Today we continue the 4 Dimensions Series with a post on the dimension of self-leadership from Cross Point’s Spiritual Formation Pastor, Chris Surratt.  This dimension is HUGE to your leadership balance and I have been amazed by Chris’ ability to lead himself so well and to teach his team to do the same.  Chris has displayed for me how a confident leader can organize their life to accomplish much without sacrificing their health, sanity and communion with God.

Chris blogs at Continue the Conversation

You can follow Chris on twitter HERE.

Self-leadership is pretty foundational really. If you can’t lead yourself, how can you expect to lead others? Many leaders spend a lot of time learning how to better lead the people that they manage, but forget that it all begins with themselves.

I just finished reading a great business book called Rework. It was co-written by Jason Fried, who is the founder of the online company, 37Signals. A large part of the book can be summed up with: “If you want your business to succeed, don’t hire people that cannot lead themselves.”

Businesses no longer have the time or financial margin to hold their employees hands and constantly tell them what to do and how to do it. The market is moving too fast and the stakes are too large for constant micro managing.

I would offer that it is the same in the church world. As we have watched hundreds of churches forced to lay off staff during this recession, it is clear that the church of the future will have to operate differently than it has in the past. To be able to do more ministry with less staff, those staff members will have to be self-motivated. Jesus left us with the greatest mission ever, are we motivated enough to accomplish it?

I believe that there are a few things that you can do to help lead yourself and help the people that you manage better lead themselves.

  • Goals are your friends

We all hate making them because it takes self-discipline and time. It’s much easier to react than create. However, if you set the right kind of goals (achievable, inspiring, measurable, ect.), you get a lot more accomplished in a shorter amount of time.

  • Distraction is your enemy

We are bombarded with it all of the time. Emails, social media, interruptions… and I love all of them. But I know that to create well, I have to carve out time to do it. I’m not good at 2 hr. stretches (too many shiny things to look at), but 30-45 minutes distraction free is a must.

  • Meetings can be good if…

I know very few self-motivated people that love meetings. They would rather get-r-done than sit around and talk about it. But I find that meetings can be beneficial if they are:

o   Focused – have an agenda and follow it.

o   Fun – it is possible.

o   Short – as possible. Set a time limit and stick to it.

o   Changing – constantly change the place, time, people, everything.

  • Remember why you do what you do

The times that I get de-motivated are when I lose sight of why I do what I do.

When things become routine.

When I feel like I could do it in my sleep.

It helps me to reconnect when I hear the stories of life-change. I had the chance this past Sunday to baptize 5 people who decided that morning to step out in faith. That gets me excited to come in to the office on Monday morning! Figure out what does that for you. What are the stories that your team needs to hear to take them to the next level?

How are you at leading yourself? What are some steps that you have taken to be better at it?

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  • Willy Maxwell November 18, 2010  

    Great Post Chris, thanks!

    I relate it to coaching (as you’ll come to realize I often do!), as a coach I need 11 players on the field that I can trust to do their job. I can train them, mentor them and teach them everything I know, but they must have the self-leadership to catch the vision, absorb the teaching and give everything they have to the training. On game day, I am going to put the 11 players on the field that have demonstrated the most self-leadership because I trust that they will fulfill their role to the best of their ability.
    It’s the same in ministry, my role is to cast vision, to inspire, to teach & train and prepare the saints to do the work of the church.