By: Dan Reiland
I just completed my annual physical.
Going through the process of a thorough check-up from head to toe is not much fun, but it’s a smart thing to do. My doctor is excellent and very thorough. He starts with my vital signs, does extensive blood work, and then checks for things that might indicate a health issue.
It’s a good idea to do the same thing as a leader. It’s best to focus on the positive things that will strengthen your leadership, but it’s also smart to check your habits against a list of things that could hurt you over the long-haul.
Leadership isn’t easy, but it’s one of the most rewarding endeavors imaginable. Leadership is more art than science, more fluid than structured, and more messy than clean. Therefore, any help we can get for a quick check-up is helpful.
That’s what I’ve written for you here. I could probably list 25 things, but these 14 are at the top and a good place to start.
- Which ones are you doing well?
- Which ones need improvement?
- How about the leader’s you coach?
You can take them through this as a developmental tool. Let them evaluate themselves, and then you ask questions that lead to offering insights and ideas to help them get better.
14-Point Leadership Check Up:
(These things will hurt your leadership if you do them repeatedly over time).
- Thinking Small
Negative thoughts, feeling hand-cuffed or unempowered, and avoiding risk are all forms of small thinking. There are so many competing agendas, voices that must be heard, and seemingly non-negotiable expectations that when mixed with limited resources and finite energy it’s easy to fall prey to small thinking.
I sometimes catch myself praying big but then leading small, that only happens when I think small. The same can be true for you. Pray big, think big, lead large.
- In what area or circumstance are you most tempted to think small?
2. Jumping to Conclusions
Fast is the new normal, and too fast can get you in trouble. There is always another side to the story. Always. Take time to get the facts. Sometimes just (literally) counting to five before you say something, or press send can keep you out of hot water. In other situations, a few days may be required.
If someone pushes your buttons, don’t over-react. Instead, when you feel your temperature rising, intentionally power down a notch. It’s much easier to respond with wisdom when your foot is not in your mouth.
- Do you consistently take the time to hear the other side of the story?
- Can you resist speaking or reacting too quickly?
- Do you find yourself interrupting others when they are talking?
3. Resisting Change
You know that resisting change is a poor use of your time and energy both personally and professionally. If you don’t change, you can’t grow. And if you don’t innovate your ministries to keep up with the changes in culture, your ministry will get stuck.
- What’s the last personal change you made and successfully adapted to?
- What was your most recent change in how you operate a particular ministry?
4. Avoiding Risk
It is possible to avoid risk, but you can’t lead and escape risk at the same time. It’s impossible to cast vision and make progress without taking some risks. It might be a big project or a tough conversation. You don’t need to take a foolish blind leap of faith, but you’ll never fully know the future; therefore, risk is required. Pray, trust God, plan, and lead!
- Is there any risk you are avoiding?
- What is the current risk you’re taking?
*In our next post we will publish the second part of this article where Pastor Reiland will detail other important aspects that should be taken care of in relation to leadership.