Values in leadership, especially in a ministry context, are like the magnets in a moral compass that allow us to make difficult decisions with conviction. This is why being conscious to identify your own values is so important.
Below, are the values that are most important to me. After reading through mine, give some thoughts to yours. What are your values?
Who I am when no one is around is just as important as who I am when in a crowded room of people. Did you know, the word "integrity" comes from the same root word as "integer," which means "whole"? Thus, a person of integrity has nothing to hide... And nothing to fear.
Being a person of integrity is about being like Christ--inside and out. So in times of trouble, am I brave or a coward? When slandered, am I kind, forgiving, and patient or resentful and bitter? When tried, do I stay true? This is what matters. To fight the good fight, to finish the course, and to keep the faith.
Authentic people are those who have learned to accept their strengths and their weaknesses. They have connected their values and and behavior in such as way as to live a consistently accountable lifestyle. They don't just talk the talk, they walk the walk. Ultimately, being authentic is about being genuine and real.
I still remember a devotional my dad gave at my elementary church school when I was in the sixth or seventh grade about being authentic. He demonstrated with the word "sincere." We sign our letters "Sincerely," or "Sincerely yours,". But where does the word come from?
Sincere is a Latin compound word that literally means, "without wax." In the days of the Roman Empire, shoppers looked for chairs and tables with a sign that said, "sine cera," "without wax." If the carpenter took to big a chunk out of the wood, he/she would cover it with wax. Imagine what would happen if you put a hot kettle on the table and melted the wax! Next time you sign an email or letter, are you signing, "sincerely", without wax? By the way, I use that devotional concept to this day, 25 years later when I go into schools for devotionals or weeks of prayer hoping these kids of today will grow up with integrity and authenticity.
What you see is what you get. The flaws are visible. But so are the achievements. It's just the real, authentic me.
More than just doing what I say I will do when I say I will do it, accountability is the imperative of team building. It's addressing regularly how I am adding or contributing to the well-being of the team. It is being willing to acknowledge weaknesses and improve on them. It's about knowing my personal limits, abilities, and time constraints.
Ultimately, accountability is being willing to answer for the outcomes of my choices, decisions, actions, and behaviors. No blaming or excusing.
If something does go wrong, use the opportunity for growth. Ask, "What is the problem?" "What can I do differently to solve the issue?" "How will I be accountable with the new results?"
Someone has rightly said, "Change occurs only when the pain of staying same is greater than the change itself." Though change is the one consistent reality of life, it is often most resisted. People tend to be logical and emotional. Despite this, it can still be daunting to undertake personal change for the sake of growth.
Behaviors are patterns we know and trust that keep our life in a certain balance. Perhaps in the past, this behavior seemed to help or was comforting. However, in the great scheme of our life it is causing strife or pain and must be changed.
Maybe that pattern or behavior has stuck the church or other organization in a rut of tradition and past accomplishment. It is proven that organizations, churches included, that stand still will die. Change creates opportunities for growth. Growth creates excitement which creates momentum for more change which leads to more growth...
I have determined that I am more committed to personal changes to be a better husband, father, pastor, and citizen. It's about being transformed rather than conforming (Romans 12:1-2). And in organizational leadership, when recognizing a problem, challenge, or new direction needed, I must continue to be open and willing to change and adapt to the issues as they arise.
Leadership has to be about grace. The leader has gotten to where he/she is because of it. They aren't perfect. Undoubtedly they've made many mistakes. And they have been forgiven and/or allowed to continue growing.
When we feel offended, the natural tendency is to hide behind our walls of defenses. While hunkered in the fortress of our own feelings, we may find someone to share our grievance with so they can agree with us. Then we feel justified in our reaction.
But in all reality, there is no gain in being offended. In fact, being offended is really a choice we can make. It's hard to extend grace to those who have hurt you or are trying to currently. Sometimes we don't even want to give grace. Acknowledging this is being authentic. But how much happier is life when grace and humility are offered in the midst of crisis, error, and trial!
Freely I have received grace from God and from others. I purpose to offer and distribute grace just as freely to those I come in contact with.