Key Elements of Self-Leadership

Self-leadership is essential to living in tune with our vision and desired legacy.  Self-leadership is the first link in the chain of high-performance leadership, if it is weak, everything else is vulnerable to breakdown.  Below are six key elements of self-leadership that enable leaders to thrive.  These elements overlap and have distinctive emphases.

Rhythm

Rhythm is the flow and harmony of our life.  When our rhythm is harmonized, we are giving the right attention, time and focus to the right things.  When our rhythm is off, we are neglecting the wrong areas of our life, investing too little or too much time one area to the detriment of others.  Perfect balance is not the goal of this word.  Life is too dynamic to pursue balance.  Instead, harmony is the word that speaks to health in the midst of competing priorities, agendas, and responsibilities.

Ritual

Rituals are intentional sequences that align us to our grander vision, purpose, and perspective.  Rituals require us to be very present and engaged.  They are a conduit for connecting to our deepest life purpose. Rituals serve as reminders for the things that matter most. An example of a ritual would be reflecting on our life vision plan at the start of the week, reflecting on our values alignment at the end of the week, scripture reading or prayer.   

Routine

Routines are the repeated set of habits or processes that empower our potential and performance.  Routines bring structure and organization to our life in a manner that accomplishes our goals and vision.  Initiating routines requires effort and focus, but routines require less active energy over time once they are established.  An example of a routine would be an exercise routine, a morning routine, or a weekly planning routine.

Recalibrate

Recalibrate is the intentional process to set and sustain priority focus.  In the whirlwind of daily leadership, priorities can become hidden in the fog of noise, conversations, urgent requests and surprises.  Leaders must be purposeful and intentional to determine priorities and establish planned check-ins to maintain course.

Refuel

Refueling speaks to the diet, exercise, and rest needed for sustained performance over time.  Refueling is the self-care and self-management required to function at our peak performance and avoid burnout.  To best serve organizations and employees requires a leader who recharges and has the energy to required for strong self-leadership. 

Remember

Remembering is about living life with gratitude.  It is about receiving the gift of today and celebrating those we work with.  Leaders are pulled and pushed from various directions.  The pace and chaos that can swirl around them can accelerate the speed of life in an unhelpful manner. Remembering is both a posture and set of practices that help a leader live with gratitude and be fully present in today.

Why I Love Coaching Leaders

I began coaching for two reasons. First, I went through a pain point in my life that led me to get clear about who I was, what I was uniquely gifted for, and how I was put on this earth serve others. As is true in all of our stories, so often our pain points reveal our purpose.
The second catalyst for becoming a coach was experiencing the transformative power of a coaching relationship myself. I knew what teaching was, mentoring, counseling and consulting, but I had never experienced the nuances of coaching. For me, it was a powerful combination of structure, focus and aligning my motivation zone with my vision and goals. The growth I experienced being coached ignited a desire within me to sharpen my own coaching skills and serve others.
I have had the blessing of coaching leaders across the private, public, and social sectors. Most are either aspiring high potential leaders or are in senior management. I take a holistic approach in my coaching from a biblical worldview, partnering with leaders so they:
  • Live their Legacy
  • Lead from their Uniqueness
  • Elevate their Performance
One of the greatest returns for me personally as a coach is the text message that comes after a leader has made significant progress, overcame an obstacle or are living their desired legacy in a way they have never experienced. Getting to celebrate with clients is a privilege that never grows old.
I am selective in my coaching because of my work as the director of a leadership institute at a private equity and philanthropic firm. Though I primarily express coaching now through my work there, I still maintain a selective private practice. I would love to chat further to discuss how coaching may help you accomplish your goals.
Brian Bennett
(c) 636/248/7161
multiplyingleaders@gmail.com

11 Theology of Work Statements

It is important to identify our beliefs because they give shape to the fabric of our theology.  Individual beliefs are like various threads that ultimately weave together to form our perspective or our understanding of something, in this case, our work.  Below are eleven statements about work that are not comprehensive, but together begin to weave a fabric that will help guide our being, knowing and doing as it relates to living out our faith in and through our work.

  1. We were created for meaningful work as seen in Genesis 1:26-28
  2. We are God’s workmanship, gifted and shaped intentionally by God (Ephesians 2:10)
  3. We have been entrusted with various truths, gifts, experiences, and resources that we are called to steward (Matthew 25:14-30)
  4. Every vocation has dignity and must be honored
  5. Work is a fundamental expression of our love for neighbor
  6. We work best when we collaborate with other workers
  7. God created work as a primary means through which he provides and sustains his creation
  8. When we work well, we reflect the ultimate worker
  9. Work is an act of worship unto the Lord
  10. All human work is secondary to the primary work of God
  11. Work has been corrupted by sin, so we must be sober minded of our own temptations in our work and the systemic issues and injustices that arise

LEADERSHIP DASHBOARD TOOL

As I coach leaders and seek to align my own desired legacy with actual reality each day, I find tools can help empower the journey.  I recently developed the tool below as a way to help myself and the leaders I serve keep pulse on the things that matter most and the key focuses that align with their desired future.

