This post references Is It Time Yet?
This post references Is It Time Yet?
I was thinking about the motivations of a Leaders heart. Why do we Lead? Do you have a Leaders heart? What is our motive for leading? Do we truly long help others or just enjoy being in charge? This is a thought that I imagine, should make us all think. In our society a lot of people want to be a leader. But why do they want to be a leader ?
We see a world full of people who say they want to lead, but in reality they just want to be in charge of everything, including our choices. I look at leadership as something that empowers people. Leadership is more than a title that affords you opportunity. A leader looks after the well being of those he leads not just the benefit of himself. When we look at the Bible we see Jesus’ example of leadership. He empowered 12 and those leaders changed the world. He was a great leader and taught those around him how to lead. We should empower others to lead, and I believe that should drive our motives as leaders. We should also remember that leadership requires great responsibility. You are still responsible when everyone goes home and the lights are cut off.
Jesus was a great example of a Leader that empowered his team. It was messy at times but he did it anyways. No one ever said empowering young leaders was going to be pretty, but it is necessary. I feel sometimes leaders are so concerned with keeping things going and trying to make the end result perfect that they never hand off the baton. The problem with this lies in the fact that the wealth of knowledge and life lessons aren’t passed to the next generation. I think that we are all concerned with our legacy we leave, but what are we willing to let go of in order for this to happen. Our legacy is dependent on the people we pour our life into. I know in my own life this has been hard. Battling with my own insecurities of being replaced by someone who is younger and better at my job than me. I have come to a different conclusion at this stage in my life, if I don’t help raise up this generation I am not doing my job. I am more successful when those around me are successful. When talking with a young leader I’ve worked with she said, ” your leadership, and raising up leaders is going beyond individuals in our community, but it’s impacting nations. As we go off, we raise up other leaders and individuals, which in turn impact even more nations. Ripple effect.”
Let’s look at an examples given to us by Jesus. Jesus empowered leaders. The 12 men he choose changed a world. I realize that one was replaced but that leads me to my next point. Jesus wasn’t afraid of the mess. Empowering people can be messy but it is necessary. We see several examples throughout the Bible of Jesus empowering people. He sent the 12 disciples out to do the work of ministry in Matthew chapter 10. He gave them instruction and sent them out and again when he left this earth he commanded them to go into all the world and make disciples(Matthew 28). All this wasn’t an overnight process. He spent a lot of time instructing the 12 men he brought beside him. He had to settle disputes over childish things and help them understand the importance of what they were going to do.
So when it’s all said and done, why do we really want to lead ? Do we want to empower others or just be in charge, there is a difference. Leaders often pay a price that those who just want to be in charge won’t. The true sign of a leader is being willing to put the best interest of those you lead above your on personal desire. I hope and pray that is the kind of leader you want to be. A leader who wants to help others find their destiny and calling and empower them to be world changers.
Is it time yet?, almost sounds like a familiar movie title, Are we there yet? I wonder if king David ever asked himself this question, Is it time yet? King David was quite a significant leader in the Old Testament. David was faced with a dilemma when it came to timing in his life? Maybe after killing Goliath, David wondered, is it time yet? Maybe he could still hear the crowd saying,” Saul has slain his thousands and David his ten thousands”, and silently wondered, is it time yet? It appeared as though God had handed Saul over to David on more than one occasion, was it time yet? Was God using this as a test? Was God handing Saul over to David to fulfill the promise he made to David to make him king? We could speculate, but in the end it would only be speculation. I imagine that David saw it as a test and treated both instances as such.
David had more than one opportunity to take the life of Saul, but David had to decide what kind of Leader he was going to be. David decided as a Leader that it was not his job to fulfill the timing and will of God in his life. In our lives we have to decide what kind of Leader we want to be as well. Will we take our destiny into our hands or allow God to work his plan. Now I understand that scripture teaches us that faith without works is dead(James 2:17), but we cannot force the hand of God. I am amazed by David’s restraint in the midst of the turmoil he faced with Saul. While watching a teaching series by Jimmy Evans “I Am David”, he referenced David not taking advantage of the fact that he was anointed to take Saul’s place. Just because God has called us and anointed us for a greater purpose doesn’t give us the right to rebel against the current authority God has in place.
