We’re taught early in school to pay extra attention to the things the teacher repeats or writes on the board. I’ve learned as an adult that the lesson still applies. When an idea or topic repeats multiple times from multiple sources, I’d better pay attention.

Recently, leadership growth and multiplication have been that topic. It’s one that is on my heart as I listen to the turmoil of domestic and international news, as my oldest prepares to head off to college, as I work to support teams of people in ministry. I want to be led well and lead others well.

There’s a Native American parable about two wolves. One is evil – full of anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego (sound like any leaders you know?). The other embodies joy, peace, hope, humility, benevolence, empathy, generosity, and truth (sound like leaders, you know?). Both wolves are fighting to the death inside a person. The parable teaches that the winning wolf is the one you feed.

If we want to be led by, to become, to be surrounded by more good leaders, we have to “feed” the good wolf in all of us. After all, we all lead someone; we even lead ourselves! How do we lead well, feeding the good wolf?

Abraham Maslow’s Four Stages of Competence

As we learn, we go from unconscious incompetence (we don’t know what we don’t know) to conscious incompetence (I’m aware I don’t know – now I need to do something about it) to conscious competence (maybe I’ve received training, I now know and am improving) to unconscious competence (I can do this well without thinking about it and can lead/teach others).

Traveling through this cycle grows skill. I feed the good wolf by first being conscious of my thoughts, feelings, and actions. I must do my best to ensure that the initiatives I take and the responses I have align with the kind of leader I want to be. With training and practice, I may get to the place where I no longer have to think about how to run a good meeting, have that serious 1:1 talk, or tackle the team project without railroading anyone else’s contributions or derailing the project entirely. Then, I am free not only to continue doing those things well, but also train and cheer others in the process, even as I go on to learn something new.

Level Up Your Leadership Skills

At Lead Up, you have the opportunity to learn from unconsciously competent leaders. Ones who have taken the time to feed the good wolf in their lives and who have much wisdom and experience to share. Ideally, we don’t stop at mastery of one competency, but go round again, learning new skills, developing talents to serve the different seasons in which we find ourselves.

Won’t you join me from 5:30pm-6:30pm on the second Monday of the month at Grace Leadership Institute for Lead Up? In just one hour a month, the content from past Global Leadership Summit speakers and the group discussions that follow can help us level up and improve our practical leadership skills while networking with other area leaders. Registration is open! I hope to see you at one (or all) of our upcoming nights.