Dan Reiland The Pastor's Coach – Developing Church Leaders
  • Confident Leader!

    You’re a good leader, but leadership is challenging and can rattle your confidence. Setbacks, challenges, and problems can cause you to second-guess yourself, doubt, or pull back. Your confidence may be stretched thin, but there is a way to strengthen it.

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    / March 7, 2020 / Comments Off on Confident Leader!

It’s going on twenty months now that we have been leading in a destabilized culture, and therefore leading our churches as they experience and absorb the destabilizing impacts.

Business too, and life in general, though better now, is still an unstable ride.

Any time life and leadership feel destabilized, our instinct is to regain stability as quickly as possible and normalize it. 

Growing up in Southern California, I finally decided to learn to surf and spent every extra minute at the beach when I was 16 years old.

Surfing was short-lived for me, lasting only a little over one summer because it was clear to see I was never going to be very good at it. In the end, after one pretty good ride, I face-planted at high speed in a giant kelp bed, and that was pretty much the end of it.

One thing I learned while surfing is that you cannot control the waves; you can only learn to ride them or fall.

The waves are unpredictable and require a sense of balance and intuition; if you fight them, you’ll either never catch one, or you will fall as soon as you do. 

Leadership has felt that way, now more than ever.

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How do you assess strength in a leader?

  • Character?
  • Stand under pressure?
  • Authority?
  • Discipline?
  • Force of personality?

Have you ever wondered why it’s easier to see weakness in a leader than strength? We can see weakness in a moment, but strength is revealed over time and must be interpreted in light of the circumstance.

Strength in a leader is multidimensional and rarely can be assessed in a moment in time or without some sense of context.

That’s an important thing to know.

Don’t be too hard on yourself when you feel weak in the moment; strength is measured over time and in context.

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When you are uncertain if the pain of leadership is worth the outcomes of leadership, you are likely to experience frustration, doubt, and lack of joy.

We all love the promise of leadership. Changed lives, a better future, and the advancement of God’s Kingdom. It’s when the promise of leadership hits the pain of leadership that we can begin to doubt and ask, “Is it really worth it?”

The pain of leadership shows up in several different ways. Here are just a few.

The pain of being misunderstood
Communication is complicated. Social media interprets your words, and they travel at light speed. It’s difficult to recapture truth when perception wins the moment.

The pain of rejection
It’s more challenging to lead today than ever before. If you say the wrong thing (anything can be wrong to somebody), you can be canceled.

The pain of a personal attack
Those you have loved, served and developed for years can take you by complete surprise with a personal attack.

The pain of deep discouragement
Discouragement is highly prevalent among church leaders. It’s perhaps the leading cause of throwing in the towel. Unfortunately, Covid has elevated that reality.

When you read a list like this, it’s a sobering reality.

The first step in navigating leadership pain is to decide if it’s worth it.

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Leading from the middle of the pack is an art form of its own, especially when you need to lead up. It requires maturity, security, trust, and competence.

Whether you are in your first job or have been leading for years, you never arrive when it comes to leading up.

Curiously, leading up is one of the most needed and least discussed skills. Perhaps because it can sound presumptuous, maybe even arrogant or manipulative in nature to “lead your boss.”

Leading up, however, is not the same as leading your boss.

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