Hey, welcome to the New Year!
It’s that season where we reflect on what went down last year and plan for how we want to live better in the next.
With that in mind, I thought I would share my 7 leadership resolutions for 2019.
Well, 7 is the number of perfection of course!
(Actually, I just couldn’t think of 3 more to make a solid top 10...I guess sometimes 7 is better than 10)
Anyway, I’m hoping that one or two of these resolutions inspires you to focus on what matters in your context in 2019.
So, here’s what I’m hoping to focus on in the coming year...
1. Talk Less
Maybe you don’t have this problem, but I talk A LOT.
I am a verbal processor and apparently like the sound of my own voice.
Something that I’m learning is that all my talking can sometimes make it difficult to know the people around me and help them develop their own critical thinking skills.
And so, I’m resolving to ask two questions a lot more often this year:
What’s it like to be you?
What’s your plan for that?
I want to ask “what’s it like to be you” in a variety of ways so that I can understand my friends, co-workers and the people under my care and so that I can grow in empathy - not currently a strong suit for me.
I want to ask, “What’s your plan for that?” instead of telling the people what their plan should be.
Far too often, I find myself saying, “Here’s what you need to do...”
Now, because I’m a leader and have been in ministry longer than most of the people under my care, I’m usually correct...but the problem is that I’m short-changing their learning process and the development of their skills, which brings me to my next leadership resolution.
2. Empower Others
One of my greatest passions is to help others achieve their goals and reach their potential.
Because of this, I want to ask this question more often this year:
Where do you want to be in five years?
And follow it up with this question:
How can I help?
What I’ve been learning is that when my people know I am working to help them achieve their goals and reach their potential, they are willing to do just about anything and they are more receptive to feedback.
I have adjusted my development plans to reflect what my people want rather than just what I want for them and the shift has been hugely beneficial.
3. Develop My Gift
Each of us has a specific gifting, placed in us by God.
I view it as my privilege and burden to steward and develop this gift.
For me, it is the gift of understanding and preaching the Scriptures in clear, simple and compelling ways.
To steward, develop and grow this gift must be one of my life’s great ambitions. I believe it would be dishonoring to God to not work hard to grow and improve it.
I think there might be a parable about this somewhere in the Gospels...
With this in mind, I hope to focus on the specific development of this gift this year.
One of the practical ways I plan to do this is read less books, and listen to more sermons from the best communicators out there.
I wonder what your gift is and how you plan to develop it this year?
4. Optimize My Schedule
Something else I hope to do this year is optimize how I am investing my time.
For years, I just followed the work schedule that everyone else seemed to be following, 9-5.
I’ve come to see that the most efficient and productive leaders optimize their schedule around how they are wired and what’s important in their life.
Here are some of the things I’ve learned:
• I’m most productive in the morning
• Back-to-back meetings completely drain me
• Too much creative work or study in one day is counter-productive
• I’m not disciplined enough to exercise regularly in the morning
• I can’t construct a schedule exactly how I want because I have a million kids.
So, here’s the basic schedule I’m aiming for in 2019:
5:30 to 7:00: Quiet time and study for future sermon series
7:00 to 8:00: A mix of emailing, planning and helping my kids get ready for school
9:00 to 12:00: Focused study and current sermon prep
12:00 to 3:30: Meetings, one-on-ones, leadership, email, etc.
4:00 to 5:00: Hit the gym
(This is just a template and not every day look exactly like this.)
My point is this: we are all wired differently and have different life situations.
What I’m learning is that to be as productive as possible, I need to optimize my schedule to fit my situation.
Thankfully, my church leadership is generous with flexible and off-site hours and I’m able to optimize my time to what is most productive for me.
5. Focus On Future Decades
Something that amazes me is the energy and productive output of the senior level leaders in my church.
These guys are dynamos and a few of them are approaching 60. I’m not quite 40 and I feel tired most of the time.
How do these guys do it?!?
What I’m realizing is that they have earned their high level of stamina.
They’ve built up their stamina reserves through the years through regular exercise, healthy eating, resting properly and generally taking care of themselves.
Something else I hope to do in 2019 in start working toward a larger stamina tank so that in future decades I have the energy to be productive.
This will mean regular exercise, healthier eating and resting properly.
6. Rest Smarter
Speaking of rest, the next leadership resolution I want to share has to do with rest.
The honest truth is that up to this point, I’ve spent most of my days off vegging.
I work hard and then want to just do nothing.
Something that has become clear to me in the last few years is that not all “rest” is created equally.
In other words, some ways of resting actually refill my tank and others do not.
Binge watching Netflix shows...not so much.
Taking walks, reading good books, taking naps...these do the trick.
I’m not sure what it is that actually fills your tank, but I think we would be wise to focus on smarter rest in 2019.
7. Discover What's At The Core
Recently, my boss has been asking me hard questions.
You see, he believes that God has placed passion and a focus in each of us and when we lead from that place of passion, we are at our best as leaders.
The trouble is, I’m not exactly sure what that is for me.
I think it is some sort of compilation of simplicity and clarity, collaboration and focus on the future.
These are some of the ways God has wired me, but I’ll be honest, I haven’t figured this out yet.
But, I have a sense that when I discover what it is specifically that God has placed in me as a unique leadership passion, it will help me lead from my heart in the next phase of my ministry career.
One of my leadership resolutions is to explore these questions through reflection, conversations with mentors and various other exercises.
So, these are my 7 leadership resolutions of 2019.
I’m hoping 1 or 2 of these inspires you to reach for more in 2019.
We’d also love to hear about your own leadership resolutions for 2019. Feel free to share in the comments below.