Leadership Development-How Is It Done?

Sometimes I am asked how one actually gets at leadership development.  Let me start by saying that I think it is incumbent upon every leader to take responsibility for their own development.  At some point in life we have to graduate from a discipleship mentality that mainly looks to others to a model that takes personal responsibility-but still includes others.  In other words transformation still happens best in the context of community-but each of us needs to be more proactive in pursuing our own development.

Having said that let me offer a simple approach for leadership development.  I would sum it up in five words: assess, define, determine, identify, and implement.

Assess:  This means that each leader needs to determine who they are as a leader.  In this day in time there are many evaluative tools that one can take advantage of: Birkman, Myers Briggs, Strengths Finder, DISC, etc.  Use one of the assessment tools and gather the input of others to find out how God has gifted you as a leader.  Remember that these tools are only indicators and are incomplete-let the counsel of those who know you well bring validation and other input to what the tools tell you.

Define: This means to clearly understand the role that you fulfilling.  One needs to define or have defined for them their position focus.  It is difficult to fulfill a leadership role if you are not sure what that role entails. Plus if the role is vague it will be difficult to determine when you have been successful.  If you need greater clarity ask those above you for greater definition.

Determine: This involves matching who you are and who you are not to the leadership role that you are to fulfill.  Once you understand your own leadership gifts and abilities-and you understand what a particular role is calling for-you can determine where your strengths match the role and where the gaps may lie. This is important because no one is omni-competent.

Identify: This is the point where you identify how to best use your strengths in your leadership role-how can you leverage who God has made you to be towards the role.  Every leader has a style of leadership that they will bring to the role.  A leader leads best when they remain true to who they are in that role.  This is also the stage where you determine where you want to grow-both in skills and character.  And finally this is where a leader identifies the outside resources that they need, either to aid them in development or to better fulfill their role.

Implement: This is the stage based on all of the previous steps where you come up with a clear development plan for implementation.  My suggestion would be to aim for a one year plan with clear developmental steps and to ascertain the help of a mentor or coach who can aid you in your implementation.

All of us as leaders must maintain a commitment to lifetime learning and growth.  I am convinced that the day a leader decides that they can no longer learn anything about themselves or their task is the day that their leadership platform begins to erode.  Remain teachable by regularly inviting the input of others and determine to steward well who God has made you to be.

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