This week there is more from Bishop Ken (Fanta) Clarke, mission director of SAMS (UK and Ireland).
The greatest need of my people is my personal holiness (Robert Murray McCheyne).
This week Ken talks about risk taking and younger leaders, about his experience of culture shock when he went to Chile, about the need for leaders to take time to be reflective, and the challenge of trust.
He also tells the story about a somewhat nerve-wracking experience in isolation on an African mountain and what he learned at that time!
And there are these four key pieces of advice:
Don’t be a maverick: think team!
Remember that team members have different capacities;
Have soul friends;
Guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23).
For your own reflection:
How easy to you find it to take time to reflect on your purpose as a leader and on the purpose of your church/organisation? How much time do you spend listening to God?
If you lead a team, do you train them well enough that they can leave but treat them well enough that they don’t want to?
Tim Magowan is the Northern Ireland director at Tearfund. He also has a coaching business (check out the link to his Facebook page). Tim shared the following leadership learning which also gives an insight into some of the work in which Tearfund is involved.
Last August, I met Yvette who had lost 8 of her family in the horrors of the conflict in DR Congo. For the next 8 years, a traumatised Yvette lived on one meal a day…on good days. On the other days, they starved.
Yet, every single day of those 8 years, Yvette had God-given potential within her to bring change. Yvette had the skills of a tailor and the brains to establish a little cooking business, but she didn’t have anyone to unlock that potential within her.
As I spent time with Yvette, I was reminded that Jesus fed the 5,000 by using what was in the hands of a little boy – 5 loaves and 2 fish (Matthew 14). Following Jesus’ example, local Christians were able to help Yvette use what was in her hands. They gave Yvette $30, alongside some personal and professional support, to set up businesses making doughnuts and women’s clothes. Her eyes lit up with dignity as she described how she now could feed her children better, send them to school and live in a better house.
As a leader, I’ve learnt over the years that each staff member, volunteer and supporter comes with unique gifts and abilities to unlock. It’s led me to listen more and talk less, which has opened up some incredible possibilities: helping to launch Tearfund Ireland and Thrive Ireland to unlock God-given potential in churches in Ireland, mobilising 15 cyclists taking part in our Cycle of Hope raising over £40,000, releasing potential in our incredible team of speakers who help us raise over £150,000 each year. It’s even inspired me to launch my own coaching business so I can help individuals and leaders to unlock their own God given potential.
I asked Eddie to tell me the most important thing he had learned about leadership and how he learned it.
Here is his answer:
Just talking about things doesn’t mean they will happen. You have to take action and, above all, empower your team to move forward and take the flak for them when they do.
I learned this the hard way; by seeing that my good ideas didn’t get put into practice just because I told people about them and we passed motions in meetings. I had to do some work; not just think great thoughts.
Eddie went on to add this second lesson:
Leadership reveals the strengths and weaknesses of your character – but people will take more notice of the weaknesses! You have to learn to use your strengths and develop your areas of weakness. I learned this by seeing my own character flaws exposed to others and to myself. Thankfully God is merciful and so are most of my colleagues!
If you are a leader, how would you answer the question? What has been your most significant leadership learning?