Every leader wants to be a great, but few are willing to do what’s necessary to grow. Most leaders are satisfied with settling for average. Great leaders are willing to push the envelope and go further than ever before. Personal growth is never accidental but planned out and cultivated in a leader’s life. Here are 5 specific ways you can grow…
1. Have an “in-me-first” attitude
Exceptional leaders know ideas are a dime a dozen. The best kind of leadership is personal illustration. Be a living representation of what you’re asking people to do. Then go on ahead of them to the place you’re asking people to go. When you live what you lead, you lead with authority. If it doesn’t work in you, be careful of what you ask your followers to do. Jesus never asks us to do anything he hasn’t already done himself.
2. Allow mentors to speak into your life
You can learn from good and bad examples. There’s never an excuse to not learn. Ignorant leaders are stupid leaders, because they never learn from the successes or failures of those who’ve gone before them. You’re not that smart, and when you’re young it’s easy to assume you are. Get wisdom, direction, insight, and correction from those who have gone further than you. Your longevity and fruitfulness is connected to how teachable and moldable you are.
3. Don’t let your context control your ceiling
Don’t wait for it to be asked of you, instead set the pace by your constant drive to be better. If you know you have more in you, but it’s not asked of you, don’t let that be your excuse. It takes time and personal fruitfulness for the leaders above you to know you have a certain skill set or ability. This can stress you out or limit you, or you can simply keep working at your gift. Most leaders are too lazy to work on their gift, and blame their community for why their gift isn’t recognized. If you want to grow your gift keep working at it; don’t blame anyone else for why you aren’t growing.
4. Turn your negative life-stuff into the fuel of perseverance
When someone unfairly criticizes you, use it as an opportunity for self-assessment. When someone hurts you or what you’re about, use it as an opportunity “take up your cross.” Don’t be an entitled leader who expects everyone to treat you with kid gloves. Expect some scars, and know that you can use the hard seasons of life to get better, not bitter. When someone slanders your reputation, choose to forgive and show restraint. Return good for evil, this is what Jesus would ask you to do.
5. Keep at it. Stay Hungry. Don’t give up.
Every leader starts with distinct advantages or disadvantages, but it is a level playing field when it comes to your personal growth. No one can force you to grow, but no one can stop you from growing either. Growth is an option for every leader and something you can choose to do for the rest of your life. Your growth might push you to the ceiling in your current season, but that growth becomes your foundation for the next season. Use every opportunity to push the accelerator in your drive to grow.