How To Focus Your Leadership Development

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The key to leadership development is knowing what you’re trying to accomplish. If you want to develop leaders—and know that you’re being successful in that endeavor—you need to get more concrete and specific about what you’re aiming for. A good map isn’t helpful unless you know your destination. What follows is a five-part process you can engage to help you critically examine and sharpen your own leadership development process.

Step 1: Vision. Start by clarifying where you want to go. What are you trying to accomplish? Be specific and paint a picture of what it would look like if you accomplished it. You should end up with a very clear picture of the vision in your mind.

Step 2: Values. Values answer the question: “Who are you?” They are the deeply held convictions, priorities, and underlying assumptions that influence your attitudes and behaviors of your ministry. To identify your values, reflect on scripture passages that feel most central to your ministry and generate a list of possible values. Narrow them down, make sure they align with the vision, and that they accurately represent your ministry.

Step 3: General Leadership Outcomes. These are the qualities and behaviors that you want to see in all of your ministry leaders, regardless of their specific role or giftedness. Consider how these behaviors align with scripture, your vision, and your values. Is there anything else that you want all of your leaders to be or do that doesn’t fit here? The outcome of step three is a clear list of leadership essentials– qualities all of your leaders need to have regardless of their ministry specialization.

Step 4: Leadership Specializations. Assuming your leaders have the basic character and life skills qualities outlined in step 3, you’ll now need to move on to consider specific leadership qualities for different ministry areas. In other words, what kinds of leaders do you need? Create a list of the key outcomes (skills and competencies) needed for each ministry area. These represent your specific leadership needs.

Step 5: Leadership Starting point. No matter how big your goal, you have to start with wherever you’re at. As you develop leaders, start with people who are not yet leaders. Consider what a potential entry level leader looks like. What qualities need to be in place for someone to begin learning to lead? The outcome here provides you with a clear checklist for evaluating the readiness of people to be developed as leaders.

If you want more specifics on how to engage this process, including questions to help you brainstorm, see the five-part series on my blog. Once you have worked through all five steps, you will have come away with some tools to help you reflect on, assess, and clarify your leadership development process.