But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
This is actually less of a meditation and more of a spiritual practice (that will lead to and include meditation). Find at least 15 quiet minutes and sit with this list of Spirit-fruits. Since these are fruits the Spirit produces in us (not self-made fruit), ask the Lord to highlight one of these that needs cultivating at this moment. It might be one you are really lacking in, but it also might be one you particularly excel at already. The Lord may want to shore up a weakness or further develop a strength. Try not to assume you know or go in with preconceived notions. Let the Spirit tell you.
When you hear from the Lord and have zeroed in on one, then meditate on what that fruit means, what it would like for the Spirit to produce that fruit (or more of that fruit) in your life. The Spirit will give you specific direction on tangible things you can do to participate in the production of this fruit. After all, even though the Spirit produces the fruit in us, we are not uninvolved in the process. Note that one of the Spirit-fruits is self-control; that is not a mistake or a logical contradiction. The Spirit produces the fruit, but our will has to be compliant with the Spirit’s work for fruit to be produced.
The Spirit will give you one specific fruit to work on for this moment and specific ways to work on that fruit – if you take time to listen.
Chances are, you are not the person at the very top of your organization. Even in the most progressive, least hierarchical models, there are most likely those who report to you, those to whom you report, and those in roughly the same place you are in. If you find yourself in such a place and you sense the need to improve your leadership skills, The 360º Leader by John C. Maxwell may be just the book for you. Maxwell is a prolific author in the area of leadership development. If you have read his other works, you will find a good deal here that is familiar (which is not a bad thing – reinforcing good teaching never is).
What makes this book different is that Maxwell situates his leadership wisdom within the context where most leaders, burgeoning leaders, and would-be leaders are. The first section disabuses us of many common excuses for not leading where we are (this part is worth the price of the book by itself, read it over and over until you stop letting yourself make these excuses). The second section takes a realistic look at challenges one faces in the dangerous world of middle management. The next three sections explain how you can lead those above you, those along side you, and those under you (respectively). In these sections, Maxwell is at his contextual best. Even if you know some of this from his previous works, you will likely find some concepts you shelved for later applied in ways you hadn’t thought of (e.g., in the lead-up section, principle #4 “do more than manage – lead” is one you may not have thought of with regard to influencing your leader). The final section reinforces the value of leading from where you are.
There are also quizzes in the back (called a Workbook) to test yourself on each main concept, and each section has a (way too brief) review. You can also use the passcode included to access a free online self-assessment of where you are as a leader. Maxwell advises the reader to take the self-assesment first. This might not be necessary if you are decently self-aware as a leader, but those who have difficulty in that area would certainly benefit from this tool.
Overall, this is a worthwhile contribution to the growing leadership literature and I think a great place to jump into Maxwell for the first time for the many who do not live at the organizational apex.