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Leadership Development

ship building

[Check out an article I shared with Huffington Post on this topic!]

My favorite insight into personal/organizational/leadership development is a quote by Antoine de Saint Exupéry, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”  In my experience, the role of a leader is to seek out the immensity of the sea, communicate the possibilities (or preferred future) with passion and vitality, and thus empower and motivate the followers to construct whatever vessel necessary to get there.

I heard someone once say that self-leadership precedes team leadership, and I believe that’s true.  So as committed as I am to personal and organizational development, I’m equally drawn to the hard work of developing leaders.  Many of the resources I discussed in my own personal development can (and should) be utilized in this process of leadership development.  In addition to those assessments, I’d highly recommend a few podcasts that consistently boast solid leadership content.

As for my own ventures into leadership development, I’ll provide a few examples from my time as Executive Pastor at Anchor Church in Virginia Beach.

First, I created and successfully implemented a 12-month development plan for the leadership team (Elders) of the church.  This consisted of book studies, many of the assessments I’d already taken, and a commitment to serve as the director for all the social components of the plan.  The entire year culminated in an incredible 3-day family retreat on the beautiful Smith Mountain Lake in Roanoke, VA!  We all brought our kids, played and fished on the lake, and we spent some time each night after the kids went to bed working through assessments like StrengthsFinder and discussing the future direction of the church.  It was exhilarating!  [SIDE NOTE:  after three days relaxing on a floating dock, I completely jacked my inner ear equilibrium and came home certain I had a brain tumor!]

Second, as I mentioned on the organizational development page, one of my largest tasks at Anchor Church involved bringing clarity and structure to all of our volunteer teams (8 teams encompassing 50+ adults).  Every other month I would organize an evening of dessert and development with our Ministry Team Leaders.  These evenings would last no more than 90 minutes, and during that time we would catch up, schedule our volunteers over the next eight weeks, and I would end our time with a short nugget of leadership development, steeped in practical application.  Here are a few of the topics I created and taught:

Prior to Anchor Church, I had the privilege of serving as the Arts/Media Director for Crosscurrent Church in Virginia Beach.  During my 5 years in this position I led a significant departmental restructure which maneuvered the team from a rotating cast revolving around a single leader to an organized community of teams (or bands in this case).  My objective was to develop other leaders and spend the majority of my strategic energy pouring into them.  Thus, documents I created like Band Leader Development served as a plumb line for our vision.  Within 18 months we had 4 separate teams of artists, each with their own leader!