Leadership Longevity: Four Essential Practices (Part 1 of 5)

Someone recently asked me, “How have you managed to lead the same organization through major change and growth for sixteen years, and maintain a high level of trust and credibility?” I didn’t know how to answer them. It was something for which I was deeply grateful and should have reflected upon more, but I hadn’t. So for the following few weeks I spent several mornings doing just that.

Each person’s leadership journey is fluid and has a life of its own. Many of the “norms” shift during the journey. There are always surprises and unexpected obstacles waiting for their opportunity to cause havoc and sabotage the vision. There are often people who become difficult because they don’t understand the vision or disagree with the vision, having their own agenda. In the midst of changing environments it’s difficult to know who to trust. My journey is no different. It’s been required of me to cautiously embrace each challenge by faith and courage, in spite of my inner fears. Some issues are resolved the way I had hoped, and others aren’t. Effective leadership is HARD and often painful. There is a constant temptation to quit.

I could never list every factor that has positively contributed to my journey thus far, but I have identified four practices I attempt to live by that have certainly made a difference.

1. Listen
2. Learn
3. Lead
4. Love

For the next four posts I will take each practice and explain how each one has contributed to my leadership longevity. They will do the same for you in your journey!

What are some of the threats to longevity that you recognize? I would like to know!