It’s safe to be a leader and talk in the theoretical. It is safe to talk about the blue sky dreams, the far reaching ideas. It’s even safe to talk about what could be or should be or might be or what we would like it to be. It’s also safe to grumble about the past and what could have been but wasn't because of BLANK. Lots of “leaders” do that. Perhaps you have heard someone say, “We’d like to grow this church…bring in more young families…double our attendance…reach out to the community.” That sounds great! Speaking those ideas gives an air of leadership and doing something. But while blue sky dreams are essential, they are not enough. Sometimes dreams are just aspirational and we never get to them. It’s often safe to talk about it. It very often risky to actually stick your neck out and do something.
What I’m saying is, it’s a lot less safe to bring the theoretical down to the practical and get more concrete. It is a lot less safe to be specific, to focus and narrow in on those one or two things and how you as a leader are going to make a difference - make an impact.
Actually being different and doing something different to make a difference risks seeing yourself differently. Actually focussing and going after that change - actually being a leader - risks your image in the eyes of others and risks failure. That is enough to make a lot of potential leaders fearful and gives them pause so that they do not try as hard or do not even get started at all!
If this is you then look yourself in the mirror and admit that you are not really leading. Leaders are not those who keep the events, programs and activities going. Those are managers. They are very valuable but it is not leadership. Leaders make a difference. Leaders bring about change. Leaders don’t just talk about aspirations, they work to bring dreams into reality. Is it scary and risky? Yes. Will it give you indigestion? Yep. But leadership doesn't mean that you are a bull in a china shop knocking everything over and breaking everything. Leadership can be and often is working to bring consensus and bring together great ideas to co-create the future. That kind of leadership is not destructive but re-constructive. It values people and the task to bring about a positive change.
A leader is the person who intervenes to make an impact on the future of the church, ministry or organization. That takes courage to be the one who steps forward to volunteer that something needs to be done and I am that someone to help us get there. We don’t call it “sticking your neck out” for nothing. Will you take the risk and make that kind of impact for 2017?
Consider the coaching questions for leadership impact:
- Where do you find your value? Is your self esteem grounded in Christ and who you are as a baptized child of God? Or do you look for esteem through something else like your image, your accomplishments, the opinion of others or something else?
- Do you have a dream or aspirational vision for your church, ministry or organization? They are essential and need to gnaw at you so that they move to actions that are to be attained.
- Have you narrowed your focus to one or two essential changes that must be done?
- How have you risked sharing that dream and learned from what others have said about it and how that dream can be accomplished?
- Have you identified your next steps and strategies for getting it done?
- Have you determined to add learning loops along the way to make adjustments so that it will end up even better than you imagined?
So what are you going to do to make an impact in 2017? Let’s talk about it.
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Scott Gress is called by Lutheran Counseling Services and partners with the FL-GA District of the Lutheran Church as an independent contractor. He specializes in Leadership Training, Consulting, Coaching and Coach Training. Contact Scott to continue the conversation or experience a free sample coaching session. 561-542-4472, firstname.lastname@example.org or scottgress.com
"Helping leaders be more productive - less controlling"