Whether it has been me having a hand in helping something grow, or watching something grow, I have made an observation.
There is a consistent problem that arises in the growth cycle of any organism….. It comes to a peak. It’s not that the peak is such a bad thing, in fact the peak always brings celebration. The trouble is that directly after the peak comes the decline; furthermore, you don’t recognize that you have peaked until after you have already started the decline.
So here is something I think you can do to turn the decline into a new trajectory for a new peak. CHANGE. Change how you do things, change what you read, change your environment, you may just need to change everything. You should always be willing to scrap your model of how you do things.
The trouble with growth is it will leave you in a spiraling decline if you are not willing to change.
I have been in some form of accountable leadership since I was 20 years old, most of it outside the church. I will be 33 in 4 days. 13 years isn’t a great deal of time, but it is enough time to accumulate a little bit of experience, and learn a lot even though I have a lot to learn. I have been in a lot of different positions, and I have learned something different in all of them. Time in service management taught me the need to define what you are good at, and what you are not good at as well as the scramble to step up, and grow into something you weren’t quite ready for. Time as assessment coordinator taught me that qualitative measures are just as important as quantitative measures especially in terms of people. Team leader, manager, coordinator, etc all of these positions which were outside of the church taught me something. However, the time I have spent learning from Jesus and the people He has placed in my life, and learning to be the person He wants me to be, and discovering who/how/what He wants me to lead has taught me more than any of those positions.
So here are 3 big points.
- Doing what you are good at is what adds the most value to the leadership team, the people under you, and the organization. Finding yourself in a position that requires you to work from your weaknesses is detrimental to you, and everyone involved. I’ve been there. Don’t seek positions that are not a good fit for you because you want money, authority, or anything else. Money, and authority lose their appeal when you are miserable. Jesus doesn’t have weaknesses, but the 12 did, and so do you. Do, and continuously grow in what you are good at, and align yourself with people who have strengths where you have weaknesses.
- Authority does not equal competency. Just because you have authority over someone does not mean you have higher competency than they do. Just because you are over a department does not mean you understand the operations of that department as well as the people who work in it everyday. Don’t just do everything yourself. Let those who do it better than you carry it out. When making decisions lean heavily on the advice of those who are making that thing work everyday. Better yet empower them. I’m not talking circular, and redirection, until you get them to do what you want. I mean actually empower them. Remember you have weaknesses, look to others with competency, and look for other perspectives. Most are of the persuasion that one singular person has to have veto power. I tend to disagree. No need to riot or anything, I am just not sold on that yet. 2 are better than 1, a 3 strand cord is not easily broken, and 5 are even better. (Apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher) Each perspective brings a fuller picture, and a better decision.
- Every leader needs someone to follow. Being in a battle by yourself is a terrible place to be. NFL quarterbacks are elite, and they have to be good on field leaders; however, they all follow coaches. Remember authority does not equal competency. The coaches are not better quarterbacks, but they do have a different/broader perspective. It is invaluable to have someone to turn to, and lean on when you are not sure what the next step is, or when you are struggling.
Three condensed points from someone who still has a lot to learn, but is able to pull from some of my experiences, and what I have learned so far.
Live your life Kingdom first!
No leader is greater than the people who serve under their influence.
No organization is greater than the people who serve within it.
Your ability to reach is limited by the strength and balance of your core.
Loyalty does not always mean agreement.