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What Should a Leader be Planning for 2021?

Leaders can still be planning in the middle of a pandemic. So what should leaders be planning for 2021? Here are five suggestions.

Getting Ready for the New Year

I know 2020 has been hard for many leaders, including me. Often, it seems like the pandemic has meant keeping our heads above the water rather than long-term planning. And we’re weary and wary about planning everything, because tomorrow the restrictions we’re living under could all change again and our plans get thrown out of the window. Plus, by this time in the year, we are busy getting ready for Advent and Christmas, which means more work for all of us. In the light of all this, what is a leader planning for 2021? Here are five questions I’ll be thinking about.

When am I Going on Holiday?

It may seem counter-intuitive to start with holiday and rest when it comes to leadership effectiveness in 2021, but I can only serve the people I lead if I am rested and healthy, not running on empty. It’s very easy to start planning in work and ministry commitments for 2021. But suddenly you realise you haven’t left enough space for your holiday. Ministry, in particular, will always take as much time as we allow it. We therefore need to be intentional about planning time off. The first question every leader should ask themselves at the end of this year is whether you have put your holidays in before anything else so that you are sure you have time away from work to relax and enjoy some time away, especially since so many leaders have missed holidays this year because of the pandemic.

How Can I See the Big Picture?

We are living through a year of unprecedented (at least, in my lifetime) uncertainty. And that looks set to continue into 2021. It makes us anxious and feeling insecure. But when it comes to leader planning, if we can focus on the bigger picture – the vision and purpose that God has given us – for ourselves and for those we lead – then the more we lean into God and find him feeding our optimism. As we head into 2021, we can spend time in prayer and reflection, asking God where he wants us to go, what he might need us to change and what he needs us to see.

What am I Going to Read?

I really haven’t read enough books this year. I want to put that right in 2021. I want to grow in my knowledge of God, theology, church life and the other skills my ministry needs. I need to plan what I am going to read next year and when. I also want to choose some fiction to read when I want to relax.

What Do I Need to Stop Doing?

It’s highly likely that in 2020, like me, you’ve become weary from your mind running from one thing to another and from dealing with the emotions surrounding the pandemic and its consequences. I’m pretty sure we’ve lost the margin we need to be able to truly love the people God has given us to lead. So consider one thing that is taking up too much of your time or causing you stress. Perhaps the most important question every leader should ask is what do I need to stop doing. If possible, stop it. It might be too much time on your phone, especially on social media (and in the current political climate, social media is stressful enough on its own!). Or maybe you need to take a long look at your calendar and cull something.

Time to Reflect

I love the opportunity to reflect at the end of the year and to focus for the New Year ahead. I will enjoy thinking through these questions amongst others. Hopefully, they will help you too. What are you, as a leader planning for 2021?

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

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