Leadership Archive, 2021

1/21  On Proactive & Reactive Realms of Leadership:

Leadership is both a proactive and reactive endeavor, and a skilled leader will move gracefully and creatively between both realms. Leaders are often lectured (and rightly so) to lead with vision and deliberate activity, and yet, the reality on the ground is that life and people occasionally present threats and opportunities that demand attention. Some threats are simply too big or too defining to ignore or intentionally postpone, and similarly, some unexpected opportunities are simply too promising. With deep and creative wisdom the skilled leader can repurpose the threat or opportunity and reinsert it back into the proactive vision. The threat does not have to be a frustrating distraction; the opportunity does not have to mean a new overall direction.  
    A leader who is entrenched at the goal-oriented extreme will undermine or sabotage his/her own influence by failing to account for real life's vicissitudes and idiosyncrasies. Granted, this type of end-product tunnel vision is easy to narrow into. It is easier to fossilize oneself in routines and processes that require less and less improvisation and creative critical thinking. Skilled leadership will always be a controlled vacillation between working aggressively on a purpose and working adaptively to repurpose threats and opportunities. To use a traffic metaphor, we could say one realm is linear and one realm is a detour, with the destination remaining the same.
    Staying flexible means self-awareness and being present in every moment. Resist drifting off into goal-oriented lala land, such that you miss shifting variables in front of you that could have strategic consequences.
    Do not overschedule and overbusy yourself. It is almost impossible to be creatively strategic if your mind and body are waterboarded with to-do's.
    Set aside time everyday, sometimes more than once, to be alone for deep prayer mixed with deep contemplation. 2Timothy 2:7 (NIV): Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this. Upper-tier faculties like surgical discernment, truly unique creativity, and winning moves most often illuminate in quiet, unrushed, spiritual solitude.


12/4/20  On Sharpening & Polishing the Blade:

In the ancient world, bladesmiths sharpened and polished a dull or rough blade into a flashy, mirror-finished, whistling sharp, battle-ready sword using stones such as a whetstone, waterstone, oilstone, and/or diamond sharpening stone. A fine metal file might also be used, hence the illustration in Proverbs 27:17, "as iron sharpens iron". The bladesmiths achieved this finish by attentively and patiently grinding down the sword's edges until its sharpness was maximal--able to whistle and shave off arm hair.
    This is an illuminating parable for those of us in communicational ministry in the ekklesia. God's grinding down of our dull and rough edges, if we cooperate with Him, will produce rhemas--sharp two-edged swords. It is those dull and rough edges that cause you to misread Bible verses and misread the Holy Spirit. Think about it: if any part of your personality, your attitudinal-behavioral complex, is dull or rough, you will read those dullnesses and roughnesses into Scripture and into the Spirit. They will taint, mix, and misinterpret information from both. Let God grind those down as only He can and suddenly you become remarkably clear and sharp, and rhemas become remarkably clear and sharp. Suddenly, constantly, Isaiah 49:2 will be true of you (NASB): He has made my mouth like a sharp sword... Suddenly, constantly, you will take (perceive) the sword of the Spirit, which is the word (rhema) of God (Eph 6:17).
    You do not need more words and you do not need more emotional words. Scripture ridicules and judges verbal diarrhea, saying "a fool multiplies words" (Ecc 10:14) and "a fool's voice is known by his many words" (5:3 NKJV) and "in the multitude of words sin is not lacking" (Pr 10:19 NKJV). Scripture also warns against trying too hard with your words through overdone emotion, melodrama, and histrionics. This is nothing more than having a dull and rough blade, and therefore, needing more force to achieve the desired interpersonal effect. Ecclesiastes 10:10 (NASB) describes this, saying, "If the axe [or sword] is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength."
    You do not need more words or more emotional words, you need sharper and clearer words. Become a blade that has been sharpened and polished, and is constantly sharpened and polished. Give patient attention and cooperation to God grinding down where you are dull and rough.


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