“Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.” Colin Powell
I read this thought several times before deciding to use it this week. The reason is because I wanted to think about it more personally.
From my perspective, there are great implications to this thought for leaders today, especially within the spiritual realm.
No one likes problems, and after dealing with several problems, we tend to shy away from placing ourselves where we must listen to them.
However, to consider the results of followers reaching a point where they do not bring their problems to us because they lose confidence or feel we do not care is frightening.
As much as problems are…well, problems, leaders should consider the underlying thought to why these problems are coming our way.
Learning how to resolve conflict and solve problems brings credibility to our leadership.
On most desks is a small pad called a “sticky note.” Some people use them emphatically, some sparingly, while others never see a purpose in them.
However, the nature of the sticky note provides several good lessons for our leadership.
They are reminders of something important. At times I use a sticky note to make a “to-do” list for the next day. Regardless, the information I write down is significant for me to remember.
They can be placed in any location. The great benefit of spiritual leadership is found in the fact that no matter where we are, there is a need to lead others to Christ. Leadership is not limited to the building.
Once they stick, they are still there the next day. Good leaders are going to hold on even when the road is difficult to travel.
They come in a variety of sizes and colors. No cookie cutter approach exists for finding leaders. No matter who you are or where you go, you are leading.
Learn a lesson from a sticky note – our leadership might still be around tomorrow as a reminder of something important.
The idea is simply stating the obvious, “I have no idea where I am going.”
Leadership that is directionally challenged is not really leadership at all. If we do not know where we are going, how can lead anyone there?
Directionally challenged spiritual leadership is an even greater problem.
What can we do to help address and overcome the problem of being directionally challenged?
Set smart goals. Goals need to be specific, measurable, action oriented, realistic, and time bound. If we will set smart goals, knowing our direction is never a problem.
Look to the finish line. Distractions surround us and when we take our eye off the finish line we can easily get off course.
Trust in the Word. We live in a time where numerous voices vie to be heard. Who and what are we listening to and why? One source is constant, the word of God. Listen to it!
Be open to learn. Once we feel we already know it all, we are in trouble. Never stop learning and being open to learn. We might be surprised.
Options abound, but knowing where we are going eliminates most challenges.
Today’s post is dedicated to one of the most special leaders in my walk through life. The dedicated leader I am talking about is the woman I married over 30 years ago.
She understands dedication to a fault.
She is dedicated to her God. First, and foremost, she knows her life belongs to the Almighty. She dedicated herself to following Him, wherever that leads and whatever it takes.
She is dedicated to her children. I have witnessed the sacrifices made, love expressed, sleepless nights, cold meals, and a willingness to do anything needed to see her children get to heaven.
She is dedicated to her grandchildren. As with our children, even more so for her grandchildren. I smile at the look on her face just to talk to them, cuddle them, and watch them grow.
She is dedicated to me. No words are adequate to describe all she has endured in helping me develop into the Christian husband, father, grandfather, and friend I need to be.
For all of these reasons, and many more, I dedicate this post to her on this special day, her birthday. I love you!
Life is complicated and complex. Why?
What is so different about today compared to the lifestyle of 50 years ago? Why have we allowed our daily activities to be structured in such a way to alter the simplicity of life?
The purpose of the post is not to provide an answer to the questions. I am fully aware the answers are subjective and my experience is limited. However, a few simple ideas could help keep our leadership simple.
Remember who is in control, the One who holds eternity in His hands, and let Him have control. (I know, easier said than done)
Learn to say no. (I am preaching to me here)
Understand the limits of our abilities. (ouch)
Take a “full” day off every week and spend it with family. (I need this one)
Do not work in all three parts of the day. (thank you Neal Pollard)
Stop trying to get it all done the first day. (double ouch)
There is more to share, but if we will apply a few simple ideas, our leadership will last a little longer and be a little sweeter.
“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” Bill Gates
We will not be able to sufficiently cover every area associated with the idea of empowering others. However, the more I learn the more I am convinced we must be diligent to the task of empowering others to lead.
We must eliminate the mindset of “if you want the job done right, you have to do it yourself.” We cannot allow our ego, pride, fear of replacement, or any other area hinder us from helping others reach their potential.
In reality, the true work of a leader is to empower others to lead.
Identify the skills sets of each individual.
Extend opportunities to learn and grow their abilities.
Provide the necessary tools to succeed.
Motivate, motivate, and motivate more.
Turn it loose and let them work at the task.
Celebrate each success.
When we think of others, along with the overall good and purpose of the church, we will stop procrastinating the need at hand. Develop others to lead, empower them, and watch how God will work to make it grow.
Our country celebrates a very special day each year at this time called Thanksgiving. Families and friends gather to share a meal and enjoy time together.
A common thought is often expressed in the need to be thankful everyday and not just one day each year. We would all agree, and I believe most of us do express our gratitude.
Spiritual leaders have much for which to be thankful. The God-given responsibility of leading can be a heavy burden, but the rewards are rich in eternal blessings. I will not be able to exhaust the list, but let me share a few. I am thankful for the…
…incredible God who created me, loved me, and was willing to die for me.
…beautiful wife, children and grandchildren that surround my life.
…wonderful opportunity of working with the greatest people on earth, Christians.
…generosity of trust from the faithful supporters who make this work possible.
…abundant blessings of both a physical and spiritual nature.
…perfect Word that provides direction, strength, hope, and promise.
If we think about it, there are many areas for which we should be thankful. Give thanks.