Leadership - It starts with you

One of my favorite John Maxwell quote is that "everything rises our falls on Leadership".  If you look at the successful organizations and companies, you will see outstanding leaders.  Leaders can make or break an organization.  They can lead it to great success and prosperity, or than can drown it in the mud.  One of the characteristics I want to focus on today is the issue of self-leadership.

My one critique of leaders (including myself) is that often times I am to outwardly focused and not inwardly focused.  Leadership starts with you.  If you are not building yourself up investing in yourself, you are doomed to eventually drain dry or break down.  Tim Elmore in his book Habitudes #1 mentions the image of a starving baker. This story involves a baker who has the best bread, pastries, and rolls and everyone in town wants his bread.  The shop is constantly busy and he is constantly baking.  In fact, he is so busy, that  he slowly begins to forget to feed himself.  He loses weight, and eventually starves to death, despite the fact that there is food all around him.  This is a great image of what happens to alot of good leaders.  They burn out.  Leaders need to make it priority that they have people pouring into them and that they take the time they need to pour into themselves.  Here are a few practical ways I have learned (often times the hard way) about self-leadership.

1) For the Christian Leader, it starts with God.  Daily times with God is a must. The Christian Leader must rely on God as his strength and live and breathe in the word of God.  Unfortunately for many Christian Leaders, when we get busy, this time with God is the first thing to go.  Our time with God needs to be our top priority in our schedule every day.  No excuses.

2) Personal Growth is a must.  Leaders need to constantly be reading, learning, and developing there skills.  Leaders should be constantly progressing who they are and expanding their talents.  This might mean writing out a personal growth plan, reading a book a week, or listening to different speakers.  The possibilities are endless, but the fact remains that Personal Growth also must be a priority.

3) Having a mentor is a must.  It is foolish to think that you can make it on your own.  Leaders need help, encouragement, and most importantly accountability.  A mentor can provide all of these things.  Don't be so prideful that you don't ask for help.  Having someone pour themselves and there wisdom into you is a priceless commodity for making you into a better leader.