I spent a decade of my life in camp and youth ministry. Camp is an intense and fast-paced environment that can often be a catalyst to personal and professional growth. I can look back on every summer and see something extraordinary that God worked out in my life.
At the end of one of my last summers, one particular staffer made a comment on his end of summer evaluation that has greatly impacted me professionally and personally. He wrote, “When it comes to staff relationships I realize that I am the least common denominator.” As a 20-year-old, he understood the importance of being self-aware.
Leaders reading this fall into one of two categories: (1) the senior leader, (2) everybody else. Regardless of category it is crucial for you to be self-aware. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
What are your strengths? For me I know that I am a strategy and systems guy. I enjoy seeing the desired future and setting up a path to get there. I love problem solving when things go wrong. I thrive on execution of tasks and accomplishing goals.
What are your weaknesses? I know I can get caught in the details and systems of a task. You can guarantee I will execute the plan, but I often miss the people around me. I have to set reminders and email myself to make sure I check in on those around me. I make a habit in every call or conversation to see how someone is doing before we get to the task at hand.
What are your blindspots? These are the things you don’t know. I have found that this takes careful selection of a mentor AND someone to hold you accountable. These have been different people in my life at different times, but I have tried to create a network of people that can speak into me personally, professionally, financially, and spiritually.
What are you meant to be? Early on in my career I found that I didn’t thrive at the top. It took me a little while to get comfortable in my own skin. My competitive nature said that I couldn’t settle for anything less than the first chair. If you watched the documentary on the Chicago Bulls recently you will know that Michael Jordan wouldn’t be Jordan without Scottie Pippen. I do better when I realize I am Scottie Pippen.
In both your successes and failures you will be the lowest common denominator. God is calling you to something great. He has designed you to be strong in some ways and depend on the body in other ways. You will lead more effectively if you can understand who you are, where you are, and how God has placed you.