A dashboard helps maintain awareness, clarity and alignment.  The tool is flexible so that you can apply all of it or part at any given moment.  While in the coaching partnership there are many exercises I walk clients through that expand and clarify the various elements of the tool, it can still be useful for leaders to use individually.  I recommend working through it fully once to see which parts are most relevant to your life and work.  And then utilize it in these ways that are most impactful to you:

  • At the start of days (weeks) to energize focus for what is ahead and orient yourself to the day
  • At the end of days (weeks) for alignment reflection on maintaining vision, values and priorities
  • In prayer times as an act of surrender and seeking God’s grace and power over each aspect
  • At the end of the month as part of a half-day or full day altitude moment for work and life perspective
  • In mentoring relationships as you seek to support and help others develop

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD LEADERSHIP DASHBOARD

Servant-Leaders as Mentors

Mentoring relationships can energize, empower, and catalyze both the mentor and the mentee towards their full potential.

One of my readings for an MBA class was Personal and Organizational Excellence through Servant Leadership, by Sen Sendjaya.  Speaking of the transformational presence of servant-leaders, Sendjaya defines mentoring  as “an interpersonal relationship where a mentor guides others who are inexperienced or less senior to them to achieve personal and professional goals.”

The author then goes on to define how servant-leaders impact others through the mentoring relationship dynamics.

Leaders serve others as mentors by:

  1. “Becoming good students of their individual followers, seeking to understand their needs
  2. Disciplining themselves to listen attentively to their aspirations and dreams rather than opening their mouth at every opportunity to advertise their stream of consciousness
  3. Being willing to have their lives complicated by the struggles of their followers without impatience or complaint
  4. Intensively asking thoughtful questions to push them beyond their boundaries
  5. Challenging and clarify their preconceived notion of their personal values and beliefs.”

As you continue to mentor other leaders or consider the possibility, keep the Being, Knowing, Doing model in mind.

The being, knowing, doing framework helps us consider the whole person as we come alongside another leader, addressing their:

  • Character & Recognition of full dimensions of their humanity (i.e. Emotions)
  • Mental Paradigms
  • Competency Development

By coming alongside other leaders in a mentoring relationship with the motivation of serving and blessing, we are able to help purposefully help them cultivate the fullness and uniqueness of who they are for their life vocation, roles and responsibilities.

 

Questions for reflection and action:

  • Who comes to your mind as you read this post?  Why?
  • What are the names of the younger leaders who you see their potential?
  • What could it look like to integrate each aspect of Being, Knowing, Doing?
  • What would you let keep you from crossing comfort zones and mentoring younger leaders?
  • What do you or would you enjoy the most from a mentoring relationship?

 

Sen Sendjaya. (2015).  Personal and Organizational Excellence through Servant Leadership.

*While it has excellent content, it was an academic read, so keep your learning drivers in mind if you decided to pick it up.

 

The More We Hide, the Less We Grow

Hiding is one of the enemies to growth. Hiding comes about as we try to look smarter than we are, be approved by others, and seem like we have things more together than we do. Insecurity is normally one of the key ingredients that drives us into hiding.

When we choose hiding as a protection strategy, we avoid vulnerability, we miss new experiences, and we don’t ask questions that would accelerate our growth.

Hiding looks safer than it really it is. It works for awhile, but eventually we don’t learn from experiences where we would have been uncomfortably stretched. We don’t make the connections or build the network that would have been established. In the end, we aren’t better off for the hiding. We ultimately lower our trajectory of growth by trading a sense of comfort in the immediate for long-term returns on our personal growth and development.

Hiding Can Appear as:

  • Not asking questions
  • Avoiding a stretching job assignment
  • Not advocating for our own growth
  • Blending into the background for fear of messing up
  • Lowering our risk quotient until its completely manageable
  • Passivity
  • Blaming
  • Failure to strategize personal growth
  • Not investing in one’s own growth
  • Letting fear have the final word
  • Embracing limiting beliefs and statements about self, future, and possibilities

Each one of our lives has purpose and meaning. We have intrinsic value as human beings regardless of our doing. But when we embrace hiding, not only do we create an unhelpful ceiling in our own life and leadership, the world around us misses out on the best version of us.

