How To Deal With An Inescapible Role That You Don’t Really Want To Fill

Photo by Chuck Olsen

Photo by Chuck Olsen

Funeral Minister For A Day

He’s dead?

There’s no way that could have happened. He’s still relatively young!

These are the thoughts I had a few weeks ago when I learned that one of my former church orchestra members had past away in his sleep.

My friend had moved out-of-state a few years ago for a new job position, so I hadn’t seen him in quite some time. As the news sunk in and became reality for me, I thought about my friend and our relationship. I reflected back on my memories with him.

I was under the assumption that his funeral would be out-of-state where he currently lived, but then, the phone call came. His wife asked me to officiate his funeral here in town. They were shipping his body back in order to do a local funeral for all the family members. She told me that he would want me to officiate his service.

Deep down, I knew she was right.

[Gulp]

What do you say to a request such as that? A request way outside of your comfort zone.

Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of attending funerals, let alone officiating one for someone I know.

I’m Not Qualified

I have officiated several weddings, but only one funeral. That one funeral was relatively “easy” to officiate because I didn’t personally know the person who had passed away. I had no emotional connection.

But, with my friend, I did have an emotional connection. I knew this was going to be difficult for me to do.

So, how do you deal with a challenging, uncomfortable role such as this that you really don’t feel capable of fulfilling?

6 Thoughts On Filling A Role You Really Don’t Want To Fill

Here was my approach to filling this role that I was asked to do:

  1. Acknowledge the need. The family needed an officiant for the funeral. It would need to be me or another minister. Deep down, I knew my friend’s wife was right. I couldn’t argue with her. I knew that my friend would want me to officiate his service. I had to accept this role, even though it was going to be extremely uncomfortable and emotional for me.
  2. Be confident in whatever experience you do have to help you. The biggest argument I had against doing this service was lack of experience. I had only preached one other funeral several years ago. But how do you gain experience preaching funerals? There’s only one way, by preaching funerals. Yes, I do have public speaking experience. Yes, I have script writing experience. Putting together a funeral script and preaching that script may be challenging for me, but I know that I have enough experience to do this. Be confident in the abilities God has given you.
  3. Seek advice. As soon as I knew I was going to need to prepare this funeral service, I started emailing a couple of other pastors I know for advice. They gave me some great ideas, and I was off and running in getting the funeral script and service put together.
  4. Prepare heavily. I spent quite a bit of time writing and re-writing the funeral script. Then, I spent additional time reading through and practicing the script. I visualized myself standing before the family and his friends as I delivered the various elements of the service.
  5. Pray for strength. When I was in the car driving to the funeral that morning, I spent quite a bit of time praying to the Lord for supernatural strength. He provided exactly what I needed, when I needed it!
  6. Be Authentic. I’m an emotional guy. I’ve been this way since I was a small boy. I probably could have done a better job fighting back the tears as I preached my friend’s funeral, but I allowed myself to feel the emotions of losing him. I was really in tune with the words that were coming out of my mouth. I wept occasionally as I spoke. I was overcome with emotions. In many ways, I felt like a failure as a funeral minister, but I had several friends and family members approach me after the funeral saying what a wonderful job I did. People appreciate authenticity over “having your act together.” Isn’t it strange how that works?

Questions: Have you ever had to assume a role that you really didn’t want to do? Do you agree or disagree with my approach? What was your approach?

7 Ways To Solve Problems At Work, In Ministry, And In Life

Photo by Donna Grayson

Photo by Donna Grayson

Quit Your Whining And Moaning

I used to whine and moan too much about problems at work.

I can look back over my last several years at work with a sense of guilt or shame about my complaining.

And, I’m not talking about problems that were outside of my sphere of influence or control. I’m talking about my day-to-day problems that any good leader encounters.

I would think to myself, “why can’t all these issues just resolve themselves or not even materialize in the first place. I’ve got better things to do with my time than deal with these petty problems.”

The reality is, though, that if you were hired into any kind of leadership role, you were hired to handle problems. You were hired to find creative solutions to your problems. You were hired to push through your problems and take your organization to the next level in spite of these problems.

