How I'm learning to be a better leader
READ TIME: 4 MINUTES
Over the last year, I've backed out of every official leadership role I had and strangely enough, I feel like I'm finally living the life I want to lead! Just in the last few months when I didn't have the "leader" label, I've realized that informal leadership opportunities arise everyday that can bring me closer to the life I want.
I've never felt so free to live in my unique calling.
Why the Change?
A couple of years ago I realized that every group activity I was involved in, I assumed a leadership role. I'm a "natural leader", as in...I'm easier to deal with on a team if you give me some solid responsibility. Haha!
But more recently, I started to see areas where my leadership was negatively affecting other people because I wasn't in the right place to lead. It wasn't anything drastic or scandalous, but I was finding myself easily irked, which is a sure sign that something is off. After praying about it, I felt God asking me to back away from public leadership positions so I could re-focus during this new season of life.
My first reaction was real mature...
But God?! I like leading! And people like me leading! What if I never get to lead again??
Through more prayer and focusing on the Lord, I found out that my motivation for leading was all wrong, and I needed to get right before I could lead well. I wanted to be "the leader" more than I wanted to lead people. I was more focused on who I could influence than I was with the people I was influencing.
The point of leadership is not to lead as many people as you can. The point is to lead well in a way that glorifies God, whether it be one million people or one. Our focus should always be on the quality of leadership we provide, not the quantity in the crowd. If you don't have a good foundation, quantity will expand at the detriment of quality.
To put it practically: Would you rather be like Wal-Mart with lots of stores, lots of revenue, and a lousy shopping experience? Or would you rather be like Neiman Marcus?
If you ask me, I'm always going to say Neimans!
My leadership was lousy, because I had the wrong motives. My leadership was about me and where I wanted to go in life. Instead, I should have been waiting to say "yes" to a divine plan that God carved out for my life long before the stars were born. But I was saying "yes" to everything, which made my influence wide and shallow.
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I was wrecked. I didn't want to be another lousy leader. I took it up to the Lord and heard this from Him:
By the end of your life, you will accomplish a lot. People will like you and appreciate all the work you did. But will you accomplish MY will or YOURS?
YIKES! Isn't that the question of the decade?! Will I accomplishthe Lord's will or my own?
I needed to go back and figure out if I was following the Lord into these roles or if I was following my own desires. I realized that all of the leadership roles I held started this way:
Someone asked me to lead because they needed a leader...not necessarily because I was the right person for it.
I agreed, because (A) I really do enjoy leading people, and (B) I do not enjoy saying "no".
I ended up leading for a longer amount of time than I planned, doing work that wasn't growing me.
I missed other opportunities that would have been better for me, had I said "no" to the quickest asks.
That sounds like I was following my own will, not the Lord's. So I shed all my roles, and got back to the root of leadership: self-leadership.
The Woman in the Mirror
In the last few months, without my usual leadership roles, I've been working on the woman in the mirror. Me. The one people go to for help. "The inspirational one." The woman in charge.
Yeah...she needed a reset.
I've spent so much of my last year asking the Lord:
Lord, change me and my wrong opinions and anything hidden in the dark corners of my heart. I surrender to you.
Of course other "opportunities" arose over the last year that I had to say "no" to. While I'm no longer an official "leader" of anything, I've been able to lead in ways I didn't even notice before. Ways that don't win awards or even receive much gratitude, but shape the character of who I'm becoming in life.
Last week, I was able to lead one person. Just one. And it was deeply meaningful!
A friend was texting me kinda upset, and I recognized it was a coded way of asking for help. I called her and talked for 2 hours and helped her...really helped her!!
I'm never going to win a leadership award for this, but I'm so happy about it, because it was ordained in the Heavenlies that I should help this friend with this problem on this exact day.
I didn't give her the formula for success -- which by the way isn't real leadership, it's just barking. I helped lead her through foggy territory based on progress I made weeks before on similar ground! She was going through a period of life where the enemy was spewing all kinds of lies against her true identity as God's Beloved Daughter. If you read my previous post, you know I went through this exact same attack recently! How cool is God?? He's big enough to know Every. Single. Person. Ever...yet intimate enough to be in every detail of our lives, and visionary enough to cross our paths at just the right time!!
This leadership opportunity wasn't cloaked in a royal robe, and it didn't come with a scepter of power over lots of people. It was simply an opportunity to be a guide to someone who was walking a similar path as me.
While this opportunity involved a 2-hour phonecall, it took years of preparation to get to the place of being able to lead someone through this kind of spiritual warfare. And truthfully, it wasn't because of our friendship being so amazing or me being amazing. It all really started with God's leadership. Let's dive into how leadership begins:
God as the source --> who changes our lives --> and then helps us lead our circle of influence.
*Priska Jordan is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.