Several years ago a friend of mind asked me the one thing I had learned in all my study of the Bible. He followed up by saying, “Always remember, you can’t make it on your own.”
The lesson I learned that day left a lasting impact on my life and ministry.
I am reminded of the thought expressed by Solomon; “Two are better than one.” Notice the reasons listed by Solomon: 1) Good return for their labor, 2) Lift up the other if one falls, 3) Keep each other warm when lying down together, and 4) If someone tries to overpower one who is alone, two can resist him. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
His argues, “A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.”
The idea helps us understand there is strength in numbers. Satan, our adversary, wants us alone because he knows we are more vulnerable.
Leadership is no exception. Leaders need to work together to encourage one another, grow to maturity, and defeat the enemy.
The strength leaders gain from being together will lay a foundation for future leaders.
Few words are as challenging to apply than being objective. It is true the idea behind the objective can involve a goal, an aim or task to achieve.
However, being objective also carries the thought of being uninfluenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts. Few thoughts are more needed and, yet, so difficult to accomplish.
The ability to consider and represent the facts without allowing emotions or preconceived ideas or opinions to influence the outcome is rare, if not impossible.
Jesus said it this way; “do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” (Jn. 7:24)
From the life and leadership of Jesus we can learn several lessons in application to this thought.
Examine the facts carefully. Not everything is going to line up with preconceived ideas. Make certain all the facts have been gathered.
Study more deeply and diligently. A surface approach to God’s word allows too much opportunity for emotions to rationalize truth.
Ask penetrating questions. Good questions help develop depth to the information.
If there is one word that should characterize the quality of leadership it is being objective.
Leadership will always suffer times where difficulties create discouragement. How do leaders survive these times and grow stronger as leaders?
Here a few suggestions to consider.
To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Knowing adversity will come to leadership helps in preparing beforehand for dealing with those times of discouragement.
Focus on an area of expertise. We might phrase it more accurately: “one at a time.” Discouragement is usually the result of feeling overwhelmed with the enormity.
Learn the value of walking away. There are times when taking a break from the situation and clearing the mind helps leaders assess what needs to be done.
Seek counsel with other survivors. One of the most effective ways to handle adversity in life is through the encouragement of others who have survived the same.
Remember to seek the good in all situations. Advice is always easier said than done, and this is no exception. However, there are always lessons learned that benefit leaders.
Leaders cannot avoid, must not ignore, and should never neglect adversity. Instead, learning to survive the fallout when adversity exists makes leaders stronger.
Imagine how powerful it is when people believe in themselves. Imagine the powerful influence of a leadership that promotes this thought.
Sam Walton said, “Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.”
We can see the importance of believing in ourselves and what can be accomplished when we do.
However, leadership involves developing others in ways to create confidence in themselves.
Express confidence. It is amazing what a word of encouragement can do in helping others accomplish great work.
Give responsibility. Do not micromanage others. Give them a responsibility and allow them the opportunity to achieve the task.
Handle failure appropriately. This is a lost, but needed art in leadership. Expect times when people will fail. Help them learn from it, evaluate, pick up, and move forward.
Express confidence. If we begin and end with telling others how much we believe in them and what they can accomplish, greatness will be the result.
Few areas of life are more challenging than taking time to just breathe. I am amazed how often God has a way of working in our lives to help us see the need to “stop and smell the roses.”
I have seen a strong work ethic from both family and friends. Family life on both sides of my parents involved some level of farming. My grandparents, as well as aunts and uncles, relied on raising a garden for food, hunting and fishing for meat, and milking cows for financial means.
I never recall a time when something did not need to be done. Life was full…and busy.
I understand the reality of the old adage “the older you get the faster time goes by.” As I age, and the pace of life steadily increases, I realize more the need to take a moment to catch my breath.
Leaders will always have something that needs to be done. We need to establish proper priorities and develop a strong work ethic, but we also need to take a moment to catch our breath.
Friendship is a beautiful relationship of mutual trust and support.
I have witnessed the powerful effects of true friendship. The relationship between two people who share such mutual trust and support is unmatched.
Leadership is not always seen from the perspective of friendship. Leadership is often accompanied by loneliness and seen as a lonely position. We often hear the idea expressed, “It’s lonely at the top.”
While this may be true in many corporate or political settings, it does not have to be true in every situation.
Spiritual leadership is about pointing people to heaven, helping others see the light of Jesus. If we are going to fulfill this responsibility we must be involved in the lives of others, developing friendships.
Jesus was called “a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Mt. 11:19). Maybe we can see just how much we need to understand friendship and the connection of friendship when pointing others to Jesus.
When leaders develop relationships of mutual trust and support, the friendships that blossom provide a source of strength and encouragement for addressing all challenges.
Most importantly, we will help others get to heaven.
When someone is fearless, we tend to think about an attitude or mindset of no fear, or the absence of fear.
We need to consider another possibility as it relates to leadership.
Reverse the order of the word and examine the idea of having less fear.
It is doubtful that a leader reaches a point where they have no fear or even eliminate fear. Various events in life and leadership will always create times of fear. During those times we can demonstrate less fear, but what makes it possible to do so? Read Hebrews 11:1 – 12:4.
Enduring life’s challenges is an ability strengthened by victorious faith. Understand that others have also overcome; see the great cloud of witnesses.
Trust that God will keep His promise. He will see us through every trial; run with endurance the race that is set before us.
No matter how great the obstacle, at its best it is still temporary; keep your eyes fixed on Jesus who for the joy before Him endured the cross and despised the shame.
Here is where less fear begins.