The Care and Feeding of the Heart: “Leaders, Leaders Everywhere, But are the Led Being Fed?” Part 3
Welcome to the Training Table where you can depend on some spiritually-nourishing chow, carefully prepared, to help you run the Godly and good race! For what good is a good race, unless it’s a Godly race?
There’s a Meager Amount of Milk at the Training Table…
As a reminder, the Training Table is set for “marathoners in the faith”—born-again, trained, pretty darned fit believers in Jesus Christ who devour Scriptures, relish the fellowship of the Saints, are devoted to their church, feast on sound preaching, teaching, and worship, and set their sights on pleasing God and blessing people by serving and sowing the seeds of the gospel from the time they rise from bed… until they rest their tired yet blessed head!
Remember what Paul said to remind, warn, exhort, and encourage First Century Christ-followers who were faced with the same challenges as we are today—in growing up, being mature, becoming holy, being wise, staying well-trained and fit, and well-equipped to spread the gospel come hell, humanism, hedonism, or a legalistic faith:
“But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh.” (1 Corinthians 3:1-2)
Are you being intentional about getting off the milk and into the meat? Are you ready enough for a meaty, real, relational, and constructively radical faith to set your sights on it as long as it’s called “Today…” (Psalm 95:7-8; Hebrews 4:7)?
Honestly, if you were on trial for intentionally growing your Christian faith and effectiveness, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
Remember… and Reach-Out for the Leadership Prize!
Part 1—The heart of leadership; a leader’s fundamental principles and practices; the organizational culture is a reflection of an individual leader; and locating the heart of a leader by listening.
Part 2—The purpose, job #1 of leadership; a mode, model, and method for organizational effectiveness; the heart of the led: Why people come to work and how leadership can flourish the people.
Today, Part 3—It’s got to be “ME” down deep well before it’s “WE” at any depth; the freedom of leadership spiritual-emotional intelligence and development: “…if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36); the wellspring of knowing and loving self before leading and loving the led.
For me—as a leadership coach, having been led by various types of leaders, and reading a lot over 40+ years—there’s one of many leadership imperatives / truisms that has stood out over the years:
A leader will be only as great at doing “WE!” [an organization], as he or she is at doing “ME!” [a leader’s personal story and heart].
As counterintuitive [even existentially painful…] as it is to around 95% of the leadership of our day, all of the actions around the DOING will be woefully inadequate without getting to the stuff of BEING… First. Check it out:
Recall the organizational effectiveness model we looked at last week:
VISION: Why do we exist? What’s “The Big Idea?!”
MISSION: How we will achieve the Vision/Mission?
CORE VALUES: Who are we? Behavior: How must we conduct ourselves in order to achieve our Vision/Mission?
STRATEGIC ROADMAP: How do we achieve our Vision/Mission? [Four-part series of steps.]
ALIGNMENT: Has the Vision, Mission, Core Values and Strategic Roadmap been clearly [and continuously] communicated to all our stakeholders [each must be identified and qualified]?
PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY: Are we unleashing the involvement and potential of the people in the organization?
RESULTS: How are we measuring results to assure continuous improvement based upon reality?
A leader will never be all he or she can be unless they understand and execute this truth: Before any leader can be as great as he or she can be, the ORGANIZATIONAL effectiveness model [above] must first be treated as an INDIVIDUAL effectiveness model [below].
Leaders who avoid answering the BIG QUESTIONS OF LIFE for themselves will attempt to lead people who spend an inordinately large amount of time QUESTIONING why they come to work every day! This is a real shame and unspeakable waste of human being’s, an Image Bearer’s, boundless ingenuity, self-sacrifice, creativity, teamwork, innovative capability, resilience, goal-orientation… and much, much more!
To get the clearest and best idea of what we’re chewing on here, look over the qualifiers after each part of the organizational effectiveness model above. Now, replace “WE” [“OUR”] with “I”.
Why do I exist?
Who am I? Behavior: How must I conduct myself in order to achieve my Vision/Mission?
How do I achieve my Vision/Mission?
Has my Vision, Mission, Core Values and Strategic Roadmap been clearly [and continuously] communicated to all the key stakeholders [each must be identified and qualified] in my life?
