If it wasn’t for people . . . the leader’s personal problems wouldn’t be so difficult

The eyes of the “people” are always on you.  Most people in your organization are going to look at you “the leader” and think, he or she really has everything together. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, you “the leader” like every other person has stuff that happens in your life be it a sick child, a teenager that seems to just jump track, a wife or husband that isn’t as supportive of you in your career as you might like, or the death of a close family member.  Or perhaps it is a situation that you have created yourself; it happens to us all.  As a friend told me long ago, “Everyone is chewing on a crowbar.”  Whether you’re a CEO, military commander, or the lead pastor of a church, you have your “crowbar” and you cannot pretend otherwise.

So, what do you “the leader” do when these difficult situations occur in your life and many times, just when the demands upon you “the leader” are the greatest?  The mission of the organization goes on, but you must find a way to handle those personal problems (or maybe they’re opportunities) and make sure appropriate leadership of your organization remains in effect. You may try to pretend that everything is normal and that you are above the fray, but that in the end, wouldn’t be in anyone’s best interest.  So, what to do?

First, admit that there is a problem and let the next senior person below you know that he or she will have to keep the organization functioning while part of your attention is diverted to other issues.  You may or may not go into detail with that person depending upon that relationship.  If you’ve been exercising leadership well, that person will be prepared to cover for you during those times when you must deal with a personal problem.

Second, hopefully, you have a small group of supporters whom you can count upon to help carry your load.  For me, that might be my tennis group or church Bible study group, people upon whom I can totally depend.  In fact, a personal support group with whom you’ve previously spent time usually is where you can expect the most help.  It is here that I recommend that you be the most open about your circumstances.  And it is here, where you can obtain the greatest power if that group has been praying together for you and others as you go through life together.

Last, if you know the Lord, remember where your greatest help resides.  As Paul said in his letter to the Romans, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rm. 8:37-39)

Suddenly, in your personal life, you “the leader” realize that you really are no different than any other person in your organization.  You have hopes, dreams, fears, and challenges on the job and off. It is just because of where you sit, that it may seem different to both you and those around you, but you are “chewing on a crowbar.”  But remember that Jesus knows and loves you, and even though the present outcome of a personal situation seems very dim, nothing “will be able to separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus” and there will always be a “greater good.”  That assumes that you know Him, the ONE, but then if you don’t, that can easily be solved as well and in fact might be the “greater good” that comes from your “crowbar.”