What can leaders learn from Advent, the season of preparation of the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior? Just as Jesus birth revolutionized and changed the world, servant leaders can also significantly impact the culture in which they live and operate.
We are currently seeing people all over the globe trying to take back the world, as they feel it is God’s calling on their life to do so. Extremists from every religion have been in the news, as they feel that you can take back the world through protest, violence, and other extreme measures.
Servant leaders have the courage to make bold moves when it is the right thing to do. It might not be the most convenient, the most comfortable, or carry the least amount of risk, but they do it anyway, because they know it is in the best long-term interest of the people they serve.
Our pastor, from our church in Arizona recently wrote a book on such a move that he made with our congregation in the last year. The book title is “Sunday Schooling Our Kids Out of Church!”, The True Story of How One Congregation Dropped Sunday School to Save its Soul.
I felt convicted this week. I missed some significant opportunities to really slow down and spend some quality time in reflection and thought over how I am spending my time and what I envision for 2016.
On Thursday I was in a devotion where the leader referenced Psalm 90:12 where Moses sends us to God for teaching, to learn to number our days and use them wisely. That made me reflect on a conversation I had with a client earlier in the week, in which the leader shared how his 4 hours sitting in the deer stand was just what was needed to re-energize himself. It provided an awesome time of reflection around the important things of life and the priorities he had on his plate at work. He used this time wisely to number his days!
I had the opportunity to participate in Deer Camp this weekend with family and friends. This was my second consecutive year enjoying this timeless tradition in MN.
It was as fantastic as I anticipated. Not because of the outcome, which was good as I shot the first deer of my life, but because of the time spent together enjoying conversations and just plain hanging out together. Relationships were enhanced, memories were made, and we already look forward with anticipation to next year.
This is a great time of the year for campfires. As I was enjoying one this weekend, I noticed how important it is to keep feeding the fire if I wanted it to continue to brightly burn and provide the necessary heat for everyone huddled around the fire.
It dawned on me that this holds true for servant leaders as well. If you want a culture of servant leadership within your organization, or team, or family, the leader has to continually feed the culture to adequately keep it alive and brightly burning.
I have a number of really good friends still working and leading in the printing industry. Certain segments of that industry are extremely challenged by the continued momentum of digital communications. Printers of magazines, catalogs, or books have seen a steady decline in their market for many years now.
As a leader, if you are not intentional about giving your people a sense of hope, they can get extremely down on the prospects of their future.
I have had numerous coaching clients of late that are dealing with extremely busy schedules. Their organizations are flourishing, which has led to an increasingly heavy demand on their time. This scenario can feel overwhelming, and personally taxing as a person works to balance their work demands with their personal commitments as well. After all, being a servant leader is a demanding role!
Often times, I get into this situation and I try to become God. I multi-task, stay digitally connected, keep up with news/sports/business blogs, satisfy my clients, track my exercise and calorie intake, monitor my social networks — it’s like I’m trying not to disappoint my clients, my family, and my computer and cell phone all at the same time.
Fall, and leaves in their full glory of color, always makes me aware of the seasons of life and leadership. Fall is the time of harvest. The key natural law of harvest is that you reap what you sow. A farmer does not wonder in the fall what he will harvest. He knows that if he planted soybeans, he will be harvesting soybeans. He reaps in the fall, what he has sown in the spring.
This same natural law of the harvest is true in servant leadership as well. I often hear leaders lament about why things are happening to them. They say:
“With malice toward none; with charity to all!” Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865
In my coaching and consulting practice I often talk on the importance of being intentional about the legacy you want to leave for the time that you spend on this earth. How will things be different for you having lived? What are people going to be talking about at your funeral?
Do you have a friend that is willing to provide honest feedback to you when needed?
I pray that my friends will provide that for me. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.