Home Pastors Articles for Pastors Jenni Catron: What They Didn't Tell You About Being a Top-Level Leader

Jenni Catron: What They Didn't Tell You About Being a Top-Level Leader

If leadership is in your blood, it’s what you aspire to…it’s what you’re gifted for…it’s your calling…

It’s likely that you pride yourself in growing to new levels of leadership.  You look for opportunities to grow.  You dream of more influence.  You seek out greater leadership opportunities.  You thrive in being challenged.

Leadership experts define the growth continuum of leadership in 5 stages with the Level 5 Leader being the pinnacle of leadership.

But leadership at that level comes with some costs, and not all of those are understood before you get there.

One thing that I think is often over-looked in leadership development is that the leader must learn to take care of him or herself.  There is a lot of discussion about servant leadership, which is absolutely essential in developing to a Level 5 Leader.  In fact, I don’t think you can climb the leadership growth chart if you haven’t learned to put your team before yourself.  Your #1 goal is the health and development of your team.

However, in my own life and I suspect in many of yours, when I have only thought about the health and development of my team and have not balanced that with taking care of my health, I have found myself completely out-of-sorts because I have sacrificed some essentials of my own well-being.

I talk a lot about the importance of self-leadership, and often that is in relation to continual growth and knowledge.  I don’t have trouble making time for those things.  I understand that as I learn, I help the team learn.  I have no trouble putting in long hours or extra time in personal development in hopes that it makes me better for my team.

The wake up call for me lately is that I can’t expect someone else to be responsible for watching out for me.  If I’m going to be a Level 5 Leader, I have to be mature enough spiritually and emotionally to monitor and manage my health.

Here’s what they’ve forgotten to tell you about Level 5 Leadership:

No one is responsible to take care of you except for you.

For most of our leadership life, we’re sandwiched between those we lead and those who lead us.  Being in the middle of the sandwich is a really comfortable place to be.  You get to lead others and exercise your leadership muscles, and you have others ahead of you watching, coaching, and directing you.

Once you attain Level 5 Leadership, you’re no longer in the middle. You’re top side is exposed, and it’s up to you as to whether you allow that side to get banged, beat up, torn apart, and destroyed or whether you find some protective measures to keep you thriving and healthy.  

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A self-proclaimed “leadership junkie,” Jenni spends her days serving the local church. Most recently she served for nine years as the Executive Director of Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN, where she led the staff and oversaw the ministry of its five campuses. Jenni is the founder of Cultivate Her. She loves great books, the perfect cup of tea, playing a game of tennis with her husband and hanging with her dog Mick.