I think the best leaders expand their influence and leadership potential by continuing to learn and grow in experience. It takes an intentional effort to improve as a leader. You can read books, follow blogs and Tweets, attend conferences, and hang out with other leaders. These are all good practices to improve as a leader.
In my experience, however, my leadership influence grows the fastest when it grows through the people I’m supposed to be leading. Let me explain.
Here are five ways I expand my leadership potential:
In Romans we find a warm word of thanks from Paul for his co-workers Priscilla and Aquila. “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.” (Romans 16:4)
As we are in transition between the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, I want to take this opportunity to give thanks for you and to offer a holiday greeting.
All of us have them, difficult people. This is not new. Leaders and writers of the Biblical era also faced difficult people. While reading this morning I was reminded of one such situation. When John wrote 3 John, he mentions one person with whom he had to contend.
“Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (I Timothy 4:12)
When attempting something I’ve never seen done, I need to look over the shoulder of someone doing it. I don’t learn how to do hard things just by reading plans.
The Air Force has instructor pilots. They sit beside the student in the cockpit, showing how it’s done, and then giving hands-on instruction when the pupil takes the stick.
The educational system has interns who sit in the classrooms of veterans and learn from them. Other occupations have apprentices, associates and trainees.
Several years ago I became a Director of Missions in Southwest Louisiana. A Director of Missions works with a group of churches (in my case 46) as an encourager, adviser, servant, pastor’s friend and resource provider. When I accepted this position I had the impression that most church/pastor conflicts are because of dysfunctional churches. Since that time I have come to believe otherwise. Now, I realize, church/pastor conflicts can be a two way street.
I’ve been there. I’ve faced burnout and frustration in my work. Thankfully, I’ve never “bottomed out,” but I’ve felt near the bottom in my spirit. More than that, I’ve walked through these times with dozens of other leaders.
I’ve learned there are some common indicators that a leader is heading toward burnout. The sooner we can recognize them, the sooner we know to reach out for help.
Here are seven indicators you’re heading for burnout.