Recently I attended a conference from which I took a number of helpful ideas about leadership, and I to pass them on.
The central focus is upon the person, not so much technique and style of leadership.
Here are some of the key ideas:
1. The leader needs to be completely clear of their own identity and therefore clear about where their personal security lies.
For a Christian leader, this means an assurance that being a child of God and a follower of Jesus is the heart of it all.
2. At different stages in our journey, we need appropriate forms of self-awareness.
One person suggested that between 18 and 30 years old is the age of learning; between 30 and 50 years is the age of contribution, and 50+ is the age of investment.
All that seems a bit artificial, yet is perhaps broadly true—at least as an aspiration.
But it is valuable to recognize the different forms of one's contribution.
3. Leadership formation is quite different if the focus is upon knowledge, or skills or character. Each has their place.
My own recent experience suggests that many organizations are realizing that the formation of character is the key, and the rest can flow.
4. All leaders need structures for accountability. Some of this comes from within the organization, but peak leaders need to go outside, to a group who can be trusted to give genuine and honest reflection.
5. Trust your intuition. That means develop your emotional intelligence.
I undertook a training workshop in this area this year, which was very helpful. Most of us are trained to develop our intellectual intelligence, often at the expense of our feelings. Trusting my feeling and intuitions is one of the challenges of my adult life. Often I have regretted that I did not take notice of things I knew with my gut at the critical time.
6. Be prepared to take risks. The 'domesticated pastor' is really not that much use to anybody. Some years ago I realized that leadership cannot be done from the back row: you have to be prepared, in some ways at least, to be alone, out the front. But if this is done in an invitational way, it is not so lonely after all.
7. There are different places in the team: some are pioneers, some are travellers, some are settlers: all have their place, and all are appropriate forms of leadership, at times and places. It is vital to know who you are and where you make your best contribution.
Some of these ideas were from an address by Rev Dr David Coffey, a British Baptist pastor who currently serves as President of the Baptist World Alliance. I am grateful for his stimulus, but the commentary and explanation of these ideas is mine, and he should not be blamed for what I have done with his ideas. Most of the above is written in response to his core ideas, for which I am grateful.