There is a word that seems to be buzzing in the leadership world—capacity. I first heard it a couple of years ago to describe a young leader who had the ability to do “more” in their job and do everything with excellence. I was intrigued at the amount of responsibility he was given in a new position that actually combined two full-time jobs into one. His “capacity” for more responsibility was seen as a highly remarkable leadership trait and one that everyone should aspire to.
Do you want to be a high capacity leader? How can you be one? Here are a few things I’ve learned about increasing your ability to “do more” in the same amount of time and still maintain a high level of excellence.
- Learn how to prioritize your responsibilities. If you want to have the capacity to do “more,” you must learn how to manage the responsibilities you currently have. Take a good look at what works and eliminate areas that need to go away. It’s easier to add things to your list than take them away, but a high capacity leader understands primary responsibilities and secondary responsibilities.
- Learn how to delegate responsibilities and develop others. A couple of years ago I began asking myself two questions: “What am I doing that others are highly capable of doing?” and “What are my responsibilities that only I can do (and should do)?” I began evaluating tasks that had become routine, but were activities I could equip others to do. Some were tasks I actually enjoyed doing, but in the end, by delegating them, I was not only freeing myself to have more capacity, I was developing new leadership skills in others who worked for me.
- Learn how to create margin for creativity and new dreams. When you learn how to prioritize and delegate, you create new margins of time to dream new dreams and get more accomplished. What new “thing” do you want to implement but just can’t find the time to do it? Create new margins by following the first two points.
- Learn how to increase capacity with longevity. The longer you are in one assignment there is a natural ability to increase your capacity. Things that were hard in your first year of work become much easier the second. By the third year, you should be more than competent to increase your capacity for more responsibility. If you aren’t increasing your capacity with every year of experience, you need to consider whether you are in the right position.
Finally, recognize there are times you will move backwards in your capacity. This has been particularly difficult for me in recent months. I recently left a position where I led for more than 11 years. I was seen as a leader with great capacity and great competency. In my new position, I have felt paralyzed by my incapacity to do everything I want to do. Why? I’m starting over! I’m in year one of a new position. I’m learning new processes, a new organization, new relationships, and new responsibilities. You, too, may experience seasons of moving backward in your capacity. Take comfort, as I am, that you may be in an intense period of learning. Take comfort you are not working for man, but your work is for the Lord. Remember Galatians 1:10, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
Kelly King is the Women’s Ministry Specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources and oversees the YOU Lead events. Join her this year and get to know her heart for ministry leaders. Follow her on Twitter @kellydking.