Let These High-Impact Leadership Lessons From 2020 Shape Your 2021

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Editor's Note: This is part one of a two-part article. Watch for part two tomorrow on charismaleader.com,

What a year! It has been:

— Overflowing with difficult challenges.
— Packed with good opportunities.
— Flooded with tough disappointment.
— Brimming with adaptation.
— Full of hope!

You made it through!

Now what?

Your outcomes in 2021 will largely be based on what you learned and how you grew in 2020.

There will be those who tell you in January that "2020 isn't over yet." That won't be true.

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When 2020 is over, it's over. If you don't think that way, you can get stuck there.

Yes, we'll have new challenges to solve in 2021, but let them be new. Come at them with a fresh approach.

Think about how much more you know because of COVID-19 than you did last March and April. It's staggering. Your new knowledge affects how you live, think, and make decisions.

— How much more do you know about yourself and your leadership?

— What did you learn about the truth of God?

— What changes will you make in your daily life?

One of my significant insights from 2020 is that I just don't think big enough, and I'm going to change that.

It's ironic when I consider all the big thinkers I've been around for such a long time; I should be better at it by now, but I'm fired up to see what progress I can make!

I'm confident that 2021 will require me to think bigger.

What new thing will 2021 require of you?

Here are some of the top leadership lessons from 2020 that may help your growth and process of change.

9 Leadership Lessons From 2020:

1. Conversation beats debate.

An honest and passionate conversation with differing views is healthy if all persons involved seek to learn and improve.

However, debate usually requires someone to be right and someone to be wrong, a winner and a loser. That rarely ends up in the best possible situation.

A productive conversation is an opportunity to understand the other points of view and end up with a better or best outcome because the conversation took place.

Another good test is to compare the quality of the relationships before the conversation and after. If the relationships are better after, you did a good job.

2. It's easy to submit to fear over faith.

Through much of 2020, my faith conquered any fears related to COVID-19. But there were times, usually, when bombarded by negative news, that fear crept in and crowded faith out.

That happens easier than you might think.

When you are continually solving problems, helping people and fatigued, fear can find its way in when your faith would normally carry you through. When your internal battery is low, your resistance to fear drops as well.

I'm not suggesting that a position of faith over fear dismisses the reality of COVID. It's real, and it's serious.

There are three practical things that help your faith win over fear:

— Get the rest you need.

— Quit listening to all the negative. (Find a couple of sources you can count on.)

— When you sense fear creeping in, talk about it with a trusted friend.

3. You don't have to know the future to lead into it.

The most common theme I've heard from leaders this year, by far, is the perceived inability to lead toward the future when we have no idea what's around the corner.

The truth is, you did lead.

It wasn't easy, and you may have felt like you took more hits than made progress, but you made it this far. You know a lot more than you did nine months ago, and you are now better equipped to lead forward.

You still don't know everything that will happen in the next six months, but that's not really a new thing, and you do know enough to take the next best steps.

That's a good strategy for now.

When you can't see around the corner, cast vision for shorter periods of time, if it doesn't work as planned, adapt, and go again!

4. Values must always supersede pressure.

There are many possible examples; here's one.

If a financial shortfall gets large enough, you might allow that pressure to override, for example, your value of generosity.

Enough pressure can do that to even the best of leaders.

What you've always believed and practiced can get crowded out because sustained pressure changes how you think and make decisions. Hold true to your values.

This begins with knowing your values at a convictional level and is enhanced with accountability from your team.

Look for the next five high-impact leadership lessons tomorrow at charismaleader.com.

Dan Reiland is executive pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as executive pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as vice president of leadership and church development at INJOY.

This article originally appeared at danreiland.com.

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