Stretch Yourself

To lead well in life is to know how to stretch ourself. It can be one of the biggest frustrations as we learn to lead well in life. 

It’s about being happy and content with where we are but actively stretching ourself for the future we want. We have to learn to live in the now while preparing ourselves for the future. 

It’s about working hard and being loyal to those who lead us but stretching ourself and becoming the person we need to be for all that lies ahead. If we only live for a certain future we may begin to resent where we are now and become unhappy, angry and overly cynical too. 

It is to understand that the stretch you want will not always come from others, instead you learn to develop, grow, stretch and increase your capacity. We do need to be equipped by our leaders but our personal development is (obviously) our own responsibility. 

It’s about learning how to create your own stretch. Even if it doesn’t lead to greatness or the opportunity you want, that is irrelevant. In the process of the stretch you will have become a bigger person. Then God can use you anywhere, not just in the place of our own choosing.

What do you do to help stretch yourself?

Be Willing to Learn

To lead well in life is to be willing to learn. It is to acknowledge that we don’t know everything, that we are not always right and that every day there are opportunities for learning. 

After all, we spend most of our life faced with multiple challenges and situations, things that demand our attention and ability to make decisions. To do this and lead ourselves well through them involves a continuous willingness to learn. 

Learn from our mistakes. Don’t just give up. Instead ask yourself what can I learn from this experience?

Learn from other people. Older and younger. Glean wisdom from all sorts of people. 

Learn deliberately through reading books or listening to podcasts. On all sorts of things but especially in those areas we need some extra wisdom. 

Learn that failure doesn’t have to be fatal. It is a natural part of the journey. We have to learn how to fail forward. 

Learn that just because it’s tough doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Just because it’s easier doesn’t make it right either. Not everything in life will go the way we want it to or expect it to. 

Learn to trust God in everything. Often the toughest one of them all but for those of us with faith in God, probably the most important. 

Learn in all aspects of life but especially in regard to handling money, dealing with people, your own emotional intelligence and how to make difficult decisions. 

How well we learn will have an impact on how we can lead well in life. If we struggle to lead ourselves well, then our ability to lead others is going to be limited. 

What learning would you add to this list?

6 Benefits of Leaders Working Together

When leaders work together you don’t only get things done but there are other benefits too:

Synergy. You create something greater than the sum of all the parts. 

Momentum. You make forward progress. Not just little steps either but leaps forward. 

Appreciation. You see the value that each person brings to the table. 

Soaring with Strengths. You soar with your strengths while others soar with theirs. 

Vision is Accomplished. You see what you are dreaming for becoming a reality as you work on it together. 

Culture Created. You build the culture of the organisation rather than forcing it. 

I’m sure there is more. What would you add to the list?

Leadership Admin ~ 5 Things Which Help Me [When I Remember]

We all have unique gifts and personalities. Some of us love a good ‘system’ more than another but if we desire to be people of influence in any avenue of life then there are probably a few ‘admin’ skills which we should give our attention to.

Keep the Big Picture in View – I have the vision up on the wall. It reminds me every day what we are doing.

Remove Distractions – maybe give your phone to someone else and stop checking emails all the time. Even a good old-fashioned ‘Do Not Disturb’ on the door can help in getting that one thing completed. 

Know What’s Going On – good leaders have an awareness of what’s going. Capture thoughts, comments, ideas all the time. Be ahead of the game. Know what’s happening and what needs to happen too. 

Know What To Work On – occasionally the mother of all ‘to do lists’ will be written out and then attacked. Do what only you can do and work at trying to delegate the rest. 

Take Notes, Answer Emails & Ask Questions – always amazed at people turning up to meetings with no method of capturing what’s being talked about. Don’t rely on others for this. Great leaders note stuff down. They input when requested either by email or in person and they can think of questions too. 

Be a better leader and get some administration into your world. Whatever works for you, just work that out and increase your leadership leverage. 

What do you already use to help ‘admin’ you as a leader?

So, You Want to be a Leader?

Over the next few Monday’s I’ll share some thoughts around leadership which I consider important for me in my role. In fact they would be considered important for any leadership role. 

I take no credit for them as they are not new but they are all a good reminder to those of us who are leaders and those who want to be.

1. Leaders Develop

You want to be a leader – then you better get learning. 

For me this means 4 things – praying, seeking God, listening to other leaders and reading. 

They don’t happen by chance, I have to make time for them and that can involve sacrifice, inconvenience and a whole heap of challenge. 

I wasnt always good at them. I have had to be disciplined about them so I am not disqualifying myself from what God has for me, now and in the future. All are essential for wisdom, knowledge and understanding. 

