Home Pastors Articles for Pastors 9 Leadership Strategies to Avoid Becoming a Growth Barrier

9 Leadership Strategies to Avoid Becoming a Growth Barrier

6. Never lead What, How, or Who without Why.

As my friend and boss Andy Stanley has taught me, “vision leaks.” As a leader myself, I’ve learned just how true that is. At Woodstock City Church, it feels like I am constantly carrying our vision in a bucket that is full of holes. If I am not conscious of the leak, the bucket will quickly run dry. If and when that happens, growth not only stops, but the entire organization can begin to turn inward and die.

The reason we neglect the vision is understandable. Organizations are complicated and require a lot of time and attention, especially in daily execution. Every leader is tempted to focus too much on the details of the organization—the what, how, and who. What are we doing today? What are we doing next? How should it be executed? How should we create the next service? Who is responsible for what we just decided?

The natural bent is for a leader to become enamored with details to the neglect of why the details exist in the first place. Keeping the vision front and center keeps the organization tracking in the right direction.

Question for Introspection: Is vision the driving force in our organization, church, and team?

7. Be a learner.

Leaders are learners, and you can quote any of the 5,000 others who have said the same. It’s just common sense, I guess. If we expect our organization to keep growing, we need to keep growing in tandem.

Committing to a lifetime of learning is beneficial in many ways, but it is a requirement for success when it comes to organizational leadership. A growing organization grows in complexity, requiring more difficult decisions and leadership choices. A leader not pursuing personal growth will find themselves outpaced by the organization. When that happens, a growth barrier is erected, which cannot be moved until the leader catches up or a new leader moves in.

In November 2020, I completed my doctorate in church revitalization. Why? Because I wanted to keep learning.

Learning opportunities abound, and in today’s world, options have never been more accessible. Books, podcasts, and conferences are always great options. But learning from others in your industry and outside your industry will prove helpful. Learn to ask great questions and you’ll never have a shortage of learning opportunities.

Question for Introspection: How much time do I devote to learning?

8. Work on your junk.

What you don’t know will not only kill you, it will also kill your organizational growth. Every leader comes into organizational life with some junk to deal with, and there are few things better than point leadership to surface our baggage.

What junk in your heart needs to be unearthed and handled? If you allow your personal issues to stay hidden, it will limit your effectiveness and ultimately impact your organization. Bringing it to the surface is hard work, and acknowledging its’ existence feels terrible, but it’s not worth the barriers it will create in your organization to ignore the issue.

Question for Introspection: What junk do you need to unpack? Who is helping you unpack it?

9. Swallow your pride.

We’ll save the best for last. Or the biggest for last: Pride. Pride destroys everything it touches over time. Pride destroys relationships, families, and organizations. A prideful leader thinks more of himself or herself than they should, refusing to listen to others. Pride sits at the core of destructive organizational leadership because it prevents personal growth, which will always negatively impact organizational growth.

It doesn’t matter how successful a church is; when the leadership begins to lead from a place of pride, the end is near.

To combat pride, leaders need to become publicly honest and transparent because honesty and transparency conceive humility. Nobody believes a leader who pretends to have it all together because people are smart enough to know that having it all together is impossible. People by nature are messed up and want to hide their mess. Humble leaders acknowledge and own what’s evident to everyone else.

Question for Introspection: Where is pride limiting your leadership?

Understanding how we can be our own growth barrier allows us to become a leader capable of barrier-proofing our organization.

I’m going to work on some stuff. Best of luck to you, as well!

How can I help?

Helping ministry and marketplace leaders through change, transition, and transformation is why I created Transformation Solutions. Go right now to mytransformationsolutions.com and sign up for a free, 30-minute conversation to decide if working together works for you.

This article originally appeared here.

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Gavin Adams believes the local church is the most important organization on the planet and he is helping to transform them into places unchurched people love to attend. As the Lead Pastor of Watermarke Church, (a campus of North Point Ministries), Watermarke has grown from 400 to 4000 attendees in five years. A student of leadership, communication, church, and faith, Gavin shares his discoveries through speaking and consulting. Follow him at @Gavin_Adams and at gavinadams.com.