Whatever happened to quality leadership, high moral character, and integrity? After last night’s debate, it’s obvious Joe Biden needs to relearn a few thing; courtesy being at the top of the list.
Is it ever okay to show vulnerability to those we are leading? At the surface one might say, “Yes, it shows a person is real,” – although I strongly suspect we might change our opinion after further consideration.
Vulnerability is displayed when we allow those we lead to see that we are easily wounded and therefore open to attack or damage. When we are vulnerable we don’t take criticism well either and therefore loose our ability to lead.
Don’t get me wrong, leaders are vulnerable they are human, but they should never show their vulnerability to someone who looks to them for wisdom and direction. People want their leaders to be strong and courageous.
So when is it okay for a leader to show his/her vulnerability? Well think about a couple of biblical leaders: David who following the death of his son went in the house of the Lord and worshipped (2 Samuel 12:20; Ps 51), Jesus who was in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane while praying to the Father (Luke 22:41-44). Christian leaders should take their weaknesses and wounds to the Lord Who is the only One that can bring healing to them. Leaders should also surround themselves with other strong leaders who can offer support during times of distress.
When leaders don’t deal with their own insecurities, they become controlling and manipulative… and people will eventually tire of this pattern and find another leader.
The best thing to do is lead with love; lead by compassion, lead with grace, be a servant leader to those you’ve been entrusted with to lead. When you are vulnerable take your fear and insecurity to God.
Will there be hurt and pain in leadership? Absolutely, but learn to handle it appropriately and you won’t be mopping up a mess every other day.
I love change… I seek it, I thrive on it, and I crave it. Change brings growth. It challenges the borders of our thinking, causing us to look wider, deeper, and higher. Change causes us to break out of the box that life so often builds around us.
Change is exciting; new people, new places, new things, new dreams. Change stretches vision, strengthens resolve, and enlarges capacity. Don’t loath change, embrace it. Don’t be comfortable with the ordinary, reach out for the impossible. Get rid of the “I can’t,” “It won’t,” and “That will never happen” attitude. Put on a champion attitude that says, “I can,” and “It will!” Believe all things are possible, and then do what yesterday seemed impossible. Put yourself out there, take risks, allow growth and understanding to come, don’t be afraid of failure, then your tomorrows will be different.
Who wants to be a flash in the pan? True leaders, or anyone who is successful for that matter, are people who can stand the test of time. They know what they want, they methodically go after it, and are faithful to see things through to completion.
One of the reasons people fail is that they quit working toward the goal. Perhaps they never started, leaving their passion conceptually lost in the haze of “I can’t,” “It won’t,” and “Never will.” Successful people are willing to fail and in failure find success.
Life is all about trial and error, it’s the downside of life that teaches us success, if we are willing to learn.
When to correct, how long to correct, and when to disengage… Every good leader must know the timing for each.
If you have led people for any length of time, you know how tedious a job it can be since leaders have to ensure productivity and effectiveness. Hopefully you desire to build a team with integrity, which often poses a challenge of also dealing with the character issues of everyone entrusted to your team.
I believe that every leader worth his/her salt is also a great teacher and a great motivator. And further that one of the most vital responsibilities of the leader is to teach his team members not just about the job at hand, but about life in general. I am the kind of leader that wants to inspire the people around me to be amazing mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends, citizens, and employees, whether we are baking a cake or building a skyscraper it doesn’t matter.
When teams are working together, I want to know that the person standing next to me has my best interests at heart and will do whatever it takes to make the task at hand successful. Likewise, I believe team members want to know the same thing about their leaders.
Because of this I am willing to go the extra mile with someone who is struggling with character issues or who seems to have difficulty learning their job. Having said that I know all too well, (I once had to terminate an employee during my first week in a directorship position! Not fun!), there comes a time when you’ve gone as far as you can go with a person and for whatever reason they just don’t seem to get it or be able to produce the kind of change necessary to make themselves as valuable as they need to be to the team.
So here in-lies the leadership issue, knowing how far is far enough!
The initial correction is most likely brought with an opportunity to teach. Once teaching is complete the continued need for correction indicates a pattern of behavior that cannot be overlooked. Immature leaders and for that matter most people don’t like what they call confrontation. I have switched up my perception of confrontation with an understanding that any great relationship in our life requires good communication. And, when leaders have to sit a team member down to discuss certain “negative” issues, he or she must know that it is in the best interest of the team as a whole to communicate with this member about the things need improvement.
It’s merely speaking the truth in love, which causes all of us to grow up. Scripture says, come let us reason together. This is a coming together of leader and team member to discuss how things can be better.
The worst thing a leader can ever do is avoid the situation. Unwillingness to lead in the hard times creates ultimate destruction among all the members. It places unnecessary pressure on the other team members who must cover for the one who isn’t pulling his/her weight. It then breeds resentment for the team member and will cause the team to question the abilities of their leader.
