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Why Leaders Must Stretch Others — and Themselves

Transformational leaders are consistently stretched, and stretch others in the process. They are both pioneers and shepherds. They embrace the risk of persistently entering uncharted territory with people and situations while apprehending the responsibility of leading people into that new place.

Living out these powerful attributes requires learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. As a leader, you must be willing to work with innovation and tradition. You must be open to new ideas, new ways of building, new ways of communicating, and new ways of leading.

Leaders are called to be extraordinary. I understand that the leadership path can be lonely at times, but it is also filled with excitement, adventure, and transformational impact. The moment you allow the routine, ordinary, and mundane into your life, you have lost your power.

As the president of a basketball clothing company back 2004, the temptation to imitate other successful competitors or to give over creative control to potential investors was looming. I had to find a way to deal with these temptations.

It began when we created a speaking division in our company. Our speaker’s bureau was an amazing opportunity to express our core values and meet the needs of student-athletes all over the region through leadership workshops and inspirational talks. I remember being so stretched during this time, but I had people surrounding me in the process. As a result, we had tremendous influence and impact on the lives of many people.

Two practical steps towards becoming a more effective leader are:

  • Consistently meet together with one or more effective leaders for a time of encouragement, accountability, strengthening, and stretching.
  • Write down one personal and one professional way you are going to step outside your comfort zone this week and begin working this into your life on a regular basis.

The result? As you begin to surround yourself with other effective leaders and intentionally step outside your comfort zone, you will get comfortable with the uncomfortable and you will have a tremendous effect upon the people with whom you’ve been entrusted.


By Robb Holman