My vocational call is a pastor. But I also write books. I’ve written six with a seventh coming this fall (intersects Jesus’ teaching principles with the neuroscience of teaching). To improve my writing, a few years ago was a part of a coaching group led by a really smart book marketer, Chad Cannon. I also attended an intense 1-day session on book marketing he led several years ago. It was an amazing day I spent with him and eight bright and talented creatives. Our focus was not on leadership. Nevertheless, I came away not only with a head full of ideas on book marketing but a few insights on leadership as well.
4 leadership insights I learned from creatives:
1. Good leaders must learn from those outside the ‘leadership’ field.
I was the only pastor in the group although one guy was a former pastor. Our group included a wide range of people: one woman was called to serve the homeless, another had owned an art gallery, one was facing terminal cancer, another was in accounting, one had a special needs child with a rare disease, etc., etc. This eclectic group reminded me that God has given us all certain life experiences for His glory and our benefit. I learned insights from each of these incredible people that I took away to apply in my role as a pastor.
God has given us all certain life experiences for His glory and our benefit
James 3:13 reminds us, “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.”
2. Leaders must avoid getting ‘leadership tunnel vision’ (a close cousin to number 1 above).
Leadership tunnel vision happens when we only expose ourselves to leadership ‘stuff.’ We read leadership books, go to leadership conferences, and mostly keep our minds in the leadership ‘headspace.’ That day took me out of a formal leadership ‘headspace.’ As I heard their stories and learned how to market books, it reminded me how easily I can slip into leadership tunnel vision and that I must periodically step out of that space to learn fresh ideas.
Isaiah 43:18-19a tells us, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! …”
3. Creatives provide great examples of self-leadership.
Writing is a lonely business. For an author to have written a book means that she has disciplined herself to say no to other time demands so that she can focus on writing. It takes great self-leadership to say yes to the solitude writing requires. Good leaders can’t lead churches or businesses or ministries without leading themselves. A productive creative understands self-leadership.
2 Timothy 1:7 states, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power, love and self-control.”
4. Feedback from creatives provides a helpful window to help leaders lead better.
As part of our session together, we shared our book marketing plans, book benefit statements, and our tag-lines for our books. After we presented, the group gave feedback. The feedback they gave me was invaluable. Their creative perspectives gave me a fresh evaluative window that I seldom get. ‘Leadership tunnel vision’ can sometimes inadvertently exclude input we need to hear from those not in the leadership space. I came away tired, but full not only of marketing ideas, but challenged to be a better leader through their unique feedback.
Proverbs 19:20 says, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”
If you’re a leader, consider this suggestion. Get to know some creatives in or outside your church or ministry. Spend time learning about what they do and how they do it. Ask them about what it’s like being a painter or a sculptor or a musician or a writer. You’ll probably come away with some new insight about how you can be a better leader that you probably won’t get from other leaders.
Who is a creative in your circle of relationships that you could learn from?