Never too late for what? Many thoughts are associated with this phrase, all of which relate to the use of our time.
When someone gets older they usually think it is too late to begin something new, finish a project, or change directions.
The idea that it is never too late is significant when considering all three components as they relate to our leadership.
It is never too late to begin something new. Regardless of how old we might be, how long the previous system was in place, or what others think, beginning something new can be rejuvenating.
It is never too late to finish a project. Think about it. Taking time to work on and finish the project is worth the benefit it brings to all connected to it.
It is never too late to change directions. At times, the obstacles become insurmountable and instead of stopping, maybe it is time to change directions.
These are a few simple ideas, but powerful to consider if we put our mind to it. Among the many options available, it is never too late…to take action!
To lead is to sacrifice. Sacrifice is found at every level of leadership. When will the sacrifice need to be made? How large of a sacrifice will be necessary?
Perhaps above all, are we willing to make the sacrifice?
The apostle Paul was one who made great sacrifices in serving the Lord and the church (Phil. 3:7-10).
First, Paul claimed nothing held more value than knowing Christ Jesus. He suffered the loss of all things to gain Christ, to know his Savior. Notice the terminology: the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death. Paul wanted to know through experience.
Second, Paul’s willingness to suffer was not just past tense, it is future tense also. Later in Paul’s ministry, he states what he gave up in the past and why, but he further points out his willingness to endure.
If we go below the surface and examine Paul’s leadership, we find a leader of great sacrifice. His level of sacrifice is exemplified throughout his writings (cf. 2 Cor. 11:23-29).
Let us arise and make the sacrifice to lead according to the example we find in Paul.
How can we best describe the idea of leadership “intention?” Frequently, intention is associated with an aim or plan, the action taken toward what is intended, a person’s designs.
Beyond any technical description or definition, we also find mention of good and bad intentions. Generally, people have good intentions. Their intentions are to do what is right by or for someone else. However, we also know that good intentions are not always the right answer. Simply because someone’s intentions are good does not mean their actions are correct. How can this be improved for leaders?
1) Make sure that our intentions are based on the facts expressly needed and not an assumption.
2) Before acting on our intentions, take a moment to think about how our actions will be perceived by the recipient of those actions.
3) It never hurts to let someone know what our intentions are before acting on them. Outside counsel can prevent good intentions from becoming big mistakes.
Having the right intention is important, but insuring the follow-through on our intentions will bring an accurate response to help those in need is critical.
The next step up the leadership mountain emphasizes further the outward demonstration of leading: “blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
Mercy is found throughout Scripture describing everything from God’s relationship to humanity to our relationship with one another.
The idea behind this word involves a feeling of sympathy aroused by the distress of someone else, with the willingness to get involved and help.
We can see the powerful implication of this thought in considering the richness of God’s mercy because of His great love demonstrated in sending Jesus to die for us (Eph. 2:4-6).
Perhaps the most powerful example of mercy from a human perspective in our relationship to one another is what we call the “Good Samaritan.” His recognition of the need (sympathy) of the man who was beaten, robbed, and left to die moved him to act (willingness to help) by caring for him. Jesus instructs the lawyer who reservedly acknowledged the mercy of this Samaritan to “go and do the same” (Lk. 10:37).
Godly leadership is characterized by the mercy needed to understand the needs of others and help them.
“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.” Karl A. Menniger
Books, articles, blogs, and anything written on the subject of communication, generally connects the importance of listening. Leaders, of all people, need to be good listeners.
The challenge of listening exists because we are usually thinking of how to respond. We wait until the other person breathes and we jump in with our thoughts.
How can we improve our ability to listen? A few suggestions include:
Remove distractions: Whether phone, television, computer, or whatever might fit in this category, we need to remove ourselves from it and give our attention to the other person.
Wait for the finish: This is the hardest one. Learning to wait and make sure someone has completed their thoughts is haunting, but we will have time to formulate how we want to respond.
Listen beyond the words: Body language and tone of voice are critical to understanding the meaning behind the words we hear.
Incredible! Great! Fantastic! Spectacular! Amazing! Grueling! Abrasive! Controlling!
There is no end to adjectives in the English language. Basically, an adjective is a word, or phrase, that names an attribute to modify or describe a noun.
Think about the descriptive nature in which we communicate with friends and family.
We live in a world where we communicate with the use of words. Interestingly, what we hear and read is often presented with an incredible, spectacular, and unbelievable multiplicity of adjectives.
The thought of how adjectives have proliferated our English language raises a few questions: What word, or phrase, would we use to modify or describe our leadership? Are we looking for a word in the list above? Are we concerned with using a word more Biblical in nature?
Godly! Spiritual! Righteous! Knowledgeable! Patient! Compassionate! Faithful!
Hopefully, these adjectives carry a different ring for all of us and one that drives us to consider how we can live into them.
Today, let us strive to lead others in a manner they will describe Biblically.
Before answering this question, we need to consider the paths we could take to answer it. When was the last time…
…we told our spouse we love them?
…we hugged our children and told them how proud we were of their achievement?
…we used the words “thank you” for a kind gesture to a co-worker?
This is simply the proverbial “drop in the bucket.” Examining the way we ask this question regarding our leadership changes how we view our influence. When was the last time…
…we paused to think about the impact of our words on others?
…we decided to do a menial task instead of asking someone else to do it?
…we praised someone for their work instead of finding a way to ignore it?
…we gave credit to others for their work in order to encourage them?
…we took the time to help someone up the ladder, instead of pursuing our own?
…we made it a priority to share the gospel and lead someone to Christ?
The list is unending, but the question needs to be asked: When was the last time?