I was at a conference where Perry Noble spoke and he made a couple of statements I want to share in this post. The first was “The anointing does not allow you to shortcut the process.” David realized that God promotes and demotes. If we try to hurry the process we will end up in a bigger mess. David could have said, ” I have been anointed, I don’t have to deal with this”, but he submitted to the process God was taking him through. This leads to the second statement, which was “There is no progress for the leader who will not embrace the process.” The process builds character in us as Leaders. The process is often painful and feels unbearable at times. I recall going through several things in my life that were painful. I wondered at times when would it be over. I remember this lady in our church who would tell me “It won’t always be this way”. I am sure I had doubts that she was right. I imagine David felt the same way. He knew he was anointed to be king but it wasn’t the right time. Will you embraces the process, in order to see your dreams as a Leader come to fruition?
Saul had tried to kill David and he could have had the mindset of an eye for an eye and tooth for tooth but he choose to take the high road. I am sure that there were times for David, as well as for you and I, that the high road doesn’t look so good. The bible tells us this in Romans 12:19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD. I know this is the first thing that goes through your mind when someone does you wrong. But for the rest of us we want to get even when we are done wrong. David obviously understood in God’s time he would be promoted.
I leave you with this thought how will you handle the anointing that God has placed on your life. Just because you are anointed doesn’t mean that you have been appointed. The anointing that is on your life is only a sign of what is to come. The appointment only comes after we allow ourselves to go through the process. Will you try and push the Hand of God? Or, will you allow God to promote in his time? It is so easy to become disillusioned when we have a promise from God. In our microwave society we have a mindset of I see it, I want it now, but God has a way of using time to prepare us for his purpose. Those who are willing to endure the process will reap big, while those that seek a quick fix will have a life filled with dismay.
I was reading today in proverbs chapter 15:1 and it says “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” (NLT) I have heard this my whole life that a soft or gentle answer turns away wrath but the last part is interesting as well ” harsh words make tempers flare”. As a Leader, do we take time to stop and think about how the words we use affect those we lead? As I read this verse this morning, I texted several groups and family and I posted and texted this
“I’ve alway heard that a soft or gentle answer turns away wrath(rage) and believe it to be true. If we maintain our composure and speak nicely to that store clerk (or who ever) ,who has already had a bad day, we might brighten their day instead of making it worse and avoid a bad experience ourselves.”
So my question is this, While leading how do we respond to those we lead? There are two things that I wanted to look at. The first is affirmation and the second is providing correction.
We have to be affirming of those we lead letting them know the value they provide to us, our group or organization. I have had leaders in my life that were not good at this. It was easy for them to talk to others about how good I was doing but it was difficult for them to tell me. I don’t know about you but I like to hear words of affirmation. Words of Affirmation are life giving and should not be undervalued. I have also worked in situations where the leaders in my life were very affirming. I flourish in an environment like this as opposed to others where words of encouragement are few and far between. I try my best as a leader to affirm those who work with me. I have come to realize that when I do this it not only allows me to speaks words of life but it also builds a relationships with those I lead. This is quite useful because before anyone will help or work under your leadership there must be a relationship first. Words of affirmation build rapport and allows you to speak in to the lives of those you lead.
Correction is a hard topic but in Proverbs 12:1 we are told ” To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction.” When you have relationship with an individual allows you to speak words of encouragement and correction into their lives. I have had several different leaders who have spoken correction in my life. The first type only referenced what I had done wrong. This type of correction may work well for some, but it really never has worked well with me. Most of the time when a leader in my life attempted to tell me what I had done wrong, I already knew. They were simply scolding me and this was more counter productive than helpful. I would leave knowing that I needed to fix the problem but often felt hopeless because I wasn’t sure how to fix the problem. I imagine that I am not the only one to leave a meeting feeling this way. This type of correction often produces the opposite result than was intended. I believe the best way to bring correction is to define the problem, talk through it, then together find a solution. If one party doesn’t offer suggestions on fixing the problem, you have just managed to discourage those you lead.
