Foundational Leadership

Often Zhan

5 minute read

If you are here, that congratulations! Whether you are a mature, experienced leader or someone who is new at leadership with little under your belt, you are exactly where you need to be. You are searching for a place to self improve and become a better leader to your friends, your family, and to the communities around you.

Before you begin reading the next series of articles, let me tell you about this ongoing series as well as who this series is meant for:

Background

This basic series was created for me to articulate the skills and advice that I’ve gained from serving, through mentor-ship, personal growth, professional development, and daily reading.

One major project that I was assigned to do is develop a leadership training curriculum for a 501©(3) Christian non-profit ministry. These articles are not the actual program, but just one small part, the part that contains my own personal thoughts, ideas, and advice after serving in Christian leadership for 10+ years.

Intended Audience

The intended audience is for the following:

(1) The next generation of internet savvy leaders

The world that we are living in is very different World then from even 10 years ago. I wanted to create a leadership training with the internet in mind and the cell phone in mind.

The sheer amount of resources available through the internet is mind-boggling. Not only does it provide practical resources to self educate oneself, but it also changed the way that we, as a society, communicate with each other.

I remember when Starbucks first formally announced that they would provide free internet at all Starbucks locations. I remember thinking, “How is that economically feasible? That is crazy expensive! Why would a coffee shop even need to provide free internet?”

Now, the internet is an expectation. Coffee shops, buses, airports… No matter where you go, people get frustrated (and even a little anxious) if there is no internet.

The smartphone is another recent technological marvel that sprouted up in the past 2 decades. I remember obtaining my first cell phone in high school and struggled with the concept of texting others. Why text someone if you could just call them up? Back then, we have to text each other using the nine button dial pad, a backspace button, and the send button. This was prior to the wide availability of smart touch phones. During those early days of texting, I even knew some people who could fluently send full elaborate paragraphs from underneath their desk without looking using only those 11 buttons.

Indeed, I am part of a generation that got to witness the emergence something awe-inspiring and world-changing.

However, I also experienced the darker side of this so-called age of information.

  • my brother wrote a comment which started a right at my high school causing my brother extension myself to skip school for several days. People actually printed it out screenshots of my brother’s friendster post to rile more people to their cause.
  • my personal friend and close colleague was doxxed which ultimately resulted in the abrupt dismissal from his job.
  • witnessing the destructive results internet and phone addiction by both myself and those around me.

Luckily, I came out of the internet’s awkward years has virtually unscathed because I had my own awkward hormone-and-puberty driven interpersonal problems which kept me occupied.

I also greatly think my ultra conservative Boomer parents who raised me with careful upbringing and by shielding me from the ever-shifting trends of my peers. Of course, I felt disconnected by those within my own generation, but it also laid the groundwork for who I am today.

To be fair, I’m probably one of the worst “millennials” you will probably ever meet. I just don’t understand the appeal of social media platforms. I instead prefer tangible hobbies physical books, pens, snail mail, typewriters, textured jackets, and a good conversation over a cup of coffee. (Since I’m talking about myself, I also like fall colors.)

My friend Bobert once told me, “You are like an accidental hipster. You like all the things a hipster likes but unintentionally.” There is a running gag in my circle of friends where someone says, “What a hipster,” whenever I say something that resembles anything that will come out of my Portland brethren’s mouths:

“My favorite typewriter is a Hermes 3000!”

“WHAT A HIPSTER!”

As a result, I have an upper advantage over those who live and breathe the internet. I’ve learned how to integrate myself into the internet rather than to peel away my identity from it. The internet is a tool. The smartphone is a tool. And just like any tool, knowing how to properly use that tool will help you become a better artist, leader, and craftsman.

Christian Leaders

I strongly believe the true long lasting change in all areas can only be done through the inner working power for Jesus Christ.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called 2 meditate upon God’s word, pick up our cross, follow Jesus, and live righteously.

But even if you are not a Christian, the skills the techniques found in these series of articles can be still practicable and making a positive impact in your life and in the lives of everyone around you.

Ministry and nonprofit service

Financial and economic success are commonly found in any leadership training programs. Many leadership books and podcasts talk about how one can leverage their skills, take reasonable risks, and promote themselves in order to become a millionaire. This is not one of those books/podcasts. These money-making skills are important, but the intent of this series is not on how to climb up the social ladder. Rather, these series of articles are created to help a young volunteer improve oneself and fulfill the vision that God has placed upon that ministry or non-profit.

Keep Doing What You’re Doing

If you are committed in expanding your leadership skills, you are at an amazing and exciting place in your life. I am humbled to be a part of your journey towards the path of servant leadership. I just want to say, from one leader to another, “Welcome!”

If you are interested in joining me in helping to create leaders of the next generation through your unique experiences and profession, feel free to contact me.