When conflict exists in a relationship and all you do is try to avoid it, you are only allowing it to get worse. The longer you wait to resolve it when you don’t know what to do, also makes it worse.
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.
A desire is a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen. We have physical, emotional, spiritual and mental desires. Not all desires are good for us; the fulfillment of some desires would negatively impact us and/or those around us. Imagine what would happen if you went through with the desire you felt when a driver cut you off, or when a person cut in line in front of you?
You do not have to look far to find someone who has failed at achieving their life’s goals because they did not take the time to know who they were emotionally, how to control their emotions, and what motivated their emotions. You may have experienced consequences due to lack of awareness of emotional strengths and weaknesses; you failed because you thought you were strong in an area where you were actually weak.
You can’t seem to get on top of things at work; the to-do list at home is growing; time with loved ones is increasingly limited. You have come to accept your busy-ness and justify the lack of time with family with, “It’s not the quantity but the quality of the time spent together that matters.”
You sense the distance growing between you, your spouse, your children, or other significant persons.
Take care of yourself? You have no time to exercise, rest well, or eat properly. You always feel tired.
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.
In Mark 7:21-22 Jesus warns us of what comes from the heart; things such as evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. You don’t have to work at these things; they come naturally to the human heart.
Take a child for instance; you don’t have to teach a child to be selfish, say no or throw a tantrum. You do not have to teach the child to hit, scream or get in a fight with another child. Rather, you find parents trying to teach their children how to be nice, caring, share and control their temper.
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.