Tag: staff

When People Disappoint You

I know for sure there are many people who I have disappointed. And, there are of course people who have disappointed me. When people fail to meet our expectations it can be disheartening to say the least.  Especially when our expectations have been warranted and worthy.

Because we live in a world where there are no perfect people, people will inevitably disappoint us.  They will say and do the wrong things or not say and do the right things. How we handle these disappointments can define many aspects of our lives.

Here are some things that serve me well in handling those tough moments when people disappoint…

1) Remember, you have been the person of whom another person has secretly said, “Wow, that was disappointing.” Chances are, you didn’t mean to disappoint and may not even be aware that you have. We are imperfect people who live in an imperfect world.  Not everyone who disappoints you means to do so or is even aware of it. So, be careful not to overreact or assume the worst. Depending on the circumstance, it may be very helpful to communicate your disappointment directly to the person.  It’s hard to expect people to meet expectations you haven’t communicated.

2) Don’t look to people to fulfill the deep needs in your life.  Jesus is to be our all and all, not people.  People can’t make you happy, fulfilled, secure, or valuable. These, and many other deep emotional needs can only truly be filled by God. When we look to people to meet needs in us that only God can, we will always be disappointed. Furthermore, we will wear people and relationships out as we try to get them to fill in us what only can be filled by God. People cannot complete us, facebook cannot complete us, and neither can your spouse. Only God can complete you. If you turn to people, relationships, or facebook for your security, worth, identity, affirmation, and value, you will be frequently disappointed and the people around you will be exhausted from the drama.

3) You will probably only have a handful of people in your life that are truly “with” you. There a basically three types of people in your relationship life…   Opportunist, Causist, and Loyalist

Opportunist– These are people who are not “with” you, but rather they are “with” the opportunity you bring to them or represent.  Maybe you have given them an opportunity to be a part of your vision, a staff position, or any number of things. They are with you mainly because of the opportunity you represent or offer. Once the opportunity is gone and you no longer serve as some kind of benefit to them, they will likely not remain “with” you for long. In fact, they were never with you, they were with the opportunity that came with you.  Once you no longer serve as a benefit to them or carry on the opportunity that came with you, they will likely no longer have an interest and move on to other things. Sometimes, they will join up with another person(s) or group who represent a better opportunity. Either way, they are with the opportunity, not you.

This can be very disappointing because we often hope opportunist are really loyalist or at least become them later on. Unfortunately, they often aren’t and never do become them.  That’s why they are opportunist.

All opportunist aren’t necessarily bad people. Not all opportunist are using you. Many of them care about you, but at the same time care more about the opportunity you represent and bring. The disappointment comes when we expect opportunists to behave like loyalist.  The more we see opportunist as opportunist and not loyalist, the less will be surprised and disappointed.

Causist- These are people who are not “with” you but rather they are “with” the cause you share together.  Typically they are against what you are against. Sometimes, they are for what you are for.  Either way, they are “with” the cause, but not “with” you.

The moment you no longer stand for what they stand for or stand against what they stand against, or the cause becomes completed, they will likely no longer have an interest in you and move onto to other things.

The truth is, many people and relationships fit into either the causist or opportunist category. That’s neither bad or good necessarily, it’s just reality. Furthermore, most people will leave our side, distance themselves, or move onto other things in one way or another. Typically, it’s because they were either relationships primarily of opportunity or cause at the heart. When we understand this, it helps us to see and celebrate our relationships for what they are instead of be thoroughly disappointed for what they aren’t.  Yes, we would all probably love the causist and opportunist to be or become loyalist and they could certainly benefit in learning to do so, but that typically is not the case.  This understanding can go a long way to handling the disappointments people cause us.

Loyalist-  These are the people who are “with” you. No matter what you stand for or stand against, whether you are right or wrong, whether you present an opportunity or not. They are with you, above and beyond any vision, cause, opportunity, or alike.

I can count on both hands the people who are loyalists in my life.  Jesus himself during his earthly ministry only had essentially a few loyalists. If you have any loyalists in your life, thank God for them, they are tremendous gift.

Loyalists stand by your side no matter where you are. They believe in you, what God is doing in you, and they want to be a part of your life no matter what. They stay by you when you fail or succeed, rise or fall, hurt or help.

No, these people are not enablers or “yes” people. You can disagree with someone and even disapprove of their behavior and yet still be “with” them. Jesus was often criticized for being “with” sinners… emotionally and physically.  Some of the loyalists in my life have often confronted me, disciplined me, and spoke the truth in love.  In those confrontational moments, I could have walked away, but they didn’t and wouldn’t.

