You’re the problem with your organization!
You’re also the solution!
Please share your insights by commenting below this post.
HOW TO AVOID LEADERSHIP FAILURE
You are the problem with your organization!
You are also the solution!
In Part 1, I shared a few signs your church, ministry, or business might be headed into decline based on Jim Collins’ book, “How the Mighty Fall.” The goal was to outline how to accurately diagnose the problem. Read Part 1 before moving ahead.
In Part 2, we’ll begin discussing how decline relates to you as an individual leader and what you can do to avoid it. At the end, I provide four helpful resources.
As leaders, we need to ask important questions:
Where am I as a leader?
How does my team experience my leadership?
Where are we as a team?
What is the condition of my organization?
Are we healthy and thriving?
Are we on mission?
Are we drifting away from our mission?
Are we at risk of decline and failure?
Have we abandoned the core principles that made us successful in the first place?
Are we measuring the wrong things?
Do I even really know the people in my organization on a personal level?
Isolated leaders, insolated leaders, high staff turnover, pragmatism, institutionalism (self-serving), mission ambiguity, gaslighting, defensiveness, fear, promoting ‘yes men’ over wise men, sanctioned incompetence, poor communication, gossip, malfeasance, quiet firing, spiritual abuse, and lack of vision plague Christian organizations today. Yet many leaders retreat to their ivory towers, revert to blame-shifting or scapegoating. People are seen as problems to be solved instead of sheep to be shepherded. Goodwill and good ideas vanish. As leaders distance themselves from problems and criticism, they push away people with good ideas and solutions who could help. A brain drain ensues and toxicity slowly poisons the entire organization.
How do we avoid such things and guard our witness for Christ? I’ll share a few thoughts.
Getting at Solutions:
Where am I?
Have you ever participated in a land navigation or orienteering exercise?
“Navigation is the art and science of determining the position of a ship, plane or other vehicle, and guiding it to a specific destination. Navigation requires a person to know the vehicle’s relative location, or position compared to other known locations.” (National Geographic)
“Land navigation is the discipline of following a route through unfamiliar terrain on foot or by vehicle, using maps with reference to terrain, a compass, and other navigational tools.” (Wikipedia)
The primary key to successful land navigation is not locating your destination. The essential first step is locating your current position on the map. If you don’t know where you are, you will never reach your intended destination (period). When things get chaotic or difficult, we need humility to ask, “Where am I?”
Humility (I can’t stress it enough).
Deep understanding is vital to healthy leadership and will result in healthy church, ministry, and business. If the leadership is unhealthy or toxic, it will poison the entire organization. Leaders must understand we are sinners and imperfect. We need to allow others into our lives to help us. We need others to show us our blind spots. We must remove façades that veil the truth about us. We must allow God to deal with our pride and selfish ambitions.
Humility is at the core of leadership.
Personality, passion, gifting, competence, compatibility, and character apart from a deep authentic humility are worthless.
“If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.” – James 3:13 (NLT)
In February of 2016 my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. 58 days later, he was gone. Early on in my dad’s treatment, by God’s grace I realized I was not in the right condition to lead my ministry. I was responsible for 1000+ volunteers, leaders, nonprofit partners, managing budgets, strategic planning, and vital relationships. In addition, needy people in our community depend upon the church to help them. In a season of loss and grief, it was all too much! So, I handed over all leadership authority and responsibility to my second in command. He’s smart, humble, and consistent. He is a great leader. As I entered the crucible with my dad, my team mate masterfully guided the ministry. Everyone worked together to stay on mission.
A couple months after my dad died my second in command quietly handed the ministry back to me. The shepherd needed shepherding during a stormy season. God used my father’s death to humble me. God provided a humble servant to take the helm for a season. Like a good harbor pilot, my teammate handed me the wheel after guiding the ship out of the rocky harbor to safer waters. Praise God!
Reality on the Ground:
A leader must be transparent and honest about where he or she is and where the organization is at all times. A leader must ask for help, feedback, and receive it with gladness. Remember, people are watching. As a leader you are bearing witness to God’s work in your life and through the organization. Your team will forget a lot but they won’t forget how you cared for them.
When you know where you are and possess the humility to ask for help and admit mistakes, you can provide good care for your team. In turn, they will care for you. Trust is the currency of any culture. Humility fosters trust.
In conclusion, know where you are and the condition of the people in your organization. Cultivate humility by letting people into your life and investing them. Don’t hide weakness, problems, or failure. Share them with your team and ask them questions. We’re all human and people tend to help those they can relate to. We trust who we know.
Leader, look in the mirror everyday and realize you’re the problem with your organization… You’re also the solution. Be the kind of leader people want by their side in the storms and battles of life.
In part 3, we’ll cover more…
Please share your insights by commenting below this post.
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