6 Pathways for Leaving Hiding Behind

  • Take on new and different, stretching assignments at work or in volunteer roles
  • Invest in own growth through planning and proactively seek out learning opportunities or relationships
  • Ask for feedback from helpful sources
  • Work on emotional intelligence by recognizing, reflecting upon, and choosing a response to emotions and connected thoughts
  • Embrace the feeling of being uncomfortable, knowing those moments are connected to high growth possibilities
  • Reframe failure as another step in the process on the way to figuring it out instead of an event that is the final chapter

Living with a growth mindset requires vulnerability, calculated risks, and a curiosity that will lead us to stretch. When we embrace being uncomfortable or not having all the answers, we are choosing to not let insecurity or fear have the final word. In the process, we grow and develop and everyone around us benefits.

12 Questions for Self or Organizational Leadership:

1. What is most energizing to me right now?                                                                                                                          2. Where am I experiencing the most traction?
3. What trend is most important for me to watch?
4. What should I start doing to accomplish my vision?
5. What do I want to optimize?
6. What do I want to further integrate?
7. What do I need to stop doing that is no longer effective?
8. Where do I see the opportunity for innovation?
9. What issue do I most need to address?
10. What habits are giving me the greatest ROI?
11. Who should I invest in?
12. What is required for me to enter the next season of life/leadership well?

Which question is most powerful for you in this season?

What other powerful questions empower a leader/organization?

Purpose, Priority, Passion, Vision Prompts

I get distracted easily in the constant noise of notifications, pressures, opportunities and my own wandering thoughts.  As a leader, I know the power of clarity and focus on the things that matter most.  Living from an inside-out life vision that aligns God’s purposes and workmanship in a leader with their daily life and activities is a conduit of God’s blessing. This aligned life of the leader not only is far more satisfying to the leader, but blesses others in their home, work, church and community.

To keep purpose, vision, and values clarity, I’ve found that prompts and rituals are important.  A prompt in this sense is something that reminds you to act.  In this case, a prompt reminds me to pray for something and helps me to stay focused as I am praying.  The picture above captures two of my prompts.  One is a cross, which reminds me to pray for my life to be gospel, cross-shaped life as a disciple of Jesus.  I want Christ to be formed in me, and seeing the cross and holding it as I pray help me.  The other is an acorn, which reminds me to pray for my sons to grow up and be sturdy ‘oaks’ who love the Lord and love others. The other prompts are my life focuses on a page and my grander vision document.  The life focuses captures the six most important life focuses for me, the core of my life.  The grander vision captures the long-term dreams and goals for how I can experience blessing and be a conduit of blessing to others.

To “operationalize” these prompts into the actual flow of my life, I set a rhythm to pray through them at the start of my day.  Setting the rhythm is important, otherwise I could have a prompt on my desk that is a nice idea, but never moves me to actual prayer.   Setting the ritual is significant, because it shapes my time with the Lord that ultimately shapes me.  While this looks different day to day, here is my core ritual.

  • Reading and Reflecting
  • Praise and Gratitude expressed to God
  • Pray through my prompts, beginning with Christ being shaped in me, moving to life accounts and grander vision goals.
  • Silent listening and reflection in God’s presence
  • Prayers for others in my life

I hesitate to share the ritual, because it is shaped so much by my current life situation, I don’t stick to it rigidly.  But it provides a helpful core for me as a starting place.  The point is that a leader has a personal, flexible, strong launch pad.  I am not at the extreme end of the discipline spectrum, I have a creative side, but I also struggle to lead myself.  So while I don’t follow my own plan perfectly by any means, it once again gives me value in framing out some helpful structures and guideposts for opening myself before the Lord and allowing him to shape and lead me.

If this is helpful for you, here are a few questions:

  • What rhythm(s) would be beneficial for me to build into my life?
  • What ritual would empower me as a seek to open myself to God and welcome His shepherding and leadership of every aspect of my life, work…etc.
  • What visioning exercises would help me have clarity on my purpose, life focuses, and grander vision goals?
  • What prompts are symbolic of my life focuses/grander visioning that would remind me and help me pray over them?
  • What is God saying to me in this season of my life, work, marriage, parenting, church body life…etc.?
  • What grace do I need to embrace from the Lord as I seek to steward my life (but do so imperfectly)?

Who Will You Serve Today?

“It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
That perspective changes our sense of purpose in our work life. It changes our motivation for working. It changes our attitude toward our job, both when things are going well and when they aren’t. It changes our hopes and dreams about work. It reshapes and redeems what we hope to accomplish.”
 
The Gospel Goes to Work by S. Graves