Thursday, December 31, 2009

a decade of leading

On this last day of 2009, I have decided to do a little reflection on my own leadership, in hopes that it will help me (and others) put leadership development into perspective. It is hard to believe that for the most part, I have been in an executive leadership role for the past 10 years. Here is a short synopsis of my leadership journey over this decade...
  1. Toward the end of 2000, I was faced with the decision to go and work for a person whom I considered a leadership mentor - or lead an organization myself. I chose (after much handwringing) to lead an organization myself - Lutheran High North in Houston, TX. As Headmaster of the school, I was put in a position to grow the school and to make it a viable entity. I spent 4.5 years there (January 2001-July 2005), learning what it meant to be responsible for a large organization. The buck stopped with me - and I lost many nights of sleep thinking about the job. As I look back, I believe that the school expereinced growth and success during that time in a variety of areas.
  2. Beginning in February of 2001, I began my doctoral program in organizational leadership through the University of Phoenix. I read, wrote, reflected on, and discussed leadership for two full years (before beginning the dissertation process) with a group of people whom I grew to love and adore. The depth of reading and writing (as well as the AMOUNT of reading and writing) led me to really understand and know what I believed about leadership and what I believed good leadership was. It was during these years of study that I was also learning what it meant to lead an organization - so the two went hand in hand. You want to grow as a leader?, write, reflect, and discuss leadership (intensely) WHILE you are actually leading. BTW, I finally finished the dissertation in August of 2007, receiving my degree that fall.
  3. In Julyof 2005, I received the opportunity to change my position and go to Concordia University Texas to lead the College of Business. While this seemed like a step "back" in terms of leading an organization, I believed that I had the opportunity to train people in leadership through this position. Concordia's mission of "developing Christian leaders" so resonated with me that I saw this as a chance to make a larger impact for God's Kingdom by devloping others to be leaders. Over the course of these past four and a half years, I have been able to teach leadership to students, set up a culture where leadership is taught and practiced, serve as a mentor to others who desire to lead, write and talk about leadership to larger groups of people, and continue the process of learning about leadership myself.

What has all this done for me, in terms of my own leadership development? Here's a quick list:

  • Understand how I best function as a leader
  • Learn how to continue my growth as a leader
  • Put myself in constant contact with leaders in multiple venues
  • Write and speak about leadership at a continuing deeper level
  • Mentor others in their own leadership development
  • Develop a clearer understanding of how my faith and theology influences my leadership

Considering how I have grown in my own leadership development in the past ten years, the next ten should be quite a ride. There is still SO much to learn...there are still SO many ways to lead...there are still SO many leaders to talk with...there are still SO many students to influence...there are still SO many books to read...and there are still SO many opportunities of which I am unaware in which God can use what I have learned over the past decade to grow His Kingdom. How exciting is that? With the start of a new decade, I am ready for a wild ride of continued leadership development - and of leading!

1 comment:

kurt bennett said...

I'm inspired again! Go Don!