How to Build Your Leadership Muscles

Here are some things to keep in mind as you grow your leadership muscles for new challenges.

leadership muscles

If you’re a leader, you’ve had times when you felt unprepared for the moment of leadership required. That’s when you need to rely on leadership muscles. I remember a few years ago getting a call from a fellow church planter, and he said, “This is the first time in the history of our church that we are behind in budget; what do I do? How do I talk about giving without sounding desperate?” 

There are different leadership muscles. There is a muscle that starts things, manages things, closes things down. There is a muscle to make a change, create a legacy, honor the past, and see the future. There is a muscle that leads through a crisis.

And something I’ve seen over this past year: there are certain leadership muscles to lead while a church is growing and momentum is everywhere; and other different leadership muscles when it is not growing and there is no momentum.

Often, when they hit a new season or a new challenge, I think leaders can shrink from it. They can try to pull from the playbook that worked before instead of learning how to navigate a new season, a new challenge, or a new world.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you grow your leadership muscles for new challenges.

3 Ways to Grow Leadership Muscles


1. Stay humble and listen.

The older we get as leaders, the easier it is to think we know it all. We’ve done things, grown things, accomplished great things, so we’ve got this. And while some of that may be true, we need to stay humble and listen. In humility we can hear others, we can hear God, but we can also hear the rumblings in our own hearts. I often think in transitions and difficulties, leaders know what to do but are afraid to do it. Staying humble and listening can help a leader have the fortitude to move forward. 

2. Learn from anyone.

Often as pastors we tend to learn only from other pastors. But as we navigate new seasons we can and should learn from anyone. This is part of humility. If we aren’t humble we can start to think we have done it all before. This might cause us to dismiss a younger staff member and their ideas. Or, we might think that the person who is questioning things “isn’t bought in” when the reality is they may see something we don’t. 

3. Experiment. 

If this past year has taught us anything, it’s that we can and should experiment. Our teams and people are more ready for it than we give them credit. As we move in and out of challenges and seasons, as leaders we should get really good at saying, “We’re going to try this…” and see how it goes. 

As we develop new leadership muscles, we also develop new muscles for our churches and teams. This is incredibly important because we need resilient teams and churches that can thrive in many environments and challenges. 


This article about leadership muscles originally appeared here, and is used by permission.

Joshua Reich
Joshua Reich is the Lead Pastor at Revolution Church in Tucson, AZ. Revolution is an Acts 29 church that dreams of saturating the city of Tucson with gospel-centered church planting churches. Josh has a B.S. in Pastoral Leadership from Lancaster Bible College and an M.Div. in Organizational/Missional Leadership from Biblical Seminary. In addition to writing here, some of his writing also appears at Church Leaders. Josh’s new book, Breathing Room, comes out September 2015.