Archives For gracious leaders

My first leadership experience was as an 11-year-old in Boy Scouts. As a newly christened “Assistant Patrol Leader”, I led as I had seen others leading. Experience said the way in which you led other pre-teen peers was through yelling and screaming, using all of your newly learned expletives until finally the group accomplished the task. Unfortunately my model came through watching the 12 and 13-year-old leaders!

Some leaders never outgrow this style.

They refine it, dropping the cursing, but maintaining the control and the “no questions asked” style. Hollywood promotes this style with military drill sergeants and gruff police captains.

As we grow in our leadership, we realize the limits of this style’s effectiveness. We come to understand a need to value people, not absolute obedience.

Drill sergeant discipline

Much of what is learned in leadership comes from personal mistakes, as well as lessons learned from the mistakes of other leaders.

This is true in my own story.

I was hurt by leadership early in my missions career. There were issues of control, manipulation, and a very works oriented mentality. The smallest mistake was treated as massive, leading to feeling as if you disappointed the leaders. Perfectionism was modeled, grace was not.

During these years I had to contend with tribalism, accusation, character attacks, and many other wretched things people do to each other. At one point, I was even advised to engage in illegal activities by a senior leader in the organization!

I would like to share several tips which have helped me journey out of the pain. These tips will help you regain health and succeed as a leader.