One of the challenges for any of us, from the time we arrived on this earth, is learning from what we’ve experienced. “Experience is the best teacher,” we say. And we mean it. And there is a good deal of truth to it. But how often to we practice that truth? How can we?
Here’s my approach.
A few years ago, I started a document in Google Docs titled, “Leadership Notes.” I began with a personal summary of the key parts of the “Lead Pastor” job as I saw it, since that’s the position I aspired to (and now hold). Then, I continued with a section on practical stuff, insights I’ve learned other places and that have simply come to me in the midst of my own practice of leadership. I typed “1.” and started writing.
Here’s what I find valuable about this practice and why I recommend it to anyone who’s in charge of leading anything (church, school/classroom, business, non-profit, Scouting troop, Little League team, university club, etc).
- Capture your insights. You experience clarity about the essence of leadership or something practical about your leadership. Stop and write it before it’s gone.
- Capture others thoughts. What got your attention about what someone else said, wrote, tweeted, etc is that you either imagined yourself in their world or saw how it might relate to yours. Capture their thought now so you can revisit it and mine it for further usefulness.
- Review and refine. You’re capturing a snapshot of what you, or someone else, thinks. It gives you the most value when you have an ongoing conversation with yourself about your own thoughts. I review my Leadership Notes about every 2-3 months. I tinker with how I’ve put something, remember something I forgot, or hunt for something I know I now need and know that I recorded in my document (the beauty of the idea at work!) at some point.
You’re the person doing your job or aspiring to that position. That may not make you the expert on the subject, but it at least makes you well positioned to learn about what it is and how to do it better. Starting a “Leadership Notes” document will help.
Question: What’s an insight you need to capture now about your leadership?