Learning in the storms

leaders-are-learnersAs the year begins to draw to a close I find myself thinking back on 2014, my leadership roles, and what has been accomplished. As I’ve thought through these accomplishments I quickly realized that while the accomplishments are important, the lessons I learned in those accomplishments are what remain most prominent for me.

Leadership requires solitude  At most times I have anywhere from 5-10 people around me with whom I can speak and confer. Seeking counsel is wise, effective, and needed but there are also times that you must retreat to your quiet place to think and pray in solitude. In solitude I find clarity, focus and peace.
Luke 6:12-13 “ In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.13 And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles.”

Big wheels turn slowly  Leading people through change and growth takes time–lots and lots of time.  Often the wheel turns so slowly that it appears to have stopped.  Give people time.  This one is hard for me; I like results, and I like fast results even more.
James 5:7 “Be patient therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.”

Little things matter – It is the little things that build you up, and it is also the little things that tear you down.  Every big thing is always made up of little things.  What seems little today can be of utmost importance tomorrow.  Little things done well become great things well done.
Luke 16:10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” 

Be a cheerleader – Cheer on those you lead.  Continually choose to celebrate the commendable, excellent and pure things.  People do not need to be reminded of their failures nearly as much as we think they do.  Most are acutely aware of them.  What they need is to be encouraged!
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Always be a student – Learn to study in everything that you do, study those around you, listen to what people say.  Listen more than you speak; this is hard for me!  I am often inspired by a friend of mine in his 80’s who still has a passion for learning and actively seeks to learn each and every day.
Proverbs 1:5 “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.”

As in life, so it is in leadership. Storms come, and storms go. Where they come from and why they come are often left unanswered.  Leadership is not the pursuit of a stormless horizon, but rather a pursuit of God’s peace to withstand the storms we see upon the horizon.

Hold fast, lead well, and live strong.

-Winston

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