Often, the time I spend coaching and consulting leaders and organizations comes at a point when there’s a crisis. There’s been an unexpected transition, there’s been a global pandemic, there’s been a series of unmet goals. In crisis what’s in us comes out of us.
This is true of individuals, and it’s true of teams.
And the way to ensure that our best comes out in crisis is to remain anchored in our purpose and values. Before we face challenges, during them, and as we recover from crisis. We must know our WHY and allow our values to guide us.
The guiding principles for what extraordinary leadership looks like can be found in the great commandment Jesus shares with his followers.
The Leader’s Great Commandment
If leadership is an act of love, and I believe it is, then the healthiest leaders lead with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength.
Extraordinary leadership is found in a leader who has searched to discover his or her authentic self and, from that place, influences others to accomplish great dreams through:
Intentional relationship (heart)
Spiritual awareness (soul)
Wise counsel (mind)
Relentless vision (strength)
Some teams undervalue the dimensions of mind and strength and lean into the heart and soul. Everyone loves one another. They’re friends. It feels like family. But they often lack the discipline and structure that enables them to make strides toward achieving mission.
Some teams focus disproportionately on mind and strength. They have big vision with a strong focus on goals and achievement, but are often criticized for feeling heartless and bureaucratic.
Extraordinary leaders and extraordinary teams learn to live at the intersection of all 4.
Scripture doesn’t give us a pass on these. There is a purpose for why they are all there: they bring balance and they bring health.
The strategic dimension, leading with all of your mind, is often where I see teams get stuck. They have difficulty understanding the importance of this dimension of the mind. We misunderstand our responsibility to this dimension and therefore miss the power of this being an appropriate part of our team health.
One of the primary ways to lead in this dimension is through intentional stewardship.
Scripture isn’t shy about the importance of stewarding what has been entrusted to us. In the parable of the talents, the person who buried his talent was called wicked. The reason he gave for not multiplying his talent was fear..
Here’s the thing: as staff members who are being paid by the church to give the best hours of our day to do the work of ministry, we need to give our best effort because we are being paid by the resources of people who have given to the church out of faith and obedience.
1. Your Resources
When people hear the word stewardship, they typically think in terms of resources, be it financial or physical. These are our first and most obvious opportunities to wisely invest, spend and save. Careful stewardship of resources not only yields returns, it builds trust with all of the stakeholders you work with.
2. Your Gifts
Galatians 6:4 says, “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you’ve been given.”
As a leader who is a person of faith, you have spiritual gifts that have been entrusted to you, you have talents and skills, and you have experiences that have shaped you. You are responsible for understanding those gifts and doing your best with them. The next verse in Galatians says, “do your creative best.” The way in which you cultivate your gifts affects those you lead and benefits the entire organization.
3. Your Time
Stewardship of time is another key element of great teams. We must be focused and disciplined with how we spend our time. This means being diligent to give our best energy in the time allotted for our work.
Parkinson's Law is the old adage that work expands to fill the time allotted. Put simply, the amount of work required adjusts to the time available for its completion.
Some practical ways we can better steward our time include:
- Planning your day and scheduling your work. Pro Tip: Quit making to do lists. Instead, make a scheduled plan.
- Being diligent with time spent in meetings. Have an agenda and stick to it.
- Plan ahead. Anticipate and envision the outcomes you prefer so you can intentionally take steps in that direction. This allows you to stay out of the urgent (at least as much as possible.)
4. Your People
Perhaps the greatest resource entrusted to you is the people you have the privilege of leading. Influence in their lives is sacred. Your opportunity is to steward your resources, gifts and time so that you’re in a healthy position to teach them how to steward THEIR resources, gifts and time.
When you consider that you’ve been entrusted with resources, gifts, time, and people, I hope you are able to see the richness of the opportunities in front of you. You may just be richer than you thought. Steward them with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and I assure you that you will see extraordinary results.
Free Workbook for An Extraordinary Team Culture
Evaluating our team culture is an important aspect of pursuing the health we hope to develop within our teams.
At 4Sight, we want to help you develop an extraordinary team culture, so if you haven’t downloaded our free workbook, please access this resource.
This guide will help you define your culture, develop your vision statement, and develop your plan for an extraordinary team culture!
Jenni Catron is a writer, speaker, and leadership coach who consults churches and non-profits to help them lead from their extraordinary best. She speaks at conferences and churches nationwide, seeking to help others develop their leadership gifts and lead confidently. As Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group, she consults with individuals and teams on leadership and organizational health.
Jenni is the author of several books, including Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence and The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership.