I was recently watching an episode of the ABC sitcom, The Middle. The Heck family, a middle class family of five are piled into the car after a long day of work and school. Hungry and tired they are trying to decide where to go for dinner. As expected each of three kids, all opinionated and strong-willed demand their choice of restaurant. Tired and exhausted the parents throw their hands up in exasperation and they all wind up eating cereal at home.
It’s a picture of any one of our families on crazy and demanding day, but it’s also the picture of a great leadership lesson.
Both parents had the power to make the decision. They had the influence, authority, responsibility and right to make a decision and settle the argument. But rather than lead, both parents were overwhelmed by the demanding voices.
This is a common challenge for leaders. Responsible for guiding a team of strong-willed, opinionated, bright, driven, passionate people we can often be overwhelmed by the drone of their demands. We too look like the Hecks – tired, exasperated, spent.
In our exhaustion we forfeit our right to lead.
We settle for cereal and miss out in leading our teams to greater things.
Where is exhaustion hindering you from making decisions that will lead the team forward?
How can you pause to re-energize?
My dear friend Lindsey Nobles and an amazing team of bloggers are in Bangladesh right now with Food for the Hungry. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the work that they are doing, you gotta take a few minutes…
Meet the team.
See all of their posts here.
They have just a few days left of their trip and I know that they could use your prayers and encouragement to finish well. Pray for health, safety, strength, good rest, emotional endurance and perspective to help them process all that they have experienced.
Last week we started the discussion about the leadership tension of head vs. heart. Most of us have a tendency to either lead more logically or lead more emotionally but I think our best leadership emerges when we learn to employ them both.
So what does that look like?
One particular story comes to mind…
Several years ago we were experiencing a pretty lean financial year at Cross Point. I repeatedly was making tough decisions about what we could and couldn’t afford to do. I felt like I was constantly telling our staff “no” to what would ordinarily be reasonable expenses. They felt frustrated and defeated and I felt like the big mean boss.
In a moment of frustration one employee unloaded on me. What I realized from this person’s exasperation was that they felt that I was making purely logical “head” decisions with no concern for the employees who were having to live out those decisions. While it’s true that I may have not been fully aware of the impact of the limited budgets they were working with, I was actually making a “heart” decision in that I was watching every penny and managing things so intensely because I didn’t want any employee to be let go for budgetary reasons. I was making a head and heart decision but I had failed to explain that to those who were impacted by it.
This is an example of how head and heart have to work together. My mistake in this situation was failing to communicate effectively with my team so that they understood that I was leading from both.
Do you have a tendency to make heart decisions or head decisions?
How could you more effectively use both?
Today I have the privilege of hanging out with the wonderful women of Seacoast Church for Chosen, their annual women’s conference.
This trip is a bit extra special for me because it marks the first time that Sherry Surratt and I get to talk about our new book, Just Lead! It was a little over five years ago here at Seacoast Church that Sherry and I met and this journey began. What an honor to share it with them first!
You can watch the conference live here.
Join us if you can!
“I am only His instrument– why so much about me — when the work is all His. I hold no claim to it. It was given to me…”
Mother Teresa Come Be My Light
Perhaps we need to ask ourselves this every day.
What are you clinging to too tightly?
Where are you misappropriating your identity?
Let go of it today.
I never dreamed when I entered into full-time ministry that leadership would get even messier than it already was. I guess I naively thought that working with more Christ-followers would somehow make things easier. Go ahead and laugh out loud because you know just how ridiculous that idea is.
Perhaps the greatest area of tension for people of faith is the tension of head versus heart.
In my corporate days it was very expected and quite safe to lead from your head. Intellect and logical thought always won the argument. Emotional “feelers” were easily dismissed in any conversation.
In ministry, nearly the opposite is true. Heart is the acceptable method of leadership. It’s not uncommon for me to jokingly be referred to as “heartless”. My gifts and strengths lend toward the intellectual side of the equation and if I’m not careful I factor out the heart.
God gave us both and I suspect he intended us to discern how to lead with a balance of the two. While shepherding and mercy are spiritual gifts, so are wisdom and knowledge.
I believe our most God-honoring leadership happens when we engage both.
What do you think?
How could your head and your heart work together to lead better?
(In part 2 we’ll discuss some examples)
Pardon me while the marketing geek in me emerges for a moment…
I was intrigued to watch how the release of Justin Timberlake’s new single would play out. It’s been over six years since his last music release. With just a short, but very compelling video teaser to get our attention, thousands including myself counted down the hours to when his new song would be available.
24 hours later 400,000 downloads were sold!
Okay, so this really isn’t about JT… whether you like him or his new single.
This about what we can learn from him. There are several things that fascinate me about this process that I think we can learn from as leaders:
1) Purposeful Pauses. It’s been six years since Justin released any music. Most experts would consider that career suicide in today’s market. Bound by the tyranny of the urgent, every one of us is afraid to lose a precious moment of productivity. We’re terrified of losing momentum and in doing so we can miss the opportunities where a purposeful pause actually reengages the flywheel.
2) Patience. I don’t know the reasons why Justin took such a long pause. But he found a way to be patient and allow his creativity to flourish in time. He didn’t force his giftedness to endlessly produce. He also forced us to be patient. Patience is a lost art.
3) Anticipation. Justin gave us the gift of anticipation. He gave us something to look forward to. Once again in our “I need it now” culture, we’ve lost the joy that comes with anticipation. It’s exciting to look forward to something new.
In your organization, where can you be more aware of purposeful pauses, patience and anticipation?
We often negate these things for fear of losing momentum but where might they actually build more steam?
I was recently writing about the sin of comparison and how much destruction it does to our hearts.
Of course I’ve compared nearly everything about me to someone else at some point in my life, but it seems that our greatest catalyst for comparison these days is social media.
Social media has taken our comparison and competition to a whole new level. Not only are we comparing ourselves to the people in our direct sphere of influence but now we have a tool by which we can compare ourselves with everyone around the world!
It’s our newest vice and most alluring distraction.
But I think it’s time to change the game.
Rather than use social media for comparison, we ought to be using it for championing others.
When you find yourself caught up in comparison and a self-inflicted pity-party while engaging social media, either turn it off or change the game.
Change the game by engaging social media for the purpose of championing what others are doing and encouraging them. Make social media about them instead of about you.
“Hate the game, not the player”
Change the game, don’t let the game change you!
You know that feeling of pride you have when someone close to you accomplishes something big… something really big?
That’s the way I feel about the release of Justin & Trisha Davis‘ book Beyond Ordinary.
My husband and I have known Justin & Trish for years. In fact about 11 years ago we were volunteers on the worship team of the student ministry that Justin was leading at the time. Trisha and I have belted out our share of worship songs together! (Just some fun trivia for you.)
Beyond Ordinary: When a Good Marriage Just Isn’t Good Enough is a raw and personal reflection of their journey. I admire their willingness to dredge up painful memories for the purpose of providing the same restoration and healing to others that they have experienced.
Whether you’re happily married, no-so-happily married, or ever want to be married, this book holds some priceless keys to not just settling for an ordinary marriage but experiencing an extraordinary one. Justin and Trish have walked through the fire and have come out stronger for it. I have personally witnessed the amazing work that God has done through their lives and I know that he will use their story to impact so many more.
You can order the book here.
You can also check out more of their resources on their website Refine Us.
BeyondOrdinary from RefineUs Ministries on Vimeo.