The second type of correction leaves those being lead with fresh perspective and determination to fix whatever problem has been brought to their attention. I have also been led by this type of leader and hope that I provide this type of correction to those I lead. When addressing a problem with those you lead this is the best way to approach it. Once you schedule a meeting with them start off with praise for the things that they are doing correctly because it set a great environment for dealing with the issue that you are about to address. Most times it isn’t that you are so displeased with the individual you are providing correction to, but you see areas for growth. By the time the meeting is over, both parties are encouraged and more things are accomplished because you handled the situation in an appropriate manner.
I do realize that all those you lead are different and some require a more direct approach, but remember, a soft answer deflects not only anger but a host of other emotions … doubt, discouragement etc…. As Leaders what are some things you have seen leaders in your life do well?
Have you ever found yourself in a place spiritually, physically or mentally that you just didn’t want to lead anymore? You became so drained and so burned out that you just didn’t care anymore. You thought why not just quit? As a Leader I can only imagine that we all have felt that way at some point. How do you lead when you don’t want to. Just because your a leader doesn’t mean that you never feel like throwing in the towel. I think sometimes that people view those that Lead as invincible. And sometimes as Leaders we may view ourselves that way but as history has shown us no one is invincible, so we must learn to take the proper steps TO prevent burn out.
King David in 1 Samuel 30 was a prime example of a Leader who not only wanted to give up but had those around him ready to stone him to death. Now for the most part we may have had people upset with us and wanted to quit but most us have never had people wanting to stone us as Leaders. David had just lost his family along with those around him. He was hurting, and so were those around him, and probably didn’t have a burning desire to Lead. But he learned to encourage himself in the Lord. One of the main things that we have to do is encourage ourselves in the Lord. We find our strength in Him. As a pastors child my sister and I were often illustrations for the sermons my dad preached. I remember one illustration of when I was a really young child. My parents had always rocked me to sleep but decided one night to let me cry myself to sleep. After a while it had gotten quiet and my parents became concerned and decided to check on me. When they walked in they found that I had climbed over the side of my crib and was hanging on with one hand while patting myself on the shoulder with the other hand, sniffling telling myself it’ll be alright. Some times we have to encourage ourselves and lead in the face of adversity. David Learned to do that and inquired of the Lord how to proceed. I had a friend that posted this a few days ago “If you live off man’s compliments, then you will die by his criticism.” My interpretation was If we allow man’s compliments to lift us, then their criticism will tear us down. We must know how to encourage ourselves in the face adversity.
Leaders must also be able to take a 50,000 foot view. So often we get to a place where we don’t want to lead anymore because we are so consumed in the here and now that we can’t see the bigger picture. We get stuck on the ground floor and do good to see short distances much less see the whole picture. When you don’t feel like leading step back and take a look from a higher place to put everything into perspective and you will find it easier to Lead in a hard situation. I had a lady that use to tell me “it won’t always be this way.” That has been something that has ministered to me numerous times and I have used to minister to others. This statement was an encouragement when I was at a place where I didn’t want to continue.
Finally, when you find yourself in a place of burn out and not wanting to lead you need to rest. I have thought in the past that the more I did the more spiritual I was but as I have grown older I have found that to be inaccurate. As a leader we have to learn how to rest. Jesus found time to rest. So why wouldn’t we value rest also. I have had people of significance in my life tell me that sometimes rest is one of the most spiritual things I could do. In order to lead even when we don’t want to we must learn to rest because we can’t give to others and push through hard times when our bodies aren’t at 100%.
These are just a few things that are helpful to remember when we are at a place in our lives where we don’t want to lead. Be encouraged in the Lord and learn to encourage ourselves. Keep perspective of where we are and where we are heading. Lastly, get some rest because you are no good to yourself or anyone else when you are worn out. What do you do when you find yourself not wanting to lead? How do you cope?
I can only imagine that most everyone has heard the phrase “keeping up with the Jones”. We all know someone who attained something in life that is a little better, little shiner, or a little bigger than what we have. And we compare ourselves to them and wonder why we have not attained that level of greatness or status in society. STOP!!! It’s a trap. Our society tries to have a voice in every area of our life.
