I’m not the same leader I was a year ago, five years ago, and of course ten years ago. This thought bounced around in my head as I recently helped navigate a very difficult situation with one of our church leaders.
Maybe you have had a similar learning situation in your business, organization, or non-profit. In my setting, that leader resigned because of it. Yes, I felt betrayed. Yes, it had all the potential for a train wreck, but so far, this situation has worked out for the very best, and way beyond my initial expectations.
I can’t take any credit whatsoever for the positive outcome, but I bring it up, because I noticed a difference in me through it all. I didn’t stay away or avoid it, as I would have done in years past. I didn’t get caught up in the emotions. Instead, I engaged. I listened. I didn’t mind what others thought. I led with compassion, and composure, and dignity.
No easy task
Becoming my kind of leader hasn’t been easy. I remember the days when I had something to prove, became defensive, and couldn’t take criticism.
What does it take to change and become the leader we are meant to be? What I know is, it doesn’t happen on its own. Leadership development doesn’t happen accidentally. Yes, maturity and life experience has something to do with it. But in the end, we are either focused on developing as a leader, or we are maintaining the status quo.
Today, I’d have to say, I’m more focused on my leadership qualities than I ever have been. Books, articles, and podcasts on leadership can help create a growing knowledge base. Supervisors who care about my development, and mentors who help guide my next steps, are increasingly vital to me.
But there is something to be said about the times when leaders intentionally get together to sharpen each other. In an age where a world of leadership content is at our fingertips, it is priceless to be able to interact and catch the nuances in a real-time experience unfolding in front of us.
Learning and winning
That is what I’ve come to love about the local Grand Point Leadership Network in which you and I have been involved. It gives us a monthly opportunity to rub shoulders with local leaders and collectively share in learning that comes from a variety of arenas.
Most of us have chances to learn from others within our respective fields. The GPLN welcomes and learns from leaders from various backgrounds and fields: healthcare, business, religious, political, education, marketing, and more. The depth of experiences is rich, which must be a byproduct of one of the GPLN’s stated values: We can learn from anyone.
What sets the GPLN apart from other networks is the focus on the developing our leadership potential. Other networks do a fine job at community awareness and addressing organizational leadership. The GPLN is about helping us as leaders take our next steps in our leadership journey. We are focused on cultivating healthy leaders because we believe when leaders get better, everyone wins!
The start and the heart
Following the Willow Creek Association’s Global Leadership Summit in 2016, the GPLN was formed as a venue for ongoing development, growth, and networking among community leaders. Monthly breakfast gatherings began in September 2016, centered around teaching from the GLS, interviews and training with community leaders, as well as round table discussions about the real, everyday issues leaders face.
These gatherings generally take place on the fourth Wednesday morning each month from 7:15 to 8:30 AM at Chambersburg First Church of God. The vision for the GPLN at its heart is to make our community better by helping leaders take their next steps. It also aims at investing in future generations, and coaching and consulting where needed.
So far in these eight months, I know the GPLN has been exactly what I’ve needed to get to the next level in my leadership. I would venture to say, it can do the same for you. Develop your leadership connections. Expand your leadership potential. Sharpen your leadership skills. Get involved with the Grand Point Leadership Network.
Continue the conversation
So, where are you at on your leadership journey? We’d love to hear your story and responses to the following:
As a leader, what areas can you identify in your life and leadership do you need to grow or develop?
How has the GPLN benefited you or helped you along on your leadership journey?
Doug Coldsmith currently serves as the Director of Discipleship and Communications at Chambersburg First Church of God since July 2016. Previously, he has served in social services through several local non-profit human service agencies, and in church planting and youth ministry work, after earning a bachelor’s degree from Huntington University in 1998. He, his wife Cressa, and their two teenage sons, Caleb and Coby, live in Chambersburg, PA.