I just finished reading “The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership” by Jenni Catron. It’s a thought provoker for sure, will bring you back to true north if you’re struggling, and will challenge you with wisdom nuggets that ought to be put in your leadership arsenal for years to come. Here’s a synopsis of the book taken right from it. Enjoy!
If you want to be an extraordinary leader, your greatest challenge and responsibility is to keep your eye on the big picture. You must be the proverbial plate spinner, being attentive to every aspect of the organization, sensitive to each person you lead, aware of the implications of each decision you make, and balancing the numerous priorities that come your way. In addition to the obvious responsibilities, you also must attend to the dimensions that will help you succeed as a leader: heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Leading from the heart means understanding the power of connection: knowing that one of our greatest human needs is to be known. John Ortberg expresses it this way: “The yearning to attach and connect, to love and be loved, is the fiercest longing of the soul.” We want to believe that we matter. And we sincerely long for those who lead us to see us as individuals: to see our unique potential and contribution, to help call it out in us, and to affirm that what we bring and who we are really matter to the greater story.
When we lead from the heart, we earn influence with others through relationship rather than authority. Relational leaders realize that title and position only get you so far, but the places you can take a team with relational influence are endless. Relational leaders understand that people follow leaders not for the leader but for themselves.
Leading from your soul means living your life with the convictions of your faith as guiding principles for the decisions you make and the actions you take. Additionally, it’s a sensitivity to engaging the conversations that help lead people closer to God. It’s modeling a life that is marked by recognition that whatever our level of leadership, we still submit to God’s guidance in our lives. And soul (or spiritual) leadership nods to the prevailing theme that leadership is servanthood first. We cannot lead others where we are unwilling to go ourselves.
Spiritual leadership starts with leading ourselves in this area and then learning to lead others in this way. In the midst of leading from our heart, mind, and strength, we also have to be intentional about finding ways to lead others spiritually. It is the distinctive that sets you apart as a faith-based leader.
Our soul is our moral compass. It’s the part of us that longs to know God (Psalm 42:1). From the decisions we make, to the actions we take, to the conversations we engage in, all of these will be infused by the living, breathing presence of God. To try to compartmentalize our faith will only serve to stunt our leadership. Following Christ is who we are, and it should over flow to our leadership.
What does it mean to lead with our minds? Our minds are where we think and reason. They are the processing centers where we take in information and organize it, enabling us to make decisions and choices. Leading with our minds is critical because our decisions and choices affect not only us but those we’re responsible for leading.
Our minds influence our leadership because they equip us to strategize and make decisions that will guide our organizations and those we lead. Our minds enable us to learn, and it is the application of that knowledge, combined with the discernment from the spiritual dimension, that produces wisdom. Another way to discuss leading with our minds involves engaging the managerial dimension of leadership.
Leading with strength is leading with vision. When we lose God’s way, we stumble. Our job as leaders is to help point the way. Vision is the foundation for our strength as leaders. In our heart, soul, mind, and strength framework, strength is anchored by visionary leadership. Great visionary leaders inspire strength by keeping hope and possibility in front of themselves and those they lead.
Most of us have difficulty seeing ourselves as others see us. We can as easily be over-impressed with ourselves as under- impressed. Some of us have overinflated egos, and others of us are so self-deprecating that we suffer from extremely low self-worth. Both ends of the spectrum are dangerous to our ability to lead well. Self-awareness is being observant enough to know when you’re getting in the way of yourself.
To be a self-aware leader, you must do a few things consistently:
• Know your strengths and weaknesses
• Identify mentors and continuously seek counsel
• Always evaluate what you need to “own” (good or bad) in every situation.
When we lead ourselves well, we are equipped to lead others better. In developing our character, we become more consistent and dependable. As we are more aware of the discipline we need, our focus and productivity increases. When our self-awareness grows, we become aware of how our personality affects our leadership. As we are more aware of our emotional health, we experience greater balance and peace of mind.
As an extraordinary leader, you allow your faith to guide you. Your spiritual life is not separated from your work life. You don’t live a compartmentalized life. You commit your work to prayer and feel the weight of the responsibility for leading the people you’ve been entrusted to lead. You recognize that every ounce of influence is ultimately given by God, and you steward it wisely. You seek God first for direction and guidance. You always have an eye on the big picture. You are committed to charting the course and helping others catch the vision for where you are going. You know the value of leading people step-by-step to seeing this vision come to life. You are patient about reminding and explaining. You are quick to point out milestones along the way. You are a cheerleader and encourager. You lead with all of who you are – heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Our leadership efforts don’t return void. We may not always reap the fruit of them immediately, but God is at work. Some of us plant the seeds, some of us water, some of us cultivate, and some of us harvest. As a leader, you will play different roles for different people. Seize the season you’re in. Own the moment you have, but never give up on what God is doing through your life as a leader.
Interested in purchasing this book? Here you go: http://amzn.to/2hmzdfp