How are you leading yourself? Recently I was challenged by this question by Henry Cloud in 'Boundaries for Leaders'. As leaders we often get busy being reactive to the urgent, emails, daily demands and the volume of work that we shoulder. But Cloud emphasizes the importance of proactively surrounding ourselves with an independent support network.
We need to open ourselves to outside input that brings us energy and guidance. As leaders we all need a support system. No matter how capable we are, working in isolation is not healthy for our personal growth or effective leadership.
He suggests that leaders who are champions are bolstered with a strong support system. This may include an advisory board, a coach, mentors and others who speak into our lives. As leaders we must not isolate ourselves. Cloud suggests that the ideal support people will come from outside of our organization. From those who are objective and don't have a vested interest in the outcomes, yet they are for us!
He goes onto say...
'Leaders need outside voices to provide emotional and functional support, not just so they can avoid mistakes but also so they can grow as leaders.'
'The fact is we all get subjective and do not see the whole truth, about ourselves or about others. We need outside eyes to help us. We need another set of ears to hear what is going on. To not recognize this is the height of arrogance.'
'While internal advisers are essential, outside ones are different. They protect you by having no conflict of interest; they are only there to help you, not to serve themselves, if they are good ones.'
The challenge to me personally is who do I need to invite to bolster my support network? This means being vulnerable and open and giving permission for others to speak directly into my life. But God never intended for us to journey through life in isolation, but rather in community. What additional people could be part of my support community?
Question to Consider: In what areas do you need outside input? Where can you get this?