Whether you are an executive, manager, or team member, one of your roles is as a leader. The key question is: what kind of leader will you be?
Which leads to an even more critical dilemma: what type of person will you become?
The Difference Between Good and Great
Good leaders focus on the bottom line, utilizing their resources to drive growth and profitability.
Great leaders do more than that. They treat their employees as people, seeing them as individuals, not merely resources. And they serve them with respect and empathy rather than coldly manipulating them merely as assets of production.
All leaders must develop the skills to be effective in the workplace, and expertise is critical to deliver good business results. But, great leaders also develop self-awareness and humbly deal with their issues in a transparent manner, setting the example for their employees to do the same.
To be a great leader, we must focus on ourselves and the people we lead. Our objective is an integrated, holistic approach involving 3 key areas: Personal Excellence, Spiritual Wisdom, and Emotional Well-Being. We see leadership as a journey we take one step—one decision—at a time.
You simply can’t separate yourself as a leader from yourself as a person. (Dr. John Townsend)
We must be focused and intentional to become the best leader and the best person we can be. By understanding there are certain pragmatic, how-to attributes and techniques which can be learned and improved upon, we can establish the right processes and management systems to be more effective at work.
As a leader, our challenge is to use our mind to full advantage, collecting our thoughts to wisely work through a rationale evaluation of alternatives. To continue to get better, we must invest in ongoing personal development, acquiring the knowledge and insight necessary to be excellent at what we do.
Look at not only what you think but how you are thinking. (Dr. John Townsend)
Our task as leaders is to align with God’s calling for us in the workplace, and develop our character in the process. To operate in an integrated manner, our spirituality should impact our professional life. If we believe in God, we should include him in our work and draw on his wisdom on the job.
We also need to seek the deeper desires of our soul, drawing on the longings God has built into us to develop a vision for the future that is both compelling and heart-felt. With God as our CEO, our job is to act as good stewards of our position and of the people he has placed under our direction.
Your spiritual nature points to the fact that we are all unfinished and incomplete without God. (Dr. John Townsend)
We should do our best to remain effective even when dealing with issues and brokenness. Our efficiency can be adversely affected by negative situations and personal compulsions. But, we can learn to better deal with our problems and, not only remain productive, but develop positive life skills that can help us handle all work situations more productively.
As leaders, we should be in touch with our heart. Our feelings are indicators of deeper personal attributes we need to understand. We must develop the self-awareness to deal honestly with our issues and addictions. We all have them; the question is whether we recognize them or not.
When approaching the arena of the personal – our character, growth issues, and our ability to relate – we do not have the option to manage weaknesses, we need to resolve them. (Dr. John Townsend)
What Kind of Leader Will You Be?
Great leaders focus on the Personal Excellence, Spiritual Wisdom, and Emotional Well-Being of their employees. The best way we can do that is to first focus on those same areas in ourselves.
A career is a journey. Our job is to seek the right direction using God as our guide and make wise choices. One decision at a time, we keep taking the next right step, learning along the way.
To do this, we must develop the strength to persevere in good and tough times. It is an ongoing process to become the best leader, and the best person, we can be. This growth occurs through the decisions and choices we make, one at a time.
Resources to Become a Great Leader
What kind of leader will you be? What type of person will you become? Below are links to resources used in this article which can help you answer those questions:
- “A Crash Course in Effective Leadership” (3-part series) – Effective leaders are made, not born, and leadership is a skill that can be developed. Leaders should develop a balanced, effective work style for themselves, and then model that behavior for their employees.
- “The Meaning of the Journey” – Jesus taught using stories, and this STEPS Journey Blog article is a parable of a man’s hike along the Appalachian Trail, teaching us key principles we can apply along our life journey. These same concepts can be applied to our career as well.
- Leadership Beyond Reason (by Dr. John Townsend) – Quotes from this book help teach us that what great leaders know about themselves is more important than their leadership skills and job knowledge and that personal and organizational success are tied together.
- The Bible (Mark 12:30-31) – When asked which commandments were the most important, Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
- Battle for the Heart (Wellspring Group) – Your thoughts, feelings and desires – conscious or not – flow into your choices, which affect your entire life. Entering the battle for your heart allows you to live authentically, engage the world courageously, and lead with integrity.
What kind of leader will you be? Frankly, it’s up to you, and it starts by deciding what type of person you are willing to become.
In business and in life, that’s the real bottom line.
Question: What are you willing to do to become the best person you can be?
Action: With that foundation in place, write down the kind of leader you will be.