Leading is like discipleship, it’s like being a counselor to the team members. But, how far do you go? Each person is unique. Most labor laws establish specific requirements for time invested and causes for termination, but great leaders typically go beyond legal requirements.
One thing is for certain, if a leader can impact the life of someone along the journey by speaking wisdom into their life, then it is seed sown in their heart for the future. Hopefully in the end, former team members will come to appreciate your time invested in their life.
I know this; the mentors of my past have not been the people who dismissed me the first time I made a mistake. They were the ones who required more of me and corrected me when it was necessary. They weren’t willing to let go, but held on long past the time allotted by the world system. They were the leaders who truly made a difference not only in my life, but in the person I am today!
So I would like to personally thank all the leaders who are willing to communicate, confront, and correct. Today you are shaping the leaders of tomorrow!
Emerging leaders can often become liabilities to the team due to immaturity. They don’t yet know how to operate in their strengths, how to use them to the best of their ability, or even how to become effective in what they do.
I’ve watched young leaders in training be dismissed or relegated to the back due to an un-tempered spirit that doesn’t yet have the experience to know how to maneuver within the established hierarchy of the organization they work for. Sadly they are misunderstood, the very strengths they possess become their greatest weakness until they learn and begin to operate within professional order.
For emerging leaders it’s up to the “higher ups” to recognize their strengths, mentor them until they temper them, so that the emerging leader’s strengths will be the most effective within the corporate structure. An established leader should know how to develop the team’s strengths, harness their gifts, and then inspire each one to achieve the best possible outcome available to them in the position they hold. When leaders do this they will develop a team that is successful in everything they do.
I believe that the greatest call of a leader is to teach. Any person in authority who doesn’t understand the process of developing emerging leaders will throw away tremendous talent for lack of wisdom. Instead established leaders should recognize diamonds in the rough, take the time to develop their talents and teach them how to become the best at what they do.
Okay so I can hear the rumblings of readers, who say, “but some people aren’t worth taking the extra time to develop, and frankly I don’t have the time.” To wit my answer is… You are only as good as those you lead. If you want to stand the test of time you will spend the majority of it developing those rare and amazing talents in everyone around you. Then you can plan your exit and know the work you’ve begun will live on and be fulfilled through countless others.
Take time to identify an emerging leader today, pour your professional knowledge and wisdom into them, help to temper their strengths so that they won’t become a liability. Then you will be long remembered as a leader of leaders and the legacy you leave will stand the test of time.
I love being around people who are contagious. Wait a minute; before you read further, I’m not talking about communicable diseases here, I’m talking about people who have a zest for life, an uncontainable joy, or red-hot passion to change something out of sink.
These are the very people who encourage me to think outside the box; to look at life differently through a wide open spectrum of possibilities. I want to surround myself with these kinds of people. Separate from the ones who drag me down by focusing on wrong things, or hold me back because of their own insecurities. I want to connect myself to those who will inspire and encourage me to do great things.
In fact, I want to be that kind of person to everyone around me. I realize the importance of doing the best I can with every life that crosses my path. I see greatness in people and I want to help them achieve their dreams, walk in the fullness of their gifts, and complete their purpose. I want people to be joyful and blessed. I want to be the person that brings those things to them.
Sometimes when people around us achieve great things we become jealous and want to try to take away from their success. We want to compete with them to show ourselves more accomplished. It is my hope that some day we will all be excited about the achievements of others and further when they want to stretch their wings and fly, we will allow our own words (breath) to blow like the wind that will catapult them into a greater place.
People are like fruit to me and when I have had the privilege of guiding them I want their fruit to both increase and remain. If I were a fruit producing tree, I would want my fruit to be so abundant that the branches would sag to the ground by the weight of the fruit.
Be passionate about people. Be full of joy so that your overflow will get onto everyone around you. Be contagious so that you can inspire those around you to achieve greater things. Multiply yourself in every person you have the opportunity to. And, if you are one who has been dragged down by everyone around you, change your surroundings and get around people who will urge you on to greater things. You will be so glad you did! Life will be better, fuller, and more adventurous than ever.
In closing, if you are a leader of people, your greatest asset is your ability to multiply your own gifts in the people around you. Impart, inspire, and send them out to do the very things you are now doing.
I’ve often meditated on King David’s life and the fact that his mighty men were willing to die for him. Why were they willing to die for their leader? My conclusion is that David was a father to those called to help him. He laughed with them when they were joyful, he cried with them when they mourned, he corrected them when they needed it, he taught them the ways of life, and lived what he taught. He wasn’t a perfect man, but he had a heart after God and that heart directed him.
We are called to build people and multiply the kingdom. When we drop our jealousies and insecurities to fulfill our greatest call we will see increase in every area. God’s vision is for people only and if we will participate with His vision for people there will be no limit to where He will take us.