Since you’re reading this blog, more than likely you’re smarter than most and probably a life long learner. Since that’s the case, I don’t feel bad testing your knowledge right out of the gate. Are you ready? Okay, here we go. Who said the following? “I yam what I yam, and that’s all that I yam!”
If your brain just completed a quick Google search and pulled up an image of Popeye the Sailor, you win! In a 1933 cartoon, Popeye made this self observation to his sweetheart, Olive Oyl.
While Popeye’s quote takes me back to simple and slow Saturday mornings where I’d stay in my PJs (maybe the Popeye ones!) until at least noon, his quote isn’t one we, as leaders, should live by.
If you’ve been in leadership long, you’ve learned personal growth and change come with the territory. Having an “I yam what I yam” approach just will not work.
The reality of a good leader, the kind people genuinely want to work with, is that they accept change. I’ll even go further than that. Great leaders actually look for ways to grow and change in order to make those around them, themselves, their organization and ministry better.
Now don’t misinterpret what I’m saying. This isn’t an easy thing and typically it takes longer than we think.
For me, 2014 was a year where I personally grew more as a leader than any other year. Before I share more, I want to fast forward to today. I absolutely love the end result and all God revealed. God worked in and through me to help me see how I could be a better leader for a growing organization.
In the hopes of helping anyone walking through a similar season, I want to share a few things I learned.
There was incredible value in engaging other people to walk with me and support me. My elders, members of my team, my mentor and an executive coach we’re all engaged. Each had a different perspective and background that proved helpful. Don’t walk this road alone.
Learn about yourself.
Through the help of those walking with me, I learned more about how God “hardwired” me to lead and gained a better understanding of my areas of weakness. By continually learning how He created me to think, act, react, respond, process, communicate, etc., I became more self-aware. The more self-awareness we have, the better leader we’ll be.
Trust those around you.
Walking through this brought about times of self-doubt and caused me to question things. Without the trust I had in those who were engaged with me, I would have really, really struggled. I knew we were all in this together and we were all striving toward the same goal. Trusting in those you engage with truly makes a difference
Unlearn and re-learn and lead better.
With incredible support and a new level of knowledge, it was time for application. In some instances, I had to unlearn habits. Many of these seemed “hardwired,” but they were really areas for me to grow as the church grew. In other circumstances, I had to simply learn a new approach. This required me to step back and evaluate how I do what I do. Changing your approach to leading must change as your church grows and changes.
God used this season to ultimately bring me closer to Him as a Christ follower, husband, father and leader. Then as an added bonus, God used this season to help me view circumstances differently, increase my level of trust and unlearn default habits.
A greek philosopher, from Ephesus, named Heraclitus, is know for this famous quote: “The only thing that is constant is change.” And while that’s so, so true, I like one of his other quotes better. It says: “How can you hide from what never goes away?” As we all walk through seasons of personal growth and change, I encourage you not to hide from it. Lean into your heavenly Father and leverage your season for the sake of His kingdom.