Until last year, the state of Oklahoma was the only state I’ve called home. It’s still difficult to see myself calling Tennessee “home,” but I’m learning to embrace the hills and the hollers. And while Tennessee can have an occasional tornado, it’s not the same as living in the state where the highest recorded winds have been recorded. For Oklahomans, tornado season is the equivalent of spring. I understand the instability of the atmosphere. But in recent years, Oklahomans have learned the instability of earthquakes and seismic shifts that cause everyone to quickly take to Facebook or Twitter wondering if they felt the earth move under their feet.
Understanding and experiencing tornadoes for Oklahomans is a way of life, but earthquakes are not. Their unexpected shakes can rattle even the most seasoned tornado expert. Earthquakes are literally and figuratively seismic shifts for those who are unprepared and inexperienced.
In the same way, leaders must be experts in the area of seismic shifts that affect organizations and culture. Leaders must continue to prepare themselves for change. They must be prepared and proactive. They must be courageous and forward thinking. And when the wind of change blows or the foundation of old procedures start shaking, leaders are ready.
Recently, I was listening to a leadership podcast that focused on five seismic shifts that are happening in the workplace and in ministry. Most of them were not a huge surprise for me, but they are a reminder that the way I lead is changing, and I must be prepared and adapt. Here they are:
1. Leaders must face the challenge of living in the digital age of being on call 24/7. With email and text messaging at your fingertips, leaders must learn to develop a better balance between work and home. Leaders must intentionally set aside time to unplug from their devices. While there is a freedom with flexibility to work at any time, there is also the need for rest and being present for your family.
2. Leaders will lead from a position of influence and not position and power. In other words, people are looking for a coach, not a boss. Top-down management positions with hierarchical organizational charts are no longer today’s culture.
3. People learn and engage in different ways. Attention spans are shorter. In fact, most people agree that a presentation lasting longer than five to seven minutes without a change in direction will leave listeners distracted and unengaged. Instead, learners want shorter sessions with more interaction to process and work on “next steps.”
4. Leaders must focus on agile and collaborative teams. No one person has all the information. Instead, organizational teams work together to solve problems and develop strategy. Teams will frequently change. New people will be added and subtracted—either for a short amount of time or for a longer period of time.
5. Finally, leaders must realize we live in a world that is digitally connected but geographically diverse. Gone are the days when everyone had to be physically present in the same room. Conference calls, video chats, and long-distance communication are all easier today than ever before. Good leaders will not limit their teams based on geographical location, but whether they can connect through technology.
For more ways you can continue to develop as a leader, attend one of LifeWay’s You Lead events. With several locations and dates, these events are designed for every woman’s passion and purpose. Click here for more information and to register.
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.