Explicitly speaking, am I unleashing my full potential? How and how not?
How am I measuring results in my life to in order to assure continuous improvement based upon reality? [Who am I accountable to as I aim to grow and change the world?]
Closely Consider the Heart of the Matter.
Have you invested however much time, talent, and treasure that is required to GoDeep! into these questions for your own life?
Can you see how digging deep into the heart of life’s big questions like these can change the heart of a LEADER—and prepare him or her to be a far, far better steward of the LED: Who have God-given, intrinsic desire to GoDeep! themselves?
Before any leader can be as great as he or she can be, the ORGANIZATIONAL effectiveness model [“WE”] must FIRST be treated as an INDIVIDUAL effectiveness model [“ME”].
Molded to Lead: The Heart and Heat of Leadership Catharsis
In the midst of the purifying and painstaking yet highly rewarding journey of going deeply into our own HEART, we are provided the reward of GROWING UP spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically / mentally! Executed well, the “INDIVIDUAL effectiveness model” / Q&A… the repetitive, refining, wordsmithing, clarifying… the breadth and depth exploring process changes the heart of EveryMan: Leaders, in this case, have a disproportionate responsibility to embark on the adventure ASAP… And continuously!
By avoiding this challenge, leaders of all kinds, in every sort of organization, can only bring an IMMATURE, humanistic, and ultimately humanly-degrading perspective to those whom are being LED.
“Why do so few leaders fulfill Collins’ [Level 5 Leadership] ideal? Perhaps because they were never really cared for themselves. It’s the ‘abused leaders abuse others’ syndrome. If you are an abuser and believe that people are just a means to your end, do everyone a favor and transition to an individual contributor role, like investment banking or consulting.
As you face the (sometimes) brutal truths and summon the courage to change, take heart in the fact that, by growing and serving others, you will also serve yourself. As Jim Collins found, great leaders ‘love what they did, largely because they loved who they did it with’.”
(Susan H. Cramm, former CIO and vice president of IT at Taco Bell and CFO and executive vice president at Chevys, a Taco Bell subsidiary—emphasis added)
Sure, God’s Common Grace will provide the led with moderately great.. so-so, not-bad leadership—which doesn’t leave AS MUCH great leadership on the table as awful, impotent, and wounding leadership.
But is the best we can do? You can do? I can do? There is SO much more that can be done… it’s nearly indescribable. But let’s keep trying.
The Best Beginning to Any Journey is to Get to the
Heart of the Matter by First Going INSIDE-OUT!
It’s been true for all of time, but especially in our day, the reason there are so few “Good-to-Great Leaders” is that so few leaders [RE: people] have done the personal “Vision/Mission/Core values/etc. work” [above] which promises to help us get to what the Bible FIRST… and Daniel Goleman more recently made famous… “The Spirit of Leadership Emotional Intelligence”:
When we take the best possible care of our own heart FIRST—by realistically, honestly, and in community get life’s best and biggest PERSONAL issues settled for good and God—the wellspring of God’s True Truth, Love, and Servant-Steward Leadership will overflow to other people! And not until then.
The theological and practical implications of God’s love and exhortation is huge: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23)! “Neglect your heart, leaders, and it WILL be a wellspring of death.” This is no exaggeration: The desolation of poor leadership is rife and rapacious in our day.
Lord Have Mercy, do we ever need an overflow from the heart of great leadership of this kind, Beloved of God!
If and when any leader will take up the mantle of stewarding, knowing, nurturing, owning, redeeming, growing, their own heart [*RE: the seat of the entire self. It includes our core commitments and our idealized image of how the world should be. The heart contains our non-negotiables, our worldview, our belief system, and what we think and dream about when we’re all alone], BIBLICALLY-SPEAKING the fruit of the Spirit will flow out into the world.
But, “Emotional Intelligence-speaking” there is a blessed overflow as well:
- Please chew on Daniel Goleman’s [and the Bible’s] 5 Emotional Intelligence Factors below;
- consider rating yourself on each of the five factors;
- involve another person or two who know you to help you rate yourself;
- take the time to connect the five factors below to what would accrue for anyone who would GoDeep by answering the “individual effectiveness questions” above [VISION: “What do I exist?”, etc];
- a meaningful investment in this area can revolutionize what it means to be a leader who can transform the lives of the led—while achieving the business/organization’s goals!
