Are you under the gun to make the project happen? Are you caught up in the press to produce? Does that make you too busy to identify and cultivate new leaders? What do you want more?
In the short term you feel the need to accomplish the task but you know you can’t keep this up for the long haul. You may believe that you are the best one to do it but if no one else ever gets involved then no one will learn. On top of that, you know in your heart that being the chief doer on whom people depend isn’t the best way to do things - for yourself, for other people, or for the long-term viability of the ministry or organization.
The hard truth:
Certainly there are priorities that have deadlines and you are the one who by default has to make sure it happens. Yet we are not nearly the victims of our circumstances that we like to complain that we are. The present reality that you have is exactly what you are currently producing! So what are you doing, intentionally or unintentionally as the leader, to produce what you are getting? Want to quit? Go somewhere else? Seeking to leave and serve somewhere else will not change the “you” that was a vital ingredient in producing your uncomfortable circumstances. No, the change has to begin with you. Nothing will change unless you change. Besides, the only one you have control over is yourself. Sometimes even that is sketchy! Nevertheless, your focus needs to be taking responsibility for leading yourself.
So how and where do I start?
Have you experienced “mission drift”? It may sound basic but often where you start is taking the time and effort to become really clear about who you are with your strengths and gifts and role, clear about your mission, and then prioritizing what you do. It may sound basic but it is hard work to do it well.
An exercise that helps:
One exercise that helps is to list everything that you do. Everything. Then write down who you are along with your mission or purpose and the dream or vision of where you and your organization would like to be some day. Next, divide a piece of paper into four parts labeled with the following four categories:
- Urgent & Important
- Urgent & Not Important
- Not Urgent but Important
- Not Urgent and Not Important
Now put everything that you do into one of the four categories based upon who you are and your clear mission and vision.
Now ask yourself:
After you have done this to the best of your ability, what did you discover? What sticks out for you? What did you learn? What new awarenesses are coming to you? What next steps are you going to take? How are you going to be different? What are you going to do more of? What are you going to do less of?
Make the tough choices and create some margin in your life. Intentionally decide what you will do and not do. Now you may finally be in a good position to begin to empower others.
In part one and now in part two, perhaps you noticed that the questions are asked of you, the leader. That is intentional. Empowering others begins with leading yourself well. (Would you follow you as a leader? Why or why not? Oops – that’s for another blog entry…)
Empowering Leaders Part 2