One of my favorite activities to do with my 5-year old nephew is building towers with his blocks. He knows exactly which cabinet I keep his bag of blocks in at my house. It’s the first thing he does when he comes to visit. After dutifully emptying the contents on the living room floor he eagerly exclaims, “Aunt Jace let’s build a tower!” And tower building commences.
Trouble is that he is so eager to build the tower TALL that after only a few minutes frantically stacking the pieces haphazardly here and there, the tower falls in dramatic fashion. Every time, I coach him to slow down (impatience just might run in the family) and build out the foundation blocks giving the tower the structural integrity it needs to stand confidently tall. But in his mind, those extra blocks feel like a waste of time. The goal is big and tall.
And big and tall is great…until it’s not.
As leaders, we do the same thing in our leadership journey. We aspire to big and
tall. We want to go up and to the right as fast as possible. We see the goal and
we want to achieve the goal, to pivot to current demands, without awareness of the building blocks that are needed for our leadership to have the foundation that ensures success.
The best time to lay a solid foundation is early in your leadership journey, but it is NEVER too late to put the scaffolding in place that allows you build sustainably toward long-term success.
There’s a progression isn’t there? How we think informs how we behave which overflows into how we lead.
Where is how you think holding you back? For my nephew, thinking that faster is better inevitably caused what he was building to collapse. I believe there are some key shifts we can make that will allow us to move up and to the right with the personal “structural integrity” in place to sustain that trajectory.
2 Key Perspective Shifts for Structural Integrity as a Leader
- Who you are becoming is more important that what you’re doing.
We can become captivated and distracted by the urgent tasks and endless to-dos, to the detriment of an inner sense of purpose. A sense of personal mission and purpose must undergird everything we do as leaders or we will find ourselves chasing activity without a true sense of why.
Explore the following questions, reflect on
- What do you believe about who you are?
- What do you believe about the purpose of your work and your life?
- What is the purpose from which all of what you do flows?
- What motivates you?
- What core beliefs are limiting you?
2. You must lead yourself well to lead others better.
Self awareness is the primary predictor of long-term flourishing. We cannot under-value the importance of self-management, self-regulation and personal competence. We have work we need to do internally to lead from a healthy place but it can be challenging to identify external outcomes. Self-leadership is disruptive and is often avoided, but neglecting it leaves major cracks in our leadership foundation. We must lead ourselves well emotionally, physically, spiritually and intellectually recognizing that who we are overflows in all we do.
When we, as leaders, tend to the foundation, what we’re building can be become both TALL and STRONG.
Additional Resources from 4Sight
Church leaders, We are excited to announce that we are hosting a webinar with Nathan Artt, Founder of Ministry Solutions, on May 28. In the past eight years under Nathan’s leadership, Ministry Solutions has funded and managed over $700M in church projects across the country. Nathan has also personally been a part of advising and consulting with some of the largest and fastest growing churches in America. Nathan brings a strong background in real estate and finance. He is also considered one of the leading experts on how this new age of digital disruption will impact what church will look like coming out of the COVID 19 season.
On this webinar, we will cover:
- Leading with clarity and confidence during a season of confusion and uncertainty
- Re-prioritizing staff roles during change
- What church and staff roles may look like coming out of shelter in place
- Best practices on budgeting during this crisis
- Being financially prepared to return to church “as normal”
- What strategic growth opportunities will be available coming out of COVID-19
Keep leading well!
Jenni Catron and The 4Sight Group
Jenni Catron is a writer, speaker, and leadership coach who consults churches and non-profits to help them lead from their extraordinary best. She speaks at conferences and churches nationwide, seeking to help others develop their leadership gifts and lead confidently. As Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group, she consults with individuals and teams on leadership and organizational health.
Jenni is the author of several books, including Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence and The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership.