Leadership Expectations that Undermine our Journey

By Dan Scarrow, Director of Leadership Development

We are pleased to announce that Dan has been elected as District Superintendent of the North Central District. He will officially begin on August 1, 2018. Below are some conclusions he has come to believe that are vital to leadership development.

Over the years I have discovered that there are unhealthy expectations, often quietly hidden in my heart, that are constantly influencing the way I live and lead. Over time, if left undiscovered and unresolved, these expectations subtly shift the tone and impact of my journey. In the hope that it might help you with your own self-assessment, I would like to share a few of the false expectations I have wrestled with and the conclusions that continue to help me drive this foolishness out of my heart.

1.       The path should be easy or if it is hard, I must be doing something wrong

  • All leadership is uphill. If we expect and hope for easy, we will constantly fail to tackle the most important parts of life and leadership….all of which are hard.
  • Lean into the challenge. Developing a posture of leaning into difficulty instead of trying to escape, strengthens our self-leadership and promotes the growth of our spirit and our skills.
  • We do not need an easier life; we need to embrace “uphill” disciplines.
  • The distance between your intentions and your legacy is paved with your disciplines.

2.       There are simple answers

  • All human interactions are complex
  • All organizations are complex
  • If you need simple pat answers for life and leadership, you will constantly offer only empty platitudes to those you lead.
  • Embrace the complexity and admit what you do not know.

3.       Thing should happen quickly

  • Nearly all sustainable growth is incremental and requires a mature and patient leadership.
  • There is a difference between leadership ADHD (the passionate pursuit of quick results) and a necessary strategic shift of direction.

4.       Activity = Progress

  • You can spend a lifetime doing urgent "stuff" and not achieve measurable progress.
  • Often, when I fail to lead myself well, I end up choosing the easy activity that simulates progress in the hope that checking off a box will make me feel better.
  • Activity untethered to measurable objectives is the narcotic of the weak leader.

5.       Somebody else is responsible for my growth

  • Your leadership ceiling is a function of your self-leadership.
  • You are responsible to get and stay physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy.

6.       Everybody wants to grow

  • One of the greatest drains on your time and emotions is investment in unteachable leaders.

7.       Everybody deserves equal portions of your leadership time and energy

  • Invest in the hungry and teachable.
  • Investment should always be a combination of your responsibility for the individual and their teachability. (Example – as a parent you have high responsibility and investment should be strategically made despite level of teachability.)