Can you be proactive in mitigating these problems? Most definitely.

Wise leaders put systems in place to help prevent or at least soften the impact of certain levels of problems. Many problems, though, just come with the territory in your area of expertise.

3 Types of Problems

In my quest to deal with problems, I have found it helpful to mentally categorize these into three distinct types:

  1. Problems within your control. These are the types of problems where you feel like you have enough time, people, and resources to handle them.
  2. Problems that seem outside your control. These are the next level of problems that seem just beyond your comfort zone. Perhaps, you don’t feel like you have enough time, people, or resources to handle these challenges adequately. This is where you need to get creative in your problem-solving abilities. In my own personal leadership, this is where I believe I have grown the most in the last few years.
  3. Problems that are definitely out of your control. There will always be a few problems that will occur that are beyond your ability to fix. You just need to move forward and go on. If you feel like you have adequately planned, prepared, and done your best, then that’s all you can do.

How I Deal With Problems, Today

When I finally made that connection in my mind a few years ago that a big chunk of my leadership role is dealing with regular, ongoing problems, I could actually sort of calm down and relax about it all.

Do I enjoy having the problems? No, not really, but at least I now have a better understanding that when you’re dealing with volunteers and limited resources, you will have problems.

Stuff happens. You’ve gotta deal with it. So, this is how I have learned to deal with it.

  1. Lead from a position of strength. I can deal with most problems a lot better when I’m exercising daily, eating well, and getting adequate rest. My physical body is able to handle the stress better. Also, when my personal life is in order, such as with my relationships and my finances, I am in a healthy mental and emotional state to deal with work issues on a whole better level.
  2. Set expectations upfront. You can probably avoid a lot of problems on the front end by clearly stating your expectations with your team on the front end. Attempt to take a pre-emptive strike approach before the problems even begin.
  3. Relax. Take a deep breath. It will all work out somehow, some way. Many leaders tend to blow problems way out of proportion, at least I know that I struggle with this from time to time.
  4. Formulate a few solutions to your problems. List these solutions from best to worst.
  5. Work your list from best choice to last choice.
  6. Throw money at the problem. This is my “ace in the hole.” If I can’t get any traction with my list of solutions, then spending money will be my last option if necessary.
  7. Be vulnerable and open to suggestions from others. Occasionally, I will discuss my larger challenges with others. When I do this, I am amazed when they see solutions that I hadn’t even thought of! Graciously thank them for the idea and go see if you can make it work!

Question: How do you deal with problems in the workplace, in ministry, and in life?






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Stop Blaming Others And Take Ownership Of Every Aspect Of Your Life

Photo by Pushkar V

Photo by Pushkar V

Book Review

Have you ever read a book that was so good that you needed to share it with others? Well, last weekend, I happened to download a really good book on my Kindle app, and I blasted through it within a couple of days. It’s a really easy read with very short chapters. Each chapter gets straight to the point, which I really like! Anyway, the book is called QBQ! The Question Behind The Question.

The Question Behind the Question has to do with practicing personal accountability at work and in life. It’s so easy to blame others for when something goes wrong at work or within the family. Amazing, extraordinary people, though, are able to stop blaming others and simply embrace personal responsibility. Sure, all of our jobs “out in the real world” would be a lot easier if every employee within our companies shouldered their own personal responsibility in their positions. But, the unfortunate reality is that people don’t always approach their work in this way. Many of us end up picking up the slack of others.

According to the book, this is simply a great opportunity for you to be an exceptional employee, husband, father, team member, and so on.

Take Ownership

One of the primary keys to personal responsibility is taking ownership within the organization. According to QBQ!, “Ownership does not require having an equity stake in the organization or holding an official position of leadership. It simply means facing problems head-on instead of blaming, complaining, procrastinating, or making excuses. Ownership is personal accountability in its purest form.”

