Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Believing what we teach.

Ever teach or coach someone a principle that you hope is true or want to be true or believe should be true...or just have a really strong conviction that it's true... but not be entirely sure of it yourself just yet?

It hard to do that well, I think. Because if you don't really GET something, won't that come out in the coaching/teaching you're giving? I think probably so.

But I did just that today actually.... See, I've been learning a LOT about people lately; leading them, following them, interacting with them, communicating with them, respecting them, coaching them, etc........ and I've also been reading a LOT and studying a LOT and listening a LOT and there are a LOT of concepts I've studied that I FEEL are true ...they SEEM right... but I guess in practical terms, they haven't applied to me yet or I haven't applied them yet and so it's hard to grasp how they work or that they work just like the experts say they do. :)

But I believe in them, so I'm okay backing those concepts up even if I don't get them completely myself. I guess it comes from the fact that I trust the leadership that I work for, and if they say it works, I am willing to go with that. Which completely backs up for me a fundamental concept of leadership: the concept that leadership is based on trust. I believe it even though I don't KNOW it... I guess that's faith?

WHICH, by the way, brings me to the point of the note. I had the opportunity to coach someone today through a situation, and I found myself coaching advice I'd not followed very much in my experience. But I coached it because I believe it is good advice... and without going into too many details, over the course of the conversation, the very thing I was coaching this person and telling this person would happen.... HAPPENED.

We were discussing how to be hard-line and how to persuade in a situation in which we know we're standing for the right thing... without disrespecting the other person or discounting their point of view. The tone brought to me was first-person, hard-line, demonstrative, and (hoping I don't set the person I was speaking with off here) self-serving. By way of talking through the hypothetical situation we were discussing and asking questions, I was able to get this person to convince herself of the exact correct way to handle it without ever telling her what that was. And the correct way to handle it was to dignify the other person's point of view, remain true to standards, remind the other person of standards, and then allow that person to come to the conclusion on their own that I would have brought them to if I were dictating to them.

The cool part was, I didn't realize until afterward that I had demonstrated what I was coaching while I was coaching it. After the conversation, the light bulb went on above my head and I was pretty pumped up that it worked and that I'd managed to teach myself and help the other person learn in the same conversation.

A humble, modest conclusion, huh? Definitely something to brag about on Facebook notes. Well, it is. :) Because what I realized, in the long run of the conversation and my debrief of myself later, is that if I'm absolutely sure of something IN MY HEART, it's okay for my mind not to get it yet. That's faith, again, I realize...I've just never seen it that close and personal in a work situation, I don't think.

So...when we lead like we SHOULD, it's because we're allowing God to lead us. Which is why FAITH must play such a huge part in our leadership. The opening to Obadiah discusses what happens when leaders lead of their own accord and forget their FAITH in God:

2"Behold, I will make you small among the nations; you shall be greatly despised. 3The pride of your heart has deceived you, You who dwell in the clefts of the rock, Whose habitation is high; You who say in your heart, 'Who will bring me down to the ground?' 4Though you ascend as high as the eagle, and Though you set your nest among the stars, From there I will bring you down," says the Lord.

Maxwell adds in the Leadership Bible, "We humans tend toward self-centeredness, self-promotion, self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and self-righteousness. When leaders succumb to this tendency, they adversely affect their followers. While leaders may determine the course of their success, God remains the source of their success. God is the source of any gains we make."

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him, all creatures here below! Praise Him above, ye heavenly hosts! Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen!

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