Have you ever done something you never thought you would do?
For me, it’s running. I used to think people who ran 5K races were crazy. Now, I’m one of the crazies. I’ve run 5Ks (including one during a vacation), 5 mile races, 10Ks and even a half marathon.
Every time I’ve trained for and completed a race, I can look back and see decisions I made along the way that helped me achieve the goal. The most obvious was simply the choice to spend time running instead of doing something else.
Our leadership principle today is a simple one: Today’s decisions. Tomorrow’s direction.
The decisions we make today affect where we will end up tomorrow. For leadership, the implication is rather simple: are you making decisions today that will make you a better leader tomorrow?
Are you reading leadership blogs (like this one), books, and articles? Are you listening to leadership podcasts that will stretch your understanding of what it means to lead? Are you surrounding yourself with people who will help you grow as a leader?
What have you set up in your routine each day that will help you expand your leadership influence? It may be as simple as sending an encouraging text each day, or clicking over to Amazon to find a good book on leadership. Or, maybe it’s adopting the three questions and trying to answer them each day.
Remember: Today’s decisions. Tomorrow’s direction.
Do you know the hardest part of writing a blog? The consistency of having to write another post. It comes up three times each week, like clockwork.
Ministry is the same. Sunday is always right around the bend (or Wednesday for many youth ministers).
Farming was the same. No matter how many years in a row you planted a seed, the next year it was time to plant it again.
I imagine CPAs have the same feeling. Regardless of how hard you work from January to April 15 one year, the next year you will have to work just as hard.
But in the midst of the mundane, there is beauty. In the midst of the repetition, there is opportunity.
Something a mentor pointed out to me not long ago is what he called the “redundancy of leadership.”
What does that mean? Simple: a major part of leadership is repetition.
Take, for instance, the three questions (you can read about them here). The three questions work great when you use them one time, but they find their greatest impact when they are asked and answered on a regular basis. The more frequently you answer them, the more integral they become to your leadership style and effectiveness.
The problem, however, is when redundancy carries a negative connotation. Who likes getting their teeth cleaned every six months? Or, who enjoys shooting hundreds of free throws? Or, what parent anticipates the excitement of yet another dirty diaper?
The redundancy of leadership means having the same conversation over and over. Sometimes the audience changes, but sometimes the message and audience remain the same.
The redundancy of leadership means yet again casting vision for your organization, even though you did it last week, or last month, or last year, or all of the above.
This week, embrace the redundancy. Find the beauty in the mundane. Excavate the excitement of the repetitive. And, above most other things, hang in there.
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We have a first for the blog today! Here’s a guest post written by friend Eric Kaiser.
My kindergarten son and I love Legos! We have a ton. Honestly, I use my son as an excuse to buy a lot of Legos. Most of the time he will help me at the beginning, lose focus, and move on to something else as I finish.
Legos are masters of illustrating the instructions to build complicated toys. Step by step builders know what to do. There are even patterns that emerge as each product is completed. Unless there are missing pieces, it is almost fool-proof.
I love the security of structure. I would rather build something with instructions than build from creativity. My son is the opposite. He would much rather start putting blocks together without a certain project in mind. The end result is a ton of fun. His wildly imaginative construction adds flavor and fun to my straight forward designs.
Leaders need both structure and creativity. While we continually grow as leaders, our tendency toward one or the other can make our leadership lopsided. How can we balance our leadership?
Build a team that compliments one another. Usually we gravitate to people who lead like us, who think like us, and relate like us. Intentionally find people who do things differently. Give them freedom to speak, dream, and direct.
Find some way to limit yourself and see how you can overcome limits with creativity. Reduce your next event’s budget by 15%. Limit your involvement in planning the new project so your team is allowed to stretch their leadership legs.
If you never try, you will never grow. One of the hardest things for me to do is allow myself to fail. I am much more gracious to others who fail. When I don’t live up to my expectations, I need to allow myself the freedom to fail and try again.
What advice would you give to someone who is prone to structure? What would you say to encourage someone to embrace creativity?
G. Eric Kaiser lives in Plains, TX with his wife and son. He serves as youth pastor of FBC Plains, TX and loves his job way to much. When he’s not working, he’s probably reading some Batman comics. He’s a nerd like that.
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