Years ago we had a peach tree in our side yard. As it grew, it began to produce the most delicious peaches ever! One year we had a bumper crop, requiring me to find creative ways to get rid of the hundreds of peaches that ripened at once.
When we think about fruit trees, we focus on the fruit, but the health of the tree itself is essential to producing the actual fruit.
In the same way our series on good leadership has focused more on the person of the leader than her skills (centered in Christ, calling, and character)—the tree itself not the fruit. But without the competence to know what she’s doing, the leader’s success is limited.
Incompetence ruins the fruit of leadership just as a bug destroys fruit.
To be a great leader requires working on skills which can be learned. When people say that leadership can be learned, they are talking about the skills.
What skills do you need to be a great leader—or influencer? Our previous posts in this series dealt with care and communicating vision, which are essentials of being a great leader. Both of these are skills that can be grown. I had to learn a lot about caring for broken and hurting people in order to lead others. Care and communication can be learned to a degree. Some of us are more gifted at them than others, but we can all grow in these areas.
Some needed skills depend on the position of leadership.
Leading a meeting, determining strategy, or organizing volunteers can be learned and improved on, even by those who have the personalities to do them well instinctively.
Where do you begin? By being teachable. Know what you don’t know. Seek information about everything you must do for your area of influence. If you are a mentor for younger women, learn about how to mentor millennials. If you are a Bible teacher, get a deep and broad education in the Bible and teaching skills. If you are a parent, read from experts and find parenting groups. If you lead a team, learn to plan and run meetings. Seek training. (Look over our other articles by searching this blog or going to our page on leadership skills.) Prepare to deal with conflict because all leaders face it.
What other practical steps can you take? Find a mentor who can give you practical advice and direct you to good resources. (Go here for our free list of recommended leadership resources, which are updated often.) Contact us for help and prayer. I’ve heard from several women recently who are tasked with a redo of their church’s ministry to women and want help. Our ministry team is ready and able to talk.
Your leadership can be improved by working on needed skills, but don’t forget to stay grounded in Christ, exhibiting his character and following his calling.
Get my book for more details and practical help in growing in all the areas: From Ordinary Woman to Spiritual Leader: Grow your Influence. West Bow Press, 2012. Paperbacks at kaydaigle.com or Kindle on Amazon.