Men interact with others at home, school, work, and in the teams and clubs we participate in. It can be quite satisfying to be offered a leadership role in these spheres. You have been dreaming of the moment, haven’t you? Sometimes our dreams and visions do not go as planned. And who is to blame?
Being a leader, when we discover we are to blame because we have lost alignment with our beliefs and values, how might we recover from these mistakes and get back on track?
Being a Leader after Mistakes
Michael Hyatt, is an author, blogger, speaker, and the former chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. I have always found his posts on leadership and productivity to be encouraging and inspiring.
Hyatt once posted a list of 10 things leaders should avoid at all costs. They are:
- Pride and Arrogance
- Negative Influences
- Lacking Integrity
- Majoring in Minor Things
- Lacking Values
- Blindly Trusting People
- Spin Doctoring
- Short-Term Focus
I wish I had access to this list before beginning my first stint as a Senior Minister of a church. At the time, I felt as if my leadership team treated me like a Student Minister. I came to the conclusion they had little respect for me. This was my first time with such a responsibility after all and maybe I couldn’t be trusted. This lack of confidence in myself turned outward and my leadership stumbled at many points. A pretty clear case of “Majoring in Minor Things”, don’t you reckon?
The thing is, I lost sight of what I ‘brought to the table’. I had every reason to be confident in my leadership capacity. I had the skills, education, and experience required to step up from the associate roles I had fulfilled until then. The leadership team at this church obviously agreed and hired me. I had every reason to be confident enough in being a leader but I let this mistake in my personal and leadership development interfere.
Trouble of Our Own Making
Even being a leader, we can often find ourselves in the midst of trouble of our own making. It’s easy to miss, and hard to admit, when such trouble is no one’s fault but our own. The log in one’s own eye is harder to see than the speck in someone else’s. How can we get back on track and recover from our mistakes in leadership?
How can a young man keep his way pure?(Psalm 119:9)
By keeping your word.
The writer of these words is here alluding to the sort of situation where our ‘train has come off the rails’. The case may be we have lost sight of our beliefs and values. Or we have deviated from the path we have set for ourselves. The steps we committed to take have not yielded the results we expected. In either case, more likely than not, the experience is akin to ‘every thing’s gone to shit’. We are left wondering what now to do and how now to get ourselves out.
For the friends of Jesus, the encouragement of Psalm 119 is clear: Get back on track by realigning yourself onto the track of God’s ways, as revealed in his word and will. In the Bible we find the commands of God and the inspiration for The Good Life. This way has been tried by many others before us and proven true. When you find yourself in a bad situation, yes, you cannot avoid the consequences of your mistakes. But, having gone the wrong way —even in being a leader— the only way to sort it out is to get back on track and going God’s way.
Judgement Mistakes Made Easy
When finally given an opportunity at being a leader, you may have been dreaming of that moment for years. You have a vision and know how to achieve that vision, if only those around you will listen and follow your lead. Your intention may have been to serve the company, your co-workers, and your customers. With promotion comes great responsibility and the weight of that responsibility can cloud your judgement. This easily creates the conditions for the mistakes Michael Hyatt identified.
Pride and Arrogance are the quickest to arise. Negative Influences will sidle close to you, for you are the one with power now. When weaknesses become evident in your plans and policies, Avoiding, Spin Doctoring, and Short-Cutting are easy escapes. The potential mistakes are plentiful and happen to the best among us.
Get Back on Track with Spiritual Disciplines
These mistakes arise because we are relying on our own capacity to judge correctly. For the friend of Jesus, we have other resources at our disposal.
The Bible contains the commands of God. Therefore, the spiritual discipline of Study provides the beliefs and values from which we gain our direction.
The stories of Jesus provide the example for how a good leader conducts himself. Simplicity, for instance, brings us into alignment with his example.
Prayer, Meditation, and Solitude are spiritual disciplines which bring us into contact with the Holy Spirit. From him we gain peace and provision of the personal and spiritual resources necessary for the task to which we have applied ourselves (see Dt 12:1, 7).
Obviously, keeping our way pure in the first place is what we all want to do, even when being a leader. When and if your life spins out of control, step back and assess the situation. Honestly consider what is your role is this quagmire. Get everything back on track by returning to the ways of God, found in his word.
Do you practice any spiritual disciplines and how have they helped you recover from a difficult situation?