I hear from leaders weekly who want to get better in their role. They want to improve so the organization they lead can improve. I believe if the desire is there everyone can grow as a leader.
As much as leaders desire improvement, many leaders wonder where they should go to grow.
10 ways you can grow as a leader:
Read the Bible
I know you’d expect this from a pastor, but this is not a clever attempt to get you to read your Bible. The Bible is a tremendous resource for leadership development. Jesus is the Master Leader.
There are plenty of other examples of men and women who, unlike Jesus, were sinful people like you and me. It includes the stories of real people navigating real life, so even if you aren’t a follower of Christ you can learn from the leaders in Scripture.
Plus, the Bible doesn’t shy away from the flaws within every leader, so you can learn from people who recover from failure.
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 to start. Or a Patrick Leoncini book. Or a Chip and Dan Heath book. Any of them. Safe choice every time. (You could even read my book.) 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.
Find a mentor
The best mentors in my life have been people I admire and 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.
Hang out with fellow leaders
Leadership Network was founded under this principle. The answers are usually in the room if you put the right people in the room.
I usually have 2 or 3 different groups of leaders I meet with periodically. These are peers. They are at similar places in their career of leadership. When I served actively as a pastor some were obviously pastors. But some were not. We learn from each other. And often I have to be the one to take the initiative first. I’m game for it, because I know the value.
Join a civic club
I am not in one currently, 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.
Ask for input from those you lead
This can be a humbling option, but 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 enough to ask.
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.
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. Many of the things I write about here I learned from them.
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 constantly have something on which to jot down notes with me so as ideas hit me I can quickly record them.
Subscribe to a few leadership blogs and podcasts
People are talking leadership these days. 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.