You Have What It Takes: 5 Gifts Every Leader Can Claim
Leadership is about inspiring and empowering people to become who they were created to be. It is about relating and connecting in such a way that the world is impacted and changed for good.
You have what it takes to be a leader! Facing the reality of the pandemic, you continue to stepping in, create strategies, and lead. You are engaging the people entrusted to your care in new ways of being and doing, and you are using your God-given talents, what you have learned, and the resources on hand to get face what you feel you are not equipped to do.
Let me remind you what I have seen over the past several months. I have seen you as:
A compassionate leader.
You are providing for the well-being of the people you are leading. It has not always been easy, but you are nurturing them to their full potential. You are intentionally developing authentic relationships for the purpose of helping people become who they were created to be.
A hope-filled leader.
You are holding before the people a picture of what is next. You’re empowering them to look beyond the darkness of today’s challenges and to see the light, God’s light, shining brightly upon a new day. You are leading them toward the future, adjusting and adapting to the changing landscape.
A stabilizing leader.
You are modeling integrity and consistency. You are addressing the fears of the people by leading with confidence and humility. With competence, you are helping people name and understand the challenges of the future. You are using insight and wisdom from past experiences to show people how they can and will be part of the future.
Leading with Self-Doubt
You have what it takes to be a leader, yet you are filled with self-doubt. Because this is not what you were trained to, you are feeling tentative and a bit insecure. And because you don’t feel you are living up to expectations, you are lonely and somewhat isolated. This is not what you envisioned ministry to be and, at the very least, what you would be doing.
What Do You Have Left?
I recently read a story of Itzhak Perlman. At age 75, he is known as one of the finest violists of our time. You might already know that as a child, he contracted polio. Today, he wears braces on both legs, and walks with the aid of two crutches.
Several years ago, while he was playing at the Lincoln Center in Washington, D.C., one of his violin strings broke. A gasp could be heard throughout the Center. The conductor as well as the audience knew that it is impossible to play a symphonic work with just three strings. But Perlman refused to stop and signaled the conductor to continue.
People reported that they could see him changing and recomposing the piece in his head. When he finished, there was absolute silence in the room. And then, the audience and the orchestra jumped to their feet, cheering and applauding. They had experienced an artist at work, and they were appreciative.
Perlman smiled, wiped the sweat from his brow, and raised his bow to quiet the audience. And then he said, “You know, sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.”
You Are Gifted to Lead
You have been created and gifted to lead for this very time and place in history. If I may continue with this metaphor, God has put this incredible score in front of you. It is a masterpiece titled “Your Life.” You have what it takes to be a leader. Sometimes you feel a few strings short, but how much music can you make with what you have left? If God has gifted you, what are doing with what you have been given?
What Will You Do With What You’ve Been Given?
In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus tells of three servants who are given responsibility for the master’s property. Each is given a different responsibility. In other words, no one was given a complete set of strings.
When the master returned, two of the servants said, “We played the best we could with what we had.” The master says, “Well done, good and faithful servants, you’ve been faithful in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.”
The third servant, who had convinced himself that he was “just a one string fiddler,” said to the master, “Look! I didn’t break any more strings.”
The problem is the music doesn’t depend on what you have. The music depends on what you do with what you have. And if you do nothing…?
Use your Gifts
God has gifted you and wants you to use your gifts, talents, strengths to lead God’s people through the confusion and chaos of the days in which we live. You have what it takes to lead.
Even though you might not in the best situation or have a lot of resources. Even though the work might be hard and exhausting, and the people are unkind and hurtful, you are gifted for this time. The question is “what will you do with what you have been given?”
As a leader, gifted for this time, focus upon the following:
Regardless of the situation or the circumstances, the mission remains the same. With the mission in mind, lead with conviction. Be clear about where you are going. When you are clear regarding your direction, you can focus upon the people entrusted to your care. It is your focus that helps instill confidence and brings stability.
Now is the time to deepen your relationship with God and to understand yourself. When you are in tune with God and with yourself, you can touch people in beautiful ways.
Let’s use one more violin illustration. A violin is a musical instrument that is both sensitive and strong. It is sensitive in that it is affected by the slightest touch, and it is strong because its strings can withstand a good deal of pressure A violin must be continually and properly tuned to be played well, for if it is not, even the finest violinist cannot call forth beautiful music from it. It is when you are in tune with yourself that God makes the greatest music.
Build relationships with the people entrusted to your care. Be genuinely interested in them. Help them to discover how God has gifted them. As you develop your relationships, you will create a healthy environment of trust where everyone is supported, encouraged, and celebrated. I know you don’t have to be reminded, but you are in the people business. The best out who and what you have.
4. Being generous
Extend the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others. Assume the best of others. Give them the benefit of the doubt. When you are generous with others, they will be generous with you.
When in doubt, seek to understand and be slow to judge. Remember, people can only act upon what they know. Don’t hold them responsible for what they don’t know.
Brene Brown writes, “Our relationship is only trusting if you can assume the most generous thing about my words, intentions, and behaviors and then check in with me.” Be generous. Assume people are doing the best they can with what they know.
5. Navigating the challenges
With your eyes on the mission, deepening your relationship with God, focusing upon the gifts of others, and being generous with those who seem slow coming around, move forward with confidence and grace.
Adapt to unexpected changes, face the unanticipated obstacles, and depend upon the strengths and gifts of others to follow through to reach the goal. Because you have developed your relationships upon trust and credibility, you have what is needed to complete the journey.
Your Next Step
In the words of Perlman, “Sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.” You have everything needed to make the impact people want and need in their lives and in the world. So, what are you going to do about it?
Take a moment to think of the people entrusted to your care. Every day this week, get one or two of them in mind and ask yourself “What is one thing I can do today to let this person know how much I appreciate being their leader?
When you start sharing your appreciation, listen closely. You will begin to hear that you have what it takes to be a leader.
When you need and want help, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sara Thomas and I (Tim Bias) are ready to assist you in becoming the leader you are created to be. We will assist you in deepening your relationship with Christ, the church, and your community.
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