(Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash)
I love learning about leadership. Leadership is so rich and in many ways, combines both art and science. There are elements that are tried, tested and verified that we can call principles for leadership. Then there is the other side of leadership that deals with humanity; both ours and other people. No science can ever tell you exactly how to deal with every single situation that arises as we interact with people.
This is where I have recently come to a realisation that the one element that I can control the most in my leadership is ME. Not the situation. Not other people. I always bring ME to any leadership scenario. I am the constant. And the best way to ensure that I am the best leader I can be is to learn leadership disciplines.
Much like an athlete who have to daily discipline themselves in what they consume and how they train, leaders have to do the same. So what kind of leadership disciplines do we have to be aware of? I recently found that thinking about how people are made of body, soul and spirit gives us 3 comprehensive categories to think about leadership disciplines.
My physical health hugely impacts my leadership. As I age I find that I am far more aware of my stamina and my limits physically. This has help me work out disciplines that help me lead. For example Sunday is a big day of leading for me. A part of my discipline is watching what I'm doing on Saturday. I plan to rest well on Saturday night to have the best chance of waking up on Sunday morning refreshed and ready to go.
Now, this doesn't always work out well. For example last Saturday I had a terrible sleep and on Sunday morning I had a tough time getting my energy levels up. But these kind of events happen less and less the more disciplined I am.
Another part of body disciplines come in the form of building your skills and abilities. As a communicator my voice is highly important to me. I have recently become more deliberate about vocal training exercises to build my vocal stamina. God willing, I have decades more of speaking to do, and the load will probably be increasing. Losing my vocal abilities will hugely affect my ability to lead how God has called me to lead.
My soul consists of my mind, my will and my emotions. I find that today's culture generally views the soul as uncontrollable. It is what it is. This is a massive lie! My mind, will and emotions are all trainable. In particular here are a couple of thoughts about soul disciplines:
1. Watch your inputs.
What are you consuming? Movies, music, relationships; how/what are they feeding your soul? Are they helping you soar, or are they weighing you down? What can you do to ensure that your soul is energized when you need to lead?
2. Watch your weights.
Life has a way of giving us burdens to carry. And we are built to carry an enormous amount of weight! But we also need to ensure that we have times to refresh and times to get these weights off your chest. How do you refresh your soul? Have you got time to unload?
I believe that having a healthy spirit gives you drive and clarity in leadership. And a healthy spirit comes back to spiritual disciplines. Prayer, Bible reading, worship are all key. If you are finding yourself muddled and dry in your leadership, chances are your spirit is not in a healthy place. There is no easy, quick fix for this. Get disciplined, and you'll see the difference.
Whether you are in a formal leadership position or not, you are still leading at least yourself, and you always have a circle of influence you play a part in. Think about how you are build disciplines that get the best out of you and experience a new level of fruitfulness.