Earlier this week, I was on a FaceTime chat with my good friend, Greg. We were talking about this season in our culture and he said, “Mike, this pandemic offers an unprecedented opportunity for the advancement of the church and its leadership!” He was right, and it got me thinking that, as believers, we’re called to action in unprecedented times, not retreat. If you’re a leader or pastor, there are two ways to respond to this pandemic and the time we’ve all been given to reflect on the past and re-imagine the future. The first response is to just "weather the storm” or "shut down" until all of this is over and behind us, waiting for the return to some sense of normalcy. This is tantamount to retreat. While this seems like an attractive “hunker down” option, you’re likely to exit this time with the same old patterns of failure and broken leadership with which you entered this shelter-in-place environment. The second way to respond is to redeem the time and become the leader that you’re called to be! You may not have been fired from your job in this pandemic, but maybe you should consider “firing” yourself anyway. That’s right! Fire the old self and as part of your re-open plan, re-emerge as the leader you know God has designed you to be.
There are several things that tend to hold us back as leaders. Perhaps you can identify with some of them. Are you such a control-freak that you’ve squeezed the life and joy out of your organization? Has your “Type-A” personality given you an excuse to be autocratic and bruising, alienating everyone around you? Have you become inauthentic because so many people want something from you, and your own health has been drained? Maybe you’ve lost or destroyed the trust with your team that you need to really be effective for the Kingdom. These things and others will put you in a trap. The trap is that whatever you were doing had the outward appearance of success, but in your heart, you knew that something was wrong and the charade was unsustainable. This time of isolation is your time to seize the opportunity to shed your past and make a new start.
The research and empirical evidence show that your leadership will be truly transformational when: you are authentic – willing to openly admit your strengths and weaknesses; humble enough to listen to counsel and feedback – and not just from “yes” people; have a genuine love for people – especially your team – and put their best interests above your own; and your confidence is grounded in the Grace afforded you and not your own abilities. No matter where you stand today and what you want to change, humble yourself before God and begin work on your "Re-Open” plan so that you will emerge from this season as a new you and the leader your organization deserves.
For more information, reach out to ChristLife Ministries at 616-808-7773 or at www.christlifeusa.org.
About the author
Dr. Mike Felix is the Founder & Principal at Legacy Point Advisors, LLC. Previously, Mike worked in the telecom and technology world for 43 years where he was most recently a senior executive at AT&T for almost 17 years. Mike has served on the boards of more than 15 for-profit and non-profit organizations, including technology companies, venture-capital and investment banking firms, major non-profit organizations, a major university foundation, and three private schools. Dr. Felix currently serves as an advisor to five early-stage companies. He holds a PhD in Media Psychology and BS in Electrical Engineering.