07 Nov '12
What leaders wish their staff understood about their role
There are many things leaders wish their staff understood about what they do. While there may be a mystique about leadership, the realities are very different. So on behalf of many leaders, this is what I wish my staff understood (and many do) about what my life looks like as a leader. I am sure many other leaders have similar thoughts - if they could share them.
- On most days I love what I do. It is how God wired me.
- My greatest discouragements are not from the outside but from what people do or say within the organization.
- Criticism is easy. Real solutions are not! I don't have the luxury of criticizing. I must find solutions.
- I respond poorly to cynicism toward leaders and leadership. My calling is a calling just as yours is.
- My work never goes away, not even on vacation. Not Ever! Ask my children and my wife!
- Part of my job is to clean up messes that others make - quietly.
- I don't mind criticism but I do have a heart (really) and how it is conveyed is important.
- It can be a lonely job as I cannot share everything that I am dealing with.
- Even leaders need encouragement when it is sincere.
- If you wonder what I do with my time it is all on my calendar and you may see it. I share my daily schedule with those who pray for me on a monthly basis.
- I desire the same respect from my staff as I give to them.
- I need your prayer daily. I pray daily for wisdom, favor and empowerment. I know how frail I and needy I am.
- If I sometimes seem distracted, please don't take it personally. I have a lot on my mind seeking to integrate all that our ministry does rather than simply one facet of the ministry.
- When I travel I take all my work with me including the hundred fifty plus emails I get daily. While others can disconnect, leaders cannot. Mornings start early and evenings end late. Sleeping in hotel beds 150+ nights a year is not a perk but a challenge!
- I have the joy and responsibility of sharing the blessings of success with our staff (who make great things happen) and taking responsibility for failures (no matter who made it happen) when they occur.
- When I make a mistake it is more visible than when you do. I may require a lot more grace as well because of it. Some notice when you blow it. Everyone notices when I do.
- While I wish I could, I cannot meet all the expectations that people have for me and must focus on those things that God clearly wired and gifted me for. It is hard but necessary to say a gracious no. By the way, like you, I am only good at a few things and those are the ones I need to focus on.
- Because of my leadership visibility I will be misunderstood for things I do and say no matter what. I wish for the same grace and benefit of the doubt that I give to others.
- When I do create questions I would prefer you ask me what I meant rather than talk to others. They don't know my heart, I do. I am always willing to talk.
- As a leader I can be a friend to staff (and want a highly collegial ethos) but there are boundaries because of my leadership role. Not all understand this.
- I am not the leader who came before me and not the one who will come after me. I am me!
- Like you, I am accountable. All of us are including me. Like you, I answer for my decisions and work. If anything, my accountability is higher because my responsibility is higher.
- There are many things I don't have answers for and will not pretend that I do. I do a lot of thinking and pondering and dialogue and learning. I have learned that answers to complexity does not come easily.
- I am deeply appreciative of the staff I work with. Whatever we accomplish is a team effort. I thank God daily for every one of them.
- As I said, on most days (including today - so far) I love my job!