One of the things that always sparks my interest is the differences in the successful and the unsuccessful. This blog post at Fast Company on 9 Easy-to-Steal Habits of the Super Successful is one of the better lists I have read showing some of those differences. As I read this list, I thought of how this is a list that every leader in the church should read as well.
There are a lot of good ones in this list which I won’t cover, but there are a few I do want to point out.
The one that struck me the most in this post is “Lead, Don’t Dictate”. This is a leadership principle that I hear over and over, and one that I think ever single person who is in any sort of “leadership” role should reflect upon. Are you leading? I think there are roles for managers (people that manage processes or people to accomplish a task), and I think there are roles for coaches/mentors (people who help guide others, though they aren’t necessarily in the trenches of the day-to-day job themselves), but this world is sorely short on leaders (people who have a vision and are willing to jump into the battle to lead their team toward that vision).
As I read back on those words, I am not sure I have adequately defined that, and even more so I see how much work I need to do to be a real leader both in my professional career and in my role in my church. Much to ponder on this one …
Another one that struck me as very important is “Keep Promises, No Matter How Small”. Wow, this one makes me sick at my stomach. Why? I fail at this. It isn’t that I tell someone something that I don’t intend to do, it is that I forget I have told them that. This is a real issue for me, and I suspect it is for others too. What sometimes happens is that I commit to something and I don’t write it down. Perhaps that commitment is not that important to me, though it is to the person I committed to. Because I don’t write it down, it escapes me, and I don’t follow through. Wow, I now see I need to work much harder on this one.
Another one I struggle with is “Take Breaks”. In fact, I am reminded about this often from people who are around me. Candidly, I know they are right. No one is effective if they work all the time without taking a break. In fact, Stephen Covey said it well with Habit 7 from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:
You can renew yourself through relaxation. Or you can totally burn yourself out by overdoing everything. You can pamper yourself mentally and spiritually. Or you can go through life oblivious to your well-being. You can experience vibrant energy. Or you can procrastinate and miss out on the benefits of good health and exercise. You can revitalize yourself and face a new day in peace and harmony. Or you can wake up in the morning full of apathy because your get-up-and-go has got-up-and-gone.
There are several other good ones in this list, some of which I have adopted (#1 comes to mind immediately) and some of which I still need to work on (#9 comes to mind immediately). Now the challenge of the day for me, and perhaps others too, is to work on those areas where I am weak, and to strengthen those areas where I am strong, so I can be the best example I can be – the best leader I can be. This isn’t just about our professional lives either. As I said in the opening paragraph, this applies to leadership in our churches, and that doesn’t solely mean the pastor. It means everyone in a position of “leadership” in the church. It also means our homes, our personal life, and everything we do. After all, a leader isn’t just a leader in part of their life; leaders are leaders all the time.