I have heard that there was a time when you could enter a job and stay in the same role as long as you wanted. You could, if you desired, essentially perform the same tasks in the same way every day and every year. Supposedly, you could find an unchanging rhythm and live in it. Because the context was unchanging, if you desired your responsibilities to be the same, they could be.
If there ever was a time like that, there is no more.
Your role is changing because of a changing context.
- Technology and innovation have impacted the daily rhythm of the worship leader, the content creator, the architect, the engineer, and the teacher.
- A changing community impacts how a ministry or organization interacts with those she serves, thus impacting those who serve in the organization.
- A faster and more connected culture greatly increases the speed of communication and decision-making, thus raising the expectations for responsiveness.
Your role is changing if you are in a growing organization.
- There are new opportunities and new responsibilities, and some of these will be given to you.
- More people are being served and your role will likely be altered to ensure they are served well.
Your role is changing if you are in a declining organization.
- There are less people and fewer resources to accomplish the same mission, so something will be added to your plate.
Because our roles are changing, consultants Bob Eichinger and Mike Lombardo challenge leaders to develop learning agility, and to look for learning agility in the people they hire. They have found “that leaders who learn quickly and well, and who perpetually apply new ideas to current problems succeed not only in the short-term but over the long haul.” (*)
Learning agility, being able to scale as the organization grows, being able to adjust as the organization declines, being able to adapt as the community changes is really about self-leadership. And this of course is difficult, because the most difficult person to lead is often ourselves. As Plato said, “The first and best victory is to conquer yourself.”
You can embrace it. Or you can complain about it. But your role is changing.
* From The Leadership Code by Ulrich, Smallwood, and Sweetman