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5 Surefire Ways To Sharpen Your Skills

When I was a young(er) man I started reading and listening to all the ‘Leadership’ material I could find. I asked experienced, more mature leaders for their recommendations. I sometimes just happened across a book that I would find interesting to read. One of those books was John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. It…

Jan 13, 2015

Douglas Leslie

When I was a young(er) man I started reading and listening to all the ‘Leadership’ material I could find. I asked experienced, more mature leaders for their recommendations. I sometimes just happened across a book that I would find interesting to read. One of those books was John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. It fed a hunger that I had to develop my leadership and my life. John Maxwell’s teaching still does that today, 17 years after publishing that book.

In a recent post Maxwell posits some very good advice for those wanting to sharpen your known skills. I am listing the main points in the blog supplemented with my own thoughts, but invite you to read it for yourselves to garner more information.

Gain Experience
This is the number one point any leadership mentor gives. When I was much younger I made a phone call to a leadership consulting agency in my town and simply asked them something like, “What do I need to do in order to sit in your chair?”. Their answer was simple, “first get experience.” They were right. The hard road of experience is they only way you will know what skills you have and what needs to be sharpened. It is the first teacher everyone needs. The second is failure.

Get Feedback
Feedback, whether it be formal or informal can be invaluable. It can be negative and it can be positive. Regardless, feedback help you grow.

Write Down Your Thoughts
I am terrible when it comes to journaling my thoughts. That’s why to don’t do it. But I do write down my thoughts. When you have an idea write it down. it doesn’t need to be an ongoing diary or journal, just a notebook where you can fashion out ideas. Writing down thoughts helps you clarify your thinking. Clarity is the key to communicating…anything.

Participate in a Small Group of People
Find a small group of like minded people that you trust and flesh out your ideas. This type of iron-sharpening can be one of the most valuable times a person has. Ideas come to the surface that were not there before and you get a change to see if you have thought through your ideas as much as you think.

Study Available Resources
Find time for yourself and study books and other materials that help you grow. If you pick 10 people from history that were successful you will find that more than likely they all have one thing in common, they were avid readers. Read 3 quality books this year and see if you don’t find yourself better off one year from now.

For John Maxwell’s take on these items you can read his blog post here. I highly recommend it.

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Douglas Leslie

Douglas Leslie serves as the Founder and President of the Association of Christian Nonprofits, a nationwide membership organization focused on coming alongside local churches and faith-based ministries. In 2001 Doug left the corporate world, moving his family to Phoenix to serve as the Director of Operations for an international missions organization and later as the Executive Director of a grant-making public charity focused on skill training among the world’s poorest peoples. As a former pastor, Doug has a deep love for the local church, believing the church is God’s primary strategy for reaching their local communities and the world’s remaining unreached peoples. Doug lives with his wife and four children in the greater Phoenix area.

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