Inquiring leaders want to know, "How can we improve those on our team?" "How can we acquire, train and retain talent?" It's worth considering. We must view our team members as co-laborers brought to us by God. He has given them to us to steward, and allows us to nurture and encourage them along the way. So, let's grapple with the opportunity of how best to engage our team members to connect with God. As leaders, we can lead them closer to God only if we have gone there first.
I was tired but energized by the response of the audience. I had completed my ninth day of teaching business and leadership skills in several remote villages on a mission trip to Kenya. And now, we weren't quite sure how many would attend our business women's conference at this location. We knew God would honor our efforts, even if only 20 people showed up.
We were overjoyed when on day one, the rural church sanctuary was overstuffed with women, many seated on the dirt floor. Countless others piled into flimsy plastic lawn chairs, spilling out every opening of the cracked block walls under the shelter of the sweltering corrugated tin roof. Scores more strained to lean in through pane-less window shaped holes to glean wisdom, and even more lined up on curbs outside. We were impressed with their desire to learn – no matter what obstacles they faced to get there or the discomfort they experienced to listen in.
Isolation comes when leaders make unpopular choices, enforce difficult executive motions, balance ragged budgets or make risky solo decisions. At these times, leadership can seem like a forlorn and friendless wilderness.
A recent survey cited in The Harvard Business Review states “half of CEOs report experiencing feelings of loneliness in their role, and of this group, 61 percent believe it hinders their performance. First-time CEOs are particularly susceptible to this isolation. Nearly 70 percent of first-time CEOs who experience loneliness report that the feelings negatively affect their performance.”
As leaders, we can guard against any looming temptation to prefer seclusion. We must refuse to believe isolation is an essential ingredient in our leadership role. This is a lie. We walk in truth when we choose to make intentional connections with our team an indispensable and an essential priority. Team relationships are not just good for leaders, these associations are needed for team vitality.
One of the best things about the Lead Like Jesus Encounter is the unique experience it brings for growth in leaders. It works because leaders take time out for positive self-care as they uncover brand new ways to further practice God's presence. Through solid Bible teaching, group interaction and vulnerable activities, participants are encouraged to become engaged and to explore fresh ways to grasp a deeper understanding of the passion of God.