What do you want for Christmas? When my oldest son, Justin was three he wanted socks and a globe. There was no hesitation. He was sure. I wonder sometimes if as leaders, we don't get what we want, because we're not sure what we really want. If there was a leadership Santa Claus who would climb down your chimney on Christmas eve, what would you ask for? (Assuming you've been nice this past year.)
My list would look something like this...
Vision - As we all know, perhaps the most important thing we're supposed to be able to do as leaders is to see the unseen. Sometimes we get it right; sometimes we get it wrong. I'd like to see with greater clarity the desired future I'm leading people towards. I always need more wisdom and discernment for the journey as well.
Courage - The longer I lead, the more I realize the importance of courage. I need to be able to not only discern the right next step, I've got to muster the courage to take the step. The courage to make hard decisions. The courage to make bold decisions. And, the courage to challenge the way we've always done it before.
Patience - As leaders, we often invest months and years slowly and methodically trying to move people to a preferred future - at least that's how it works at the chicken. I've been working on this forever, I will continue to do so. It would be great to find a bundle of patience in my stocking on Christmas morning!
A Servant's Heart - Ultimately, I believe it is our heart that determines our success as a leader. Don't get me wrong, skills matter. But the leaders who fail rarely do so for lack of skills. Some of you are familiar with ancient text which admonishes us to "guard our heart." Although written thousands of years ago, it's still a great challenge for me as a leader today. We've got to be on guard or we can easily shift from being a serving leader to a self-serving one.
The last time I checked, there isn't a leadership Santa. So, unlike my son who got his socks and globe by simply asking for them, we'll have to decide what we want and then work diligently to get them. The good news: The things on my list and the things on your list are probably within our reach.
My commitment to you as we approach 2013 is to keep the conversation alive. Let's work together to help each other make all our leadership wishes a reality in the coming years.
What would you put on your leadership Christmas list?