We trust you’ll enjoy this blog as part of your holiday reading this month. Have a blessed Christmas & New Year!
I’ve been swamped lately by some of those simplistic blog posts and articles about leadership. You know the ones I mean. They have headlines like “Characteristics of Great Leaders,” Some headlines are variations on “Seven Things Great Leaders Do Every Tuesday.”
Yikes! Read too many of those and you’ll start to think that great leaders are superior lifeforms, very much like Mary Poppins. She was, after all, “practically perfect in every way.” Everywhere. And all the time.
What dangerous rubbish! It’s just a short step from that kind of thinking to the idea that poor you can never attain such heights. When you think that, you’re going to stop trying and the world just might lose the great leader you could have become.
Don’t despair. Here are three things we know about great leaders that will make you feel better.
Great leaders are all different
Great leaders aren’t just different from you and me. They’re different from each other.
Great leaders come in all shapes and sizes and both available genders. Some are psychologically solid and stable, while others seem to dance along the edge of insanity. Some are brilliant, others not so much.
Every great leader filters the basic principles of leadership through his or her own unique personality. You can do that, too.
We trust you’ll enjoy this month’s blog posts. Be blessed!
Criticism is a fact of life and leadership.
Thom Rainer said, “If you are not being criticized, you are not leading.”
While some leaders enjoy criticism, most do not. There is also the question of, should you listen to your critics? I mean, if they are against you, can they show you anything?
The to those questions is, maybe and yes.
The reality is, you can’t not listen to your critics because you hear them. You can’t drown out their voices because they exist.
While there are many questions, you should ask of your critics to discern if you should listen to them. Here are three questions I’ve found helpful:
1. What does this person stand to lose if my vision gets fulfilled? The reason criticism happens is you are proposing a change. That’s what leadership, vision, and direction do. They change things. They push the status quo. When you have a goal or dream, you are saying something needs to be different.
It’s interesting in the book of Nehemiah, that as he is rebuilding the wall, his most prominent critics stand to lose the most. For your critics, it could be financial, influence, a change in a relationship, but as a leader, when you experience criticism, you must figure out what that person is losing or stands to lose. Almost always, not always, but almost always they stand to lose something, so they are criticizing to keep things as they are.
My good friend Ian Borkent has published his first book.
Ian pastors a superb church in Arnhem in the Netherlands with his wife, Jedidja.
Jedidja miraculously survived the birth of their daughter and that miracle forms the storyline of Ian’s book. The Norman Factor: Seven keys to living in breakthrough and victory
Enjoy this excerpt from the book.
That is the name of the mountain that spewed millions of litres of volcanic ash over Iceland, and consequently Europe. For a period of 6 days in April 2010, this led to an ash cloud so large that it was easily visible from space. The cloud covered almost the entirety of Europe. Aircraft engines can seriously be damaged by volcanic ash, so many countries had to close their controlled airspace. This resulted in the largest air-traffic shut-down since World War II in Europe.
Ten million passengers were affected. One of them was me.
And that was a problem. Or as I would like to call it, a challenge. We had tickets for 21 April out of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to a C3 Church Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Conferences to pastors are like breath to our lungs. We connect with God and others for an extended period of time. We upload. We download. Especially for my wife, it was a welcome break after a busy year. So we both looked forward to the conference very much.
Jedidja was 6 months pregnant with our first child at the time, and it was about the last week she was allowed to fly. Taking a train or car to Switzerland would be too long for her body to deal with. She could only fly if she was to make it to the conference.
Or could she?
We have some fantastic blog posts for you to check out this month. Enjoy!
You’d think that being in church leadership would ensure you’re not tempted to fall into the same temptations as, say, leaders in the marketplace.
As nice as that line of thinking is, it’s wrong.
A few years ago, Patrick Lencioni did a great job outlining the 5 temptations of a CEO. All of those apply to anyone in leadership, and Patrick’s books are always packed with helpful insights.
I think all of those temptations apply to any senior leader, but ministry adds a layer of complexity or two.
You and I are human. We are subject to the same temptations as anyone else.
Recognizing that we’re vulnerable to a whole host of temptations, pitfalls and set of issues is actually a good thing. Self-awareness is a gift. It can lead you to confession, repentance and a different future.
Denial is a different story. If you think you have no sin, or that these things can’t and don’t happen to you, well…good luck with that. I think there’s something in the scripture that says those of us who say we have no sin deceive ourselves.
When it comes to temptation, denial is an accelerator. The more we think it will never happen to us, the more we position ourselves to have it happen.