10 Ways to Lift the Lid on Your Leadership

Image Courtesy of dan @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of dan @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you ever been frustrated in your pursuit of becoming the leader you are desiring to become? 

John Maxwell taught us that there are leadership lids that limit our capacity as leaders. The good news is we can learn how to lift those lids in order to rise above those limitations that keep us leading at a low capacity. If you have never hit your personal leadership lid, you surely have hit another leader’s lid that is lower than yours on your journey upward to new levels of leadership. Here are 10 leadership lid lifters that have helped me catapult my leadership to new levels in the last 20 years.

1) Never Accept Average – Words such as ordinary, typical, usual, status quo are the results of leaders that are on cruise control. Above average leaders have their foot on the gas pedal of their organizations and are always looking for ways to improve things and push things forward bringing life and energy to their environment. Average leaders often times have their foot on the brake, killing the momentum of their organization and any excitement associated with anything new that will cause the life and vision of the organization to unfold.

2) Refuse to be Comfortable – Leaders grow the most when the deliberately put themselves in uncomfortable situations. Sometimes the uncomfortable means stepping out in your weakness and acknowledging that there are others who could help you or do it better than you and allowing them to do it. On other occasions it’s doing something different than everyone else is doing.

3) Insist on Integrity – Life is too short to put up with people that have no integrity. A leader without integrity has fallen into self-deception and will only lead an organization into the ground. Unless God has called you to the difficult task of bringing healthy culture to an organization, don’t tolerate people who don’t practice the principles they only claim to live by.

4) Stay Awhile – You can choose to stay where you are at and grow through it, or leave and have to come back to it. Nothing increases your influence more than longevity. Leaving a leadership position prematurely could cost you years of influential investment. Before you leave, pray to stay first. There are times when leaving is a good thing for a leader and the organization, so my advice is pray to stay or be genuinely led to leave.

5) Take on Something Bigger than Yourself – What are you doing right now that you can’t do without some outside help? If the answer is nothing you are comfortable and headed towards complacency as a leader. When we tackle things that our bigger than ourselves it requires us to trust God more, lean not on our own understanding, and live in a place that inspires others to greater possibilities. You become a better leader as a result of taking on something bigger than you can do on your own. Better is always found on the other side of the impossibility God has called you to make possible.

6) Rub Shoulders with High Capacity Leaders – Connecting with high capacity leaders is essential if you want to lift your lid as a leader. If you are frustrated with where you are at as a leader and the status of where your organization is, find a leader leading an organization at the level where you want to be and learn from them. In today’s social media world you can connect easily with leaders that are looking to pour into your life as a leader. Make that call, send the tweet, leave a comment on their blog. Rubbing shoulders might not begin with a face to face, but when you take the initiative to connect it can open a door to get you to your desired destination.

7) Ask Why You Didn’t get the Job – A couple years ago I was asked to submit my resume for a certain position I really wanted. I made it through the first round interview and after the second group interview was no longer a candidate.  I thought the position was a perfect fit for me, so after receiving the news, instead of just accepting the rejection I asked, “WHY?” The feedback I got back from that questions is actually the reason why I started this blog: To Encourage Leaders at All Levels! I believe some of the best leaders in the world are overlooked because organizations are looking for the wrong things and not the track record of a leaders life. Thousands have been encouraged by The Backseat Leader Blog because I personally wanted learn form this experience and I wanted to grow as a leader.

8) Replace Yourself – If you are not raising up a person to replace you, you are ignoring one of the signs of  great leadership; the ability to develop others around you.  Lifting your leadership lid requires not being threatened by the leaders coming behind you, placed below you, or who have went before you. If insecurity is keeping you from duplicating yourself you are failing the litmus test of leadership. If you don’t know who is your successor there you will not have true leadership success.

9) Be a Life Long Learner – If you fail to keep learning you will fail to keep leading.  When you get to a place where you think you know it all, you won’t grow at all! Here are several things I do to make sure I’m always learning.

  • I Have a Regular Devotional Life
  • I Regularly Read the Greatest Book Ever Written (The Bible)
  • I Read Books about Topics I’m Passionate About (Biographies, Business, Leadership)
  • I Blog and Interact with other Bloggers
  • I Listen and Learn a lot from Podcasts
  • I Meet with another Leader at Least Once a Month

10) Work Hard – I was taught at an early age not only to work hard, but what actually hard work was. Lifting your lid as a leader requires getting your hands dirty, a little sweat, some tears and at times pure exhaustion.  If you are afraid of hard work or have bought into the lie that you are above it. Your lid will always remain low. I read an alarming two paragraphs in S. Truett Cathy’s book “Eat Mor Chikin Inspire More People” that I would like to leave you with:

To continue making a positive impact on the people around us, we must avoid complacency in all aspects of our lives.  The dictionary defines complacency as “self satisfaction accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.”  Too often we see people who are satisfied with mediocre performance and minor achievements.  They look next door and see that they are doing as well as their neighbor.  At work their accomplishments rank right up with the national average.

But look  at what it means to be average.  You are the worst of the best and the best of the worst.  You’re not achieving anything unusual, choosing instead to go with the flow.  When we do less than our best, we become discontent and “burned out.” Are you performing at your best?

If your frustrated in your pursuit as a leader, most likely there is a lid in your leadership life that needs to be removed. Removing this lid can be the most rewarding thing we do for ourselves and the people that follow our lead. Be honest, do the work, and become the leader you desire to be!

Do you have LID LIFTER you can share with the The BackSeat Leader Community that helped increase your leadership capacity?


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