My Top Ten Leadership Lessons: Part #5

Lesson #1: If you feel it is necessary to continually remind people you are the leader, there is a real possibility you are not.

Lesson #2: Be Last.

Lesson #3: Praise Publicly. Correct Privately. Encourage Consistently.

Lesson #4: Listen and allow input. Never let yours be the only voice you hear.

Lesson #5: Leaders move forward and grow by looking back and learning. Leaders who are successful consistently evaluate past decisions to ensure better future decisions.

Leadership assumes movement in both leader and organization. An organization does not hire/call/secure a leader with the hope of standing still. The goal of any organization, whether secular or spiritual, is to move toward its decided upon purpose and mission. Leaders must also move forward in their personal growth. Leaders who become stale personally will quickly be leading stale organizations. It is important for leaders of organizations to be life-long learners. One way in which learning continues is by looking back to past decisions.

It is counter-intuitive to believe you move forward by looking backwards. I am not advocating living in the past. I am not talking about insisting the former ways are the best. I am talking about an honest assessment of past decisions. Leader don’t always get it right. For many, what seemed to be the right decision at the time turned out to be a costly mistake. An elementary life lesson is that we learn from our mistakes. The same is true in leadership. To ensure the same mistakes are not made in the future, leaders should often evaluate how their past decisions were made. Questions like, “Did I have enough information to make a good decision?”, “Did I make this decision based solely on emotion?”, “Did I seek the necessary counsel before making this decision?”, and “Did I consider how my decision would affect the organization in the future?” are all appropriate. Looking back over 18 years of pastoral ministry there are many bad decisions. I wish it were possible to have a “do-over.” There are no “do-overs” in life. We can only learn from the mistake and be better prepared for the future. Leaders owe their organization a commitment to learning from past mistakes. For a leader to assume they have made no mistakes is a mistake itself.

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