Leadership Advice: Develop Where You Are

I’ve seen so many potentially great leaders waste opportunities because they were waiting for the perfect scenario before they began to develop as a leader.

A few scenarios:

They don’t enjoy where they are currently in life or work so they think there is nothing to be gained where they are now.

They aren’t in their dream job so they don’t look for the learning potentials in their present situation.

They don’t respect the leader they are supposed to follow so they close themselves off from learning anything  — whether good or bad — from him or her.

They don’t plan to stay in their current work location for long, so they fail to use the time for personal growth opportunities.

They don’t enjoy the people with whom they work, so they burn bridges and miss building future relational connections.

They are waiting for the “right” opportunity, so they never give their best effort to their current opportunity – not realizing their “off-paper” resume (what others say about them) is often more important than what’s on paper.

What a mistake!

Here are a few things I’ve learned by experience:

There is no guarantee your next location will be any healthier.

There is no guarantee your next leader will be any stronger.

There is no guarantee your next will like it any more.

If you don’t work well with the people you are currently working with — what if the problem is more you than them?

You may end up being in a worse opportunity. The grass, which appears greener on the other side, often turns out not to be.

Here’s my advice:

Take advantage of where you are now.

Learn all you can now and from every opportunity.

Grow where you are now.

Give your best now.

Build relationships now.

Develop where you are today.

Build your character. Increase your relational skills. Grow in knowledge. Learn from every experience. And, for best results, keep a journal of what you are learning along the way.

It will make you better prepared when you reach a job you do love, in a place you do love, with a leader you want to follow.

And, most importantly, it’s the right thing to do.

If you don’t see yourself in your current position for at least five years, or even one year from now — that’s okay — give the next whatever time you have the best you’ve got. Bloom where you’re planted.

There are lessons, principles and wisdom to be gained in every situation. Never waste those opportunities. 

Help all of us. Describe a time when you developed as a leader in an environment you didn’t enjoy.

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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  • ronedmondson says:

    So true! Thanks as always!

  • jimpemberton says:

    One thing I've learned is that while there are ideal situations, most situations are not ideal. Even when they are ideal, there are still imperfections. That means that we should expect difficulties and opposition, even from our closest associates.

    If you don't have the heart to strive to make the best of your current situation, you will likely buckle when you meet difficulties in what you entered into what you thought was going to be an ideal situation. In fact, if you are looking for that ideal situation, you will come to idolize whatever situation you are looking for rather than worshiping God through your service to him.

    Instead, it's good to understand that difficulties and opposition can be negotiated, and even embraced (sometimes they are well-warranted, and always we can learn something from them). Situations are never static and our presence in the situation changes the situation. We can be the positive influence the situation needs and possibly turn our current situation into that ideal that we would otherwise look for elsewhere. Once we realize this, we are better suited for assuming a better situation should the opportunity arise.

  • Brent Dumler says:

    Absolutely! About 7 yrs ago at my former church in the Northwest, I grew through some very difficult circumstances. I was on staff during a time when our Lead Pastor had to resign after a vote of no confidence from the Board. He had been there 14 yrs and many church members who had deep relationships with him were hurt. Some felt like the rest of the staff had 'made a plan' to have him fired. For about 7 months, I met weekly with individuals, teams, and small groups. This was (and still remains) the most unpleasant and difficult work environment I'd ever been in. How did this develop me as a leader? The Lord really worked on my heart. He taught me how to lead with compassion for the people who were now attacking me and my integrity. I also learned the value of being a light in an environment as long as you can and not jumping ship too soon.

  • ronedmondson says:

    Thanks Nikki! Hope you are well.

  • Becky
    Twitter:
    says:

    Great thoughts!

  • This will be the most inspiring post I have read in recent times. Thanks for the great reminder Ron. It was as if you have written this post personally taking my situation into account. Much needed this mental tonic currently.

  • nikkithecrazyazn says:

    Definitely needed to read this this morning, Ron.
    Great thoughts and thank you!

  • Thanks for the encouragement. Needed that today!

  • darrell says:

    I see myself in my job 5 years from now because I made a 5 year commitment. It was a really big step in my life, but I really trust that the position I am stepping into will develop me greatly as a leader, and the position itself will develop with me as I grow. Good post Ron.

    • ronedmondson says:

      A 5 year commitment is a long time these days. How long are you into the commitment? BTW, I love loyalty, even though it's not as common these days.

  • Ron, living this post has changed my life. I have grown incredibly by deciding to invest in my current position over simply surviving it. I've actually grown to love it. I like how Jon Acuff says in his new book Quitter, "Fall in like with a job you don't love". That's the best way to prepare for your dream job.

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