“I have yet to find a man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.” Charles Schwab
I worked for a manager several years back who would say; “if you take care of those who are under you, they will take care of you.”
Our attitude and approach in leadership will determine the type of work accomplished. If our leadership is dictatorial, constantly looking at the negative, and criticizing the efforts of others, there will be consistent challenges to reaching goals.
The results of a positive spirit of approval have been proven over and over. The idea is exactly the same within the spiritual realm.
Our leadership will excel when a spirit of approval is demonstrated, rather than one of criticism. The world has plenty of critics. It seems natural to offer criticism, even when praise is necessary. God intended the church to be a refuge.
If we want success in our leadership, the thought here is worth considering.
Our culture seems to be enthralled with detective programs, CSI (Miami, New York, LA, etc.), The Mentalist, Law and Order (SVU, Criminal Intent, etc.) and the list goes on.
Our culture also gets wrapped up with court cases, the most recent involving the Casey Anthony trial. How many of you spent time listening to the “evidence” and drew a conclusion in this case?
There is something intriguing about the process of investigating. What are we investigating in our leadership?
Are we investigating the causes behind the problems?
Are we investigating the individuals involved?
Are we investigating every possible solution to the problem?
Are we investigating the consequences and benefits?
There is no doubt problems are going to arise in leadership. How we approach those problems will make a difference. We cannot ignore or deny them. We cannot hope they will go away. We need to deal with problems quickly.
Before making decisions, however, we need to be investigators.
I have a fear of large dogs, especially aggressive ones. My list does not end with dogs. Talking to strangers, being unprepared (for anything), being responsible for others, etc., all bring fear.
Fear is common. The apostles demonstrated fear. The parents of a blind man were afraid of the religious leaders. Paul addressed the problem of fear when writing to Timothy.
Fear can cause one of two reactions. It can cause us to do things we would not normally do. It can prevent us from doing the things we should do.
There are a few key areas to help us overcome fear.
Know God. He gave us a spirit of love and power and discipline.
Believe in Christ. If Jesus endured such ill treatment for us, we can overcome our greatest fears for Him.
Study the book. The more we know of God’s word, the greater our confidence in fearful situations.
Fight the good fight. Paul knew the challenges of the work. He also knew he had to fight.
We can overcome fear with a few steps. Let us commit ourselves to overcome and lead with passion.
The past month saw much driving. My wife and I have traveled thousands of miles to share news about the work of Extension Training.
This is a great contrast to the proverbial “Sunday afternoon drive.” Our travels have been very purposeful with a specific destination in mind…HOME!
Leaders face the task of casting vision and mapping the direction to reach the goal. Unless leaders know where they are going, it will be impossible to finish the journey. Spiritual leadership needs to be purposeful with a specific destination in mind…HEAVEN!
Here are a few suggestions:
1) Never take your eyes off the goal.
2) Remember the map is found in the greatest atlas. (If you do now know what I mean, write me.)
3) There is nothing wrong with stopping to ask for help if you lose your sense of direction.
4) It is vital to make preparation before starting the journey.
Remember, we are not just out for a drive in leading others. We need to know where we are going and what it will take to get there. The results will be worth it!
I am talking about a baked snack, a cracker in the shape of a fish.
To my 2 year old granddaughter it is a way to lead her papa a dozen times from the living room to the kitchen.
I have to admit, it does not take much for her to get my attention and move me into action. I guess it goes with being mighty cute. It could also have something to do with hearing the words; “papa, more again.” I am sure you grandfathers know exactly what I mean.
What does it take to get our attention and move us into action for the Lord?
Will seven billion people in the world, the majority of which are lost?
Perhaps there is the decline in morality that surrounds us.
Maybe it is the spread of error in unknowing hearts.
Could it be the grace of God given in the Savior who came to die on behalf of the world?
Whatever it is, our attention is needed and we must move into action to lead others to the only hope given to the human race.
“Men are governed only by serving them; the rule is without exception.” V. Cousin
I know we have discussed the idea of being a servant leader in previous posts and we cannot emphasize the idea enough.
The power behind this thought is found in the last five words: “the rule is without exception.”
While there are many leadership styles, true spiritual leadership cannot succeed without being a servant of others. There is no exception.
Jesus said; “by this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” In the context of John 13, Jesus is teaching the necessity of being a servant of one another. Read the first part of the chapter and the lesson Jesus taught by His own example.
The impact of our leadership will be shaped by the way we serve others. If we understand the true definition of Biblical love, we cannot fulfill the new command given by Christ without being a servant.
Lead, but remember this thought.
Solomon’s statement has many life applications. Spouses would quickly understand the importance of this idea. In reality, any intimate relationship is built on the explanation Solomon provides.
Two bring a good return for their labor. If one falls, they can be lifted up by the other. Two are able to keep warm. They can resist an external threat that could overpower one who is alone.
There are powerful relationships between life and leadership. I could not help but also think about the application to leadership.
The mindset of trying to do things on our own will ultimately fail. We need one another. There are at least 24 different “one another” passages throughout scripture. These passages teach us about the spiritual relationship and responsibility we have with one another.
When leadership uses these areas to strengthen relationships, the result will bring a powerful boost to our leadership.
When we fulfill the responsibilities outlined by the New Testament writers, the church will be strengthened.
Isn’t it time we build the kind of relationships to accomplish both?