3 Essential Ways to Expand the Scope of Your Leadership Thinking

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I miss Tom.

Tom was a good friend back in Canada with whom I found myself in almost constant disagreement.

Our frequent discussions on matters of the church and leadership were always friendly and God-honoring. They were also joyously combative. We came from different backgrounds (different worlds I sometimes thought) and our views on many core issues were often poles apart.

But few people helped me grow as a leader quite the way Tom did.

You see, years ago I learned that one of the most dangerous ways to stunt the growth of a leader is to limit your world only to perspectives which reinforce your outlook.

Real growth as a leader happens when you purposefully allow your thinking to be challenged.

How do you do this?

Here are 3 essential ways you can immediately expand the scope of your leadership thinking.

1.   Seek out relationships with leaders from diverse backgrounds

Take out your calendar and look at the lunches, coffees and meetings you have scheduled with leaders over the next 30 days.

How many are from beyond your organization, denomination and even worldview?

Set a goal to develop one or two relationships with a leader you know to come from a radically different perspective.

2.   Read books you know to be beyond your paradigm

Have a look at your bookshelf right now. What percentages of these titles are merely reinforcing your perspective?

Aim to have a minimum of 10% of your reading from beyond your comfort zone.

3.   Expose yourself to leadership training from diverse sources

Not long ago I took in a leadership conference sponsored by a Catholic organization. I am not Roman Catholic; I hold many divergent doctrinal positions from our Catholic brothers and sisters.

But my thinking was radically stretched.

At least once this year, expose yourself to leadership teaching from a leader outside your established world.

So don’t be like the person who recently told me they’d never return to the WCA Global Leadership Summit, because they disagreed with the theology of one of last year’s speakers.

Discipline yourself to intentionally expand your thinking.

You might even need to get a “Tom” in your life.

How do you expand your leadership thinking?

the author

Scott Cochrane

Lifelong learner, practitioner and coach of leadership, across more than 50 countries. Follower of Jesus, husband of Nora, grateful parent and grandparent.


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