Plus I think they help make me credible, after all, who wants to follow someone who is more of a ‘lone ranger’ and about do as I say, rather than do as I do?

What’s your thoughts around these development questions…

  • Where does your growth come from?
  • What are you reading?
  • Who have you given permission to speak directly into your world?
  • What has God been saying to you lately?
  • Why would someone want to follow you?

Here’s what I do when I notice I’m not learning…I challenge myself to set aside time to learn. I grab a book about leading well in life and read a chapter, take 15 minutes to pray, get a devotional on the go, ask another leader some questions about how they do life and glean some wisdom. 

How do you develop and grow?

Do You Not Trust Me? [Friday Leaders Post]

This has to be one of those niggling thoughts for a leader ~ do you not trust me? (Or maybe it’s just me)

Leadership experts would say that trust is hard won, and easily lost. That to build your trust account is more like a long-distance run than a sprint. I don’t disagree with these sentiments and have learnt a few truths about trust on my journey as a leader…

Trust can be frustrating. You work hard, you centre on the vision, you think about people, you serve others, you get stuff done and yet you still wonder why they don’t seem to trust you. 

That ‘one’ thing may still damage the trust. Maybe that’s the reason. Despite all the good you’ve been doing, that one thing is still enough for the question mark over your head. 

Trust needs to work both ways. Good leaders put their trust in others all the time, or at least they should. It may not be fair to say that because you’re trusting them, they must trust you but then again, trust should work both ways. 

You wouldn’t be where you are if you weren’t to be trusted. You would hope that if you were a serial untrustworthy person you wouldn’t be doing what you do. You’re either a really good fake or you’re doing alright. 

Renew the trust. To those who find it hard to trust a leader – we know we’ve made mistakes and got things wrong, who hasn’t. We’ve taken it on the chin and apologised too. Here’s to you renewing your trust in someone. 

Give your leader the trust that they need to know that you are with them.

How does the trust issue work for you?

Why Should People Follow You? [Friday Leaders Post]

follow-me

I have learned the hard way that leadership is about more than title, it’s about more than being in a role for a long time, it’s even about more than being the oldest person in the room.

Maybe we are in a leadership role or we have a desire to be a leader in the future. Wherever we find ourselves on the leadership journey it is important that we are willing to reflect on our progress.

I have made a quick list of things that I think every leader should reflect upon., especially would-be leaders.  They may not be worded brilliantly but I hope you get the sentiment behind them. This is the kind of self-awareness I would rather discover for myself, while praying and seeking God, than have some random person come up and tell me.

Take some time to think about which side of the sentence you fall on?

You want to be a leader who others will follow but are not willing to be the follower of your own leader.

You talk about being an example but are not an example. 

You talk about giving but don’t give. 

You are happy telling others what needs to be done but not happy to do anything yourself. 

You consider your own image and reputation to be more important than that of your team. 

You say it’s all about Jesus but when people see you their opinion would be that it’s all about you. 

You talk about being teachable but are unwilling to listen to others and learn. 

You talk about a need for grace but are unforgiving towards others. 

You talk about being a leader but don’t actually lead. 

You want to be judged by your intentions while judging others based on their actions. 

You are quick to complain about others but not quick to receive the same complaints made about you. 

You see the speck as a problem in another’s eye but avoid the honking great tree in your own.

You pay attention to the level of good character and integrity in other leaders while not paying enough attention to your own character and integrity as a leader.

Leadership isn’t easy, not should it be. Like anything we want to be successful at, it takes hard work, determination, perseverance, a lot of honesty and a willingness to learn and to change.

What might you add to the list?

Leaders Serve

Leadership isn’t about power or control or hierarchy, but is it about serving.

Whenever I take the lead, whenever I place myself in that position of authority, the key isn’t what I get to do, how important I can become or feel. Instead it’s about how willing I am to serve those around me. Leaders serve others.

Am I willing to help someone?

Am I willing to care for someone?

Am i willing to bend the knee for someone?

Jesus is my ultimate role model. All the power in His hands. All the authority in His hands. All the title in His hands. Yet, He stooped down, picked up a towel and washed His disciples feet.

We might respond and say ‘well that was Jesus, he was making a point, I couldn’t do that.’ We might justify our position, speak of rights and remind about title. If we do then I think we miss the point. I have all of these but they really count for nothing if I am not willing to lay them to one side, to humble myself, to ignore the inconvenience of it all, and serve.

God gives grace to the humble. He resists the proud.

To measure my leadership by a different yardstick isn’t always comfortable but that doesn’t make it any less important. As I lead, Lord, help me to serve.