Yesterday I shared the first antidote to immaturity: cultivating humility. I'd like to add that humility likely doesn't come natural for leaders. The gift and position creates more of a recipe for pride, narcissism, and host of other unhealthy attitudes and behaviors. But humility is life-giving to the soul...AND to the people who follow our leadership. Humility requires cultivation. It will not happen on its own.
Now, to the second antidote to immaturity: seeking counsel.
There have been 2 Proverbs that have propelled my own journey from immaturity toward maturity:
Leaders who become whole, productive, fully mature versions of themselves, become so on the shoulders of others, not just because of their own gifts and hard work. A lack of seeking and following wise counsel is consistently one of the missing pieces that keep an immature person from growing into the person God has created them to be and what he’s created them to do.
Seek a collection of people who will chisel immaturity out of your life. Become a humble learner as you lean into their counsel.
Ask yourself these questions to consider who your many advisors may include:
- Who can teach you a skill that your job requires? This could be as simple as understanding a new app, a computer program, an organizational skill, or a communication method.
- Who has a spiritual gift that you'd like to grow in? If you have a gift of teaching, who's further down the road in that gift? Become their student, even if it's from a distance.
- Who could teach you a spiritual practice that's critical for your soul's health? I'd argue that silence and solitude, along with confession, are vital for a leader's inner life.
- In this season, do you need a therapist to walk you through your junk and brokenness? I am a staunch believer that every leader needs to sit in a professional counselor's office at least once in their life to understand their life narrative and how it impacts their work today. I'd also advocate for every leaders having a therapist on speed dial.
- Who do you respect career-wise? Sit at their feet and learn.
- Who is the kind of entrepreneur, pastor, teacher, listener, parent, spouse, or follower that you want to be like? These can be people you spend time with and/or people you learn from a distance. Be intentional about your whole life, not just your pubic life.
- Who do you know that's transitioned well from one job to the next? Research shows that only about 10% of leaders finish well. Gulp. We desperately need to get better at this.
- Who’s going to disorient and stretch your thinking? Dissident learning is important to our growth. If we only read, interact with, and watch things that agree with what we already think and believe, we will never be stretched.
Over the years, my wise counsel has included people I know and people I only wish I knew. It's included professional (paid!) counsel and those who voluntarily build into my life. My counsel has been from those alive and those who've passed on. Some of my counsel has lasted a short season and others have journeyed with me for nearly 20 years. They've certainly been a fair mix of men and women (we have much to learn from one another). Some counsel has lived locally and others have been across the country (and world). Some counsel I've formally asked to invest into my life for a specific reason, for others it's been an "as we go" kind of development. I've gained counsel from sitting across tables at coffee shops, in a professional office, over the internet, via regular phone calls, and reading every book by certain authors. In short, many, wise counsel members come in all shapes and sizes. And I've needed it all to become increasingly mature in my life and leadership.
The antidote of immaturity? Cultivate humility and seek counsel like it’s your job, because your job may very well depend upon it.
What's your next step toward developing into a more mature leader? Name who that person is and what you need from. The higher degree of specificity, the higher degree of probably that you will actually grow in that area.