Leadership in a Culture of Cowardice (part fourteen)

In this blog, we’re considering the fourth of nine traits of healthy leadership:

Stand, as an exemplar, in the sabotage and backlash that must come.

When confronted by opposition, this kind of leader will be swift to embrace the reality of God’s sovereign control and grasp the security provided by God’s unconditional love. She then leans into resistance with a posture of confident curiosity. “God has this!” she might remind herself while stepping toward those who, unnerved by fear, have turned against her.

A leader’s humility creates the opening to presence herself so resourcefully amid conflict. 

In John Chapter 7, Jesus is teaching in the temple courts. When those who hear him speak begin to gush with affirmation, applauding his brilliance, he rebuffs them.

Jesus’ response: “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth…”

28 humilityHumility.

The leader recognizes that he is not powerful enough to have caused the upset nor the circumstances that many say upset them. Aware that each person connected to the disappointment has a contribution, he faces small temptation to assume he’s solely responsible for the unwelcomed turn of events. He has grounded himself in the understanding that he is not significant enough to have produced the organization’s successes … nor its failures all by himself.

Yes, he has a part.

His colleagues have a part.

The system has a part.

And, factors beyond everyone’s control have also contributed to the outcome.

Rather than encouraging carelessness, the leader’s decision to interpret life this way empowers responsibility to one another and to the ministry’s mission and goals.

28 skapegoatScapegoating, so common in an anxious, immature culture is antithetical to the stand of the leader and the developing ethos of the organization. Even when the less-mature succumb to its pull, the leader is not provoked to respond in kind.

Keeping in mind how consequential it is to shift the culture of any church, the leader has developed stamina to live into Paul’s charge in 1 Cor 16:13-14: “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong…”.

I find stunning the King James Version’s ancient rendering: “Quit ye like men.”