Three Marks of Leadership Maturity

(I originally posted this a year ago-and found myself musing once again over some of these observations-so here is another look at this post.)

I am sitting in Houston, Texas as I write. My family and I have been in the U.S. for the past five weeks seeing friends and family-but we head back to Florence on Sunday. Part of my time here has been focused on preparation for a training time in Italy for new team leaders. One of my passions is helping leaders lead well. So I have had a lot of fun praying through and thinking through this training time.

One aspect of leadership I have been pondering is how Christ-centered leadership matures. As I have looked back over my own leadership life it is clear that there have been seasons marked by immature leadership–leadership that was more focused on self than on Christ and others.

What does mature leadership look like? How is it experienced? What are it’s marks? There are three aspects that stand out to me that mark a corner being turned from immature to mature leadership:

1. Being able to share power
Leadership is about power and influence-but young leaders quickly become confused about the center of power and its purposes. There are really only two alternatives–power centers around the leader or the leader learns to give power away. Young leaders often want to control and be served. These are marks of the leader being at the center of power. But servant leadership is about making others the focus–therefore empowering others for success. Power sharing also reveals itself when you have shared leadership. In our organization we usually employ two team leaders for every team-a man and a woman. A leader’s ability to come to the table as equals and truly honor the other leader demonstrates maturity. Immaturity requires the other leader to be subservient to them.

2. Leading towards your team’s needs-not simply your own
This is similar to 1. except it goes beyond where power is located and begins to steward that power toward someone else. An immature leader can be overly concerned with their own needs or their own organization. A mature leader begins to look at the true make up those entrusted to them and they become students of their strengths, gifts and abilities. They begin to provide what each member needs to see them succeed. They provide structure, resources, counsel, developmental opportunities-all in the name of making them better.

3. Being able to appropriately lead up
Leading up is about response to authority. Immature leaders complain about the leaders over them rather than respectfully engaging them. Immature leaders diminish their leaders to others rather than communicating respectfully about them. Mature leaders are not “salute and obey” leaders-but they are also not rebellious. They know how to rightfully and respectfully dialogue with those in authority over them–and trust God fully who positioned those leaders in the first place.

Let’s all move towards greater leadership maturity!

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