One key skill separates effective leaders from ineffective ones: the ability to find their fit. According to the American Institute of Stress, “job-fit” is a leading factor in workplace satisfaction and performance, it stands to reason that your leadership impact can multiply by making sure you’re doing the things you should be.
How can you do it? By finding the intersection of these three clues to your calling…
Clue #1: God’s Heart. This may seem painfully obvious, but the place to begin finding your fit is with the One who created you. This is all about practicing intentional acts; not just random ones. The question to ask is not just “what does God care deeply about?” Go one step further and ask, “what does God care deeply about that strikes a chord in my heart?” Finding that overlap puts you on the fast track to discovering what God designed you to do. A few years ago we experienced this on our own staff team at the church I lead. We had been stalled out for a number of reasons, but when we took the time to discover our own unique strengths and align our responsibilities accordingly, momentum and morale picked up quickly. As an example, our Executive Pastor, Steve Barker, started out as a part-time campus pastor. Obviously he was drawn to God’s heart to reach people in our community, but he found himself frustrated with the “event-oriented” aspects of his job, and craving a more “process-oriented” role. He did not enjoy the last-minute pressure of the event. He loved setting up proactive systems & longer-term teams. That’s when we started making the shift, handing off more processes to him and reassigning other responsibilities. Now he’s thriving in his role, and we’re breaking new ground because of it.
Clue #2: Your Strengths. These days there are endless resources on this topic to help you find your way. One of my favorites is the Leading From Your Strengths profile. This team-friendly tool highlights your “natural” versus “adapted” style. This report helped our team make the necessary adjustments to get moving again. As a Lead Pastor, I found that I was serving outside of my strengths, frantically responding to needs. I didn’t realize that I was essentially stealing opportunities that others on our team wanted, meanwhile I was growing more miserable by the day. Our whole team was being negatively impacted. Getting that right brought all of us relief and energy. To get thinking about your strengths, try asking these 3 questions: (1) What comes naturally to you? (2) What do you enjoy? and (3) What do other people recognize in you? For me, being in front of a room full of curious people who want to learn is one of the things that lights me on fire. I love the challenge of presenting and navigating new ideas with people. Do you know what your unique ability is?
Clue #3: People’s Needs. Wherever you live, I’m sure you’ve noticed some things that are still not done. Some things aren’t right. You naturally see the gap between how it is and how it should be. And that’s a good thing, because if you didn’t see it, things might just stay the same. One of my favorite books of all time is Bill Hybels’ Holy Discontent, where I learned that it is OK to focus my attention on what bothers me, and find out why. Locking in on that big need or opportunity can be the motivating force that puts you over the top and gets you moving in the right direction.
When Joseph emerged as a leader in Egypt (see Genesis 39-50) he discovered the intersection of these three clues. God’s heart was to save people from disaster. Joseph’s strengths were administration, planning and leadership. And the people’s need was food. Joseph found his sweet spot when he took his place as second in command in all of Egypt. Finding his fit allowed him to plan and carry out one of the most brilliant schemes in history, providing food and making a difference for millions of people.
Have you found your fit yet?