Dan Reiland The Pastor's Coach – Developing Church Leaders

Category / Relationships

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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We’ve all received hurtful emails.

We’ve all received email that makes our mouth drop open and say “What?!” Here’s a real email I received a few years ago.

Thanks so much for canceling church services on Sunday 12/25. You’re helping me win the war to make Christmas just another day. Why let that Jesus guy get in the way of presents and Santa? Great decision. Now if I can get the Baptists and Catholics on board!

In your debt,

Lucifer

Yes, this is a wildly “out there” example, but it’s a real email. And it’s my only one from Satan!

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More people in your life than time to see them is a fortunate tension.

The tension is a blessed one because we’re fortunate to be loved, needed, wanted or candidly, have anyone seek us out and want some time. That’s not overly self-deprecating, it’s a healthy perspective.

As leaders, we’re blessed to be helpful to others. It’s a privilege to get to encourage, care for, and develop people. And it’s fun just to enjoy these moments as well!

It’s a dangerous thing when a leader begins to see people as an interruption, a problem or “one more ask.”

But we do need to be honest about the tension.

One of the greatest challenges of a leader is to make people decisions. You just can’t see everyone.

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