Can Leadership Make a Difference? Absolutely.

Can leadership make a difference in the world? Absolutely.

It’s easy to look at situations in the world and think that there is no hope. However, leaders can make a difference. This is obvious from the Bible, history, and our own experience, as we shall see below.

So, why do we look at situations and think that leadership can make no difference?

1. We reacted to a situation, and it didn’t change things. Oftentimes, we show our displeasure in a situation by getting upset, trying to solve it, or moving away from it. We think we have shown leadership, but it made no difference. For example, imagine you have someone in your life who you would like to do better in school. When you saw that they were doing poorly, you got upset. They kept doing poorly. You kept getting upset. It made little difference. The result is people think that leadership makes little difference. They have reacted to a situation rather than giving real thought to what will make it better.

2. We have not been clear on where we are leading people. I am a Pastor, and I have a lot of friends who are pastors. It’s easy for Pastors to react negatively when people don’t attend the activities and programs of their church. However, where are we leading people? What do we want people to do? Is our main goal for them to come to the activities of our church? Is that our real goal for people? Oftentimes, we act like that, and, frankly, it’s not a real compelling vision. A better vision is to build people of faith who serve out of love for God and others. If that is the goal, have we made that as clear as we have made our desire that they go to services? Are we really clear on where we want people to be and how they get there? Continue reading “Can Leadership Make a Difference? Absolutely.”

4 Tools to Help People Move Forward (Part 1)

Our default is to lead by reaction. We see something we don’t like in people, and then we react to it. We criticize. We complain. We attack. We withdraw. We show our displeasure and hope people will change. That’s leadership by reaction. It’s all too common. We rarely stop and think and pray about situations. We just react to them. This does not do much good to us or to those we are leading.

Effective leadership requires something different. It requires thought and vision. It requires clarity on where we want to be and how we are going to get there. It requires communication of that vision and the path that people need to take. It requires connecting well with the people we want to lead.

But that’s not enough. Leaders also help people move forward on the path. How? The Apostle Paul lists four ways or four tools in his letter to the church in Thessalonica. He told the leaders in that church, “And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (1 Thess. 5:14). I will deal with these in the reverse order. I see the Apostle Paul as telling us: remember it’s a process, give people steps, encourage people to take those steps, and have the hard conversations.

Remember It’s a Process
One thing about reactive leadership is that it is impatient. I don’t like what you’re doing, and it needs to stop right now! This is based on a dislike of what is observed and a desire for it to be different.

However, that’s not really how humans work. Change takes time. If we are going to help people move forward, we have to remember that it’s a process. This is true not only for others. It is true for ourselves. We don’t and didn’t change in a day. Change occurs over time. It is more complex than we often think. We have a set of assumptions that govern our behavior and are wired into our bodies. This can change, but it takes place over time. Continue reading “4 Tools to Help People Move Forward (Part 1)”