4 Questions to Help you Discover your Leadership Bias

4 Questions to Help you Discover your Leadership Bias

A couple of years ago 65 leaders from Southern Ontario attended our first annual Nfluence conference at West Park Church, London. It was a great time to learn from three seasoned pastors, Dr. Dom RusoSteve Adams, and myself. In one session Dom explained how to empower the next generation. One insight he shared that particularly struck me was this. In order to empower the next generation of leaders, we must become aware of our own leadership bias. We all have a leadership bias and must recognize it to effectively integrate young leaders. So, how do we do that? 

First, what is leadership bias? Simply put, leadership bias is the subtle tendency in leaders to look only for leaders like us. 

What is leadership bias?

This bias, according to Dom, can greatly restrict engaging emerging leaders. If we only see potential in young leaders who act and lead like we do, we can miss potential leaders. And unless older leaders do a better job of engaging young leaders, we’ll only reach our own  demographic and miss the young demographic that often views church as irrelevant.

The first place to start to engage young leaders is to discover your own leadership bias. These four questions may help you discover your bias.

  1. Who is your leadership hero? The qualities you see in that hero will tell a lot about what you look for in potential leaders. If Jesus isn’t the model for your leadership, you need to reevaluate your leadership heros.

If Jesus isn’t your leadership model, you need to reevaluate your role model.

 

  1. Do you tell yourself that you don’t have any biases? If you do, you just revealed that that you are biased. No one is bias free. Matthew 7:5 reminds us “first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

 

  1. Do you have younger leaders in your life that you listen to? When we invite younger leaders to speak into our lives, we can learn much from their perspectives that in turn can reveal our own biases. 1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

 

  1. Related to number 3 above, to what degree do you invite younger leaders into your decision making? Often older leaders assume that younger leaders lack the wisdom that comes from age. Although age can foster wisdom, 30-year-old eyes can often see current culture more clearly than can 50 or 60-year-old eyes.

What do you think? Is leadership bias that big a deal? How have you learned to deal with your own biases?

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Charles Stone

Both my wife Sherryl and I have a heart for pastors and pastors’ wives. We’ve taught hundreds of pastors and their wives in the United States, Canada, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Mexico.

I earned an engineering degree from Georgia Tech, a Masters of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate of Ministry from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. I’m completing another masters degree in neuroleadership. I’m also an avid Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket fan.

I’ve been professionally trained in these areas by these organizations:

Life Coaching through the Professional Christian Coaching Institute
Strategic Planning through Ministry Advantage (certified)
Vision Clarity through the Church Unique Process (certified)
Conflict Management through Peacemakers
I’m the author of 4 books – Daughters Gone Wild – Dads Gone Crazy (Thomas Nelson, 2007), 5 Ministry Killers and How to Defeat Them (Bethany House Publishers, 2010), People Pleasing Pastors: Avoiding Pitfalls of Approval Motivated Leadership (Inter-Varsity Press, January 2014), and my brand new book, Brain-Savvy Leadership: the Science of Significant Ministry (Abingdon, 2015).