Four Ways to Refresh Your Leadership
Leadership is an adventure that both exhilarates and exhausts. The exhilaration tends to be high on the front end and at the pinnacles of milestones accomplished along the journey. The exhaustion comes with the length of time and frustrations, let downs, and unforeseen forces and circumstances that serve like anchors to forward progress. How can you be refreshed during those seasons of exhaustion? Bob Buford, author or Half-Time: Moving from Success to Significance suggests that it is important to pause and take stock. This exercise becomes critical as you face exhaustion and discouragement in your leadership. As you take stock:
- Make peace. Life is too short to carry grudges. Who is it that you need to be reconciled with? Reconciliation brings refreshment and renewed energy.
- Take time. Are you taking time off each week? Are you utilizing all of your vacation time? Are you spending time with your spouse, children, grandchildren and other family members? While the temptation is to think that you are missing “work” to attend to personal time, the reality is that investing in personal time and family time makes you more productive and effective when you are “on the job.” The result is that a leader can accomplish more in less time if he or she disciplines themselves to take time for personal respite and family time. More importantly, it strengthens your family. I have often heard it said that no one on their death bed reaches up to a beloved family member and says “I wish I had spent more time at work!”
- Be deliberate. Have you ever been on a retreat? A retreat is a time to reflect, grow, and evaluate away from the normal hustle and bustle of responsibilities. While you are away from your work or ministry, the intent is to recharge you for the mission and work before you. A retreat can be a week or a half day experience. When you are exhausted, do not wait on your ministry or organization to take a retreat. Take one for yourself, albeit short. That one day away can refuel your tank and get you prepared for the next steps in your work. The deliberate part is based on the fact that you do not get away to “nap all day.” You purposefully spend time away from all of the noise of a common work day to honestly assess where you are, where you need to go, and brainstorm new ideas to get there. When I say “you” I am referring to both you personally and your ministry or organization.
- Go to the well. Sometimes a cold drink of water on a hot day is all that you need to make it for a couple of more hours. Go back to the well to cap off the day and you leave with a thirst that is quenched. The water that a leader needs if he or she desires to maximize his or her leadership comes from the Bible, the Word of God. If you neglect it you will thirst and grow weary. If you drink from it you will be encouraged and your energy will be renewed. I have found that the best way to do this is daily. But there is no wrong time to “go to the well.” While the word “leadership” is not found in the Bible, the concepts are sprinkled throughout. It encourages, convicts, enlightens, and inspires. It shows the pathway to a relationship to God and brings the believer into a closer relationship to God. Are you regularly “going to the well?” Those who do so are not immune to exhaustion but they do have added strength. Leaders need an “edge” and there is no better “edge” than spending time in the presence of the Creator of the universe.
Are you exhilarated or exhausted in your leadership? Either way, these words of wisdom can help you to maximize your leadership.
The four points are adapted from Chapter Seven of Halftime by Bob Buford.