I just finished reading "The Painful Side Of Leadership" by Jeff Iorg. Here's the synopsis!
Leading Christians is painful because they do sinful things that complicate our lives
as leaders, our attempts to lead them, and the organizations of which they are a part. Our followers’ sinful choices create pain for us as leaders. Sometimes, though, we shoot ourselves in the foot (or sometimes in my case, both feet). Our sin contributes to the pain we experience as leaders. A call to Christian leadership doesn’t super-spiritualize a ministry leader. We still walk on clay feet. We still struggle with sin. Our choices impact our leadership effectiveness, and sinful choices create painful circumstances.
Leaders must have realistic expectations of themselves, the people they lead, and the results they can achieve. Some leaders have an unrealistic self-appraisal and are, therefore, continually frustrated with their progress. Some leaders inaccurately appraise the potential of their followers. And some leaders have unrealistic expectations of what can be accomplished in their ministry setting. Any of these awed perspectives can produce painful breakdowns in relationships with followers, especially when a leader lashes out in disappointment-fueled anger.
Leaders who make good choices and passionately pursue God will still be disappointed. People and projects will let you down. Don’t despair! You’re in good company among generations of Christian leaders. God is at work in all circumstances to accomplish good. Through disappointment you can share the sufferings of Jesus, redirect your affections, comfort others, and new direction, and refocus on the hope of heaven. Being disappointed may be a pathway to spiritual growth you didn’t expect. Disappointment keeps us from loving this world too much and helps us focus on Jesus, our eternal and present hope.
When you make a mistake, own up to it and move on—quickly. Don’t gloss over it, but don’t dwell on it, either. Moving on means you stop talking about the mistake (except as a “learning moment” that guides future decisions), release yourself from false guilt, and take the initiative to head in more healthy directions. Moving on requires spiritual and emotional discipline. Take charge of your negative emotions and move on.
Loneliness can be countered by developing meaningful relationships and entrusting yourself to God and others in difficult times. The primary relationship for countering loneliness is your relationship with God. Developing depth in your relationship with God through spiritual disciplines is foundational. But resting in and drawing on the intimacy those disciplines facilitate are essential when confronting loneliness. Building interpersonal relationships is also vital to countering loneliness.
Finding security is essential for leaders because it’s the source of peace and rest, of being comfortable in your own skin. Having peace with God and from God gives us peace with ourselves and within ourselves. The greater our public responsibility, the larger the crowd that observes us, the more essential this important spiritual quality is. God’s peace is often the difference between calm and calamity when facing a leadership challenge.
Admitting Christian leaders are criticized unmasks a hidden reality about ministry leadership. Like most secrets, exposing this one defangs it and makes handling criticism easier. Criticism hurts. It’s painful to be insulted, have your motives questioned, or have your ministry skills doubted. But knowing it’s coming and learning strategies to manage your critics takes some of the sting out of their criticism.
You can trust God to hold your critics accountable. He may discipline your critics in this life or judge them in the next,but everyone who attacks you unjustly will be held accountable. Trust God to make things right in his time, in his way, without your plotting retribution or taking revenge.
Church members, no matter how committed they are to the Lord or how skilled you are as a leader, will occasionally have conflict. It’s inevitable. Denying it is unhealthy; ignoring it can be lethal to your long-term effectiveness. Church leaders must have realistic expectations about their followers and strategies in place to manage conflicts among them.
Being angry or anxious isn’t helpful when working with people in conflict. A quiet peace creates an atmosphere more conducive to focusing on the true problems and working toward helpful solutions. Accept the reality that conflict management among church members or teammates is a part of your role. Develop the spiritual asset of a peaceful spirit in the face of conflict. It will enable you to effectively manage your relationship to followers in conflict and set the stage for resolution.
When you are considering taking a courageous stand on any issue, ask yourself if it’s really important enough to break relationships, expend financial resources, damage your reputation, or even risk your health or life. If not, perhaps negotiating a solution through compromise and accommodation is a more effective path. To be sure, some issues, decisions, problems, and situations require a courageous stand. Some things are worth fighting for! But be sure you make a wise evaluation before you make such a momentous decision. When a courageous stand is painful, knowing it’s for a worthy cause will help sustain you through the turmoil.
While leadership is often painful, God has given you a great gift—hope. Hope is the confident expectation of a positive future in spite of your present circumstances. No matter how harsh your critics, how lonely your setting, how difficult your followers, or how serious your mistakes, God will advance his kingdom and accomplish his purposes. Your confident expectation, your hope for a positive future, rests on God’s purposes and resources, not yours. Hope is grounded in and emerges from your relationship with Jesus Christ.
Leadership pain is often caused by followers. It’s easy to resent them for their immaturity or rebelliousness. We are easily exasperated at their foibles and failures. In such times ask God to renew your love for the sheep—even the ones that bite. Ask God for fresh perspective on the value of his children—all of them. Ask him to renew your love for those you lead.
When you stand before the Lord, you will look around at the people who join you there and present them as your hope, glory, and joy. Start practicing that perspective now.
Want to read the book? Get it here: http://amzn.to/29lCpTw