Nine things I’ve learned (and I’m still learning) as I step into the leadership roles that God has invited me to take on. I’ve got a lot to say on this so I’ll have to deliver it to you in three parts lest you fall asleep mid-read.
Some of these things I learned in my early twenties when I had the wonderful opportunity to be a Head of Year at an awesome Baptist College in Perth. Some others I learned through leading the worship ministry in my church and some I know in theory but struggle with in practise. Here we go…
7. Maintain good work/ home boundaries and priorities.
Love your family first. Turn off your work email notifications when you get home. Figure out how to get to the assembly to see your daughter sing in the choir, or to attend a funeral with a close friend. Work will always be there and if you work with integrity then you can also work with flexibility. Healthy marriages and families are essential to healthy leadership.
Just an aside: how amazing is a friend who comes to a funeral with you even when they did not know the person you lost? My friend Wayne had been my pastor/boss for all of about 12 minutes when my Aunty died. At the end of her funeral, through a haze of tears I saw Pastor Wayne just standing in the back, holding space for me and my sisters. What a guy.
What. A. Guy.
8. Process privately, share publicly.
I am an open book. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I’m a deep thinker and feeler and I love meaningful conversations. I am also very trusting, assume the best of everyone and often naively think that everyone assumes the best of me. These traits have led me to being a bit of an over-sharer. Again, you read my blog, you will also know this already.
I am also a teacher by nature and training. If I know something, I want to teach it to someone else. If I love a series on Netflix, you’re guaranteed to hear about it on Facebook. If I enjoyed a particular novel, recipe, discover a new idea or concept or grow in my understanding of God then I want to pass that along to you. I was like this as an English teacher also. I shared every resource I created, all my lesson plans and ideas and loved to work collaboratively.
But here’s the thing… sometimes it’s better to hold onto the things you’re learning until they are fully pondered, experienced, healed and sealed off. As Nadia Bolz Weber says, “preach from your scars, not from your wounds.”
I quite like being honest and real with the people on my blog, but I walk a fine line between being a person you can relate to and identify with, and being someone you might be concerned about. Although I like being a truth teller, at times I have made myself too vulnerable by sharing current issues in front of a large audience. I’m going to try to tuck that in a bit better in the future. I want you to know that I am strong enough to lead you.
Be real and authentic but save your vulnerability for the inner circle of friends and family.
Authentic all the time, sincere all the time, vulnerable with the few.
This article by Carey Nieuwhof expands on Tip #9 very nicely.
9. Spend time with Jesus.
I’ve saved this tip for last because it is my most essential one.
I want the plans and decision I make to be guided by the Holy Spirit who lives inside me. I hear the Spirit best when I read my bible, pray and talk to God. I genuinely believe that I save a lot of time, heartache and energy when I make spending time with God a priority. I want to make plans that align with what God is doing in the world. Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”
I want to be that kind of leader. I want to see what God is doing and get on board with that. I don’t want to make plans that are contrary to God’s plan or even a little out of alignment with God’s plan. So I need to spend a lot of time with God.
Also, I want to keep short accounts with God. I want to confess my sin daily so that the small things get dealt with before they turn to big things. I don’t want to ignore God and suddenly find that I’m at a point where I’ve drifted really far from his will for me.
I think it is essential for a Christian leader to be spending time with God. Reading, praying, singing, listening to podcasts, learning from books, meditating, Sabbath-keeping, resting, serving and worshipping with other Christians.
PART 1 here.
PART 2 here.