I remember my mother making me write letters to some youth about something that I did when I was a teenager. She said to me, “You’re a leader now, other kids will be looking up to you so you need to set a good example!” I didn’t want to be a leader, I had never asked to be one. It’s not something that I had consciously signed up for. It was the day I was told to become a conscious leader.
Just recently, I gained a couple extra hours in my day when my daughter entered this world. It’s got me thinking about when I consciously became a leader. I’ve been a “leader by title” for quite some time now; an outreach coordinator for a church, helping manage homes for individuals with developmental disabilities, starting and leading a homeless shelter for at-risk youth, being a leadership elder within my church, and the list goes on and on. All of them included leadership within the title I was given and with all of them I was being told that I was a leader.
Being given the title of “Leader” is different then consciously being a Leader.
I didn’t really realize what my mom was talking about until about 3 1/2 years ago when I consciously became a leader. It was the day my son was born that I realized that I could no longer be a leader by title, it was something I consciously had to make the choice to be. It was no longer good enough to be just given a title. It was essential to start purposefully and intentionally becoming a wholehearted leader. One that loves, listens and leads (as we say at ARC).
I had to consciously work on my interior condition which meant I needed to start;
- being conscious of my self-improvement
- learning the importance of listening
- becoming a self-reflective leader
- learning that Leaders eat last
- improving conflict management skills
- keeping my notebook open to learn from those around me
- turning to a growth mindset
- Owning what’s mine
Why is it not enough to be a leader by title you may ask?
The health of an (organization, congregation, family) is dependant on the interior condition of a Leader.
It’s not enough to lead by the seat of your pants. It’s not enough to hope that work problem will resolve itself. It’s not enough to wait around for those leadership skills to be developed. That would like sitting down at a table in Starbucks and expecting to get served by a barista.
We need to get active in our decision to become Leaders. We need to develop our skill set. We need to know our strengths and challenges. We need to be consciously working on the best tool that we have at our disposal. That tool is ourselves.