Life is full of threats. They say that when we are under pressure, this is when a leader's true character shines ...so what will people see? Will a threat get you down and bring out the worst in you? Or do you see this as an opportunity to learn, grow and depend on God like never before?
I think of blatant threats when somebody who hates your guts and threatens to hurt or harm you. This certainly happened to me when I was a kid at school, especially as a teenager when I was bullied and teased, sadly repeatedly for a number of years.
In my work and career, I have been threatened with legal action and this is scary. Threats in our world of work are all around. They are so often sneakily packaged in passive aggressive behaviour, politeness and smiles that come with vindictive daggers in your back.
I have also have had times when I discovered that others were actively trying to undermine me and my leadership, trying to satisfy their own agenda. It’s devastating as a leader when this comes from someone who you trusted and actively encouraged to grow and flourish under your leadership. It’s tough dealing with this betrayal and I have lost a lot of sleep over this. I have asked myself “was I too naive, too trusting, did I make a hasty decision in employing them, or was I just bloody stupid?” I’m comforted that the Psalmist King David knew this well and his writings are full of his reflections, trying to make sense of (to the extent of having to run and hide for his life) betrayal and threats. I love that David always concluded that God is is safety, his rock, his refuge, the one he could fully trust.
In you O Lord, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame, deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.
Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commit my spirit, redeem me O Lord, the God of truth.
Psalm 31 - wow what a prayer!
If you am going to successfully make it through the long haul of the leadership journey, value your team. If you are going to look after yourself, don't think you can do it solo. As I write I am thankful for the amazing people on my team who I work with. We often say “I have your back!” and without the sense of confidence this brings, I couldn’t do my job or be the leader I need to be. Effective teams are filled with trust and respect.
So back to the concept of threats... threats provide opportunity for reflection, growth and the joy that comes from knowing and depending on God. He has my back 24/7. I recently learnt at Cambridge that a “threat carries seeds of advantage.” Threats to your team provide opportunity to come together in unity, purpose and to enjoy that great satisfaction when you learn that “the answer was in the room”. A glass of wine, shared together (make that a bottle if it’s to be shared) at the end of a hard week, to celebrate the challenges fought and the battles won, also does the trick. It also helps you to walk away from the job, enjoy your weekend and set you all up for the issues that still may be waiting when you go back to work on Monday morning.
Thanks Ian Espinosa @greystorm for the great photo.