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When Crisis Comes How Do We Grow As Leaders?

New Challenges Require New Levels of Leadership From Us

I have been a student of John Maxwell for a long time. Multiple times, in the early 1990s, I attended his training in Buena Park, CA next to Knotts Berry Farm.  At that time he was still serving as a pastor in Lemon Grove near San Diego.  I loved his content, his passion and his wit.  I have always thought his best book was Developing the Leader Within You. He recently updated that book with a 2.0 version.  The update has made it even more valuable and it is still one of the best books on becoming and growing as a leader.  For those familiar with John, his newest book, The Leader’s Greatest Return, is ideal for those who are developing the leaders around them. I like the subtitle “Attracting, Developing and Multiplying Leaders.” That describes the kind of work I want to do. At this stage of my life I am investing in  helping leaders develop their capacity to have a greater impact on our culture. I am concerned with not only their skills, but also character and values.

I have this belief that the first 20 years of the 21st century has been challenging for high character leadership. We have seen a lot of changes and thrown out a lot of what has worked in the past. My fear is that we may have thrown out some of the wrong things. I believe it is important to bring back character development in building our leaders. It is important to teach emerging leaders how to identify and choose higher values. We need to become and develop leaders who are more statesmen than showmen.

In other words we need to grow as leaders. Especially in a time like now, when our norms are being challenged every day. Maxwell has always been a great spokesman and proponent for growing as a leader. As he has often said, “everything rises and falls on leadership.” I have appreciated his “5 Levels of Leaders” which he has taught  for the past 30 years as a model for measuring my growth as a leader. I can’t help but think in times like these when we find ourselves in a whole new world, the world our leadership. People who depend on us need us to grow in our leadership.

Here is the Gem of the week from Maxwell:

 “Growth is the great separator between those who succeed and those who do not. When I see a person beginning to separate themselves from the pack, it’s almost always due to personal growth.” – John Maxwell

Leadership growth always comes with personal growth. You cannot lead beyond your level of leadership. So in times of crisis, keep growing and lead well.

Steve Welling

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