Not the Leader I Wanted To Be

My first career job was, at the time, my dream job.  After about a year of “paying my dues” working the front desk and personally assisting everyone in the office, I was promoted to the “real work”… the fun stuff… marketing, promotions, artist development, etc.  I was now playing with the big kids.  I was so excited, but I quickly realized I had a lot to learn.  And leadership seemed to be at the top of that list.

I devoured every John Maxwell resource I could get my hands on and became a student of every person and every situation I experienced.  I literally kept a journal of leadership moments… what worked… what failed and what I would have done differently.  I love reading back through that journal.  It’s amazing how you find yourself repeating the same bad leadership habits.

The problem with my leadership journey was that it became a game of comparison all the time. While I watched and learned from others, I always measured my leadership growth against the leadership strengths of other people.  And many times, what worked for them was a complete flop for me.  It just didn’t make sense.  I wrestled with self-doubt.  I began to wonder if I really was a leader.  Perhaps leadership was a dream that wasn’t in the cards for me?

But that thought process just didn’t resonate, so I kept at it.

Over time I started to figure out my “leadership wins”.  Surprisingly, they were different from the others around me.  I began to understand that leadership looks different on different people. 

Our personalities and our experience shape our leadership differently. Not right or wrong, just different.

I began to realize that my more managerial/organizational style of leadership was my key leadership dimension and that it would likely always be my strongest leadership dimension.  I also discovered that my friends, co-workers and bosses sometimes led from other key dimensions.

I’ve grown to believe that there are four key leadership dimensions for faith-based leaders. Each of us will have a primary leadership dimension – the dimension that we most naturally lead from.  But I’ve also discovered that GREAT leaders will learn the art of developing the other dimensions in their life.  They will never master them (nor should they try).  But I believe great leaders need to understand these dimensions and seek to lead their team in a balance of them.  That might mean stretching yourself to grow in that dimension or it might mean deferring to other leaders who lead well in that area.

The 4 Key Leadership Dimensions:

  1. Visionary Leadership
  2. Managerial/Organizational Leadership
  3. Spiritual Leadership
  4. Self-leadership

This week, I’m deferring to some of our great leaders at Cross Point to help define and explain each of these dimensions.   I love that our team has a balance of leaders who each have a strength in one of these areas.

I hope you’ll be back to learn and discuss more with us!

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  • Tami Heim November 15, 2010  

    Jenni – This sounds like it will be a great series – can’t wait dive deep into all of it with you!

    • Jenni Catron November 15, 2010  

      Thank you so much, Tami!

  • Nicole Unice November 16, 2010  

    Jenni, I started teaching this concept to our youth staff last month. Thanks for sharing it with me…I’ve learned so much from your blog!

  • Will Johnston November 18, 2010  

    Lessons learned over years of real world experience… Solid content… I feel like I can sense a book brewing.

  • Rena Kosiek December 4, 2010  

    I completely understand where you are coming from in regards to leadership and always comparing where you are to someone else. It is very hard in our culture not to. Especially in the Christian culture we live in today. One thing I have been privilege with is working with a variety of leaders everyday that have taught me not to compare where I am to where others are. I think this is a great series to have discussion and bring to light. I am really excited to read further. I know that the Crosspoint leadership is an amazing example to learn from.

    • Jenni Catron December 4, 2010  

      Thanks for reading and responding, Rena!!

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