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When Did You Realize You Had Leadership Gifts?


AN IMPORTANT MOMENT IN ANY LEADER'S JOURNEY. HERE'S MY STORY.

When people talk with me, it does not take long for them to realize I feel passionate about leadership. They often ask me, “When did you first realize you had leadership gifts?”

In high school I was part of an Explorer Scout group led by Coach Brown, a basketball coach who loved young people. He started this group for youth who wanted something to do on the weekend besides drink and do drugs.

I watched as Coach Brown took a bunch of adolescents and built a strong group. He raised up student leaders to lead the group. I happened to be one of them. I had never had someone see me as a leader before.

I learned from Coach Brown that both boys and girls could lead. This group was a co-ed scouting group – one of the first – and both boys and girls served on the leadership council. That pioneering vision helped keep me going over the years. I was so excited two years ago when I was ordained as a priest, and I love to serve alongside other men and women leaders at Church of the Savior.

I also learned that a leader needs to know the gifts of other leaders and put them in positions where they can succeed. Coach Brown saw my administration and put me in charge of a dinner banquet for 250 people. When I look back know, I wonder, “What was he thinking?!” But Coach knew I could do it, and when I did, it built my confidence.

From those early experiences, I became hungry to learn how to grow in my leadership. I spent years attending the Global Leadership Summit and meeting with leadership coaches. For several years I met with a group of women executive pastors. I constantly read leadership books – right now, Becoming by Michelle Obama, and Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin.

I believe that if we do not have healthy leaders, we will not have healthy churches and organizations. That is why I dedicate my life now to coaching leaders, through my practice (StrengthenYourLeadership.com) and as leader of Church of the Savior’s staff. I love coaching leaders, meeting with them individually and watching their leadership grow. I would not want to spend my life doing anything else.

Karen Miller is associate rector of Church of the Savior in Wheaton, Illinois. She is a leadership coach and founder of www.StrengthenYourLeadership.com.

© 2019 Karen L. Miller

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