If leaders are made, not born, what role might assessments play in leadership development? When it comes to learning, our assessment of ourselves—what we know and don’t know, skills we have and don’t have—can be woefully inaccurate.
Leaders know how frustrating it can be when team members fail to follow what seem to be simple directions to complete a task. It’s tempting to attribute the glitch on the staff member, but wisdom instructs leaders to rethink this notion. Instead the leader should consider whether the source of the problem might be his/her leader’s failure to communicate their purpose. “Purpose” tells people how to interpret orders, execute procedures, solve problems, resolve conflicts, and overcome unexpected challenges; it informs their judgment and allows them to improvise. “Purpose” is also the power behind initiative, goal setting, and perseverance. So it is always wise to communicate the purpose of a task or project when you assign it.
I believe what people say. More than that, I believe the attitudes they express knowingly or unknowingly. When I enter an organization, I pay close attention to what managers say, and I have learned some of the telltale messages of managers who aren’t leading anyone anywhere. Among the worst messages are those that shut down communication. When communication is blocked, trust erodes and decisions go uninformed. After that, little else matters.
The Bible says that with God, all things are possible. But, as Christian leaders we must establish goals that are first vetted with Him. “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5, ESV). So, make sure you follow the lead of the Holy Spirit in identifying the right goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics to fulfill the path that God has ordained for you (Proverbs 3:5-6) and to “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
I was privileged to contribute a chapter to the book "The Selfless Leader," available at no cost here. Rather than toot my horn as one of the contributors, I'd rather point you to the words of the editor, Scott Rodin of the Steward's Journey, who blogs here.
"Perhaps the best way I can try to define a Selfless Leader is to contrast it with its opposite. Could we say that the converse of a self-less leader is a self-more leader? Put another way, does becoming a selfless leader require us to set aside our desires to want more of our self as the focus of our leadership?