Effective Leaders are learners. Many years ago, I wrote what I had been learning about leadership; hopefully they can be of encouragement to you as you think about the leadership role that God in which God has allowed you to serve:
Leaders are learners…Those who are not are not leaders for long….
We live in an information society so leaders need to “traffic” in the currency of today’s world…leaders who are not growing and learning will not be leaders for long. Jim Harrington, the former District Missionary of the Union Baptist Association in Houston said that the 4 skills for the 21st century leader are: Personal Mastery (knowing who God made you to be), Developing Vision (ability to discern God’s future for the ministry or organization you lead), Communicating Vision (ability to dynamically communicate God’s vision for your ministry) and Shepherding Vision (the ability to shape the organization you lead in accordance with God’s vision)
Leaders must have a clear leadership development discipline. We should be learning and growing in our relationship with Christ and our leadership capacity on a sustained basis. Growing in our understanding of God’s Word, reading books, listening to tapes, attending seminars, investing in personal mentorship with other growing leaders are “baseline” activities for those who want to lead with excellence in the Body of Christ.
Leaders are visionaries….This doesn’t mean they see only the future and not the present. This means they see the future AND connect the present to it…
Bert Nanus said that “The right vision is an idea so powerful that it literally jump-starts the future by calling forth the energies, talents, and resources to make things happen” (Nanus, Visionary Leadership, 1992). George Barna said that “vision is a clear mental image of a preferable future, imparted by God to his chosen servants, based upon an accurate understanding of God, self, and circumstances”(Barna, Without a Vision, the People Perish, 1991). Leaders are visionaries to be sure. However, that doesn’t mean that leaders see only the future without regard to the present. Leaders understand the need to connect the present (the “what is”) with the future (“what can be”). One of my favorite people on this subject is Christopher Robin in “Winnie the Pooh” who says “Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it’s not all mixed up”
Leadership and management are really NOT at odds with each other as you may have heard. The difference is in what they manage. Managers manage process (making sure things get done the right way). Leaders manage values (making sure the right things get done). Both leadership and management are essential…leadership without management leads to chaos; management without leadership leads to stagnation.
God has long used leaders like Moses and linked them with managers like Aaron so that God’s people could go into His future together.
What are you learning lately? How is God helping you in your leadership role to connect the present with His vision for the future?