Craig Groeschel - Learning to Lead Yourself, Part 1
Let's dive into new content today. We're talking about learning to lead yourself. What do we know? We know that great leadership, isn't just about leading others. Great leadership starts with self leadership. Why? Because your potential to lead others, is a direct result of how you lead yourself. Let me say it again. Your potential to lead others is always a direct result, of how you lead yourself. Now, why does self-leadership matter so much? Let's talk about it. If you're my leader, I'm not just listening to what you say, but watching how you live and lead. You know this because you do this with the people that lead you.
So, if you're my leader and you live with discipline, intentionality, integrity and purpose, what happens? My respect for you grows, my trust for you deepens, and my willingness to follow you grows exponentially. But the opposite is true as well. When you live without discipline, without intentionality, without integrity and without purpose, my respect for you diminishes. My trust for you weakens. And I honestly don't wanna follow someone, I don't trust or respect. You know this is true. You've worked for all different types of leaders and you will work for a paycheck, but, you'll give your heart to a mission you love and a leader you respect. So, when you lead others, remember, they're watching you closely because your potential to lead others, is a direct result of how you lead yourself.
So let's talk about it. How do you lead yourself well? How do you grow in your own self leadership? What we're gonna do, is we're gonna talk about three different things to focus on. We're gonna look at two in this episode, and then save one big one for next month's episodes. What are the three things we need to do, to lead yourself well? Well, number one. you wanna develop your leadership identity. Number two. Define your leadership initiatives. Number three. We're gonna determine your leadership inputs. Let's look at them again. Number one. Develop your leadership identity, define your leadership initiatives, and determine your leadership inputs. Let's unpack them.
Number one, what are we gonna do? We're gonna develop your leadership identity. And I'll try to explain. Because years ago if I would have been teaching on this subject, I would have started with your leadership initiatives. I would have focused first on what you do and don't do daily. But I've learned something really important that instead of starting with the do, we should actually start with the who. In other words, to lead yourself well, you wanna start with your leadership identity. And I'll try to explain this in a way that some of you will relate to. let's go way back in time in my life and leadership. And when I was 19 years old through a freaky set of events, I bought my very first rent house. So if you can imagine I'm a teenager, sophomore in college and I own a rent house. I was a landlord. But, when I became a landlord, I didn't feel like a landlord. But I felt like I was a kid pretending to be a business person. I felt like a wannabe landlord.
Then when I was 22 years of age, I had more houses and I was becoming a landlord but then I became a pastor. And what did I feel like? I felt like I was pretending again. I felt like a wannabe pastor. I'm too young. I'm not adequate. I don't know enough. And so I felt like I was pretending. Then at the age of 23 I'm married Amy and both of us, we felt like two teenagers playing house. We felt like pretenders. Why does this matter? Well, when it comes to your leadership, some of you see yourself as a junior leader or a future leader or a developing leader or a wannabe leader. And I wanna remind you that there is no such thing as a sort of leader. I want you to embrace leadership as a part of your identity. In other words, leadership is not just something that you do, a leader is who you are. Let me say it again. Leading is not just an action. It's not just something that you do. It's an identity. A leader is who you are.
What is leadership? Well, leadership is influence. And the good news is you have influence. And I want you to hear it. Feel it. Believe it. Internalize it. You are a leader and your leadership matters today. It matters more than you can ever imagine. You are a leader. What is leadership? Well, leadership is not a title or a position, leadership is a mindset. And I want you to embrace it as a part of your identity. Leadership is not just something you do. A leader is who you are. Now, why does this matter? Because when you see yourself as a leader, it changes your posture. It changes your confidence. It changes how you interact. And I'll point out three things. When you see yourself as a leader, you stand taller, you think higher, and you care deeper. Let me say it again. When you see yourself as a leader, you stand taller, you think higher, you care deeper.
Let's talk about them. You stand taller. When you see yourself as a leader, you feel a deep and a genuine sense of responsibility. You feel ownership over whatever it is that you're leading. You're not waiting on someone to rescue you or from some lucky break. You understand that the buck stops with you and you're responsible for some outcomes. And you feel the blessing of that. And you feel the weight of that. What do you do? You own the responsibility. When you see yourself as a leader, you just... you stand taller. It's not that you're better than someone else, but you have responsibility and you take it seriously. You also think higher.
Now, when most people are thinking about today, you know, this morning, this afternoon, you're thinking much beyond that. You're looking out at the whole week. You're thinking about the whole month. You're thinking about the quarter. You may be projecting into two years from now. You're thinking higher. You're not just working in your business or in your ministry, but you're working on it. You have a different mindset. You have an elevated view because you're a leader, you tend to think higher than some other people. And finally, you just care deeper. In other words, you know it like when you're off work, your mind doesn't always turn off as easily. You're thinking about things that other people don't think about at all. For you, because you care in a deeper way, this isn't a job, it's your passion. It's your calling. And all this, it starts with identity. You're a leader. And the sad thing is some of you don't see yourselves as a leader just yet.
