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Lessons on Leadership

I am in a season of my life and ministry that seems to be reminding me of a ton of important leadership basics, as well as teaching me some valuable new lessons. A few things I’ve learned\been reminded of recently include:

– It’s Okay to wait to talk…and sometimes not to talk at all. This is ESPECIALLY true when in a room of other leaders who know much more about the topic on hand, and have more at stake in the direction the conversation turns. I am learning to say very little in discussions concerning stuff I don’t know much about. Too often, leaders feel like they need to have an opinion about everything. I’ve learned the hard way that having an opinion about everything usually only serves to water down your influence.

– Don’t be a “One Trick Pony”. In other words, care about stuff even if it isn’t YOUR stuff. Don’t confuse what I said in the above paragraph with being uninterested in other issues on the table. Be VERY interested, ask clarifying questions, ask for ways you can help out, etc. One of the best ways to gain trust and influence among a group of peers is to show a genuine concern about things other than only what you are responsible for.

– Make fewer definitive proclamations. Instead of saying “It’s obvious that the decision to make is…….”, say something like, “It seems that a good path to consider might be…..”. Instead of “without a doubt, our students need….”, say something like, “my hunch is, our students could use…” Those subtle differences allow for two things: 1) they allow you to sound a little less authoritative, and 2) they allow for the possibility that you could be wrong! Strong, over-confined proclamations often leave leaders scrambling to “spin” things when their proclamation doesn’t pan out.

Okay, your turn….anybody want to share a recentl leadership learning? Or a classic leadership tip you have seen work time and time again?

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Kurt Johnston has been involved in junior high ministry since 1988 and is currently the junior high pastor at Saddleback Church in Southern California. He's the author of Controlled Chaos: Making Sense of Junior High Ministry and Go Team! He loves providing resources for junior high ministry almost as much as he loves junior highers themselves.