Women are constantly bombarded with images of what they should look like. They are told in order to be successful they must wear these clothes and wear this make up and the list goes on and on. Commercials target our children telling them what designer jeans to wear, what video games they should purchase, and who they should date. Men are shown extremely buff images of body builders surrounded by beautiful women with the implication that if you want to be surrounded by beautiful women you must look like this. In all the above listed examples we see how we are inundated with mental images of what we are suppose to be. We are told what we are to compare ourselves to.
There is a balance when it comes to comparison in our lives. Not all comparison is bad. Leaders, in order to lead well there must be constant growth in our lives. In order to do that, it can be helpful to compare where we are to those who have attained the results we want and make adjustments accordingly. But most people don’t stop at adjustments that help them improve. Most people continue down a path of trying to be just like the one they are comparing themselves to. This is where the problem lies. When individuals do this, they become carbon copies, not individual leaders leading. We get to the place where we are consumed with being a duplicate instead of an original.
I can see this in my own life from time to time. I like to read and love to see what God is doing in bigger churches. I have modeled several things in the worship team I lead after another church model, but not everything I have seen. It would be easy to say so and so church does it this way and if I don’t follow it to the letter then I’m not doing it right. I have also looked at other Pastors who are younger than me and look at their kingdom accomplishments and wonder to myself “hmm”. They have a 10,000 plus member church, I wonder why I haven’t achieved something like this. It would become so easy to become wrapped up in a thought process like this. But how does that benefit you or me? Sure I can read their book and take away some of their processes, but in the end I have be the Leader God has called me to be.
So As a Leader, Is it ok to compare? Yes! Compare but don’t become a duplicate. I have heard over the years to duplicate yourself. What I hope I have done as a Leader is given a blueprint or outline to those I Lead to compare to. I hope that they take away ideas and principles to grow as young leaders. I don’t want those I lead to be just like me. I want them to take notes compare and become the best unique Leader they can be.
So, What do I hope that you take away from this? I hope that you understand that comparison is good for getting ideas. Don’t fall in the comparison trap though! Be yourself . Grow from looking at what others have done. Take away the things that help you grow and make them yours, not a carbon copy of someone else. You are a unique leader and have things to offer without being a duplicate. What are your thoughts about comparison?
You know who you are Haters! It is amazing how when you have a God idea and try to implement it, there are always naysayers. It doesn’t matter what your idea is, someone will always have insight on how to do it bigger and better than you. You must understand that there are times when God places people in our lives to help instruct and give Godly insight, but that isn’t always the case. There are a lot of reasons why people might hate on your vision. Some may hate because they didn’t have the idea. Others might hate you because they just don’t like what you have to say.
I read a blog by Jon Acuff called “Almost Sucks“. It basically talks about putting off the things you are suppose to be doing. A lot of us fail to lead because of the Haters in our life. Now I know that Hater is a strong word and some may not really hate they just don’t see the potential in a situation or idea that you see. You must remember that when you have a dream that you are so excited about that doesn’t mean everyone around you will be jumping up and down with the excitement you are. You and I must help others catch the vision and show them the importance of where we are headed. So, let haters hate, but you must lead anyway.
I remember in past ventures in my life there were individuals who I didn’t feel supported me. It wasn’t so much that they didn’t support me, they just didn’t have the hope I had for my dream. So I did it anyways and I wish I could tell you it was the most successful venture that I ever had, but that wouldn’t be true. But the thing you must remember is that we must have the courage to try even when we don’t have the support we would like to have.
We can see several examples of Haters in the bible but I wanted to focus on Nehemiah. Nehemiah had a God idea and had backing for it, but if you read through the book of Nehemiah you will find that there were plenty of folks who weren’t happy about the direction that he was headed. In Chapter 4 of the book of Nehemiah we begin to see the opposition he faced. Nehemiah and those with him were made fun of and discouraged because of the vision. But Nehemiah held on tenaciously to the vision and lead anyway.
So what’s the moral here? People aren’t always always going to be on board or might be in blatant opposition to what you are leading or the vision. But you must Lead anyway. How will you ever help people see the vision if you are so consumed with the Haters. The only thing Haters are good for is just that, so let them hate while you achieve. So how do you deal with those offering discouragement? Leave a comment and let me know.