And so, this may sound cheesy, but I would just encourage you to do something in this vein. If you feel like a wanna be leader, a developing leader, a junior leader, like I did for so many years, you might like write it on your bathroom mirror. You know, you are a leader. So every morning when you go in there to brush your teeth, you're looking smiling with your teeth showing and saying, I am a leader. You might put it on a notepad. You might put it on a voice message to send yourself every single day. And you tell yourself, I am a leader. Leadership is not something that I do. A leader is who I am. I'm a leader, I've been chosen for this moment, to do something that matters. It's identity and I want you to feel it. I want you to believe it, that your leadership matters today. Leadership isn't just what you do, the leader is who you are. When you see yourself as a leader, you'll stand taller. You'll think higher. You'll care deeper. It's not a title or a position, it's a mindset. If you want to lead yourself well, become a better leader, develop your leadership identities. So important.
The second thing and we're gonna spend some time here is this, you're gonna want to define your leadership initiatives. Develop your leadership identity and define your leadership initiatives. I'll unpack what I mean by leadership initiatives. And here's what I know about you. It's the same thing about me is this that, we all have room to grow in our leadership. Every single one of us do. If you're anything like me, you're not easy to lead. Right? Because you can know what a great leader should do, but you still default to doing what's easy instead of doing what's right. And we know this in everyday life. We're tempted. When we know that we should get up early, but what do you do? Instead you hit the snooze button. Or you should choose the healthy option for dinner, but you opt for a tastes good over what is good for you. Or in your physical body, you know you should exercise, but it's easier to watch three episodes of your favorite show.
Then, when we convert this to our job or to our ministry or wherever you lead, we might know that we should listen to those on our team, but instead when we get in a meeting what do we do? We do most all the talking. Or we know that empowering others really, really matters. But what happens? You end up doing just about everything yourself. Or as a leader, you know you should prioritize your day. I should have a list of goals and objectives for each day but you tend to overlook the important why? Because the urgent screams louder. Here's an assignment. What I want you to do, is take a moment to identify where you need to grow. I wanna encourage you just to slow it down. You could even stop this and just pause for a moment if you want, and think about where do you need to grow? And here's the way I'll ask the question, what specific trait do you need to develop in your own leadership? What specific traits do you need to develop in your leadership? Because the truth of matter is you should always be working on something.
As a leader leader, we're never not developing. We're always growing, always developing. Imagine a pro athlete. You're always working on your shot. You're always working on your defense. You're always working. You're always working on something. As a leader you're always developing your leadership. And what I wanna do, is courage you to choose just one area development. Just one. If you pick three, you won't do any. But pick one and I will encourage you to be very, very specific. The greatest gift you can give yourself is honesty. Why? Because you will never be able to lead yourself as long as you lie to yourself. And the scary thing is nobody lies like leaders. We can be the best at self deception. We tend to elevate ourselves in our own mind. We don't listen to people around us. We find it very, very difficult to be objective. The best gift you can give yourself is to be honest, because you'll know ever be able to lead yourself as long as you lie to yourself. Tell the truth and be ridiculously specific. This is precisely where I want to grow, because you cannot develop a skill that you do not define.
Let me give you some examples to get you think. I'm gonna give you seven examples. It's a lot of examples, but I want you thinking. One is you might lack discipline. And so you're gonna say, well, I wanna develop my discipline. And I'm gonna tell you, that's not specific enough. What discipline do you wanna develop? It might be that you're gonna have the discipline on planning your day or your week, or you might have a very disciplined diet. For example, I eat about three different things. Same thing for breakfast every day and then my lunch and dinner rotates. And it's day after day after day of this plan. You might plan your exercise. I mean like, when do you go? where do you go? Who's with you? How much? How long? Whatever. You may work on discipline outside the office. Why? Because what you do outside the office impacts how people view you inside the office. So for you it might be the discipline of something. Be specific. Or another thing is your emotions might get the best of you. And what do you do? You're in a meeting and someone says something you get upset and so, you react instead of initiate or you react instead of respond. Or someone gives you feedback and you're like, you get your feelings hurt or you blow up. You're overly sensitive to feedback. Maybe you're too direct in conversations, or maybe you're not direct enough. And so what is it? Maybe there's a specific way you want to manage your emotions.
Here's another example. You may say, I wanna grow in consistency. And again, I would tell you consistent at what? Like consistent planning, consistent giving feedback, consistent at offering encouragement, get really specific. You may say, I wanna get organized. Again at what? At financial projections, helping your team prioritize time management, finding your keys you're not late to work, whatever it is, right? You may say, I need to stop procrastinating and I'm gonna push you. What are you putting off? Be specific. Is I'm gonna stop procrastinating difficult decisions. I'll have all my current decisions made by Thursday at noon or whatever. Or maybe it's developmental conversations. You've got three people on your team that need to grow, but they're not growing because you're not telling them the truth. Or maybe it's stop procrastinating confrontation whatever it is.
