Hello friends, you know the topic of leadership is hot on everyone’s lips these days. I would be remiss to say that leadership cannot exist without trust. While people admire and respect leaders who are dynamic, uplifting, enthusiastic, positive and optimistic, a leader who is a dreamer yet fails to execute is eventually seen as ineffective.
Everytime you make a purchase, you vote on what you value. Likewise, in leadership people vote with their energy, dedication, their loyalty, talent and their actions. In the end, a leader does not choose who follows them. It is the people who choose the leader.
Honesty, communication, truth and transparency is absolutely essential to leadership. If people are going to follow someone willingly, they want to make sure that this person is worthy of their trust. One way to destroy your company, reputation, and ministry is to be duplicitous. The word “hypocrite” comes from the Greek word “actor” which means – well – to act. One of the greatest damages within the church that cause people to leave are duplicitous Christians (along with judgmental and legalistic).
James 1:8 addresses this fake people – meaning those leaders who say one thing to your face, but then another behind your back. “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” Further reflection into the word of God shows where their heart is .
“Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do” (James 1:7-8 NLT).
There is a common thread that great leaders all share – internal self awareness. Wise leaders pay attention to their thought processes because they’re aware that their thoughts aren’t always correct. I’ve seen leaders who fail to look at how they think and make grevious errors in judgment. For example, when a leader immediately views everything in a pessimistic manner and looks for what they will not be getting/doing/selling then over time their reputation, business and company will suffer. Wise leaders also bring their thoughts into relationship. They talk with others and honestly express what they are thinking and feeling.
Leaders who live unexamined lives expose their own followers, family, businesses and companies to grave tragedies. Recently publicized cases of sexual abuse by priests and the cover-up within the Roman Catholic Church have had devastating consequences for the faithful and their leadership.
Famous pastors found guilty of such betrayal created emotional and spiritual devastation. Apologies can feel trite as they don’t erase the pain when one’s innocence is taken and trust is shattered. These wounds go deep and require psychological and spiritual responses that transcend what any court can provide.
Instead of picking up the pieces and doing damage control after the fact, how about preventing it from happening in the first place? (Like eating healthy and exercising before the heart attack instead of after).
The Gallup Organization interviewed five thousand executives as part of a study of excellence in leadership. There research revealed that the most talented leaders reported self-awareness was one of the most critical factors in equipping them for leadership.
Here are some tips for increasing self-awareness:
- A wise leader understands and uses their emotions as an internal cue. Whether positive or negative, feelings such as tenderness, happiness, satisfaction, anger, sadness or anxiety, emotions serve as a signal and alert you that something is going on. Don’t ignore them. Pay attention and look for what is causing these emotions to come up. Sometimes it has nothing to do with what is going on “out there” but everything to do with what’s going on inside of you. The best thing to do is to first look at the meaning of the emotion, see what causes it, and then deal with that.
- Leadership is about wanting to make a difference; it’s about helping people, caring for others, connecting with them, meeting needs and changing lives. This means risking and giving of your time, connecting with another and trusting God in the process. People who suffer from detachment issues often suffer from relational problems, intimacy issues, anxiety, personality disorders and clinical issues.
- Wise leaders know that work comes secondary to relationship. Relationships are like the premium gasoline you put in your car. They are what we need to keep us motivated, encouraged, confident and calm during those “rocky” times in life. Sometimes a simple text or email helps while other times it might mean a two-minute call. The point is that as a leader, warm and stable relationships help you to become a relational person. While accomplishing great things is always a wonderful feeling, you must always remember that life is essentially about relationships.
- A leader who functions in a pastoral role is in a sacred space and is called to transmit the trustworthiness of God’s mercy and grace. One can only do so as their own life is experienced by others as being trustworthy. For pastors and lay ministers, establishing a safe place of trust, whether with a group, licensed clinical psychologist or christian counselor, need to be mandated, indispensable practices of trustworthy ministry. Healthy people welcome the fellowship and social aspect.
The greatest example of leadership was given to us by Jesus Christ. Here the Son of God humbly came and served. If there is one thing I have noticed in my years of working as a therapist, volunteer the greatest leaders that I’ve served with have been those who have a humble heart.
When looking at leadership, look at the fruit and the trail left by a leader.