When we help churches or organizations grow, one of the first topics we get into is leadership.
Because when you become a better leader, everything around you gets better. Whether you’re leading a company, team or family, becoming a better leader will help you and those you lead.
Here are fifteen practical ways you can work on your own leadership.
- Listen to a podcast. Some of my favorites are Revisionist History, The Distance, Planet Money and Stuff You Should Know.
- Read books written by people who disagree with you. You’re not going to be challenged by people who already share your perspective.
- Follow a few blogs. Some of my favorites are Paul Sohn, Carey Nieuwhof, and Brian Dodd.
- Listen to audio books while traveling.
- Take walks to think. Charles Dickens did this all the time and characters he saw in real life made their way into his books.
- Go to a conference. Not the same one you always go to but one that addresses a key skill you want to develop.
- Join or start a mastermind group. A mastermind is a group of people who meet once a month to share ideas. One person sits on the hot seat, shares a problem, and the others provide targeted advice.
- Get good at asking questions. “What’s something that is working well for you right now?” is a great question to ask.
- Hire a leadership coach. I’ve done this a handful of times, and every single time, there was a breakthrough that truly paid off. For what it’s worth, I’ll work with you for six months. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it.
- Invite someone to come in and evaluate what you’re doing. Because you’re in the middle of it, you’re not the best person to evaluate. Bring in an outsider with a fresh perspective. You’ll get 10x the return on investment.
- Watch a TED talk. One of my favorites is this six minute one from Angela Lee Duckworth.
- Limit the voices. If you are trying to follow and emulate 25 different people, you’ll end up being a confused leader. Pick 3-5 mentors and go beyond the surface.
- Schedule appointments with yourself. Most of us schedule interruptions to work, not the work itself. So put work time on your calendar and treat it like a real appointment.
- Read books about US Presidents. My friend Tony is doing this and is sharing some great insights on his blog.
- Work on your strengths, not your weaknesses. If you’re pretty good at something, develop it further. You’re not going to excel by going from terrible to mediocre, but you can get an unfair advantage when you go from good to great.