Loyalist are life-timers. Whatever life brings, they are “with” you.

Understand the opportunist is like scaffolding in a building project, they are next to you for a while because of the opportunity you bring or represent that benefits them, but when the opportunity you bring or represent is gone or a better one comes along, they will likely leave your side for something or someone else.

Understand the causist is like a fellow soldier in a mission, they are with you for a shared cause. You either have a shared enemy to battle or goal you desire to accomplish. Once the battle changes, ends, or you change, they will likely either find another cause or continue their cause with someone or something else.

Understand the loyalist is with you no matter what.

To help with disappointment, don’t confuse the Opportunist nor the Causist with a Loyalist. Acknowledge what each of these relationships are so you don’t experience the disappointment that comes with making them into something they aren’t.

Leadership Stages

Critical Stages of Leading People

Jesus was and is the Master of leading people. One of the most powerful things I have observed in His example is the stages He goes through, overtime, with the people He is leading and developing. The way Jesus handles leadership at the beginning of His interaction with a person or group is different from His style and methods later on.  There is something sacred and necessary within the stages Jesus goes through that make His leadership successful. In fact, when followed, these stages do well at preventing us from microwaving leaders or bottlenecking them; both are which are not healthy.

Stage One: Directive

Mark 1:15-20  “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news! 16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him. 19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

This passages marks the beginning of Jesus’ leadership of the disciples. Notice, Jesus is directive, not democratic. He doesn’t begin with consensus-style leadership nor does He call for a vote on His teaching of the Kingdom or try to get these fisherman to agree with His strategy and tactics.

Jesus simple says, “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men”

Leaders must have and understand their God-given authority and the need to be directive at certain stages of leadership. Jesus didn’t poll the disciples and ask, “O.k. guys, what kind of people do you want to become and what do you think we ought to do together?” Rather, Jesus came with vision and a sure sense of direction. He didn’t ask the disciples to give Him vision, He asked them to give Him their followship.

In the beginning of leading people, the directive stage of leadership is critical both for the leader and the follower.  It prevents the leader from the early stage temptations of morphing into a managing people pleaser, political player, or an insecure, indecisive gatherer. Yet, it also helps the follower to not overestimate their readiness for the journey, become arrogant, assume false expectations, or develop their own personal preferences and agenda.

Jesus knew, at this stage, giving clear, decisive direction was in the best interest of all involved. He wasn’t interested in managing their lives, He was interested in leading them.

As the common saying goes, “Managers do things right, while leaders do the right thing.”

When we start on a new trail in pursuit of a God-vision, we need a strong confident leader to show us the way.  There will be a time for consensus building, for gathering and listening to opinions from those that follow, but that time is not best placed at the beginning stages.

Stage One dynamics…

The Follower has : High enthusiasm, high confidence, low experience, low competence

The Leader gives: High direction, high example, low consensus, low explanation

 

Stage Two: Visionary Coach

Luke 12:32-34“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Jesus, in this stage, adapts His style into more of a coaching style. He increases His time with the disciples in order to help them work through their developing insecurities and fears.

Leaders do well to help their followers go through the doubts and insecurities that occur as one pursues anything of God. Growing in relationship with Him and leadership capacity within His Kingdom is not always pleasant nor easy.  People are often excited at first about moving forward with you and God, but soon they realize there are challenges, internally and externally. It is during this time that a leader must help their followers along, knowing that some may choose to abandon ship and go back to the bliss of stage one with someone or something else.

Continually coming back to the vision and articulating it is critical at this stage.  Vision helps us see where we are going when we can’t see it for ourselves and those we lead. Vision is what reminds us of our calling and keeps our eyes on the prize. Vision is what rekindles the flames of our hearts and brings us back to centering on Jesus and His purposes and plans.

Helping followers understand that what God has called us to become and do is impossible apart from Him is a key accomplishment in this stage.  Vision is what enables our souls to expand with increasing room for faith.  Without leading people to develop their faith and character, the potential of what God has and can do with them will never be reached.  A coaching style enables a continuation of the directive style of stage one while adding a dimension of developing responsibility and personal growth for the follower, and developed trust levels between the follower and the leader.

