Dan Reiland The Pastor's Coach – Developing Church Leaders

Category / Relationships

All great leaders are devoted students of human nature.

The more effort and energy you invest in understanding why people do what they do, the better leader you become.

That’s the practical essence of human nature – why people do what they do.

Your biblical view and theological bias play no small part in what shapes your thinking. Sin, selfishness and a broken world is obviously part of the equation. But equally so is redemption, the Holy Spirit’s power, and purpose through Christ.

The tension between both of those powerful forces for good and evil is real and active.

The daily choices we all make in what sometimes seems like a fine line between good and evil, forms the ongoing patterns of human nature.

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People pleasing is common among leaders in the local church.

People pleasing is when you lead in such a way that you attempt to keep everyone happy. You receive affirmation and therefore feel good.

The congregation is happy, so they feel good; seems harmless enough.

But the ill-gained affirmation you receive will hurt you and your leadership over the long-haul. And of course, you can’t keep everyone happy even if that was a good idea.

You will end up exhausted, and some of the followers that are happy with you at the moment will turn against you the first time you attempt to make a tough decision that doesn’t go to their liking.

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With more than 35 years in leadership now, I’ve learned that it’s truly all about people. That may seem obvious, but not all leaders behave as if they know or agree with that thought.

It doesn’t matter how smart you are, how gifted you are, or how much you know about vision and strategy. If you don’t know how to connect with and get along with people, you won’t make it far as a leader.

We’ve all made our fair share of relational mistakes, and no doubt you are grateful like I am, for the people who have been kind and patient. I appreciate the people who gave me a chance and still give me grace.

When you learn to treat people like you want to be treated, it’s amazing how much better life becomes.

I’ve learned that if I put others first, life has a way of giving back in wonderfully positive ways. That’s not the motivation, but it is the blessing.

If you don’t invest in friendships, you may end up traveling through life alone. The encouraging truth is that great relationships are not that difficult. They require time, love, and the willingness to not always get your way.

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It’s natural to avoid a tough moment, an awkward conversation, or difficult decision.

Nobody likes the stress, pain and pressure of courageous leadership – in the moment.

However, most of us can recount times where we fretted for dozens of hours or weeks or even months of stress, attempting to delay or avoid taking responsibility for a leadership conversation that must occur.

It may have been that moment you had to let someone go. Or you were walking into a tension filled meeting. Perhaps you had to tell someone they would not receive the funding they wanted, or the promotion they desired. Maybe it was time to declare the new vision you had in your heart. We all know those moments.

When a leader refuses to take responsibility in a tough moment, he or she loses leadership. If you do that often enough, over time, you will no longer be the leader. The person who will step up becomes the leader.

Sleepless nights can be replaced with one tough conversation. It’s not easy, but it needs to happen.

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