Another category. You might be threatened by other great leaders. And the bottom line is this, you're can never lead others if you don't celebrate others. And so you may be specific. You, might be too controlling. You're not empowering others. And the bottom line again is this, if you don't empower others, they will never grow or they will not stay. And so you may just be very specific. Here's where I'm going to delegate. Here's how I'm gonna delegate. And what I want you to do, is by the time you finish listing or watching this, is take some time and answer the question. What is your one? What is your top area to develop? Where do you wanna improve your leadership? And I'll give you some personal things that I've worked on over the years. One is initiating not responding when it comes to my schedule.
For example, my schedule would get filled up when someone saying, hey, can we meet with you? Can you do this? Can you talk here? Can you do this video? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I let other people determine what I did with my week. And so I'm going to initiate. I set the schedule. What I wanna do. What's important to do. What's most important for our mission goes on there first. It used to be, if I could I would, and that's not gonna be the way I do it now. I'm gonna initiate not respond. Another thing I worked on was this is that, sometimes people think or process a little slower than I do. Things don't move as fast as I would want them to. So I'd often speak over people. They'd be speaking and I would finish their sentence, or I would interrupt them. That's just rude and stupid and bad leadership. And so, I worked on stopping, listening, honoring people.
Another thing I worked on for a period was leading with questions. And here's what I know about you. If you've been leading for a while, you've probably got some leadership competence. You'll walk into a meeting and you tend to think you know the answers. We all do that. But that's not the way to learn. So what I do is go into a meeting. And even if I have a leadership hunch, what I wanna do is I work to lead with questions. I wanna honor the people there, hear what they're thinking and you will have found, a lot of times my hunches are wrong if I lead with questions. Another thing and this is more recent that I worked on, is increasing the frequency of my communication. And I'll tell you why. When the COVID days hit hard, I went into like over-communication mode and I talked to our team, our church nonstop, nonstop, nonstop, nonstop, nonstop, and it was effective. Then I thought I have overwhelmed them and so I pulled back and I took something that was natural and I was good at, and I didn't do it as much. And so I recognize I need to go back in and work on explaining the why.
Here's what we're doing. Here's why we're doing it. And so in the recent season, I've worked on increasing the frequency of communication. So, enough of that. What's your specific goal? What's your plan for improvement? Once you have it, I'm gonna encourage you to just do a few things. Four things. Number one, is write it down in one sentence. I want it to be in one sentence, concise and clear. What is your specific goal, your plan for improvement? The second thing is I'm gonna encourage you to communicate it to your core team. Whoever those people are that you're closest to, so they can hold you accountable, cheer you on and such. The third thing is you're gonna ask for correction and affirmation. In other words, if I tell my core team, I don't wanna speak over people and I'm speaking over people, then their job is to say, you're speaking over people. If I don't, their job is to say, hey, good job you didn't.
And so what I want is I want help for my team around me. Write it down. Communicate it to your core. Ask for correction and affirmation, and then follow up monthly or occasionally or whatever it would be, to measure your improvement. Follow up regularly. Why does this matter? Because you cannot develop a skill that you do not define. What are we gonna do? You're gonna develop your leadership identity. You're gonna define your leadership initiatives and most important one for your leadership, we're gonna talk about next month. Number three, you're gonna determine your leadership inputs. And we're gonna go into great detail as to why this matters. Let's review. Great leadership isn't just about leading others. Great leadership starts with self leadership. Why? Because your potential to lead others, is a direct direct result of how you lead yourself.
So, how do you lead yourself Well? Number one, you develop your leadership identity. Leadership is not about something you do. A leader is who you are. And when you see yourself as a leader, you stand taller, you think higher, and you care deeper. The second thing we're gonna do, is develop your leadership initiatives. What specific traits do you need need to develop to own your own leadership? The greatest gift you can give yourself is honesty. Why? Because you will never be able to lead yourself as long as you lie to yourself. So, what's your specific goal? What's your plan for improvement? Then you're gonna write it down in one sentence, communicate it to your core team, ask for correction and affirmation, and follow up monthly to measure your progress. Now, on the first Thursday of next month, we're gonna talk about determining your leadership inputs. And this is so important because you'll never become a world-class leader by accident. What do we know about ourselves? Unfortunately, our national trajectory, is always toward the path of least resistance.
So, as leaders, unfortunately, we gravitate toward what is easy, but what is easy is rarely right? So we're gonna be intentional. Not just in our public leadership, but also in our private lives, because we know that what we do in private always influences how we lead in public. It all matters. We know your potential to lead others, is a direct result of how you lead yourself. I wanna say a big thank you for participating in our leadership content and I encourage you to follow or subscribe, wherever you enjoy the content. Also, if it's helpful invite others to be a part of our community. I wanna tell you very, very clearly, believe it and embrace it. Take it to heart, your leadership matters, and it matters more today than it's ever mattered before. So, be intentional to grow in your leadership. Why? Because we know that everyone wins when the leader gets that's better.