One word that we hear a lot from leaders today is BUSY. It is this sense of busyness and stress that often hinders us from reading and the pursuit of learning. Below are 7 life principles, one for each day of the week. It will only require about 3 minutes each day to read the principle and apply it to your life and leadership. Even while managing the busyness of life, it is important to keep growing and learning!
Day 1: GUARD YOURSELF. (Proverbs 4:23).
Temptations and traps are common to all people. But leaders have some that are especially unique to them. Power. Control. Entitlement. Prestige. These, combined with the age old ones of money and sex, make leaders vulnerable. It is for this reason that we are charged to guard our hearts above all else.
Day 2: STRIVE FOR PEACE. (Romans 12:18)
Your workplace. Your family. Your neighborhood. Do whatever is in your control to live at peace with others. Most feel painful levels of stress in the midst of conflict. Others feed off of strife. While conflict is not always avoidable, we should make every effort to strive for peace in our relationships. Yes, there are times when peace is not possible. But perhaps there are times when we are more interested in winning than in relating well.
Day 3: HELP OTHERS. (Philippians 2:4)
It is natural to look out for ourselves. No training required, right? But it is unnatural to intentionally and consistently look out for the interests of others. This is called servanthood. Helping others grow, get ahead, solve a problem, get a raise or even just asking about their lives are a few of the practical ways we can help others.
Day 4: SPEAK TRUTH. (Ephesians 4:15)
Ephesians 4:15 is a commonly quoted verse from the Bible – Speak the truth in love. Some of us are much better at one part than the other – offering a lot of “nice” but not so much “truth” while others offer a lot of “truth” but are a bit short on the “nice.” But nothing can wreck our credibility faster than failing to speak what we feel to be true regarding our perspective on a situation or decision. If you genuinely want to help others, speak truth – but in a respectful and genuinely caring way.
Day 5: PURSUE WISDOM. (Proverbs 2:2)
Have you seen the bumper sticker that says “Warning: I do stupid things”? Amazing that we brag about it by putting it in writing on our car! Perhaps we all should own one since we all do stupid things somewhere along the path of life. But there is a difference between a mistake and pattern of doing dumb things. If we are serious about making smart choices, we must pursue wisdom. Seek out advice. Surround yourself with wise people. Do whatever you must to not do stupid things!
Day 6: ANSWER GENTLY. (Proverbs 15:1)
Gruff. Abrupt. Sarcastic. Rude. Condescending. Aggressive. These are just a few of the opposites of “gentle.” And I can honestly say that I am too gifted in at least one of them. Sometimes we can associate gentleness with being feminine. But it really has nothing to do with gender, and instead has to do with respect. Will I choose to respect someone enough to talk to them in a manner and tone that displays respect? Aggressiveness is often returned with aggressiveness. But gentleness disarms and often results in a better outcome than an unhealthy escalation.
Day 7: BE COURAGEOUS. (Joshua 1:9)
People can be courageously stupid. Smart courage is built upon seeking wise counsel and pursuing wisdom. There is a reason the Bible says on multiple occasions to be strong and courageous and to not be afraid and discouraged. Leaders will face hard decisions, ones that will make some people very unhappy. Leaders must be courageous enough to make those decisions but to do so with humility and gentleness rather than arrogance and harshness.
Jay Desko is the Executive Director of The Center Consulting Group and serves on the Senior Leadership Team at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Jay brings experience in the areas of organizational assessment, leadership coaching, decision-making, and strategic questioning. Jay’s degrees include an M.Ed. in Instructional Systems Design from Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Leadership from The Union Institute.