At work and at home, stuff will happen. Our fellow employees will drop the ball on a critical work project. Our spouse will forget to take care of an important family financial detail. Our kids will fail to do their chores around the house. As a result, we can blame everyone else around us, or we can assume the responsibility and attempt to correct the problem.

Does this mean that we chase everyone around at work and home with a giant “pooper scooper” and clean up everybody else’s messes? No, not necessarily. What it may mean for us, though, that we strive to set the bar a little higher at home and on the job.

We model personal responsibility to our co-workers and family, first. Then, we turn around and encourage a spirit of personal ownership to those around us.

The Foundation of QBQ: Ask Better Questions

The key concept behind QBQ! is asking ourselves questions.

But, instead of asking questions like:

“Why don’t others work harder?”
“Why is this happening to me?”
“Why do they make it so difficult for me to do my job?”
“Why don’t I ever get a break?”
“Why don’t people care as much as I do?”

We need to ask ourselves better, more empowering questions. The formula for creating a quality QBQ is the following:

  1. Begin with “What” or “How” (not “Why,” “When,” or “Who”).
  2. Contain an “I” (not “they,” “we,” or “you”).
  3. Focus on action.

The question “What can I do?” follows this 3-step formula, perfectly.

Instead of focusing your time and energy on a bunch of ineffective questions that lead to stress and disappointment, decide today that you will pursue creating better questions that lead to way better results at work and in your life.

Questions: Do have a tendency to ask too many “Why me?” questions? What do you need to do to start asking yourself better quality questions? Have you ordered your copy of QBQ! yet?






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5 Great Leadership Lessons from the Movie Star Trek Into Darkness

Photo by Miguel Angel Aranda (Viper)

Photo by Miguel Angel Aranda (Viper)

Movie Night

Back at the beginning of the summer, I had a rare evening to myself. My wife was out-of-town and my daughters were all having sleepovers at friend’s homes. The latest Star Trek film Into Darkness had just opened in theaters, and I been dying to see it. So, I jumped in the car and ran down to my local theater to grab a late night flick.

I’ve always been a big fan of the entire Star Trek franchise. When I was a kid, I started out watching the original TV series in syndication back in the 1970s. Later, I got hooked on the other various TV series and movies that have spun out from the original.

As a leader, I tend to look through my “leadership lens” at media such as this. The Star Trek franchise always has several great leadership nuggets to gather. Star Trek Into Darkness was no exception, and I walked away with five great leadership lesson takeaways from this awesome movie.

[Spoiler Alert: if you still haven’t had an opportunity to see this movie, I apologize in advance! It just came out on DVD, so get a hold of a copy and watch it!]

5 Great Leadership Lessons From Star Trek

  1. Hand Off The Baton, Well. In just a few short opening scenes, we see a rotation in leadership as a result of some poor choices by Captain Kirk. Admiral Pike is reassigned as captain of the Enterprise. Kirk is demoted to Commander of the Enterprise. Spock remains a commander, but is transferred over to another starship. As the movie progresses, the leadership roles are changed up even more. In real life, the leadership baton in many organizations is regularly passed around depending on timing and circumstances. I call this the “leadership dance.” If you’re in an organization where you have a rotation of leadership, then learn to lead well when it’s your opportunity to lead. When it’s your turn to hand off the baton to another leader, then attempt to hand it off with a smooth transition and be a good follower for the next leader.
  2. Act Like A Leader. In the movie, there’s a wonderful scene where Captain Kirk makes Sulu the “Acting Captain.” This was the first time Sulu has sat in the captain’s chair, and it seems to come quite naturally to him. Sulu is able to “pull off” the role because once he has been handed the reigns of leadership, he acts like a captain should act. Being a great leader has to do a lot with acting like a great leader. Sure, great leadership has much to do with knowledge and experience, but when the opportunity comes to lead, though, it’s mostly about leading people with confidence. In the actual leadership moment, are many leaders scared? Sure they are, but great leaders are able to lead and inspire their followers in spite of their fear.
  3. Embrace Humility. When Captain Kirk is demoted near the beginning of the movie, Admiral Pike tells Kirk straight up that one of his biggest problems as a leader is his lack of humility. As the movie progresses, we see Kirk learning his lesson as he humbly apologizes and submits to the great and powerful Kahn (the movie villan). Great leaders understand that humility doesn’t make them weak leaders. The best leaders actually embrace it.
  4. Go With Your Gut. There’s a really interesting scene halfway through the movie when Kirk and Spock are discussing a leadership decision by Captain Kirk that doesn’t seem logical. Kirk turns to Spock and says something like, “Spock, I know this doesn’t seem logical, but my gut is telling me to go this direction.” Leadership is a lot about gut instincts. Sure, we look at all the logical facts that surround the problem. In the end, though, we end up making a decision based on what our gut seems to be telling us to do.
  5. Model Self-Sacrifice. “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.” This is a recurring theme in Star Trek. Spock has discussed the concept with Kirk on many occasions. Captain Kirk demonstrates this truth through his willingness to sacrifice his life in order to save the Enterprise and its crew. The best leaders are not always out for themselves or their own reputation. They model self-sacrifice to advance the organization. And, the greatest demonstration of great leadership is the willingness to lay down one’s life for his followers.