Self-Awareness (Ps. 139:23-24; Jer. 17:9; Mt 5; Rom. 1:18-32, 8, 10:8-13; Jn. 3:16; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15; Rev. 21:1-8)
Definition: The ability to recognize and understand your most core beliefs, value system, emotions, and drives—as well as their effect on others.
Hallmarks: Realistic self-assessment. Self-confidence. Self-deprecating sense of humor.
Self-Regulation (Ps. 17:4, 119:11; 1 Cor. 9:25; Gal. 5:23; 1 Pet. 1:13; 2 Pet. 1:6; Heb. 12:1; Tit. 1:8
Definition: The ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods. The propensity to suspend judgment—to think before acting.
Hallmarks: Trustworthiness and integrity. Comfort with ambiguity. Openness to change.
Motivation (Prv. 21:21; Ps. 40:6-8; Mk. 12:28-31; Acts 17:11-12; Rom. 15:4; 1 Pet. 2:20; 2 Tim. 3:16-17)
Definition: A passion to work for reasons that go beyond money or status. A propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence.
Hallmarks: Strong drive to achieve. Optimism—even in the face of failure. Organizational commitment.
Empathy (Rom. 15:1; 2 Cor.1:3-7; Jn. 1:14; Lk. 1:32; Eph. 2:8; Phil. 2:7; Col. 1:15; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 13:3)
Definition: The ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people. Skill in treating people according to their mental and/or emotional reactions.
Hallmarks: Expertise in building an retaining talent. Cross-cultural sensitivity. Service to clients and customers.
Social Skill (Ps. 133:1; Jn. 17:20-23; Rom. 12:9-16; Rom. 15:5; 1 Cor. 1:10, 13; Eph. 4:3-13, Col. 3:14; Phil. 1:3-11, 2:1-2)
Definition: Proficiency in managing relationships and building networks. An ability to find common ground and build rapport.
Hallmarks: Effectiveness in leading change. Persuasiveness. Expertise in building and leading teams.
I promise you, these emotional intelligence factors, definitions, and hallmarks MATTER to your heart, your emotions, your psychology and mentality, and your impact on the led!
The Macro and the Micro: It’s Complicated Yet Doable!
Even though this has been a plateful, allow me to offer a digestif of reality and encouragement:
The REALITY is that for many decades now the impact of the rampant secularization, pluralization, and privatization of our culture has had many deleterious consequences… But the lack of great leadership is one of the biggest and worst ones. The problem of “men without chests leadership” [CS Lewis] is a very complicated, very wide, and very deep one that we must face square-on “Today…” (Psalm 95:7-8; 2 Chronicles 7:14). Despite the volumes of some very good [and occasionally Godly] leadership content available today, the big reason “chestless leaders” are in charge of “the dissatisfied led” is that IT’S COMPLICATED. Simplistic, reductionistic [reducing any problem to one or two solutions], and surface treatments will NOT just NOT get things back on track: It will make it much worse! Bettering things with any breadth and depth takes the commitment of biblically-wise, truthful, and loving leader—in community.
The ENCOURAGEMENT is that if any person will—for the first or the umpteenth time—”GoDeep!”, turn to God, seek to know Him by means of a relationship with His Son, and by the power and person of the Holy Spirit, and devote to intentionally moving along the continuum of awareness, understanding, internalization, and action in word and deed of the principles and practices we have chewed on today [and Parts 1, 2]… You can, we all can, take a huge step forward!
God can redeem ANYTHING the locust has devoured (Joel 2:25), my fellow marathoners for Christ! But, God will not redeem ANYTHING that’s not done to include Him [and not false gods], glorify Him, bless others… or not done at all. There is a step forward for anyone who wants to take it… And do not do it alone.
‘Till next week for Part 4: “Leadership at the Coalface: How to Get ‘er Done.
“Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God…” (Hebrews 6:1; 2 Corinthians 13:5-7; 2 Peter 3:18)!