Stage Two dynamics…

The Follower has: Low enthusiasm, low confidence, low experience, low competence

The Leader gives: High direction, high discussion, high example, high accessibility

 

Stage Three: Coaching / Pastoral / Team

John 15:12-17  My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit —fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

This is the stage where Jesus starts to shift to a “You do it, and I will help and watch” style and strategy of leadership.  Over time, the followers have demonstrated increasing levels of loyalty, shared vision, competency and spiritual growth and are now ready to be given new levels of responsibility and intimacy.  Their relationship with Jesus has been strengthened, and now it’s time for more of a team approach as Jesus opens the door to input, ideas, and consensus building.

It is during this stage that Jesus begins to introduce the idea that one day, Jesus will be much more distant from them. This is a kind of pre-commissioning stage.

The major challenges of this stage is to ensure that the vision has been passed off to your followers through tests as you give them increasing levels of responsibility, decision making, and influence with you.  At this level, the leader needs to learn the art of watching without being noticed so as to create an environment where risk is minimized while testing the follower for readiness for increasing levels of leadership.

It is tempting for leaders to rush this stage, so it’s important to remember it essentially took Jesus three years to get to stage four.  As in a relay race, the passing of the baton is highly practiced, carefully timed, clearly communicated, and very critical.  A bad transition can undo months of hard work.

Leaders do well to help the follower understand the expectations and pacing of this transition period so as to be in continual communication and connection with the process.

Stage Three dynamics…

The Follower has: Increasing enthusiasm, growing experience, intermittent confidence, growing competence

The Leader gives: Lower direction, higher consensus, high discussion, high accessibility

 

Stage Four:  Vision Reproduction / Delegated Authority

Matthew 28:18-20  Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus is preparing the disciples to spend less time with Him. He is reducing their hours of contact with Him because He is now delegating authority.  They are now becoming extension and representatives of Him.  Jesus has moved them from “Come follow me” to “Go be Me, stay true to the vision, and do what I taught you to do!”

When the leader sees the individual or team is highly competent, spiritual developed, loyal, trustable, and deeply shares the vision, it is time for delegating authority and responsibility at higher levels.  It’s not about perfection, but it is about progress.  To be highly directive and restrictive when the follower is ready for delegation is to squelch the potential and work of God in and through the follower.

Delegating before stage four at high levels is a recipe for disaster.  The follower may think they are ready for it, but until they have completely gone through stages 1-3, they are not.

At this stage, the closeness with the leader and follower remains, but it is not defined by the amount of time together, but rather the openness, loyalty, and shared vision they have with one another.

Stages of delegation:

1-    I do, you watch

2-    I do, you help

3-    You do, I help

4-    You do, I watch


Stage Four dynamics… 

The Follower has: High enthusiasm, high confidence, high experience, high competence

The Leader gives: Clear but lower direction, high consensus, clear but lower example, high explanation

What to Look for in a Potential Leader

What do I need to look for in a potential leader?” 

 Most leaders have first hand experience of where they have raised people up into leadership only to later regret that decision. We don’t want to bottleneck leadership, but we don’t want to get ahead of God either. If you are like me, you spend a lot of time and head space on getting this issue right in your leadership.

Obviously, these are not exhaustive, but here are six critical indicators that will help you have an idea of what to look for in a potential leader.  (These assume a person’s prior salvation through repenting for their sin and putting their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, baptism, fellowship and membership within the Church)

Humble/Teachable/Gentle Spirit

“This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.” Isaiah 66:2

One of the main factors that God looks for in a potential leader is a humble spirit. One has to truly worship God before they can lead other people to God.

Every leader God ever raised up in scripture first had a humbling, repenting, worshipful experience with God that shaped their overall attitude into a humble spirit before God.

If you worship yourself (pride) all you will do is lead people to yourself and self-seeking pursuits. Worship is a humbling act of humility. When you worship God you acknowledge your limitations, sin, brokenness and your desperate need for God, His salvation on the cross, and His will to prevail in your life.

Humbleness agrees with God that there are more important things to life and in life than you. When you have a humble spirit, life becomes less about you, and more about what God desires to do in and through you. It becomes much less about what you are entitled or owed, and much more about your indebtedness to God and desire to serve Him and His people.

Some people manage to turn humility into a source of pride as they draw attention to themselves through their humility. The essence of humility is to take the focus off of you and place it on God and his desires. Humility is the branch from which the fruit of gentleness grows. People who have humility are gentle with others, not forceful, abrasive, or deceitful. You can be gentle and an assertive go-getter at the same time.

Over the years, I have seen people with great skills and competency have their pride and arrogance disqualify them as leaders and render their skills ineffective in spiritual leadership. Behind every move they make is an underlying agenda to draw attention to themselves. They put their own benefit over and above the benefit of the spiritual organization. And all too often, when a person of pride is confronted or their expectations are not realized, they become more aggressive or passive aggressive, or they completely shut down and disconnect. Pride is the author of the book some people live by title “Fight or Flight.”

