The Terminator

Sitting here in the Knoxville airport this morning I overheard a man behind me talking to his employer about a fellow colleague. He spent 30 minutes ranting about the failures and incompetence of his fellow employee over whom he obviously has direct management. Being a person who loves the art of leadership I listened carefully to what he said and how he said it. 

After a few minutes it was crystal clear to me that he was blaming his failure as a leader on this person under his direct command. Because his neck was on the line, he was covering for a job not well done. In a self-preservation effort he was terminating this individual with his words and actions.

As a high level leader I could easily discern that this man is a low class leader who will not have a bright future in his field. Not one time did he take ownership for his job, role or its outcome. He was the type of individual that believes you climb the ladder of success on the backs of his peers. 

Leadership isn’t using or abusing people to get to the top, it’s teaching people how to use their gifts and talents rightly to fulfill their potential. This is how a real team is built! Unity is so vital to a team’s productivity in every field and teamwork is never achieved when the leader spends his time making excuses at the expense of people. 

REMEMBER, you can never make yourself look good as a leader by making other people look bad! High class leadership deals with problems privately and personally, not publicly. Take the high road of leadership. The attitude of your team is a direct reflection of your leadership. If you don’t like the outcome of a job stop and look in the mirror first. Take ownership! Then spend time with your team and lead them on how to do better. 

One of those days…

Have you ever had “one of those days” where you wake up, and immediately you can tell that today, this day, will be a hard one. You get ready for your day, and it seems like everything in the world is a struggle – You spill your coffee in your car, your appointments don’t go as planned and “Murphy’s Law” seems to be on steroids!

You know, the kind of day that makes you feel like screaming, “why won’t this day just END already?” Do you know those type of days I’m talking about? Surely I’m not the only one…

If you are like me you feel overwhelmed, anxious, stressed and totally incabpable of doing what needs to be done. You get short, irritable, overly sensitive and feel like a total failure. 

Yesterday was a day like that for me. At the end of the day I wanted to crawl under a rock. I missed the mark and let the stress get the best of me. Haven’t done it in a long time, but I over reacted to some situations and let that spill out to my team. 

Because I am a “big picture” kind of leader I allowed my mind to determine the results of the future before it has even happened. What makes it worst is that I’m a Pastor and all Pastors are usually perfect leaders who don’t have meltdowns. Everyone else can meltdown, but not the Cheif…(can you feel the sarcasm?)

This morning I arose from my slumber still feeling the condemnation of personal leadership failure. No it’s not the end of the world, but just the “knowing” I could have done better and the internal questions of where did I personally drop the ball in the process. 

In these moments of life I’m thankful for grace and mercy. Not only from God, also from the team around me. Failure is not final if we learn from it! Sometimes those raw moments reveal something in us we thought we killed a long time ago. We all have “those kind of days…” and most of us (if we are honest) don’t handle them well. 

So what do you do when you have “one of those days”?

  1. Repent quickly – though people don’t like it when we miss the mark, they will forgive if they really understand that at the end of the day that action isn’t who you really are. Just ask for forgiveness – From the person and from God. Saying you are sorry goes a long way!
  2. Back up and look at the bigger picture – no it don’t go according to plan, but maybe, just maybe God has a surprise that you didn’t plan for. One issue doesn’t usuall sink the ship!
  3. Keep people a priority – relationships matter more than agendas, programs, or facilities. Jesus died for people!
  4. Let it go and move on – yes you blew it. Now let it go, cast of the condemnation, and use the failure as fuel for your dream. Carrying the extra weight of a “bad moment” only slows down your journey. One paragraph doesn’t define a book – how the story end determines how good the book was!
  5. Refocus on the goal – push forward inspite of the challenge. Pull your team together and encourage yourself and them that “better days” are ahead!

One final word – if you work for a leader like me that has some “bonehead” moments, grant a lot of mercy. Being a leader and carrying lots of responsibility isn’t an easy task. And trust me, your “days” are coming too when you will blow it or meltdown – you will also need all the mercy you can get! 

None of us have arrived; we are all a mess that God is making a masterpiece. Now rise up and go take on your day. It’s a new day with its own challenges and victories. Don’t use any strength regretting yesterday; you are going to need all the strength you have for today.