Guest Post By Gabe Kolstad
One key skill separates effective leaders from ineffective ones: the ability to find their fit.
According to the American Institute of Stress, “job-fit” is a leading factor in workplace satisfaction and performance. So it stands to reason that your leadership impact can multiply by making sure you’re doing the things you should be.
How can you get started finding your fit? By finding the intersection of these three clues to your calling.
Clue #1: God’s Heart
Obvious? Maybe, but true: the place to begin finding your fit is with the One who created you. This is all about practicing intentional acts, not just random ones. The question to ask is not just, “What does God care deeply about?” Go one step further and ask, “What does God care deeply about that strikes a chord in my heart?” Finding that overlap puts you on the fast track to discovering what God designed you to do.
A few years ago we experienced this truth with our church staff. We had been stalled out for a number of reasons. When we took the time as a team to discover our own unique strengths and align our responsibilities accordingly, momentum and morale picked up quickly. In at least one instance the shift was overwhelmingly clear. Steve had joined our staff as a part-time campus pastor. He was drawn to God’s heart for our community, but he found himself frustrated with the “event-oriented” aspects of his job, particularly its associated last-minute pressures. Steve craved a more “process-oriented” role. He excels with setting up proactive systems and longer-term teams. Steve’s assessment confirmed this strength. That revelation led us to hand off more processes to Steve and reassign other responsibilities to staff members who enjoy events management. Today Steve thriving in his role and we’re breaking new ground because of it.
Clue #2: Your Strengths
These days there are endless resources on this topic to help you find your way. One of my favorites is the Leading From Your Strengths profile. This team-friendly tool highlights your “natural” versus “adapted” style. The LFYS process helped our team make the necessary adjustments to get moving again, beginning with me. As a lead pastor, I found that I was serving outside of my strengths, which in turn negatively impacted our whole team. Getting that right brought all of us relief and energy.
To start thinking about your strengths, try asking these 3 questions: (1) What comes naturally to you? (2) What do you enjoy? and (3) What do other people recognize in you? For me, being in front of a room full of curious people who want to learn is one of the things that lights me on fire. I love the challenge of presenting and navigating new ideas with people.
Do you know your unique abilities and strengths? Take time to think things through. Complete the Leading From Your Strengths assessment to dig deeper. Walk through the results with your spouse, a close friend, mentor, or someone who knows you well to get confirmation.
Clue #3: People’s Needs
Wherever you live, I’m sure you’ve noticed some things that are still not done … things that aren’t right … needs that cry out to be met. You naturally see the gap between how things are and how things should be. And that’s a good thing because if you didn’t see those needs, things might just stay the same.
While reading Bill Hybels’ book, Holy Discontent, I learned that it is okay to focus my attention on what bothers me – and find out why it bothers me. My discontent is a cue to my calling. A big need or opportunity that captures your attention can be the motivating force that puts you over the top and gets you moving in the right direction.
When Joseph emerged as a leader in Egypt (Genesis 39-50) he discovered the intersection of three cues to his calling. God’s heart was to save people from disaster. Joseph’s strengths were administration, planning and leadership. And the people’s need was food. Joseph found his sweet spot when he took his place as second in command in all of Egypt. Finding his fit allowed him to plan and carry out one of the most brilliant schemes in history, providing food and making a difference for millions of people.
Have you found your fit yet?
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