The Best Leaders Invest In…
Leaders are prone to expanding their scope over time. One by one, additional responsibilities are added. It doesn’t take long before they are bogged down by the weight of all they are trying to do.
If you are a leader, when was the last time you slowed down long enough to assess your responsibilities and evaluate whether or not what you are attempting to carry is realistic or not?
Leading is not about a title, how many people you oversee, or even the number of responsibilities you juggle. It’s about serving and influencing well. In that sense, everyone has the potential to lead. However, those in an official leadership capacity rarely excel without investing in some key areas.
Step Back And…
As a leader, it’s critical to step back regularly and evaluate how things are going and what responsibilities you might hand off. Delegating is a powerful way to develop your people, not just a means for easing your load.
It’s also worth considering where you might be straying from the vision or ways you might accomplish the organization’s goals more effectively. Yet if you are perpetually taking on more and more, there isn’t time for pondering such crucial topics. Sadly, being overloaded also crushes your creativity and leaves you stressed.
Overloaded – I know, I’ve been there! At one time, I was managing my family, homeschooling my three children, running my business, and overseeing multiple areas as the Director of Community and Operations at our church. My attention was so divided that no one got the best of what I had to offer.
Guess who suffered the most – me! My many responsibilities kept me too occupied to relax and savor life. I was too consumed to check in and notice what I was feeling. My life was too hectic to notice all that I had to be grateful for. And far too frantic to engage in the activities that would fuel my soul. I had only myself to blame! I had set up a scenario that was simply not sustainable!
No matter how wired you are to lead, you have limits! Ignoring those limits is detrimental to you personally and just as detrimental to you as a leader.
That’s why the best leaders strategically narrow their focus and invest their energy in a few key areas which ultimately increases their impact! What are those key areas? Here are six key areas I trust you will make a priority:
People want to know you care as a leader; that they are important to you not just for what they do, but for who they are. The more you are able to lean into connecting with the people you lead and understand what motivates them, what their strengths are, and what they value, the more they will trust you. And the better they will perform. It’s the effort you put into relationship that leads to trust. You need your people to trust you if you are going to lead successfully.
Surprisingly, it isn’t just having quality relationships with your team that makes a difference, it’s having healthy relationships in general with family and friends. If things are rocky at home, it negatively impacts your relationships at work. And it’s the relationships outside of work that stretch, fuel, and grow you into a happier and more well-rounded individual. That translates into a more effective leader.
The most crucial relationship to nurture is your relationship with God. Time spent connecting with Him has the power to transform, encourage, and guide you! As a leader, time spent with Him is a worthy and often time saving investment! Keep that relationship your number one priority.
Most leaders have room to grow when it comes to communicating effectively, because honestly, most humans have plenty of room to grow in this area! As a leader, the ability to communicate vision, set expectations, navigate conflict, and communicating well in general is an incredibly valuable investment of your time and energy.
While we all communicate every day, being able to speak, write, and express yourself clearly takes practice. Lots of practice! It’s a learned skill to be able to adjust how you communicate depending on the personality and the thinking preference of the other person.
Other invaluable skills in the communication category include asking great questions and listening, really listening. Both are nearly a lost art these days!
Becoming a more skilled communicator is sure to enhance the quality of your leadership!
What are your strengths? The best leaders know what their strengths are and take on responsibilities that utilize them well. No doubt you are capable of doing many things, but if you are truly going to shine, invest your energies in what you do best.
Beware, you may be overlooking a strength because it comes so naturally to you. In fact, you might think it is something everyone is able to do and as a result you may not even count it as a strength.
What do others say you excel at? It doesn’t have to be an official StrengthsFinder kind of strength to be worth investing in.
And don’t forget, the people on your team have strengths too! Are you allowing them to operate out of their strengths?
God has a specific way He’s created you to reflect Him to the world – a way of being. Do you know what it is? When you are tuned into who He designed you to be and lead from that place It’s powerful!
Along the way, God may also have specific goals or projects He has in mind for you that will require you to lean into who He created you to be and to rely on Him to accomplish them.
Knowing your purpose, gives you a clearer sense of direction. It’s worth investing in!
5. Learning & Growing
I get it! Leading is quite consuming. You may not feel like you have space in your life to learn and grow. But what if developing yourself would actually free up some time for you? You don’t have to go back to school or invest a big chunk of time to learn, grow, and develop yourself, you just need to be intentional about it!
What are some not so time-consuming ways to learn and grow?
- Read a book or blog
- Listen to a podcast
- Work with a mentor or coach
- Take an online course
When it comes to learning and growing it’s less about quantity and more about quality. What would it look like for you to assume a learning posture? How might you pass on what you are learning to your people so that they are learning and growing too? What would demonstrate to your people that you value personal development?
The best leaders don’t just lead others well, they successfully lead themselves well by consistently investing in self-care. After all, you bring a happier and more creative you to the table when you make self-care a priority. More on self-care here.
As a coach, I rub shoulders with all kinds of leaders, and it’s rare to meet a leader who is not over-extended. Too often they are frustrated and exhausted!
The two factors that most often contribute to a leader’s frazzled state of affairs:
- Embracing every opportunity that comes their way without letting go of any of their responsibilities.
- Neglecting any of the above key areas.
As a leader, what if you were to narrow your focus, really narrow your focus and invest in the key areas above? What impact would that have?
Maybe the idea of taking on less and getting more focused sounds amazing to you – a dream come true! You’d like to be a better leader, but you have no idea where to start. Or even if that’s possible in your given situation. If that’s where you find yourself, I challenge you to schedule a consultation to explore how coaching might help.
After helping countless other leaders navigate the maze, I’d welcome the opportunity to partner with you. It’s time to discover the leader you were meant to be and thrive while you are doing it!
What’s your number one leadership challenge?