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The Journey of Everyday Leadership

Month

November 2016

Turbulent Seas

GUEST AUTHOR:  Dr. Steve Strombeck serves Jessup as Professor of Marketing and Director of the MBA program.

Leadership character more commonly develops through turbulent seas, than through quiet ones.

The fierce gale of wind that God brought down on the sea of Galilee had an eternal purpose: to test the faith of the twelve disciples. Were these men not singing their unwavering devotion to God days earlier in the synagogue? Yet, where were their praises here in the tempest? It is one thing for leaders to profess their love for the Lord in the company of other believers, but quite another to remain steadfast in devotion when all hell seemingly breaks loose.

ship-storm

God’s character emanates unconditional love, but in no way does this mean He seeks only our comfort (Heb. 12:6).

At times, He causes us to lie down in green pastures for rest and renewal. But in conforming us to the image of Christ, our heavenly Father will spare no expense in the molding process, both to the willing of heart and to the unwilling.

Recall that it was God who brought to Satan’s attention His faithful servant Job.

The Lord God declared “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil” (Job 1:8). The Lord was so pleased with Job’s faithfulness that He knew his servant could withstand the leadership test of significant trials. Job knew God deeply, and yet only through affliction (Is. 48:10) would he come to embrace the glorious knowledge of God’s unfathomable ways (Job 42:1-3).

Arguably Israel’s greatest leader, David, asked of God something that few would dare to request.

“Probe my heart Lord and purge from me everything that is not You! Hammer out of me, on the anvil of Your choosing, anything in my heart that doesn’t demonstrate Your absolute Lordship over my life”

(Ps. 139:23-24; paraphrased for context).

Authentic faith and leadership always comes at a price for leaders like you and me!

This then begs the question: As a leader, how might God be shaping you through trial? Will you seek Him or resist Him in the process?

Stephen Strombeck, Ph.D.

Giving Up Power

Churches, like companies, frequently have their CEO – someone who calls the shots. That person may select the paint color for the nursery, as well as approve the worship song selection. They have their hands in everything and on everything.

Is this what Jesus intended when He inaugurated His Church?

When did we begin to believe that one person could provide everything needed for leadership? If it’s true that we are “working out our salvation” (Phil. 2:12) and becoming more and more like Christ (theologians call this “ongoing sanctification”), then I suggest the following:

We can’t get a full picture of Jesus through any one [human] individual.

The apostle Paul says that we are one body, but many parts (1 Cor. 12). Christ is the head. He “graces” each member with different gifts of teaching, prophecy, and administration. So why do leaders (even some of us) seek to acquire and defend as much power as possible?

wooden-body

You’ve heard it said that leaders should “work themselves out of a job,” but this rarely comes naturally.

Dan Allender, in his book Leading With a Limp, suggests that leaders should acknowledge their weaknesses and regularly give up power. When these leaders retire, things actually improve (rather than fall apart) because they’ve empowered others!

But Allender’s challenge arrives with a warning.

Leaders who empower others must choose the posture of listening and understanding. Their influence primarily seeks to serve others, not themselves. They are often misunderstood, manipulated and abused. They may even forfeit the “right” to a promotion or added accolade for their resume. Sometimes, their decisions will seem illogical or careless.

Leaders must face these tough questions: Am I secure enough in my identity and calling to intentionally empower those whom I lead? Is there someone specific whom I should be empowering more?

 

Daniel Gluck

Lead Faculty, B.A. in Christian Leadership

The Power of ‘The Only’

As a woman of color in higher education, I have grown used to being “the only”—the only person of color and/or woman in rooms of power. This is not unique to academic institutions. The novelty of someone like myself in leadership can also be seen in business, healthcare, and other arenas.

board-meeting

A number of books and research studies have investigated the importance of diversity, and advocate that diversity be embedded as early as possible. Many theorists also argue that our organizational and societal contexts require greater diversity. Indeed, diversity has become an imperative.

What this discussion often overlooks are the benefits and opportunities of those challenges and what being “the only” can provide. I have recognized my only-ness (as an African American woman) as an opportunity for ministry.

My presence has an impact on race relations. As my colleagues interact with me and as my students learn from me, I see the perspectives of those colleagues and students shift. I embody a fresh point of reference by which others can combat the limited and diluted images presented to them in popular culture and media.

Research supports this assertion.

Anthony Antonio found that when college students have racially diverse friends and classmates, and engage in discussions with racial—and opinion—minority members, students grew in their understanding of the world. As Kim Box concludes (Woven Leadership, 2011),

Diversity is a secret weapon to build the most successful organizations.

As leaders, we will at times need to become all things to all people (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). As we shepherd an ever increasingly diverse constituency, it is important we create environments open to and welcoming for all people.

Is diversity on your radar? Who is “the only” in your circle?

 

Dr. Aisha Lowe serves as Associate Professor of Education and Associate Dean of the Office of Academic Research at William Jessup University.

Friday Quote

“Leadership is not about the next election, it’s about the next generation.”

– Simon Sinek

The 2016 U.S. Presidential election has been one of the most polarizing in history.  Now that the results are in, perhaps it’s fitting for Christian leaders to consider the difference between positional leadership and moral leadership.

The former is based on title.  The latter is based on influence.

Great leaders throughout history have changed the course of human history, not because of title, but because of moral influence for a greater good.  What are we doing to invest in the next generation today?

A leader I know…

I am having trouble with a leader I know. Sometimes, he just refuses to change, even when the evidence is right before him. It is not that his attitude is impossible to live with. Over the years, I have grown used to his particular approach to hierarchical decision making. I am not meaning to be negative, but his style can be offensive and demotivating, to say the least.

contemplation

A few months ago, I came across a book entitled Immunity to Change by Kegan and Lahey. What an ironic title. Is not change what most people long for, at least to some degree? How often have you heard “If only I could change my career,” or “If only I could lose a few pounds this year,” or “If only [fill in the blank] was different”? Change seems elusive for many people; but an immunity to change, what could that be? The leader I know shares this immunity.

For instance, just the other day he said to me, “I don’t understand why people don’t just grow up and do the right thing. Why do people resist change?” I was shocked. Was he unaware of his own resistance to change?

So I gently commented, (I have learned to be gentle with him), that “Leadership is more than giving orders and expecting results. In fact, leadership is a collective and collaborative process that involves working with others across organizational lines.” I wanted to add, “We all have competing values that work against change in our lives, and it is worth exploring them.” Addressing that issue, however, will have to wait.

I am seeing a change in this leader, but it has taken some courage on my part to speak up and challenge his assumptions. Leadership really is an inside job. From the heart, to the head, and out to others. Godly leadership rests on mutual power and authority, not control and coercion. Somewhere he had lost touch with this fact.

I hope he remains open to change and committed to collaboration.

I am that growing leader.

Dennis Nichols

Lead Faculty, Master of Arts in Leadership

Leadership Quote

As long as you have breath, God’s purpose for your life is not yet finished. He has so much more for you to do. Dungy & Whitaker, The Mentor Leader, p.52

You have unique opportunities to positively impact others today.  Look for moments to encourage another and then courageously do it. It will change your life and theirs!

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