A Leader must always re-invent himself. He must take risks to keep the passion alive. ……… ……………………….A simple thought, but hard to do.
If you’re reading this then you are a leader or have the desire to lead. Today in my studies I came across three factors a leader needs to consider if he or she feels called to lead. These factors as defined by John Maxwell in his book, “Leadership Promises for Every Day” (2003) are opportunity, ability and desire. Let’s look at all 3 factors briefly.
Opportunity: opportunity is about timing. How often are we presented the opportunity to make a difference in our job, our community or place of worship? If the right opportunity presents itself and you feel you can make a difference, even though you may feel anxious, jump at the opportunity to lead. Maxwell would caution you and state that you have a better opportunity of success if the opportunity presented is aligned with your ability and your desire.
Ability: ability is all about competency. Do you have the knowledge, skills and talents to lead a specific project or to fulfill a need? The opportunity is there; is the competency aligned with the opportunity? So what’s next? John Maxwell would argue that the desire must be present.
Desire: desire is all about passion; a hunger to meet a need. It is not always about being in charge or leading, but it is all about a strong desire, a hunger, to meet a special need or needs.
Let’s pause for a moment. What are the needs in your job, your community, your house of worship? Are you passionate about meeting those needs? Do you feel you have the competency, despite the “butterflies” to help meet those needs and is the timing right. If you answered yes to all 3 then you are the right person to lead the charge to close that service need gap.
Oh, you have been here before. You have allowed pitfalls and potholes steal those opportunities in the past. Laurie Beth Jones in her book, “The Path” (1996) have described those pitfalls and potholes as feeling of inadequacy; as listening to the accusations of others; as small mindedness, fear impatience, apathy or just old fashion procrastination and distractions. I say forget about those pitfalls and potholes, especially if you have all the ingredients (opportunity, ability and desire) aligned. We need you; especially in today’s world. Strong active leadership can invigorate our economy and help meet the needs in our community. Can we count on you to say, “Here am I! Send me.”
As I was preparing training slides for my next presentation on leadership, I came across two concepts that struck a chord in me. The first concept was coined by Dr. Myles Munroe in his book entitled Becoming A Leader (1993). He used the phrase “out there.” He writes, “While we often think of leaders as “out there,” we need to look within ourselves. Each one of us is a leader who can affect the people and institutions in our own spheres of influence” (p.13).
When there is a just cause; whom do you look to? Is there anyone better than you “who can get the job done so said that inner voice? Often the right person is our self. We need to look within ourselves to get the job done, to improve the employees’ morale, to right the wrong. Who do you have influence with; what changes have been made in the past because of what you said or did? You can do it again. Leaders are not people “out there.” Leaders are ordinary people who accept or, due to circumstances, are thrust into taking charge; and in the process, “bring forth their latent potential, producing character that inspires the confidence and trust of others” (Becoming A Leader, 1993, p.12).
Now pause and think for a minute. What about that time when you were thrust into a leadership role. Think of the people you influenced. What about those changes that were made due to your efforts and the efforts of those you led. Because of that special journey, you are still seen as a leader and are often called to lead the next adventure whether it is on your job, your neighborhood, a civic affiliation or in your faith community.
This brings me to the second concept which was coined by John Maxwell. He stated that leadership is a journey. It is a “journey that starts where you are, not where you want to be” (The 360 Degree Leader, 2005, p.274). Often times we want to get ahead of ourselves. We want to be the CEO of the company, the president or chair of a particular group or the one who will lead the next march on City Hall or Washington.
Maxwell writes that “you need to have your eyes fixed on your current responsibilities, not the ones you wish to have someday” (p.275). If you are not successful at your current level how can you assure others and yourself that you will be successful and will be “a qualifier for leading at the next level” (p.274)? As discussed in an earlier post, Henry and Richard Blackaby believe that prior small successes can be a good sign post for emerging leaders to take on greater responsibilities and that these successes, along with the person’s life experiences, can greatly affect the kind of leader a person will become (Spiritual Leadership, 2001).
Have you been there; I know I have? You want the larger role, but at the same time, there are unfinished businesses at your current level of responsibilities. If we take care of our present responsibilities, the future will take care of itself. Greater responsibilities and yes, sometimes a new title, more money, different stressors and headaches will come with your prized endeavor; but it is not your time yet. You have current responsibilities to take care of.
Leadership is a journey and like all journeys we pack our essentials to assure a safe, but fun trip. But like many journeys there are surprises along the way. Those surprises will not deter us if we do our homework before hand. As it relates to leadership, the leader must know where he wants to go. The leader must have a vision; a vision that usually comes from the leader’s conviction. On this journey, will the leader have followers? The leader needs people who will follow her, protect her and help her realize her vision. The leader and followers are confident about this new journey because of the leader’s success with previous journeys.
So we see that leadership is not a one time effort. It is a life time journey often prompted by our inner voice to right the wrong, to improve job processes, to enhance our neighborhoods and to strengthen our faith community.
So are you ready to listen to your inner voice and begin your next journey? We are counting on you.
Do you know your Leadership Quotient? I didn’t know mine until last week. I went to a leadership seminar on January 17, 2009 entitled: “Am I The Leader I Need To Be?” The seminar was offered by Harold C. Lloyd. In fact he has a book written with the same title. The seminar is chocked full of information and is a low risk means to obtain your Leadership Quotient. You get to evaluate yourself in several areas, to include: vision and passion, execution, communication, honesty, mentoring, self-development and many other leadership qualities. To obtain your Leadership Quotient or to learn more about Harold C. Lloyd, you can go to his website at: hlloydpresents.com.