Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Operations leadership: essential qualities that are difficult to put together

I was recently thinking about how, as an Operations leader, I need to be a) a shepherd of my team, b) creative/innovative, and c) highly responsible. These three are challenging to put together, as some of the same stuff that makes you a shepherd sometimes keeps you from being responsible, and the qualities and temperament that make you responsible can keep you from being creative and innovative.

One of the burdens of leadership is knowing that the culture you create will be reproduced by those that you are leading. While I have my own personality with it's accordant strengths and weaknesses, I have no doubt been influenced by the leaders I've served under. The same will be true of those I lead. Thus, it's not only important for our team to flourish in all these areas for it's own sake, but also to enable those I lead to reproduce a healthy leadership culture when the time comes.

When I was challenged to take on this new role, one of our ministry's leaders shared that, perhaps the most important thing we can do as leaders is to establish a culture. If I highly value caring for people, I'll produce a culture where people care for each other. If I value excellence and achieving, I'll produce a culture of driven, ambitious people. Perhaps this is why the "who" of leadership is more important than the "what" of leadership.

So I'm challenged by these three areas. I don't always know how to care for people even though I desire to. I have lots of new ideas, but often lack the carry through to do the hard work of creating (this blog is practice). And while I really want to be responsible, my temperament sometimes gets the best of me.

"Who am I, Lord?" Fortunately, the more relevant question is "Who will go with me?"

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