Thursday, May 14, 2015

When leaders stop learning they also stop leading

Leaders often inadvertently stop leading even though they think they are leading. After all they have the title and the responsibility. And authority. But, Leadership is not about those three things. It is helping the ministry move forward in clarity toward a defined goal and meet the new challenges of the day. 

None of that happens without the leader continually growing personally and professionally all the time. When leaders stop learning and growing they also stop leading. 

Consider:

The environment around us changes continuously and unless we respond to those changes we quickly become irrelevant in our methodology. Our theology does not change but our methods of ministry need to. Not only does our environment change but the needs of an organization change at different seasons and phases of growth. Moving through those times of transition takes new thinking and new skills that if not learned plateau the ministry.

In addition, those who report to us take their cues from us. If leaders are not always pushing forward to learn new things others probably will not either. So stagnation at the top leads to stagnation throughout the organization. This leads to the best people leaving (staff or in the church congregants) and over time it leads to decline. 

What keeps leaders from growing? Often our busyness keeps us from focusing on what is most important. Thus we can live with the illusion we are leading (we are doing things) but we are not actually helping the ministry move forward but are rather managing the status quo.

I believe another reason is often laziness. It is easier to manage the status quo than to figure out what comes next and how to get there. 

Finally, pride can keep us from seeking help from others. But none of us grow without the help of others. Often leaders need help to grow but do not ask or take the initiative. Pride makes us believe we are better than we are. Humility leads us to seek growth as we realize how much we don't know. 

Pride, laziness and busyness all conspire to keep us from learning new things. If we are going to go the distance it is a lifelong process with great intentionality and purpose. Pursue growth and the organization will grow. When we don't we actually stop leading.

Posted from Guatemala

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