One of the blogs I follow is titled Management Excellence. The blogger is Art Petty. I really like his Leadership Caffeine for the Coming Week. In one of his recent posts he wrote about people’s first-time leadership experiences. I thought I would share my experiences with the three things he writes about being first time experiences that happen to people in leadership.
- A majority of individuals indicate that they became a leader for the first time by accident. I think I became cognisant of my leadership ability and position by accident. Through some pretty miraculous circumstances I felt like God was wanting the church I served in Indianapolis to forge a sister church relationship with a church in Vinnitsa, Ukraine. What I found as I cast vision was that in the first phase of that relationship the elders of our church owned the vision I had cast more strongly than I did. I found out through experience the power of sharing vision with others could make a huge difference in attitude and action in an organization. I discovered this all by accident.
- First-time leaders received little support or mentoring from their immediate manager. Throughout my ministry career that has been my story, not just the first-time I led. I guess that wasn’t always true and is not true now. But in my first ministry the Sr. Leader was not available for support or mentoring. In Chicago I had a very supportive leader. I learned a lot there. Working with the leader I have now has been awesome. However, in the beginning of my career I had to learn by trial and error. I’ve always tried to be very supportive of my direct reports because of those first experiences I had.
- A surprising number of those that lived through this ad hoc promotion to leadership report engaging in the same practices of promoting upon need and leaving people to sink or swim. I guess I answered that above. I never want the kinds of things that happened to me in the beginning happen to anyone else. I have one-on-ones with those that report directly to me. We talk about issues they face. I run interference for them so they can get their jobs done.
So those are my thoughts on my first experiences in leadership. When did you realize you had a leadership gift? How have you stewarded that gift? How have you stewarded that gift in others?
That’s this leader’s view.