I feel like the most blessed person on Earth. The reason? I have the incredible privilege of leading monthly leadership round-table groups in my region in which Christian leaders gather together once per month for four hours. These groups (usually consisting of 12-15 leaders) act like a board of advisors to one another in helping each member to grow their organizations in a God-honoring way, while at the same time challenging and encouraging one another to grow personally and spiritually. I get to facilitate six such meetings each month, which is a blessing beyond words.
In the seven years I’ve been doing this, one thing has become much more apparent to me: we were not meant to do life alone. This applies especially to leaders!
Yet, most leaders choose to go it alone.
Sure, we may have Facebook friends and Twitter followers. We might have a lengthy list of acquaintances and maybe even a few friends we consider close. However, leaders rarely have relationships with people who “get them” as a leader.
To make matters worse, when things begin to go sideways in our organizations or our lives, most of us have a natural tendency to want to isolate: I don’t want to be a bother to anyone else. I don’t really need any help. Sound familiar?
Those are typically excuses we tell ourselves which keep us from doing what we don’t feel like doing… even though we know it’s the right thing to do.
Whenever I watch a lion hunting a zebra on television, I always see the lion chasing, and catching, the zebra that’s by itself. This is because the lone zebra is the weak one. Leaders must learn from this truth.
To compound the issue further, as you rise up the ladder a funny thing happens: fewer and fewer people will actually tell you the truth. As a leader, the truth is your friend and is necessary for you to lead effectively.
So if you lead others, it is imperative that you surround yourself with trusted advisers… for your sake and for the sake of those you lead. I’m talking about confidantes who, because of their own experience, understand the pressures of leadership. They’ve earned the right to provide a kick in the pants when needed and can offer heartfelt support when the going gets tough… because they’ve been there… they get it.
While this is not an exhaustive list, here are six reasons to assemble a group like this.
With trusted advisers around you…
- You have a greater chance of making better decisions that give you a better chance for success.
- You will be encouraged to press on and do what is right even when the going gets really difficult.
- Because you will be held accountable, you will grow more as a leader and do the things you need to be doing (rather than those things which are really only distractions).
- Because you have a safe and confidential place to share your deepest burdens and struggles with others who care about you, your soul will begin to heal which will only help your ability to lead well.
- Because of what you have learned through your own experiences, you will also find opportunities to serve those around you which will encourage and bless them immensely, as well as you.
- You will feel refreshed. Being a leader is exhausting. Being a lonely leader is much more so. After their first meeting, new round-table members frequently tell me, “I feel like a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I don’t feel so alone anymore!”
So who’s on your team?
Action step: Find a group of trusted people (or some individuals) and ask them if they’d be willing to speak into your life, to point out your blind spots and to encourage you. If you do this, I promise you that you will feel a weight lifted and your influence as a leader will increase!
Image credit: sheriyates
Jim Lange is the award-winning author of Calming the Storm Within: How to Find Peace in This Chaotic World and Bleedership, Biblical First-Aid for Leaders. He also serves as president of 5feet20, a business which serves those looking to grow in all areas of their lives. Find Jim around the web on LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Facebook; and visit Facebook to learn more about 5Feet20 and Calming the Storm Within.