Leadership: We learn as we go!

Leadership requires transformation.

According to Todd Bolsinger, associate professor of leadership formation at Fuller Seminary, leadership has never been about an expert plan or a perfectly predictable future, but rather about developing people with the capacity to make wise missional changes in real time.

If you’re looking for a fresh take on leadership, you just found one:

Leadership is simply energizing a community of people toward their own transformation so they can accomplish a mission.

And if that’s the case, leadership by definition requires you to have to actually change and grow. If it doesn’t, you’re simply managing.

Think of it this way: There are no best practices. You’re going to have to learn as you go and navigate loss. Surely the recent pandemic taught us this! You’re going to have to make hard decisions based on the fact that there are many things you value, but you can’t do all of them.

And as a leader, it’s imperative to remember that you are responsible for the mission of your organization. It’s why you exist. The organization has a mission, a purpose, a reason for being. Your job is to be the custodian of that mission and help your team execute and accomplish it.

But don’t think for a second you won’t encounter opposition. That’s when you’ll need to develop resilience in the face of resistance.

The process of becoming resilient starts with acknowledging that leaders are formed in leading. You really don’t start getting this resilience until you’re in the middle, facing it in real time.

It’s a shaping formation process in the midst of leadership that makes you resilient.

So if I need to be strong enough to face resistance, I need to be pretty tough, right?

Wrong. You need to be vulnerable.

If you want to turn steel into a tool, you have to melt it down to almost liquid first. And for a leader, that experience isn’t just the heat of leadership. It’s the vulnerability of honest self-reflection.

And this is the path to becoming a tempered resilient leader, someone who is strong, wise, and flexible.

So if you haven’t already, begin implementing the discipline of self-reflection. And see if it doesn’t transform your leadership in the process.

In other words, learn as you go!

For more leadership insight, listen to the full Decisions podcast episode “Resilient Leadership with Todd Bolsinger.” Also, check out Todd’s two books, Canoeing the Mountains and Tempered Resilience.


+ More Insights from Dunham+Company: “If God Will Provide, Why Do We Have to Ask for Money?

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