7 Essential Keys to Leadership Growth: For everyone who wants to make an impact

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I have always been inspired by those who have made a great impact in the world.

And whilst you and I may never join them in the history books, we have an opportunity to improve our leadership and influence more people each and everyday!

It is my prayer that these keys would challenge and inspire you to be the best possible leader for the Lord in your lifetime! (I am trying to put these into practice daily as well!)

So lets dive in…

1. Everyone is a leader BUT the way you impact others is up to you.

New York Times best seller and leadership expert John Maxwell said “Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.”

I believe that without a doubt, whether we like it or not, everyone is a leader. You may have no strong desires or aspirations for leadership – but if leadership is influence, then every time you connect with someone, you will impact them.

This is both inspiring and sobering as it challenges us to take stock of how we impact those we connect with.

Diving Deeper

Do you need to adjust your thinking about your leadership?
How are you impacting those you connect with?

 

2. To lead effectively you must follow the RIGHT people

Everyone follows someone, and the choice of who you follow will drastically affect the trajectory of your life.

I have heard it said that you will become the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with, but also probably the 5 people you look up to and follow.

And for Christians, that should first and foremost be Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul, said ‘Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.’ (1 Corinthians 11:1)

He followed Christ, and was so confident in his pursuit of Christ that he encouraged others to watch his example and that would give them a good idea of what Jesus looked like.

Diving Deeper

Would you be able to encourage people to look at your Christlike example?
How are you doing on Jesus being your priority?
Who would be the 5 people you look up to the most? Are they wise choices?

 

3. Get good at leading yourself

You will not grow without a change of lifestyle, habits, goals and focus. Action rather than intention will affect who you become. We may have good intentions and incredible dreams of what we want to achieve for God, BUT it is only the habits that we practice on a daily basis over time (and they can be very small) that will have a great impact. A tiny movement of a rudder can turn a big ship.

Van Gogh once said “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.’

In 1Corinthians10vs31 Paul says that we can do EVERYTHING for God’s fame.

Your walk with God, your health, your rest, your calendar, your relationships, and the list could go on. Brother Lawrence was famous for saying you can wash dishes for the glory of God.

I am passionate about us seeing that each area of our lives is growing, transforming and becoming more like Christ. We might be excelling with health, but failing in relationships. Or being super productive in the world place, but not very servant hearted. It is SO important for us to grow in each area of life to be as effective as we can for the Lord.

And when it comes to leading yourself – get your character in check before anything else!

Norman Schwarzkopf once said “Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.” Jesus cares more about your character than your career and he desires your heart before your actions.

Diving Deeper

Take 30mins this week and assess your current habits
What needs to change to get where you want to be?

 

4. Be faithful with the small: Let God handle the rest

Leading is not about the amount of people who follow you or gaining recognition, it is about obedience with a servant heart. There is so much temptation to do things so that people notice, or as an opportunity to advance in leadership.

I love the challenges of Luke16vs10 and 1Peter5vs6-7 that encourages us to be faithful with what God has entrusted us with, to walk in humility and let God take care of the rest!

Jesus may have for you to be the next Billy Graham, or the next Mordecai Ham (the one who led Billy Graham to Christ but whose name many people don’t remember). How we are recognised in society is not important, but rather whether we have been faithful with what God has placed under our care.

I love this quote:

“Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.” Theodore Roosevelt

Diving Deeper

What has God entrusted you with?
Are you doing it to be noticed or faithfully for the Lord?
Do you need to stop worrying about advancement?

 

5. Never stop relying on God: Fix your eyes on things of eternal value

There are a number of times I have seen leaders with immense gifting not progress to where they could because they have begun to rely on their natural gifting (that is God given anyway!), instead of leaning into God.

Our lives are a mist, a vapour and everything we have is a gift from God. In years to come most people will not remember our names – but how we live for Christ will last into all eternity. Rely on Him each step of the way.

I absolutely love the passage below and pray that it would touch you in a special way as you read it:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians12vs9

Diving Deeper

Have you begun to rely on your own gifting? Turn that around today!

 

6. If you want people to follow you because they want to, serve them.

In the nation of Zimbabwe, and many others around the globe, people have used their leadership position for personal gain and have instilled fear in the people to ensure they obey. The result is followers who toe the line, but not because they see something inspiring in their leader.

Jesus Christ turned the world upside down. And he did it by serving others, and challenging us to do the same! (Matthew20vs26-28)

I love the words of Martin Luther King, Jr who said:

“Not everybody can be famous. But everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato or Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.”

On the camps I used to run, the leaders put toilet rolls in the loos, soap in the showers, they would serve the campers first, and allow the campers to do the activities first. The reason we did that was to train the leaders that true leadership is about service.

So get really good at serving! That is the best and most effective type of leadership!

Diving Deeper

How are you doing when it comes to serving others?
Where can you serve this week, this month, this year?

 

7. Growing in your leadership takes courage, and you will make mistakes: Learn from them.

Growing in your leadership means standing up for what is right even when it means going against the flow. Max Lucado said “A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.”

As you act on the new ideas and thoughts God gives you, there will inevitable be mistakes and learning along the way, but these can all help us to grow in our leadership. Abert Einstein once said that “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” and John F Kennedy said “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

Brian Houston – leader of one of the largest global churches called Hillsong says that ,’People often say the best leaders learn from their mistakes – I would say the best leaders learn from other peoples mistakes.’ Such words of wisdom!

Diving Deeper

When was the last time you made a courageous stand?
What new ideas and thoughts is God-giving you?
What can you learn from past mistakes?

 

Coming in to land…

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, and I pray in some small way it has given you some nuggets to work on as you grow in your leadership.

If you have any thoughts and comments, please do get in touch! I would love to hear from you.

In light of eternity,

Craig