Developing the Leader Within You

by Jeff Metzger 

I face a big leadership development challenge.  You do too!  There are three arenas of my life where I am continually trying to grow the leader within me:  I want to be better at organizational leadership, people leadership, and self-leadership.  All are challenging, but the biggest challenge is the self-leadership challenge.

Self-leadership is Vital

Developing the leader within you starts with self-leadership.  Don’t just take my word for it.

  • Harry Truman said, “You cannot lead others until you first lead yourself.”
  • My business coach, Michael Hyatt, says, “How we lead ourselves in life impacts how we lead those around us.” 
  • Paul is calling for self-leadership when he calls for continuous, habitual self-examination in 2 Corinthians 13:5 MSG, “Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted.  Give yourselves regular checkups.”
  • Dee Hock, creator, founder, and CEO emeritus of Visa said, “People should spend 50% of their time leading themselves.”

Wow!  Do you spend any time, let alone half your time, deliberately leading yourself?  Being a leader at home, at work, at school, or at church requires that first we learn to lead ourselves.

How Do You Grow Your Leadership? 

What can you do to lead yourself?  What can you do to lead others?  There is no greater example of effective leadership than Jesus.  Discovering and applying the leadership practices on display in Jesus’ life can help grow the leader within you.  Invest time in learning to lead like Jesus.  Do it to be a better disciple, not just a better leader.

To be and lead like Jesus …

Grow Your Character – Be Your Best Self 

Work every day to make sure these self-leadership character qualities of Jesus are part of your life.  Explore the records of Jesus’ life to see his character on display.

  • Integrity (No Shortcuts!) – Matthew 4:1-11

When Jesus began his ministry, he was tempted to take shortcuts to influence.  In every case he said no.  Every leader faces a variety of temptations.  The best leaders live with integrity.

  • Passion (Live with Spirit) – Luke 2:46-47

At the age of twelve Jesus’ passion for God was already on display.  What are you passionate about?  What do others see us get passionate about?

  • Communication (Listen and Share Well) – Mark 1:22

Rarely do we think about our ability to communicate – to hear, understand, and engage with others – as a character issue, but it is.

  • Decisiveness (Do the Right Thing) – Matthew 3:15

In every situation Jesus acted decisively.  At his baptism, in saying “no” to the devil, in engaging other leaders or teaching Jesus took responsibility for doing right.  Leaders always do.

 

Grow Your Concern – Help Others Thrive

The best leaders improve the people around them.  Read Jesus’ biographies to see how he developed people and helped them thrive.

  • Mentor and Coach People – Mark 3:13; Luke 11:1

Leaders grow people.  Jesus poured into people, especially the twelve.  He was with them and for them.  Who are you with and for?

  • Build and Unleash the Team – Luke 10:1-2

Two are better than one.  Jesus expanded his leadership by unleashing teams.

  • Value, Love, and Encourage Everyone – Matthew 9:36; 20:29-34

Jesus loved people, all people.  Do you?  Great leaders value people greatly.

  • Give Great Rewards – Matthew 4:19; Matthew 19:29

Jesus rewarded people by unleashing them to make a difference now and forever.

 

Grow Your Impact – Produce Positive Results

Jesus went around doing good (Acts 10:38).  He produced positive and beneficial results everywhere he engaged.  Leaders make things better.  Investigate how Jesus produced lasting change.

  • Clarify the Win – Mark 10:42-45

Jesus knew his mission.  Do you?  He was clear about and committed to his purpose.  Are you?

  • Make Good Decisions – John 7:1-10

Jesus knew when to step forward and when to pull back to achieve his purpose.  His decision making was always designed to advance his kingdom agenda.  Great leaders make great decisions.

  • Think Big but Act Small – John 13:1

In the upper room, Jesus was ready to die for the world.  But, he was also sharing with twelve good friends – big and small.

  • Go the Distance – Matthew 26:36-39; Luke 22:39-46

Jesus was unwilling to quit.  He persevered – even to the cross!

  • Live “All In” For the Mission – Luke 9:57-62

Jesus lived this way.  He calls us to do the same.

None of us will ever match Jesus’ character, concern and impact.  But, there are lots of ways to become a better leader in life.  Doing something every day to be more like Jesus is one of the best.  Where will you start to be more like Jesus today?

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