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Discover Your True North: 5 Leadership Lessons

Leadership is character—that’s at the core of Discover Your True North, a classic book on authentic leadership. True north, of course, refers to your inner compass, the values and convictions that will help you stay true to yourself.

Here are 5 true gems in leadership lessons I’ve gotten from this book:1. Leaders who focus on external gratification instead of inner satisfaction have trouble staying grounded.

We all know this to be true, yet it’s such an easy mistake to make. As soon as we start doing it for the approval of others for instance, or for our own glory, we lose sight of our bigger goal: Jesus’ glory. It’s pride, plain and simple, and it will bring us crashing down.

2. Self-awareness is a crucial foundation for authenticity.

As Christians, we often have a dislike for analyzing ourselves. Yet it’s an important step in becoming and staying an authentic leader. Self awareness means exploring our life story and big events that happened to us, positive or negative (these are referred to as ‘crucibles’ in the book). How we frame our life story and especially our crucibles is defining our identity: do we see ourselves as victims for instance, or do we draw energy from our crucibles to realize change?


3. Perfection is not the goal of authentic leadership.

Rather, it’s knowing that you’re imperfect, in which areas you need improvement, and the willingness to be a constant work-in-progress. Vulnerability is the key to the freedom to be who we are.

4. Identifying our values, principles, beliefs, and convictions when we start leading helps us to stay on course when we’re tempted or under pressure.

This reminds me of an old saying: The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war. If you determine your values and principles in the good times, you’ll be way more likely to hang on to them in the bad times.

5. Leaders do not succeed on their own.

I’ve written before about the loneliness of leadership—certainly a well-known phenomenon in Christian circles. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The best leaders are part of a team: great leaders around and ‘under’ them, a circle of trusted friends to share life with, mentors to hold up a mirror, accountability partners to help you stay the course.

How are you doing in each of these areas? What steps could you take today to improve and grow?

p.s. I wholly recommend reading Discover your True North if you want to further grow in your leadership. It’s not a ‘Christian’ book, but it’s a valuable read that can teach you a lot about authentic leadership.

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