By: Ryan Anderson

It has been my goal for a long time to be a better leader when I go to sleep at night than when I woke up that morning.  I’ll be the first to admit that that doesn’t always happen.  There are days when I go to bed not having led the way that I wanted to. 

With the change of pace that summer brings, it is the perfect time to focus on sharpening your personal leadership skills.  Below are a few things that I plan on focusing on this summer.  Hopefully focusing on these things will help me go to sleep each night a better leader than I was when I woke up. 

1. Find a mentor - If you don’t already have one, find someone who is older and wiser than you that leads people well.   Ask them questions, listen to them carefully, watch how they lead, and see what sets them apart from other people in your world that are leaders as well.  Follow their lead.

2. Mentor someone else - There are few things that will help you sharpen your leadership skills than forcing yourself to use your leadership skills.  Grab an adult leader or a student and pull them close for the summer (and beyond). 

3. Lead collaboratively - When you are leading only for yourself, no one will want to follow your lead.   Instead, leadership should be built around teamwork.  Focus on the strengths and weaknesses of your leadership team and find which role they fit in best.  The more ownership leaders have in the mission, the more successful the mission will be.

4. Be more self-aware - Take a step back and evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses.  Being aware of your shortcomings will help you find ways to improve and knowing where you excel will allow you to pass those traits on to others so they can begin to grow too. 

5. Define success – Take some time to actually write out some things that you consider successful leadership.  This will give you something to shoot for.  If you don’t have a goal or something you’re aiming at, then it is easy to cruise along right where you are and not take steps forward.

6. Spend time in God’s Word - Don’t forget what gives you the authority to lead in the first place.  Spend time reading, studying, and meditating on Scripture.  There is no greater way to sharpen your leadership than to follow the example of the greatest leader of all time, Jesus Christ. 

Here’s my challenge to you… DO THESE THINGS.  Don’t just read this, but take some time and sharpen your leadership skills.  Even by doing one or two of these things, a little time spent now can change the way your leadership team works for a long time to come.

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