Monday, 10 October 2016

Assessing what you need to be a great leader

As I start this new season of leadership, I have a strong desire to do this job well. I recognise that my current leadership skills have limitations and will need to grow extensively. Perhaps you can relate to my sense of not even knowing what I don't know yet. There are some elements that are easy for me to identify, like conflict resolution. Other areas I have glimpses of but cannot define as yet. How do you know what to work on if you can't even figure out what you need to learn?

I am far from having all the answers for this right now. I realised that I can only start with what I know and have open eyes and ears to learn as I go. Starting from a point of getting to know yourself and how you operate seems to be a logical place to start. That is what I have been doing- exploring my personality, strengths and weaknesses through assessments, reading and listening to podcasts. I have learned so much about myself. If you are like me and feeling overwhelmed with all that you have to learn, start with yourself. 

Learning more about yourself is only a starting point. We can only go so far on our own. Others are often able to see things that we can't. I am working up the courage to ask those close to me to speak into my leadership skills. I want to foster a culture where those I have influence over can come to me with areas they feel need improvement. This requires wisdom and discernment on my part to see truth in what is spoken and deal with unrealistic expectations and the tendency in me to people-please. I have also started with a mentor to have another set of wise eyes looking at my life. 

We are blessed to live in a society that has ample access to resources. I am attending leadership conferences, reading books, listening to podcasts and spending time reflecting on that learning. This is in my nature. I process deeply and slowly. Spending time learning about the multitude of general skills in leadership will hopefully help to highlight specific areas I need to focus on. My challenge is to give time to this in the midst of the day to day work and the pull of distraction.

Leadership can only be done well with a mindset of life-long learning. We must grow and develop our skills as we go. I am in a position where I have head knowledge about many leadership skills. The application of that knowledge in the real world of your role is the key. I am up for the challenge. Are you?

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This series is part of the Write 31 Days challenge. You can read what others are contributing here

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  1. This is such great advice! We have been involved in leadership in the church (or Body) for over 20 years. But about a year and a half ago we stepped up to be pastors. Starting with ourselves and knowing who we are --individually and as a couple-- has been our saving grace! Great post!

  2. I love the picture of Jesus who showed that a leader is a servant. Thanks for sharing your heart today.

  3. Thank you for these words, Jo! I have had my share of leadership roles in church, and minimal in the work force. Now that I am retired, and want to live a more flexible life, I've stepped aside from several of them. Yet, if called, I am always ready to step back in!!

    Following along with the write31days posts; mine is up to Oct. 6th but am hand-writing the rest due to an issue with my blog! Still writing; trying to catch up on reading!!

  4. This is a great tip but tough -- leadership puts us in such a vulnerable position! It seems like everyone can see our every flaw. This is a such a good series.