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Have You Hit the Leadership WALL?

Eighty-five percent of Christians are stuck at a personal wall in their walk with Christ. It may be that another 85 percent of leaders are stuck at a leadership wall also.

In Real Power: Stages of Personal Power in Organizations, Janet O. Hagberg develops a helpful model that integrates the essential place of the wall in our lives as leaders.

We tend to have one particular stage that best describes where we are now. Note, you have to pass through one stage to get to another. Each builds on the ones that go before it. And it is possible to remain stuck in our leadership at a certain stage and choose not to move forward.

The following are the six leadership stages:

Stage 1: Powerlessness.

We feel powerless, like we are being pushed around, controlled and taken care of by others. We are dependent on others to get things done and need approval for almost everything we do.

Stage 2: Power by Association.

We don’t feel, at this point, like we have much external or internal power. We are learning from mentors, so we hope those with influence and control notice or nurture us. Mentors are especially important at this stage.

Stage 3: Power by Achievement.

This is the exciting season when we are experiencing success in our work. Others recognize our expertise and competence. We are on the “fast track” and rewarded for it. There is a sense that we have made it.


Stage 4: Power by Reflection.

The power, or influence, we enjoy now is because of our sound judgment, prudence and ability to listen well. We lead from the inside, mentor others and are comfortable with ourselves. We are seasoned and trustworthy.

Stage 5: Power by Purpose.

At this point, our uniqueness lies more fully in the strength of our inner person. We have let go of our need for titles or positions. There is calm, courageousness and a willingness to take risks as we carry the best values of an organization inside us.

Stage 6: Power by Wisdom.

This is an extension and deepening of stage 5. We have integrated our “dark side,” grown comfortable with powerlessness and anonymity, and are deeply moved to engage the pain of the world.

The wall, as you will notice, is the stopping place between Stages 3 and 4. It is the place where we face our shadow and are forced out of denial or avoidance. It is the place we face our inner selves and are profoundly transformed in the process.

It is God’s great gift to us. We visit the wall multiple times in our leadership journey for God to take us the next level.

Where are you today?