from the world's perspective. God does not measure success the way the world does. My job is to use the gifts and opportunities He puts in front of me for maximum Kingdom advantage. 


Ed Applegate said...

TJ - Thank you for the wisdom in this post. So much to digest. Just wondering...how do you grow your EQ?

Greg Carter said...

Well said. A fine post.
Could easily be used over several mentoring sessions.