Have you seen the t-shirts that have become popular recently? The ones that say, “I’m a (mother/teacher/bus driver/coach). What’s your superpower?” I need to find one of those design-your-own-shirt shops and make one that says, “I’m a leader. What’s your superpower?”
Leading is not for wimps.
If you’ve been a leader for more than 37 seconds, you’ve probably figured that out already. Some of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in my life have been in the context of leadership. There have been hard conversations, unmet expectations, heartache, and even deaths. But there have also been incredible friendships, results beyond my wildest dreams, encouragement, and life change. If you aren’t a leader yet, allow me to be very straightforward with you for a few moments.
Leading empties you.
You will spend incredible amounts of energy and time pouring into other people. This can very quickly empty your reserves of determination, energy, and even joy. That’s why consistently finding a way to be poured into is crucial.
But leading doesn’t only empty you of the good things if you let it. It can also empty you of selfishness and pride and inconsistency. When you are focused on others, you may start to find that you think less and less of yourself. Not in a self-sacrificing way, but in a way that elevates and honors those around you instead of yourself.
Leading interrupts you.
Sure your job may be of the 9-to-5 variety, but somehow leading never quite keeps itself in such a box. Leading spills over into “your” time, too. And it may be temping to ignore all of the emails, texts and calls that happen after hours. (Actually it is healthy to do that – on occasion!) But life happens outside of business hours. This is especially true if you lead volunteers. They often work a full time job and only have the opportunity to think about their volunteer role during evenings and weekends.
So what does that mean? It means you need to set aside time to connect with your people when it is convenient for them. There was a point when I started resenting all of the texts and calls that peppered my “off time”. Until I realized that each one gave me the opportunity to influence that person. Sometimes that means extending grace when they are calling out again, other times that means just listening and praying for them.
Leading will challenge you.
Many of you watched the biggest football game of the year yesterday – the Super Bowl. Did you notice what happened when a referee made a call that one of the coaches didn’t agree with? The coach challenged the call – asking the referees to throw out their preconceived ideas about the play and look at it from another perspective.
Leadership will cause you to rethink your assumptions – about people, about processes, about systems, about life. You will gain a whole new perspective that will challenge who you are now in order to develop you into who you need to become as a leader.
Leading is not for wimps.
Leadership will change you, sometimes in the hardest of ways.
You will never be the same.
You will be better.