The hardest leader to develop: me.

“Leaders aren’t born they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.” — Vince Lombardi

We have to do a better job at our church in developing leaders. This week’s posts are more about what we could be doing better rather than what we are doing right!

The hardest person I lead my life is me . . . by a long shot.  I’m a tough one to develop because the inertia of inaction is ever present!  I’m not if anyone is going to be interested in today’s post . . . but I’m writing it for myself.  To put down how I am looking to develop my own leadership in this coming year.  I need to be reminded of these things . . . or I’ll just let them slip away and not do them.

Fight the Echo Chamber

Church leadership can easily become an echo chamber.  It’s easy to listen to leaders who reinforce what I think . . . read books that confirm my approach . . . seek experiences that placate my way of thinking . . . you get the picture!  This year I’m taking the following steps to fight the echo chamber:

  • Read every issue of Time magazine from cover to cover.  It’s a populous source of news and culture that still has influence today.  Why an old school magazine?  Because there is a start and a finish and no hyperlinks for me to follow towards stories I might like more.
  • Visit 6 religious services that aren’t from my stream of belief.  What is it like to actually come to church for the first time?  I want to get into that head space more this year.  I’m just picking the 6th largest movements that don’t position themselves as Christian. (Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Human Potential, Hinduism, Unitarian/Universalist)
  • Read 6 of the #1 Hot New Releases in the Amazon’s “Management and Leadership” list.  Whatever is that the top of this list on the first of February, April, June, August, October, December . . . I’ll read it and try to glean from it at least one idea to apply to my life and leadership.

Leadership is Communication

One other area of my self leadership development for this year is my communication skills.  I need to focus some time and energy on improving my ability to express my ideas and concepts.

  • Listen to every episode of the Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing podcast.  It’s free, quick, helpful and easy to access.
  • Write 100 blog posts in 2011.  If I want to get better at something I need to do it more and get feedback.  With this post I’m 12% towards my goal!
  • Take a class on Presentation Skills. I’m talking in front of groups all the time . . . but I’d like to get some coaching from an expert on how to take this to the next level.  I’m looking for a class outside of the “church world” (to keep with my first area of development above) with a respected organization in this area.

Not a lot of rocket science in that list but I’m hopeful that pursing these 6 initiatives in this year will make me a sharper leader and better servant for the people I’m suppose to lead.  What about you?  What are you doing to develop your leadership in 2011?

Next week we’re going to be looking at nuts and bolts stuff that we’ve been doing within Family Ministry to help us partner with parents as they attempt to raise their kids.


  1. Great post Rich! Although those that know you would I’m sure disagree with the statement that “the inertia of inaction is ever present” in you, I know the feeling!

    Great innovative goals. Not the usual suspects. I’ll be joining you on a few of these for sure!

  2. Rich, I love the fact that you’re considering visiting other faith communities. This year, I personally visited 3 Hindu temples in the region as a part of gaining better understanding for interreligious dialogue. I’d be happy to share my experiences and recommend some to you if you’d like!

  3. Well, first, I’d recommend this book: by Gavin Flood, which is a good overview of Hinduism. If you are not familiar with that tradition, the first thing to note is that there is no ONE tradition — almost should be called Hinduisms (plural).

    The temple in Bridgewater, NJ is a great place to start in exploring: (don’t forget to take off your shoes upon entering as appropriate to all hindu temples).

    Another interesting one is in Secaucus NJ. And another in Towaco, New Jersey. If you want a very lively center that is used to non-Hindu visitors, I can also suggest one in Princeton NJ – since it is in a University town, their are very visitor friendly.

    There’s so much to exploring Hinduism from a Christian’s perspective. So many ah-ha moments along the way.

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