These High-Impact Leadership Lessons Will Transform Your New Year

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Editor's Note: This is part two of a two-part article presenting nine high-impact leadership lessons from 2020. Click here for part one.

5. People are hungry for a spirit of optimism and hope.

People became increasingly discouraged as they heard continual predictions of bad things to come.

There will always be big problems to solve. That's what leaders do, and we must lead with hope and belief that they are solvable.

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I remember the first time I locked eyes with another leader this past spring and said, "You know, we're going to get through this." It stopped him in his tracks. That's all he needed. He tapped back into what he knew to be true.

It wasn't pie in the sky, and I didn't pretend to have all the answers; I just know we're going to make it to the other side.

People need to hear that over and over again.

Your optimistic view of the future is critical to your leadership. Keep in mind that optimism doesn't mean you won't have problems; it means there will be solutions.

6. Joy is a choice.

Some might attempt to steal your joy, and life can throw tough things your way, but here are three helpful sources of joy:

Gratitude: When you're genuinely grateful for all you have, you feel blessed and a sense of joy within.

— The Holy Spirit: God's Spirit promises a deep and abiding sense of inner joy that is always available to you.

— First things first: Joy comes from doing hard things first, for the right reasons, to benefit others.

7. Resilience is a game-changer.

Here's a short excerpt from a recent post:

2020 is a year in which it's easy to give up, and that's different than quitting.

Far too many leaders have given up, resigned in their hearts, but still go to work every day. They go through the motions but have no resilience to bounce back from the tough stuff that life throws their way.

Resilience is like a leader's superpower. Part of your success is that you just keep going; you don't give up.

(For more on the topic of resilience [how to develop it], see chapter 10 in my book Confident Leader.

8. Adaptability is crucial for progress to be achieved.

2020 has been a year of continually adapting to the rapid changes around us.

Adaptability has been essential to navigating this season of crisis, and it's a core component to continued success in leadership.

You might pivot and change because you just don't have a choice. But the best way to accept the challenge of a difficult situation and leverage the opportunity for the best results is to personally adapt to what is happening around you.

Continually think, innovate, experiment and improve. And always include measuring the success of each endeavor by how much progress you made toward the vision.

9. Inner peace is not based on what you can control.

Under stress, we attempt to control more than usual to compensate for the inability to actually control anything of substance.

The more you attempt to control what you cannot control, the more peace will elude you.

In fact, we unknowingly attempt to control little things, which robs our peace even more because, at some level, we know that doesn't really change anything for good.

Soul-level peace that produces a non-anxious presence comes from knowing God is in control and our job as leaders is to focus on what we can change, not fret about what we can't change.

The peace we all long for, even in stressful times, is a result of letting go, not grasping tightly. That doesn't mean you don't care; it merely acknowledges that peace is a state of being, not about possession or achievement.

Dan Reiland is executive pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as executive pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as vice president of leadership and church development at INJOY.

This article originally appeared at

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