Those of you who know me well, know that I am an avid jogger. When arriving in a new place, some may look for places to shop or eat, but one of the first thing I do is check out where can I go jogging. Consequently, moving to a new place for six months meant that I would need to discover the jogging areas.
I started my jogging routine soon after we arrived and quickly discovered something rather interesting. In my experience, where I live in the United States – Nampa, Idaho – drivers are very courteous to joggers. For example, when I approach an intersection, although vehicles generally have the right of way, they almost always stop and let me either make the turn or cross the intersection ahead of them.
One of the nice things about being here in New Zealand is that we don’t have a language barrier. English is the spoken and written language, which has made communication easier. Yet, while communication has been relatively easy, we have had some challenges with communicating – because context determines meaning.
When we arrived, one of the members of the congregation asked if we liked fishing. Well, of course we like fishing; it’s something our family enjoys doing together. So, he offered to take us ocean fishing. We were excited for this opportunity since our family has never been ocean fishing.
When the day came, we were told to make up some sandwiches, meet at the member’s house and we would go from there. From our limited wardrobe, we dressed as best we could in clothing appropriate for fishing, packed some sandwiches, grabbed a towel just in case, and put on our water shoes since we expected our feet might get wet with water splashing into the boat.
Today marks one month since we left the United States to begin this amazing journey of interim pastors for six months in New Zealand. It has been a good month for us as we lead this church. As we have been adjusting to our role and meeting the people on the community, here are some observations.
As we continue to settle into our temporary life here in New Zealand we are meeting more of the people in the church and the community. Some have shown up at the church just to check us out, while others are excited to have us and eager to see what we have to offer as their pastors.
Kimberly, our daughter, begins high school here this week. Last week we took her to the school to be registered and gather all the necessary information parents should know about the school their teenager is about to attend in a different country (at least I hope we got all the necessary information!).
We have been in New Zealand for one week and today started our assignment as co-leaders of the Nazarene church here in Dargaville. Coming into this situation puts us out of our comfort zones in many ways.
We are in a country where neither of us have been before. We are now driving a car on the left side of the road with the steering wheel on the right. In terms of food, we can find foods here that we are used to back home, but most often the taste and/or texture are different. For example, sweet corn is harvested later here, so what we might consider overripe is considered just right. There are things we know we will not find.
Well my friends, today begins a new journey for my family and me as we have arrived in New Zealand for a six-month stint of pastoring, leadership training and, hopefully, launching a Celebrate Recovery ministry. In those months, you will be hearing from us as we experience what it means to lead in a culture different from our own.
As we were making preparations to come to New Zealand, I had a thought: We are not going to New Zealand looking for America; rather we are going to New Zealand to be in New Zealand. This means that we will resist comparing how New Zealanders do things to Americans, but rather try to understand why they do things the way they do.
Good leaders do not necessarily have to be an expert in the field where they are called to lead, though it helps if they are. Nevertheless, good leaders know how to surround themselves with the right people, then train and/or empower them to accomplish great things. Good leaders also know how to preserve and maintain healthy relationships.
Great leaders generally acknowledge that success is less about power or a particular vocational expertise. Rather, it derives more from skills of self-awareness, self-management and interpersonal relationships, along with mindful living.
Who are you?
What comes to mind when you read that question? I imagine you are thinking about your name, age, your family background and your career. Usually when someone asks that question, those are the answers they are seeking.
The same question can be asked but with deeper meaning in mind. This time think of the question in the context of the person you are inside that affects who you are on the outside.
In leadership, your most important asset is the people you lead. The worth of this asset increases or decreases based on how you treat those people.
In the relationship between leader and follower the banking principle of deposit and withdrawal is always at work. When something positive is said or given to someone under your leadership, a deposit is made. When something difficult has to be said, such as talking to someone about poor job performance or consistent tardiness, a withdrawal is made. The principle is true in all healthy relationships. Things can go very wrong if the withdrawal turns out to be larger than the deposits.
For the worth of those relationships to continue to increase intentional deposits are essential.
Here are some ways you can intentionally make deposits in the relationships of those you lead.
The desire to win is natural to humans; we can see this trait from the early stages of childhood.
Toddlers fight because they need to win, although they do not know that is what they are doing. We become adults and continue to fight to win, but we tend to be subtler about it now that we can rationalize why we need to win.
Whether vying for a toy, a position, a desired outcome, or just being right, we want to come out on top; we want to win.