From where my team and I stand, there are 5 critical aspects to leading well and finishing well. Now, none us have fully mastered any of these topics, and one topic simply cannot be mastered. Our prayer is that all Christian leaders would grow in these areas, and we hope to support as many leaders as we can in those areas. Read on to see how you fare in these areas, and please pray about how you may grow in them.
Leading well boils down to “shaping what matters.” Areas we think are the vital to leading well include: surveying current reality clearly, envisioning a God-honoring future, building and maintaining a structure to realize the vision, and actively shaping your organization (by how you develop people and influence culture). Each of these are vital to skillfully guiding the organization towards realizing the vision. People can be naturally strong in some of these, and yet it always takes intentionality to grow and be strong in all of them. How do you do in these areas?
Leaders who change lives are coaching leaders. Leaders who make a lasting, transformational difference, are coaching leaders. Leaders bring life to the above skills through their coaching skills. Coaching well means having the necessary perspectives and skills, (most of which do not come naturally), to truly help people grow. This would include skills like: listening well, empathizing well, asking good questions, naming well, sharing perspective well, affirming well, challenging well, and confronting well. Yes, that is quite a list. How do you do in these areas?
You and Your Story
The thing is, if you are going to lead well, and coach well, you have to know your story. What does it mean to know your story? That is a good question. To know your story means to know who and what the biggest influencers have been on who you have become as a person. This includes the positive elements, like the ways God has clearly extended grace into your story, to help you get to know him better and become more like his Son.
It also includes what could be called the negative elements. This is about ways that Satan “snuck” lies into your interpretation of painful events, especially the ways you’ve been led to question your worth, or your gifts. You see, the better we know our story, the more ability we have expel the lies that snuck in. That means more freedom to live in grace and fully express your gifts.
Also, the better we know our stories, the more capable we are of empathizing. As Daniel Goleman says “empathy is the key to retaining talent.” Beyond that our ability to empathize is absolutely critical to our ability to coach well and, I would say ultimately to lead in ways that truly lead to creating teams and organizations that are transformational. If we don’t know our story, or if we choose not to get to know our story, we are at some level choosing to have less impact on things that matter the most. How well do you know your story?
Play, Renewal and Growth
Learning how to embrace play, renewal and growth is one of the most important things a leader can learn to do. Seriously. Leaders who do not take time out for play, renewal or growth sentence themselves to decades, (should they get that long) of being the same. Actually, the deeper truth is if they don’t embrace these activities, they slide more and more towards the dark, and their fruit becomes more and more bland. Very sad. One of our greatest dreams at the Finish Well Group, is to help leaders learn how to listen to the Lord better and better around honoring the real needs of their souls and accepting their limits. How well do you embrace play, renewal and growth?
The Big Three
Oh man, this is what it’s all about. The big three is my affectionate term for the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. From our vantage point, everything finds their center and life in Them. Every true kind of flourishing flows from Them. Finishing Well, ultimately means having become more and more like his Son and having a beautiful offering to present to them as your life’s work. At some level, every blog post will tie in with Them. Our wish is to help you want to get to know Them better, and actually get to know Them better, through our posts. How are you doing in connecting with Them in deeper and deeper ways?
We know that reading through these aspects of leading well can be overwhelming. We pray that you will sense God’s encouragement about where you are strong, and give you wisdom about where and how to pursue growth as a leader.
My team and I would also love to hear about topics you would like for us to write about…to help you flourish and finish well. Please let us know and we’ll do our best to write about them in ways that help you fulfill God’s good dreams for your life.