Part 6 of 7 on Leadership: Where Eagles Dare: Maintaining Altitude

29 Aug

1 Timothy 3:1[MSG] If anyone wants to provide leadership in the church, good! But there are preconditions: A leader must be well-thought-of, committed to his wife, cool and collected, accessible, and hospitable. He must know what he’s talking about, not be overfond of wine, not pushy but gentle, not thin-skinned, not money-hungry. He must handle his own affairs well, attentive to his own children and having their respect. For if someone is unable to handle his own affairs, how can he take care of God’s church? He must not be a new believer, lest the position go to his head and the Devil trip him up. Outsiders must think well of him, or else the Devil will figure out a way to lure him into his trap

Maintaining Altitude

There is a saying, “You can not take people where you have not been.” In order to lead a team and leader must be committed to personal growth. If a new leader wishes to maintain the altitude at which he or she is flying he or she must be committed to growing. Through the leader’s own personal growth he or she is able to add value to the whole team including the organization he or she works in. Leaders, whether they are new or old, must be committed to personal growth. A leader who is committed to personal growth can and will add tremendous value to the lives of those he or she leads. Not only does the leader add value to the team he or she is leading but also to the organization he or she is a part of. Reading books, attending seminars, finding mentors, and building a library are all ways for leaders to stimulate personal growth. No one just walks in and has all of the tools they will ever need to lead successfully. Many of the tools that a leader needs must be discovered. Personal growth requires the leader to pay a price. The price is paid through money, time, and effort given to grow. A leader can not expect his or her team to be committed to personal growth if he or she is not. A team’ s direction can be heavily swayed by the leaders commitment to personal growth. Maintaining altitude can be achieved by reading, attending seminars, attending conferences, finding mentors, and mentoring. This is not an exhaustive list there are additional ways to maintain altitude. A new leader must find or create ways to soar at his or her current altitude so that eventually he or she can go higher.

Blazing a Trail

A leader should not ask his or her team to do something he or she has not done. A leader can not ask his or her to go someplace he or she has never been. Encouraging a team seek personal growth and then not modeling how to grow personally is ridiculous. It is the old “do as I say not as I do” mentality. If a leader wishes to maintain his or her current altitude then he or she will have a personal commitment to personal growth. Leaders who wish to take their teams to higher degrees of success to invest in their team and in themselves. Through the leader’s commitment he or she adds tremendous value to the team. The addition of value does not stop there it extends to the whole organization and everyone the leader comes in contact with.

Never to Old to Grow

A friend of the author’s was once sharing a story about his father. He said that one of the things that challenged him the most is when he was dropping his sixty plus year old father at the airport in his father’s car. After he had dropped his father off he said he reached into the center console to find something to listen to and he discovered a tape series on being a better communicator. Here was a sixty plus year old man with over thirty years experience as a communicator still committed to personal growth. The gentleman then shared how he had made a commitment to grow himself stating, “If this great man is still seeking to grow I must.” A mistake a new leader or seasoned leader can make is that they know it all or have no need or time for a personal commitment to growth.

Adding Value to the Team

One’s own personal value is increased through a commitment to personal growth. Gaining additional training and knowledge only adds value to the person and the person’s team and ultimately the organization. The leader gains value and betters themselves and through the bettering of one’s self the team gains value and the organization or team universal is better. Every person who comes in contact with the leader committed to personal growth has the opportunity to grow as well. The author has heard it said, “Everyone can learn from anyone if they desire to.” A leader, new or seasoned, should strive to be an expert in their area of responsibility. A commitment to personal growth is vital to the life and longevity of any and all leaders. A leader is either growing and advancing or shrinking and retreating. In a world filled with multiple avenues to increase value through education a leader would be in error not to seek to add value to self and team.

