You’ve heard it said here more than a few times, you are the hardest person you will ever have to lead.
How do I know that? Because I’m the hardest person I have to lead.
It was 20 years ago this year that I moved my then-young family up to just north of Toronto to begin ministry. Although the form has changed as I moved from a denominational context to planting Connexus Church, there have been a core of leaders who have been with me from the very start.
The ministry has grown from 45 people in attendance and 100 people who would have called our original churches home in 1995, to 1000 in attendance and 2200 people who call our church home today.
The one thing that’s been constant in all of it is change.
And the one thing that’s been even more consistent is that I’ve had to change as a leader.
In many ways, our church has had 5 different pastors over the last two decades. They just all happened to be me.
Why? Because I had to keep reinventing myself and my leadership again and again to remain effective as a leader and as a Christ follower.
The same is true of you.
If you’re going to lead over the long haul, you need to reinvent yourself again and again.
If you don’t, you’ll simply stagnate as a leader and drift toward ineffectiveness. And something inside you will die too—like your soul.
So how exactly do you reinvent yourself? And what do you need to reinvent?
Here are some thoughts.
Stage 1: The Instinctive Leader
Most leaders start out operating from their instincts or defaults.
Your instincts will get you places. And they’ll work for you for a season.
After all, you’re new. And sometimes the combination of a fresh face and the passion you have when you’re young will get you a long way in leadership. At least at first.
My instinctive leadership style is aggressive, clear, focused and direct (I was a lawyer before I was a pastor…so forgive me). Those are strengths, and they helped a lot in the early days.
If you think about it, you’ll be able to recognize your default leadership instincts. Just look at how you naturally behave.
Following your instincts is almost always how every leader behaves within the first few years of leadership. It will get you started, but they certainly won’t take you all the way.