Leadership is a necessity in guiding an organization to collective success. But how exactly does one achieve effective leadership? Dr. Lotson is a graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts; afterward, he received his Master of Divinity from the C.H. Mason Seminary and later Dr. Lotson became a certified life coach while at the same time completing his doctorate in Strategic Leadership with a concentration in Ecclesial Leadership from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Dr. Lotson has made it his mission to help others understand and realize what effective leadership can mean in their lives and organizations.
Through his experience as a minister, life coach, and leadership development expert, Dr. Lotson has taken the time and effort to develop practical steps and analysis on what areas an effective leader should look to when looking to grow. He goes in-depth on these areas in his book Effective Leadership: Top 10 Areas Every Christian Leader Should Consider When Moving Towards Effective Leadership.
Typically, the self-assessment, or any assessment in one’s organization, is viewed as something to be done at the start or at the conclusion of a significant initiative. Assessments at these times are necessary for both the establishment of direction early on, as well as the analysis of success and failures after the fact. However, effective leadership often requires assessments as a more regular function within your organization. Hindsight is often 20/20, but if assessment after failure allows better future success, then why shouldn’t assessments be more regular in order to better identify mistakes before they happen? Foreseeing all potential struggle is likely impossible, but proactive assessments put leaders in a better position to sniff out inefficiencies.
The same mindset should be taken when engaging in self-assessment. As a leader, one’s ability to assess themselves is imperative in addressing areas of improvement as well as determining the overall direction of one’s leadership. A failure to identify negative areas in your leadership causes those negativities to begin influencing your decision making, and therefore the lives of those you lead. The regular self-assessment gives you a more informed view of decision making and allows you to not only realize the effects of your decisions but also analyze the methods and way in which these decisions come about. Having all this information at hand puts you in the best position to excel as a leader.
In his book Effective Leadership, Dr. Jonathan Lotson details the importance of structure and systems in leadership. A system is the combination of processes and components that determines how your organization is run. Having an efficient collection of processes, and therefore a system is crucial in maintaining effective leadership. A large part of efficiency in this regard is understanding one’s system in concrete and established terms. Knowing the full inner workings of your system not only puts you in a better position to retool if needed but also importantly allows you to better communicate your system to others. As Dr. Lotson notes in his book, “systems and structures are about developing, influencing, and motivating leaders to impact culture.” Refocusing efforts to address the structure of your leadership and organizational systems can prove to be immensely beneficial.
This might seem a no-brainer from an outside view; of course, a leader needs to take care of him/herself in order to best lead others. But as leadership responsibilities grow, it is increasingly common for leaders to shift any focus away from themselves and onto others. This makes sense in reality; if a leader’s job is to assist and guide their followers, then everything they do should be in service of this pursuit. Yet in times of struggles, taking time for self may seem instinctually diverting from this pursuit to a “selfish” degree. However, focusing on self-care is actually essential and just as valid as a method of successful leadership. An obsession with self-sacrifice in the guise of proper leadership will ultimately be detrimental to your success as a leader. Personal health, in all regards, must be maintained in order to make sound decisions that best help all those for which you are responsible for leading. Dismissing this preservation of health eventually only serves to harm your followers and impair your ability to lead effectively.
The invocation of “ego” is often viewed in a negative fashion, especially in regards to leadership portrayal. Ego considered in this way is usually accompanied by excess pride or a misunderstanding of leadership power. Essentially, “ego” comes down to a proper (or lack thereof) understanding of one’s inner self and its effects on the environment around it. Yet ego does not and should not be considered negative if it’s being understood as an element of effective leadership. A healthy ego exists as both a tool of self-reflection and an outward expression of one’s leadership values. Ego, in this sense, allows a leader to recognize personal character and mindset apart from the “position” leadership. Having a solid understanding of one’s self protects you from a lack of clarity in decision making and gives you the ability to grasp other perspectives. Expressing this kind of healthy ego encourages these same ideals in others, ultimately cueing a positive impact on your organization.
For a deeper, more practical look into these four principles, along with six other essential areas of focus for all leaders, check out Dr. Jonathan Lotson’s leadership book both digitally and physically on Amazon. For more information on Dr. Jonathan Lotson and his leadership development services, you can visit https://www.jonathanlotson.com.
For more articles about personal growth, check out Disrupt Magazine stories such as Keenan Williams Growth in Difficult Times.