For those of you who don’t know, leadership is very important to me. It is in my nature to lead and serve others. Maybe it’s the way I was brought up; my Dad has always instilled in me a servant-leadership work ethic. I saw my Dad lead Bible studies from a very young age. To this day, he is a leader within his Jeep community. He’s not about being flashy, but he leads by being an encourager and showing people their value. I definitely got a lot of my personality, optimism, idealism, and desire to encourage from him.
I also cultivated my leadership drive in high school. I attended Christian faith-based schools my entire youth. In high school, I always signed up for extra classes on leadership when available. It has been ingrained into my head to be a servant-leader, and you can be a leader no matter where you are in life. Unfortunately, I strayed away from these principles and lost my way for quite some time.
I’m definitely not perfect, and I’ve messed up as a leader, especially by letting my temper get the best of me. I was so eager for attention, approval, and status that I didn’t care too much about those with whom I was working. Instead, I just wanted to be a manger in a titled position. I was honestly somewhat of a jerk. I had to fail and get knocked down a few times before I remembered what it truly meant to be a leader.
It all started with reading books. I made the effort to find books from top leaders in business and to readjust who I had become. Books from John C. Maxwell, Dave Ramsey, and Zig Ziglar really helped me shift my focus from being a manager to truly being a leader. I absorbed as much as I could and began my journey to become a true servant-leader once again.
Fast forward to last year—I made the decision to prioritize my growth and education as a leader. I had heard about the Global Leadership Conference, but I never had the courage to go. It was definitely a good life decision. I left feeling so inspired and encouraged to be a better leader fueled by passion and new insight. This year was no different. Every speaker had wonderful insight to share and many challenges for me to consider and implement.
Next week, I will be starting a miniseries with takeaways from each speaker. Here are some key insights that stood out to me this year:
- Accept that failures are a part of our journey. We are not perfect. The only way we truly learn is from trying, failing, correcting, and growing.
- Be self-aware. Learn about your strengths, short comings, and also have awareness of who each of your team members are.
- Be flexible in your approach but not in your purpose. Keep the vision set and be open to how the vision is achieved.
- Motivation will only get your team so far. Inspiration is evoking what is already in your team and rallying them to the purpose.
- Have courage to get through pains and failures.
- Be authentically you. Don’t dumb yourself down or hide who you are.
Whether you are a natural-born leader or have been placed in a leadership role for your job, I encourage you to take the time to cultivate leadership skills and find new ways to become the best leader you can be. Conferences and summits are some great ways that I recommend for learning and growing, but even just taking the steps to read, listen to podcasts, or watch YouTube videos and TED Talks are also awesome ways to get started. You will never regret investing in yourself. Investing in becoming a better leader will benefit not only you but also everyone you have the opportunity to influence.