Ways to Stimulate Personal Growth

Reading books on a variety of subjects or in the area a leader is most passionate about can stimulate personal growth and increase one’s value to the team and organization. The author has been committed to reading books on a variety of subjects for many years now. The wealth of knowledge that has been gained through reading has increased both perceived value and true value in three different team and organizations. Attending seminars is a wonderful way for a leader to get away for a half a day, full day, or a few days and focus on personal growth. Attending seminars gives the leader a chance to learn and grow in both a lecture and interactive setting. Seminars on leadership, team building, finances, management, relationship building, and the list goes on and on. Seminars can challenge inspire and give practical application ideas for all leaders. One outstanding way to commitment to personal growth is to seek out a mentor or a number of mentors. This gives the leader a chance to learn from the experience of men and women who have been or are where the leader wishes to be. Finding mentors is not easy but it is worth the time and effort. Mentors can hold one to a higher standard than one may expect. A friend of the author shared a captivating thought he learned from his mentor.His mentor told him, “You don’t get what you EXPECT you get what you INSPECT.” A leader willing to put him or herself up for inspection is definitely committed to personal growth.

Paying the Price to Maintain Altitude

The price to maintain altitude is paid through blood, sweat, and tears. A leader maintains altitude by investing time, money, and effort to personal growth. Blood represents life. Giving one’s life to personal growth is a price that many are not willing to pay but it is a necessary part of being in leadership. A leader’s life must be given to growth. The reward for a life given to growth is the right to lead others. Sweat represents the fulfilling of a leader’s purpose. Leaders are built not born. While some are born with all the tools it takes to be a leader it does not make them a leader. Leaders are built as they seek to fulfill their purpose in this life. Some never fulfill their purpose because they are afraid to pour out the sweat and discover then fulfill that purpose. Tears represent the effort a leader gives to see him or herself, their team, and organization grow.There is no substitute for effort. You can put a person in a leadership role but they still have to lead. If the effort to lead is not put forth the person and the team will ultimately fail. So maintaining altitude requires a leader’s blood, sweat, and tears.A commitment to personal growth requires an leader’s life, purpose, and effort.

Who Holds Sway?

The direction of a team is heavily swayed by the leader’s commitment to personal growth. If the leader if committed to personal growth and leads by example his or her team will follow. A leader can not ask a team to be committed to personal growth while he or she is not. A leader can heavily sway the direction of his or her team by supplying books, seminars, and mentors for his team members and organization. Bringing in a skilled person to offer training and instruction for a team is a wonderful way of adding value to the team. A new leader and the seasoned leader must constantly seek out new ways for him or herself and the team to soar. Maintaining altitude for an extended period of time will eventually lend itself to gaining altitude. The leader holds sway over both his or her and the teams ability to maintain and gain altitude.

Life Lessons From The Author

I would not trade my college education for anything. It was a tremendous time of growth and discovery. However, my education did not end with a degree hanging on my wall. It was the beginning of a life and study and growth. As a leader I have a responsibility to myself, my team, and my organization to grow. I have made it a life mission to study books, go to seminars, listen to CD’s and podcasts , take courses, that will stimulate personal growth. When I was fresh and new to my field I made it a priority to go to seminars to gain knowledge and ideas. I made calls to successful people in my field and visited different organizations to gain personal growth. On one occasion I was at a conference for leaders and I had a life changing moment. I will never forget that day. It was the day I realized that no one is going to educate me I must take responsibility to educate myself. I could no longer count on my organization or leaders to grow me I had to grow myself. I hated reading because I had always read for the wrong reasons. When I started reading to gain personal growth and add value to my life I start reading constantly. Reading became a way for me to grow and when I started seeing results because I my commitment to personal growth I never looked back. I started giving the books that I had finished reading to other leaders and those I was mentoring. To this day if I read something that speaks to my life I quickly refer the book, tape, seminar, or tool to those around me. If I commit myself to personal growth I can hold my team members and leaders to the standard that I set. I will only take people as far as I am willing to go myself.

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Posted by on August 29, 2011 in COAH


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