In 2002, I learned one of the most powerful leadership principles I’ve EVER learned … and it has profoundly impacted my leadership, our staff culture and our church in a positive way.
Let me set it up before I share the principle:
I believe that leaders are learners (no, that’s not the principle). If we are going to be effective leaders, then we need to do whatever it takes to learn, to put ourselves in learning environments, to pay the price to grow.
Most leaders stop being effective in their leadership when they stop learning—and in so doing, become comfortable, apathetic and lazy. God has called leaders to do lots of things, but “putting the church” on cruise control is not one of them!
I remember making the decision to invest in my personal growth as a leader in 1996 when I signed up for a monthly tape club that John Maxwell did. It was a major financial investment for me, as I did not have any extra money. It was a major time commitment, as I had to listen to the tapes. But it paid off as I was preparing years ago for what I am doing today.
Skip forward a few years to when I planted NewSpring Church—I was still hungry to grow as a leader. I would read books, listen to tapes and CDs, and attend conferences—whatever it took (and no, our church did not have a huge conference budget—many times in those early years, it came out of my pocket).
However, I began to notice something as we began to bring on staff. As a leader, I have a responsibility to make sure that staff members are allowed opportunities to grow and develop as leaders as well. I need to not only be willing to pay the price for myself to grow, but for them to grow as well, because …
The church will move forward a lot faster when we grow as leaders, not just when I grow as a leader.
So, early on, I made the decision that I was not going to attend a conference alone. In fact, I always have tried to take as many people as possible and place them in learning environments because I believe that when we learn together, it will be way more beneficial for our church than when I learn alone.
It’s not about me, it’s about we.