10 Steps to Become a Better Leader in 2020

Will you push yourself to become a better leader this year? (Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash)

I want to be the best leader I can be. I know I'm not there yet, and I still have much room to grow.

So, as I wrote this post, I wrote it as a student more than a teacher. Here are some steps I'm taking to improve as a leader in 2020:

  1. Develop a "leadership development" team. Enlist two to three people you respect, who know you well and who will speak truth into your life—and ask them to evaluate your leadership at least twice a year (my preference is once per quarter). Listen non-defensively, and learn from them.
  2. Reach out to leaders you respect. Some will be inaccessible, but you never know until you ask. Take the risk—send an email or make a phone call. Ask at least this simple question: "What three things have you learned that make you a better leader?"
  3. Read biographies or autobiographies of great leaders. You can learn much from historical leaders. I look for books that are (a) brief, because I'm busy, and (b) focused, because I want to learn about leadership. Do a Google search for "best leadership biographies" to find some options.
  4. Spend time with your co-workers. Isolation does not make a good leader. In fact, it's dangerous. The quality time you spend with your co-workers will build them up and strengthen your team.
  5. Record and review one of your presentations. Regardless of your role, I assume that you preach a message, teach a class, lead a meeting or spend some time in front of folks you lead. Video-record it, and review it with someone you trust.
  6. Serve somebody. Leadership is indeed about being in front, but it's also about being a servant. Choose today to do something for someone, and do it in such a way that few people know about it. Serve someone humbly and quietly.
  7. Affirm somebody. No leader who succeeds serves alone. Go out of your way to say "Thank you" and "I appreciate you" to someone today.
  8. Get more training in some area. Go to a conference. Take a free online class. Start doing another degree. Do something that pushes you to grow.
  9. Take responsibility for failures, and point to others for successes. Good leaders don't throw others under the bus, nor do they steal glory from others. They promote others before themselves.
  10. Pray 15 minutes a day about your leadership. Focus on nothing but being the leader God wants you to be. Confess your failures. Repent of any sin issues. Every day, ask God to make you a better leader.

What else do you do to be a better leader?

Chuck Lawless is dean of doctoral studies and vice president of spiritual formation and ministry centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he also serves as professor of evangelism and missions. In addition, he is team leader for theological education strategists for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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