Organizations that change, grow. Organizations that won’t change, won’t grow. That’s because growth is change. By its very definition, growth takes place when things change, and only when things change.
Different organizations need to change in different ways. It could be about strategy, structure, personnel or culture. But there is one constant.
When the organization needs to change…the leader has to grow first.
Angie and I have been planting Grace Hills for six years now, and there has been one nagging, repetitive challenge I’ve had to face… I’ve had to keep growing.
At every level, at every turn, I must grow to enable the church to grow along with me. And if I, as the leader, don’t grow, the organization’s growth will be stunted, and leaders who are emerging and growing themselves will often find places to go that allow them to flourish.
As John Maxwell says, “When you’re the leader, you’re the lid.”
There are at least six shifts that need to happen in the heart of the leader, continually over time…
1. You’ll have to find your confidence.
People tend to respond to boldness. If you’re the leader and still waiting for permission, you’re not really the leader. If you don’t have confidence in your leadership, no one else will either.
To find your confidence, remember your calling, know your mission and choose to believe you’re the person who should be leading. The good news is, you can do this. You’ve been created and called for this, so go boldly!
2. You have to get comfortable with less control.
The more confident you become, the less you’ll fear letting the little things go. Organizations led by fearful leaders struggle to break out and experience real growth because there isn’t freedom. There is just the entanglement of red tape.
3. You’ll have to get organized.
I totally underestimated the power of productivity in my earlier days of leadership. I was unorganized and the people I was leading often felt it. The fact is, getting organized boosts your confidence and it prevents people from falling through the cracks.
4. You have to communicate more thoroughly.
Assumptions are the enemy of organizational growth. This has been one of the biggest growth areas for me, personally. I often make too many assumptions about what people know or understand, but the fact is, you can’t really over-communicate about the important things.
5. You’ll have to become a self-motivator.
It’s great to have mentors and motivators in your life, but leaders discover how to motivate themselves internally. There will be moments when morale is low—that’s part of life and leadership. Your task is to figure out how to do what King David in the Old Testament did…
David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.
1 Samuel 30:6 ESV
6. You’ll have to experience more pain.
If you want to grow in your leadership, you’ll have to experience pain. That’s just the pathway God uses to mold us into the leaders he desires for us to be.
Leadership is always personal. And leadership growth is always painful.
As my friend Scott Smith says,
You can’t just sit back and be satisfied to let things play out. We need godly men to lead in our churches, at coffee shops and through their work ethic at their jobs. We need men that drag a leg when they move…
You see, no man can wrestle with God and walk away unchanged. But when I see a walk with a limp, a leathered face and confident unassuming power… I’d follow that man just about anywhere.
~ Scott Smith, BanishedFromEden.com
Are you ready to get hurt?
Whatever you do, don’t stop growing just short of success.
This article originally appeared here.