Growing as a Leader

If I know anything about leadership, it’s that it doesn’t come easy.

Yes, some people have a natural gift toward leadership, however growing and developing as a leader is hard work.  It won’t just happen.  A position of authority won’t miraculously make you a good leader.  Being called a leader doesn’t make you a good leader.  Going to leadership conferences won’t make you a good leader.

You will become a good leader when you become dedicated to being one.  It has to be intentional.  You have to work at, pray for and seek it EVERY day.  You have to read, listen, study EVERY day.

Here are some of my suggestions for things you can do to grow as a leader EVERY day:

  • Make praying for leadership wisdom a part of every day
  • Read 30 min to an hour from a leadership book every day (including the Bible – there is great leadership stuff in there!)
  • Study other leaders around you and journal your observations
  • Find a peer who sees your leadership in action and can give you honest, candid feedback
  • Seek out a seasoned leader to meet with occasionally who will coach and mentor you (this could be one person or many)

The bottom line is you’ve got to work at it.

You’ve got to be a student of it.

You’ve got to be committed to it.

So let me ask you, what are you doing today to grow as a leader?

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  • Jeff Henderson March 2, 2009  

    Jenni — no wonder you’re a great leader. That’s a really good list. Thanks for sharing.


  • Kendra Fleming March 2, 2009  

    Would love to know what you’ve done to seek out seasoned leaders to meet with…Is it a consistent and structured meeting, like an advisory board? or is it more informal? Do you chose random seasoned leaders? Or do you have a couple of leaders who speak into your life on a regular basis?


  • katiewilliams March 2, 2009  

    If I’m reading a book that cliques with me. I read it slowly. One chapter a week so I can take the week to practice what I read. Otherwise I cram my head with too much information and never learn to apply it.

  • Jenni Catron March 2, 2009  

    @Jeff – thanks for your being such a great leader to learn from!

    @Kendra – Connecting with seasoned leaders is more organic for me and I’ve found that I have to really take the initiative. I have a couple of former bosses who I still connect with a few times a year. I take them to breakfast or lunch and I ask them perspective on my life and leadership. I also watch high level leaders from afar and study what they do. Pete (my boss) probably has the most consistent leadership voice in my life.

    @Katie – I love your point about reading slowly to help you make the application. I take notes as I read leadership books so that what I’m reading starts to take root in my thought process.

  • Heidi March 2, 2009  

    I am with Kendra Jenni,

    How do you know they are great leaders behind the door too?

    How do you pick?

  • Jenni Clayville March 2, 2009  

    You pretty much covered it all, girl.

    I read a lot, and try to surround myself with people I want to be like.

  • murphy belding March 3, 2009  

    yes…I agree…leadership is the hardest skill in the world to acquire…it doesn’t happen with anything else but hard work and intentional focus to be the best leader we can be…thanks for blogging…I keep up with you and Pete by reading your blogs…

  • Brad Ruggles March 3, 2009  

    Great advice. I personally try to have lunch/coffee with as many people as I possibly can wherever I go. A lot of the appointments turn out to be nothing more than 45 minutes over coffee but some lead to some great connections and a few profoundly impact my life. I’m a big fan of the “never eat alone” principle.

    By the way, guess it’s been a little while since I’ve been here. I love your new look and especially your blog title, Leading In Shades Of Grey. Very cool!

  • Kevin March 3, 2009  

    What a great list.

    I am currently reading books on leadership, plus I have some mentors who I speak with weekly and submit my ideas and struggles with. I have open and transparent relationships with these guys so that they can speak into me.


  • Sarah Smith March 3, 2009  


    Thank you for this advice. It was really helpful and i am going to hopefully begin to put it to practice immediately. I think i have never really grasped this concept or known how to tackle it. I want to lead but have had so much fear holding me back. I am really looking forward to growing in this area of my life

  • Jenni Catron March 3, 2009  

    Thanks for chiming in everyone! I love hearing your perspective!

  • lisa March 3, 2009  

    All of the above ! Even as a Mom/leader of the house I think doing all those things are very important. Stay in the word ,pray with my team/family everyday, and get advice from other seasoned Mom’s who have been there. Great Post !

  • Rachel Rowell March 4, 2009  

    Constantly reading books on leadership, hanging with those who are leaders, and realizing that being a leader doesn’t mean that I have everything figured out already. Setting an example of Godliness first, and loving others.