Healthy leaders grow. They change. They continue to adapt and discover new ways of thinking and acting so as to stay relevant to a changing culture. Brian Bennett shares seven qualities of leaders who overcome growth obstacles.

Originally posted by Brian Bennett

 7 Qualities of Leaders Who Overcome Growth Obstacles

Growing in our ministry leadership can feel a lot like climbing a mountain.  We chart a path, believe that we are headed in the right direction and then hit a wall.  We all hit walls, run into obstacles.  The kind of walls I am describing here are walls that relate to our approach to ministry, to self, to God, to leadership. 

Walls can be:
–Lack of self-organization
–Lack of discipline
–Lack understanding of how to influence people
–Make poor strategic decisions
–Fail to provide accountability
–Manage emotions in unhealthy manner
The results can be:
–Lack of vision and energy
As we face these walls we can either get stuck and stay there, or we can allow God to grow us and reshape us more fully into who he has designed us to be in the manner that most reflects Christ.
Here are 7 Qualities of leaders who overcome these obstacles and grow into their fullness:
Leaders who thrive learn from their experiences, instead of simply reinforcing the world they desire to be.  They are secure and rooted in Christ enough to not be threatened by who they are not or what they don’t know.  This frees them up to not be the experts as they trust God’s grace, and shift to a learner mindset, learning from each experience and from everyone around.
Leaders who overcome the walls along the way are aware of themselves and of others.  That means they know their strengths, motivators, biases, and patterns.  They not only see themselves as others perceive them, but they also are aware of how others are experiencing their presence.  This helps them spot issues so they can discover new approaches, overcoming the obstacles.
Hungry leaders grow, because they desire forward movement.  There is an “it” factor here as we describe leaders who overcome the walls, and the hunger inside a leader gives them the “it” factor that is hard to account for.  This doesn’t mean they are driven by a blind ambition, it just means they are discovering new learnings and bumping up against ideas and concepts they weren’t even looking for, because they are hungry.  How hungry are you in this season for growth?  Is your drive healthy?  Both of those are important questions.
Curious leaders are thinking more about the questions they can ask and gaining wisdom from others than settling to be the know-it-all. They are posing great questions, which will lead them towards the right answers.  This helps them get around walls because they don’t just keep going back to the old solutions that used to work, but work no longer.  As the saying goes, “What got you here may not get you there.”  Curious is an outgrowth of the combination of a hungry leader and a leader who is a learner.
All of the previous qualities are no substitute for skillfulness. A skillful leader is someone who is always sharpening their saw as Stephen Covey put it.  They get that passion is important, asking great questions is important, but as a servant-leader so is bringing your best self to your leadership for the sake of those you lead.  This means the developing the gifts, skills and natural abilities that God has gifted you, along with the experiences and passions he has allowed to shape and drive you.  Leaders who overcome are stewards of what God has gifted to them.
Adaptive here means changing their approach, mindset, attitude or habits in order to find a new and better way.  This means not just trying harder, though that is called for at times, or simply persevering. Adaptive leadership speaks to the moments where trying harder or persevering is simply staying in the same whole or digging it deeper.   Staying the course is not the answer in these cases, but setting out in a new direction is required.  It is a pioneering mindset that recognizes the need to innovate in order to fulfill the mission.  Sometimes our mental maps that guide how we process the world around us need a piece taken out and a new piece of the puzzle put back in that helps us make thrive in a greater manner. 
At the core of it all for the Christian leader is to remain in the vain, in order to be faithful and fruitful.  There is no substitute for that.  All the skills in the world will not compensate for a heart that is far from the Lord.  Giving it our best shot in our own strength will never bear the lasting fruit resulting from a deep abiding in Jesus.  Resting in him, listening to kingship and following by the Spirit’s power covered in the grace of Christ. 
Which one of these 7 qualities would you benefit from cultivating further in the next season of ministry and leadership?