Our culture and our world sets us up to believe that the value of what you do in life is related to the size of what you do. Therefore, leadership can often be seen as ‘unimportant’ if it’s on a smaller scale or with small numbers. But we believe that “leading small” is an important opportunity and can have a big impact.
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In this episode, Holly and I are talking about leading small–what this means, why it’s important, and how to navigate it well. If you’ve ever felt like what you are doing or how you are currently leading is less valuable because it’s “small”, be sure to take a listen.
What “Leading Small” Means:
When we use the term “leading small”, we are referring to roles or positions that might feel to you as though they are unimportant or not as valuable as bigger roles. It could mean that you are leading a very small number of people or you may even just be leading yourself.
- Parenting. Leading your children can sometimes feel like a thankless and undervalued leadership role.
- Second in command or a supportive leadership role. If you are in middle management or you are the secondary leader, this can be challenging and may feel small.
- Leading yourself. Perhaps you don’t have anyone following you in any capacity right now, and the only person you are leading is yourself.
All of these situations can be tough, especially if you sense that God might have more for you to do or if you believe there’s a dream or calling on your life that involves a “bigger” role. You may find yourself feeling like you’re just biding your time until you can get to that next big thing.
But this can be dangerous for a number of reasons, and you might actually be missing out on what God has for you by wishing that time away.
Why Leading Small Matters
It might seem like what you are doing right now is unimportant, but you could be making a big impact by leading small. Let’s look at some of the ‘leading small’ examples we just talked about and see if we can gain a different perspective.
- Parenting: many of our guests have shared how their parents believed in them and encouraged them to step into leadership. By investing in and believing in your kids, you have the potential to make a huge difference for them.
- Second in command: sometimes we want a larger role but we don’t understand the responsibilities associated with that role and perhaps God is keeping us from stepping into those roles because we are not ready.
- Leading yourself: you’re making a big impact because you are preparing yourself and allowing God to use you in whatever ways He wants. You are being willing to surrender to His plans even if they don’t fit into what you thought would happen.
God calls us to be faithful in the small things before he gives us the “big” things.
Luke 16:10 – “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.
So how can we navigate leading small and do it well? How can we make sure we are investing our time wisely instead of wishing it away?
How to navigate leading small well
- Learn to be content
- Stay humble
- Invest in the people God has given you
- Invest in your own leadership development
When you are leading small, this is the time to be investing in your leadership rather than waiting until the future when you have a bigger role. Prepare now for what you may be doing in the future.
Ways to invest in your leadership while you lead small:
- Learn to develop your discernment in decision making
- Figure out your motives
- Create healthy habits and figure out your baseline
- Find those who supplement your weakness and create a “cabinet” of trusted friends for the long haul
- Grow in integrity
- Learn to love those you lead when they are unloveable, difficult, or “unleadable”
- Develop courage and perseverance
- Learn to learn (i.e. become coachable)
- Develop your confidence
- Listen to past episodes about confidence to understand the role it plays in your leadership (see list below)
- Take the stages of confident leadership quiz to determine your next steps
Join the Purposeful Leadership FB Group and tell us from the list of ways to prepare: what is one thing you are not doing that you will start?
Other Episodes & Resources Mentioned
- Episode 80: How to Avoid the Trap of Niceness and Speak Boldly with Sharon Hodde Miller
- Episode 6: The Importance of Leading with Confidence
- Episode 67: The 5 Reasons Confidence Makes You a More Effective Leader
- Episode 68: What You Need to Know About Becoming a Confident Leader
- Confident Leader Catalyst
- My Biz Bestie: How the Brain Works with Melina Palmer
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Join our Purposeful Leadership Facebook group! In the Facebook group, we can chat about what you need as a leader, what your challenges are, as well as celebrate the wins. This is a great community to learn and grow together. We want to get to know YOU.
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