One of the manifestations of humility comes when a person displays a teachable spirit. Humility says there is always something to learn. Humbleness requires surrendering to God and His design and plan for your life. Having a teachable spirit means that you are open to being developed in any way that moves you further into God’s design and plan for your life. People who have a teachable spirit are prone to consider the reality that other people can impart wisdom and instruction from which they could benefit. They are putty in the hands of God, waiting to be shaped and molded by God and the people whom God places over and with them.

The difference between confidence and pride is where a person places that confidence and what purpose it serves in their life. A person with a humble spirit will put confidence in God, His power, and purposes and use confidence as way to face the spiritual battles in their life and carry out the good work that God has begun in them. A person ruled by pride will put their confidence in themselves, their ideas, tenure, achievements, and pursuits and will use confidence as a way to intimidate, dominate, and a manipulate in order to compensate for deep rooted insecurity in their lives.

One way of testing for issues of pride is in seeing how a person responds and what they do after you have said “no.” to them.

Though people who have issues of pride may be very gifted, motivated, organized, and competent, their pride will turn their gifts towards the “dark-side” can ultimately go a long way in stealing from the kind of healthy leadership culture and effectiveness you are trying to develop.

Look for people with a humble, teachable, and gentle spirit.

Shared Vision

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus.” Romans 15:5

One of the most destructive forces in Church leadership is division and disunity.

Yet, at the same time, having expectations for unity where God allows for freedom can be equally counterproductive. Every spiritual organization needs to search the scriptures faithfully and allow God’s counsel and revelation to determine what are going to be the essentials and non essentials of the values, beliefs and vision of the group. Once that is clearly established, every leader must be enthusiastically aligned to the essentials and allowed freedom in the nonessentials.

With nonessentials, shared vision will sometime need to mean that people agree to disagree and refrain from majoring on the minors. Non-essentials can be turned into essentials when agendas are made out of personal preferences. People who have a divisive spirit and an ax to grind to go with it, are the usual suspects when people gather around non essentials and make them into sources of strife and division.

One of the best ways to discern unity in shared vision is to ask the kind of questions that illumine what a person would do differently if given total freedom to run or shape the organization themselves. Their answers will go a long way at identifying areas of unity and potential disunity.

As many spiritual leaders have articulated, “Vision builds consensus, not the other way around.” Being crystal clear about the vision of your spiritual organization and raising up those who are enthusiastically aligned to the essentials of that vision will go a long way at promoting the effectiveness and health of the organization. Plans and strategies should bend and sway with flexibility, but vision should be well defined and consistent.

Raising up people who you think you can ultimately change, when it comes to areas of disunity in the essentials of vision, is a prescription for future problems. When God is ready, he will bring or identify the right person for the job. Never let the pressures of ministry expansion cause you to take short cuts on shared vision. Furthermore, no matter how large and complicated your spiritual leadership culture becomes, keep a close ear to the floor on your staff and the people with whom you do ministry so as to listen for areas of disunity. A small crack on the ceiling is much easier to fix before it turns into a huge one, but it takes more attention to spot it.

Loyalty

“Let your heart therefore be loyal to the Lord our God, to walk in His statutes and keep His commandments, as at this day.” 1 Kings 8:61

Loyalty means that in your conversion, you have forever stepped onto God’s side of the cosmic battle between God and evil and you, first and foremost, will remain steadfast to God, His word, and purposes.

Loyalty means that you have the best interest at heart of the people who oversee you and team with you in ministry. Loyalty means that you put ministry process and parameters above opportunities for self centered pursuit. Loyalty means you care just as much about the relationship you have with those who oversee and team with you in ministry as you do about achieving goals and cranking out ministry product. Loyalty means that you give those who oversee you and team with you in ministry the benefit of the doubt. Loyalty means, within the bounds of integrity, you safeguard the leadership culture in which you operate and give honor and respect to those who oversee you and team with you in ministry. Loyalty means you value the integrity of the journey as much as the prize of the destination.

Loyalty is one of the most important ingredients to look for in a potential leader. Where there is a clear disregard or disrespect of the leadership culture of your organization or of those who make up the leadership, you can know for sure, you have identified a leadership candidate that is “no go for launch.”  A person can have disagreements or areas of concern or counsel for the leadership and still be respectful.

