Leaders who lead well are leaders who have embraced their real self and are comfortable with who they in Christ. They know they have weaknesses and strengths, they emotionally aware, and they can be honest with themselves and others about who they are.
“It makes sense that people who know themselves and who can relate genuinely to others by avoiding self-protective roles have a better chance of succeeding in leadership, especially today. Leaders who strive to acknowledge all sides of themselves and who allow all sides of themselves to be acknowledged will increase their capacity to lead in difficult times.” Richard H. Ackerman and Pat Maslin-Ostrowski
In my work as a leadership coach to pastors, I have come across many pastors who are overworked, tired, overwhelmed and/or burned out. They have lost the passion, joy, focus and purpose of their call to ministry.
I do not believe God has called any of us to work ourselves to death – in some cases literally so – while neglecting our well-being and that of those we are called to lead. Too many leaders seem to have made a badge of honor out of leading like this.
When leaders allow themselves to be overworked, they rob themselves, others, and God of the best they are able to offer. They resort to leading out of obligation rather than calling. They show up not because they want to, but because they have to. Their leadership skills begin to lose sharpness.
As a leader, one thing is certain: you will face relational challenges. At times these challenges are easily resolved; other times they are time- and energy-consuming.
The easily resolved challenges generally are those which arise from simple misunderstandings. Recently I discovered that someone assumed I was upset with them because someone else had spoken to me about them. After they spoke with me of their perception, I had the opportunity to explain that it was a misunderstanding. They then were able to put it behind them and move on.
As a leader your use of words is by far the most influential tool you have for controlling and influencing those you lead. Your words define the culture of the organization. The question is not whether your organization has a culture, but what kind of culture you have created or are creating?
Let us look at some ways in which your words help create the culture of your organization.
Leaders often are tempted to take too much credit for success and too much blame for failure within the organization they lead. Although in faith-based organizations the tendency often is to deflect praise away from oneself, those in leadership often receive most of the credit or most of the blame. This is even more likely when the leader has a dominant personality (personality-driven leadership).
Exodus 32 presents a fascinating scenario of a leader who refuses to take either credit or blame, but who maintains responsibility and focus.
Some time ago I posted a blog on the challenges I faced when I first arrived here in New Zealand and started jogging. For those of you who missed that post or need a refresher you can find it here, How Rude! Now nearing the end of my stay here, I have noticed a very interesting change from my early experience.
In the last month or so, while out jogging, I have noticed drivers waving, even smiling at me as they drive by. Some even wave and smile before I have time to wave or smile first! Most surprising of all, I have noticed that some drivers are giving me the right of way! What a contrast from when I first arrived in January.
What are you more known for: your personality or your character?
Do you focus more on how others perceive you; or on being true to yourself in a way that respects yourself and others, and honors God?
“The word personality itself stems from the Latin word persona, which referred to a theatrical mask worn by performers in order to either project different roles or disguise their identities” (Kendra Cherry).
In John 17:16, Jesus said those who follow Him are not of the world as he is not of the world. Although we are in the world as His followers, we are not of this world in terms of the values and standards, as the world’s stand in contrast or opposition to the kingdom of God.
As a follower of Jesus living in the world, you should focus on living out and displaying the qualities of the One you are following, Jesus Christ.
Emotionally healthy leaders are leaders who have embraced their real self and are comfortable with who they are in Christ. They know they have weaknesses; they have made mistakes and are not perfect. They are honest with themselves, they don’t live in denial of who they are.
Do you have a person or persons in your life who can tell you the truth about what they are seeing in your life that has the potential to lead to failure as a leader, and ultimately destroy you as a person?
Having people who can tell you the truth is often difficult for leaders because of the power and influence which come with leadership. Those you lead may be seeing signs of failure. However, they may be afraid to say anything directly to you because of the power and influence you have over them.