What do pastors have in common with CEOs?
Quite a bit when you think about it: casting the vision, making hiring decisions, setting strategic direction, and innovating, just for starters.
These high level leadership abilities don’t come out of thin air. How does a willing servant of the Lord become a high capacity leader?
- You learn about leadership and your leadership thinking develops.
- You walk with Jesus through daily ministry and your leadership character grows.
- You choose leadership practices and your leadership skills strengthen.
Jeffrey Fox wrote a helpful little book for business learners called, “How to Become CEO: The Rules for Reaching the Top of Any Organization.” Many of his axioms are practices helpful to church leaders. I’ve pulled out ten of Fox’s rules and applied them to developing your leadership skills in ministry.
Which one of these axioms is just what you need to be a better leader this week? Which one would the Holy Spirit want to use to make all the difference in your life and ministry?
1. Do something hard and lonely.
It might be dark morning workouts. It might be getting your DMin or Ph.D. It might be church planting. It’s your choice, but the grit and perseverance you muster will make you a stronger leader.
2. Think for one hour every day.
CEO-level people give themselves space to think. Pastors think prayerfully. What does the Lord want to say to you? What warnings is the Holy Spirit whispering to you? Who needs a conversation with you? What is coming down the road that you need to pay attention to? Where is there an opportunity not to be missed?
Give yourself time, more than in the shower, to let thoughts bubble up to the surface. Then write them down.
3. Keep and use an idea notebook.
During your thinking time, and throughout the day, when ideas float through your mind, capture them. Use an app, send yourself a text or voice message, or in a old-school way that is new again, keep a notebook nearby to record the ideas, thoughts, and to-do’s the Holy Spirit brings to your mind.
4. Don’t hide an elephant.
If there is an elephant in the room, bring it up. If there is something awkward, or unpleasant, or downright shocking, set the tone with authenticity and honesty, and ask the people around you to talk about it. With your staff. With the board. With church members. Clear the air. It’s not confrontational. Not gossip. Apologize, if it’s your bad. Problem solve. And move forward.
5. Go to the library one day a month.
Library days are for you to get all the little things that pile up done. The unanswered emails. The column for the local Christian newspaper. Decisions about your sermon series next fall.
There are no distractions at the library. No meetings. No people stopping by to chat. Just lots of space for you to work and get things done.
6. Add one new big thing to your life each year.
- Pick up a new sport.
- Get serious about Scripture memory.
- Join the Chamber of Commerce.
- Mentor a new person.
- Learn Spanish.
- Go to a new conference.
- Take the road trip with your family.
What have you always wanted to do, but didn’t think you could make the time? Look down the road to imagine who you will be in ten years with those ten new things in your life.
7. Tinker, tailor, try.
This is how you develop operational systems that move your church forward. Nothing is set in stone. Everything can be improved. Keep trying new things. Tweak. Change how it’s done. Every week, if necessary. It’s good for system development and it’s good for church health.
8. Record and collect your mistakes with care and pride.
Thomas J. Watson Sr., is known as the Father of IBM. He was the CEO for three decades, and he brought IBM into the computer age. He said this about mistakes,
“So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because that’s where you will find success. On the far side of failure.”
He also said,
“If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.”
He should know. He predicted that the world would need five computers, but then again under his watch IBM built the Mark 1 computer that weighed 35 tons and was too expensive to be sold. It was a major breakthrough, though.
Your track record of mistakes will be a trail of challenges, risks, and growth.
9. Do not get discouraged by the idea killers.
Listen seriously to their concerns and refine your ideas, but don’t let the idea killers defeat you. Concentrate on being resilient and cheerful. Some of your ideas aren’t awesome, and it’s wise for you to let them go, but other ideas deserve your persistence. Don’t let a little resistance overcome you.
10. Have fun, laugh.
Leadership isn’t just pressure. It’s freedom to do things that matter for the cause of Christ.
Remember Proverbs 15:15,
“All the days of the afflicted are evil,
but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.”
- Pick the one thing from this list that will make the most difference in your life.
How will you apply it this week?
Start Here to learn more about the resources available for you at PastorMentor.