Over this past weekend, I had the honor to speak at the church of a long-time pastor friend who was out of town at a retreat with all of his staff. His video introduction of me as the guest speaker was glowing and made me sound like a great leader. I was honored by his talk about my 27 years of leadership and influence in the community.

LeadershipLessons1After listening to the introduction video before each of the four worship services and then reading a post by one of my favorite bloggers, Mark Miller, I started thinking and reflecting about the biggest lessons I’ve learned in leadership. I could talk about countless lessons I’ve learned but here are just three that standout the most.

My Capacity to Lead is Determined by my Capacity to Grow. I’m grateful for people like John Maxwell and others who challenged me nearly three decades ago with the axiom—leaders are learners. While I already had 7 years of higher education and 7 additional years of experience under my belt, I realized I couldn’t rely on what I had learned in the past to help me to start and grow a new church. I committed myself to start growing my capacity to lead, to learn and to communicate. I still refuse to coast.  I want to grow my capacity all the way to the grave.

LeadershipGreat Leadership is the Opposite of What you Tend to Think. Leadership is not about position, power, prestige and supremacy. It’s all about servanthood. The way to the top is from the bottom in God’s upside-down economy. Instead of taking, we give. Instead of self-indulgence, we self-sacrifice. Instead of going to the front of the line, we go to the back. It’s the opposite of what our culture screams.

Leadership is Not Either/Or But Both/And. I’ve been learning that leadership is a dance that balances extremes. It not just about results, but also about relationships. It’s not just hard-charging driveness, but also taking time to slow down and recharge. It’s not just being out front, but also learning to be a great follower. Good leadership that endures for the long haul is both/and.

Grow, serve and keep a good balance in life. That pretty much sums up my leadership success. How about you?

QUESTION: What big lessons about leadership have you learned so far? Share below in the comment section.

 

 

3 responses to Three Biggest Leadership Lessons

  1. Ann Donnelly on July 25, 2013 at 7:06 AM Reply

    I think it’s also good to realize that becoming a successful leader is practicing these attributes BEFORE you are an actual leader so when the opportunity presents itself. Those attribute are WHO YOU ARE not a role you are performing. So often people become leaders and others say how they have changed (often not for the good) because they are performing. I love the idea of leading means being a good servant because too often any “advancement” can create a bloated ego and things can seem “beneath us”. Growth, sacrafice and humility.

  2. Jen Tapp on July 23, 2013 at 9:15 PM Reply

    Excellent post Dennis! Particularly liked, “I want to grow my capacity all the way to the grave.” You inspire me & challenge me.

  3. Carmen on July 23, 2013 at 9:54 AM Reply

    Excellent!

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