Most leaders want to improve. I hear from leaders weekly who want to get better in their role. They want to improve so the organization they lead can improve.
As much as leaders desire improvement, many leaders wonder where they should go to grow.
Here are 10 things you can do today to improve as leader:
1. Read the Bible. I know you'd expect this from a pastor, but seriously, this is not a clever attempt to get you to read your Bible. (Although, you should, you know.) The Bible is a tremendous resource for leadership development. Jesus is the Master Leader. And there are plenty of other examples of men and women who, unlike Jesus, were sinful people like you and me. Of course, for me it's THE source of my foundation, but even if you aren't a follower of Christ, you can learn from the leaders in Scripture. The Bible doesn't shy away from the flaws within every leader either, so you can learn from people who recover from failure.
2. Read a leadership book. There are many good leadership books to choose from, but if you aren't sure where to start, choose a John Maxwell book. Or a Patrick Leoncini book. Or a Chip and Dan Heath book. Any of them. Safe choice every time. You might read THIS POST for some specific books I recommend. I wrote this post several years ago and there are many I would add to the list now. The key is to read. Leaders are readers. One frequent question I ask successful leaders is: "What are you currently reading?" It just takes one fresh idea to launch you into something golden.
3. Find a mentor. The best mentors in my life have been people I admire whom I have invited to speak into my life. This has included pastors, business leaders and politicians. I look for character first and then competency in an area in which I want to grow personally. (And, yes, there are politicians who qualify.)
4. Go to lunch with fellow leaders. I usually have two or three different groups of leaders I meet with periodically. These are peers. They are at similar places in their career of leadership. Some are pastors. Some are not. We learn from each other. Often I have to be the one to take the initiative. I'm game for it because I know the value.
5. Join a civic club. I am not in one, but have attended and spoken to them many times. It's a great option to put you with other leaders in the community. I have, however, always been active in the community. Most communities have formal leadership programs, often through the chamber of commerce. Ask around. There are leadership principles nearby if we are intentional to seek them.
6. Ask for input from those you lead. I promise the people you are trying to lead have suggestions. They won't often share them unless they are given permission. You have to be bold—and humble—enough to ask.
7. Analyze current conditions. Few leaders stop to see where they are currently. What's working? What's not? What needs tweaking? What needs killing? The best leaders don't have all the answers, but they have great questions. You usually won't know the answer to the question you don't ask.
8. Reflect on past mistakes. The best teacher is experience. Most likely you've had situations in the past God can use to prepare you for what you are currently facing. Or you've watched others make mistakes. Take time to reflect and learn. I keep a record of mistakes I've made. I blog about many of them.
9. Write some goals. It amazes me when I hear leaders who don't have written goals and objectives they are currently trying to achieve. Writing something puts it in your schema. You are more likely to have the goals at the front of your mind. When this happens, you'll be a walking sponge of new ideas to accomplish them. You will learn as you go because you are living with your current objectives closer to your mind. I keep an Evernote file so as ideas hit me I can quickly record them.
10. Subscribe to a few leadership blogs. People are talking leadership these days. Have you noticed? Participate. Listen. Contribute to the discussion. You'll learn along the way.
Growing as a leader isn't difficult. It does require an intentional effort on your part.
What are some ideas you have to improve as a leader today?
Ron Edmondson is the senior pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky. For the original article, visit ronedmondson.com.
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