leadership challenge

By August 15, 2011Leadership

On day one of the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit, Bill Hybels asked this question: What is your current leadership challenge?  There are three possible answers:

  • Under-challenged
  • Appropriately challenged
  • Over-challenged

Where you find yourself determines both your effectiveness and your satisfaction.

Those who are under-challenged are probably bored and playing Angry Birds on their phone.  They might be overqualified or simply misplaced.  At any rate, those who are underchallenged eventually leave — physically or mentally.

Those who are appropriately challenged may seem to be the happiest, most effective of all.  For a while this may be true.  But if they are not stretched and asked to grow, they will eventually atrophy or move downward to the under-challenged level.

That leaves the over-challenged level.  Ironically, the most effective leaders are those who straddle the area just between appropriate and over-challenged.  In other words, they are stretched but not over-stretched.  This is where growth occurs.

The danger lies in being at the very top of over-challenged.  This leads to burnout, blow-up, or both.  While we may hit this ceiling for a season, it is not healthy to live there for long.  Those who do will eventually lose their effectiveness.