Leader Development Reflections

With this blog, I will complete my contributions as the Director of our Leader Development Initiative within The Navigators.  The discipline of writing these blogs has been an enriching experience for me to articulate clearly (hopefully) my thinking and experience on various aspects of leader development.  Here are some of the topics that have been addressed:

  • What is leadership and how can we model leading like Jesus
  • David the reflective leader
  • Nehemiah the change agent
  • Joseph the organizer
  • Jethro the consultant
  • Paul the scholar
  • Leading explored
  • Developing explored
  • Caring explored
  • Leading with a developmental bias

Woven throughout these blogs have been indicators of aspects of leader development that I especially hold dear.

1.  Living and leading like Jesus are foundational for all wise living and leading.  The Bible is a primary source for leadership thinking and practice but not the only source.  Biographical and business insights affirm and supplement biblical teaching.

2.  The essence of leadership is influence and relationship.  As leaders we invest wisely when nurturing our understanding and competence in these two arenas.

3.  By the time a person normally enters mid-30s, he or she should have a good idea about the gifting, talents, passions, and life lessons he or she brings to leadership.  The best leaders lead from strength and address weakness when it limits effectiveness.  Leaders need to be self-aware so they can make their best contribution, not trying to be someone they were not designed to be.  No leader is omni-competent or omniscient.

4.  Developing convictions and habits for reflection and think-time are critical to effective leadership.  Modeling margin and enjoyment of life outside of work are necessary for personal satisfaction, mission effectiveness, and for others to find leadership roles attractive.

5. Mental models enable people to focus on what is important.  The Navigators’ Core Model of Lead, Develop, Care provides a great framework so leaders can serve well.  All three components must be present if people are to thrive, but no leader is great in all three.

6.  Leaders have a mindset or bias to develop other leaders.  Although this can happen in a variety of ways, the mark of great leaders are whom they leave behind and how effectively they prepare successors.

Leader development is not optional.  Every organization is engaging in this, for good/for bad.  Probably billions of dollars are spent in this arena every year.  There is no more effective model than the life of Jesus Christ with His disciples.  A life-long pursuit of learning to live and lead like Jesus is the best decision any leader can make.  May such leaders multiply for the glory of God and the good of mankind.


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