One of the difficult dynamics of loyalty is that it often can’t be tested until you go into battle or face some kind of challenge with that person at your side. Sometimes you can tell a potential leader’s capacity for loyalty by the way they carry themselves in relationships and how they handle power and responsibility. Another way you can discern a potential leader’s capacity for loyalty is by investigating how they finished things up at the last place they worked or led. People who are loyal don’t walk away from things easily nor do they typically do so with carelessness.

Ministry challenges are often the tmes when true loyalty is tested. Loyalty is easy when things are sailing smoothly, but kick up the winds and the waves and you will quickly find out who is with you and who isn’t. You will find out who sees your relationship with them as an end, or a means to an end. People who are loyal will be careful, committed, and conscientious about what they do and how they work within the system and culture of your spiritual organization. They will see their relationship with you as one that transcends ministry and not depends on it. They will look for every reason to be for you when others are looking for ways to be against you.

Great “Followship”

“They immediately left their nets and followed Him.”  Matthew 4:20

Among our leadership at CRBC, we have a saying “Bad followship never equates to good leadership.”

One of the greatest hallmarks of a genuine Jesus follower isn’t that they carry around a huge Bible and parade their spirituality so that all can see and adore. Rather, it is that they are doing serious battle with the evil within and around and are passionately seeking to “work out” their salvation and grow some spiritual fruit on the vine. The godly sorrow that led them to repentance and thus salvation remains with them as they learn to, more and more, hate what is evil and love what is good. The greatest hallmark of a Jesus follower is that they are in fact following. And in turn that “following” results in self leadership.  As in the book of James, faith without works is dead, so is leadership without followship.

Bad self leadership never leads to good people leadership.

People who are great followers are the kind of people you can tell are seriously fighting to grow spiritual in their lives, not for hype, but for true transformation that is evidenced in behavior. Words of correction or guidance don’t just roll of their back or become dismissed by cheap grace, but are seriously considered and put through the mill of discernment so they can be sure to hear God’s heart and desires.

People who are great followers understand that God created them to be in a constant state of spiritual progress. They embrace God’s growth movement in their life and value God’s life changing truth instead of consistently resisting it. People who are great followers have a healthy “fear” of the Lord. To be sure, none of us are always excited when God comes in and wants to move things around in our life. But in the end, great followers have an overall hunger and openness to putting more and more of their lives and living under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

People who are great follower will take the heart the reality that you don’t really know the truth of Jesus Christ until you are actually live it as a lifestyle.

People who are great followers will have a meaningful, daily devotion life as they pray passionately study the scriptures and commit them to their heart and memory. They will take the Word of God seriously and see it as the ultimate authority for their living. People who are great followers will be life long learners and engaged in classes and small group offerings where they can spiritually grow in the context of meaningful relationships. They will be people who practice the spiritual disciplines of financial giving and serving on a consistent, regular basis.  They will be people who desire and utilize opportunities to share the Gospel with the lost and worship the Savior in His sanctuary.

People who are great followers will be lovers of healthy accountability so that their leadership and service can be protected by Godly guidance and authority. And when they fail, as Charles Spurgeon suggests, their repentance will be louder than their sin.

Positive Attitude

“Be joyful always” 1 Thessalonians 5:16

A person with a negative, high maintenances personality will be one that will require more attention and energy than you will probably be able to give in a leadership context, especially if you raise them up for significant areas of leadership. Attitude reflects the mindset of the person, and the mindset of the person reflects how they interpret, react and, respond to all of life, especially challenges.

Leaders need to always keep in mind the chemistry and ethos of their ministry teams and staff. Bringing on board a person with a bad attitude will potentially pull a dark cloud over the ministry and the team that leads it. Nothing weighs down the work of God more perhaps than a bad attitude.

The greatest challenge with people who have attitude problems is that it is very hard to change them. Often times, only the power of the Holy Spirit can brighten up a person’s outlook, especially since no one can choose their attitudes for them. If we have a bad attitude, it is no one else’s fault but our own.

At CRBC, we typically move people who have considerable attitude issues into a discipleship mode, not a leadership mode. The context of leadership is not the most conducive environment in which to deal with and minister to serious attitude problems, nor is it the most appropriate context to deal with issues where a person is significantly lacking in other indicators mentioned in this article.

Waiting to raise only people up who have positive/joyful attitudes is like waiting for the ice cream to melt a little bit before you try to scoop it out; it’s so much easier, it doesn’t take so much energy, and it won’t make unnecessary messes that you are going to have to clean up instead of enjoying your ice cream.

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