Questions: Have you seen Star Trek Into Darkness, yet? If so, did you come away with some similar leadership lessons? Do you have additional leadership thoughts to add to my list?






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Do You Want To Be An Amazing Leader? Learn To Power Pose

Photo by Snap Man

Photo by Snap Man

Try A Powerful Pose

Stand right where you are. Stand tall and proud. Spread your feet about shoulder length apart. Put your hands and arms up in the air in a victorious “Yes! I just won the race!” – type of pose.

Or, maybe instead of putting your hands and arms above your head, try putting your hands on your hips. This is affectionately known as the “Wonder Woman” pose.

How do you feel after doing these poses? Strong? Powerful? Ready to take on any problem thrown at you?

Good. This is how you’re supposed to feel after power posing.

A TED Talk Video

I recently ran across this interesting TED talk given by Amy Cuddy on what she describes as power posing. You can check out it below, and then come on back to the blog post.

In this video, we learn several key thoughts that can help us all be better leaders:

  • We communicate to others through our body language.
  • We communicate power and dominance through opening up and expanding.
  • We communicate powerlessness through closing up and making ourselves smaller.
  • Our gender typically plays a role in our body language. Women tend to close up and make themselves smaller. Men usually open up and expand.
  • Our nonverbals govern how other people think and feel about us.
  • Powerful, effective leaders have high testosterone, a dominance hormone, and low cortisol, a stress hormone.
  • You probably don’t want leaders in your organization who are highly stress reactive. You want laid back, confident leaders.
  • Our bodies change our minds … and our minds change our behavior … and our behavior changes our outcomes.
  • Tiny tweaks can lead to BIG changes.
  • You can “fake it, until you become it” through power posing.

So, What Does Power Posing Mean For You And Me?

Are you a leader in the workplace? Do you struggle with self-confidence? Do you need to “be on your A game” on a regular basis? Are you a key performer or presenter in your area of expertise?

Power posing is a real science that has been proven to work in clinical studies as well as real life scenarios. Many a shy, backward personality has been transformed through this concept of power posing.

The next time you don’t feel very confident in a certain situation, try power posing. If you’re in a meeting, then sit up straight, put your shoulders back and chest out. Think expansion. Sit in a larger stance, not a smaller one. Definitely don’t cross your arms and slump in your chair.

If you’re about to walk out on to a stage to make a presentation, then try some power poses back stage. Look, feel, and act confident before you speak.

If you’re about to go in for a job interview, then quickly duck into the rest room and practice a few power poses. Get yourself into a powerful state of mind before meeting with the interviewer. Raise your testosterone levels and lower your cortisol. Fake it until you make it. Make a great first impression.

This stuff does work. Try it for yourself and find out.

5 Steps To Shape The Culture of Your Organization

Photo by chomiji

Photo by chomiji

What Is Culture?

Dictionary.com defines organizational culture as the customs, rituals, and values shared by the members of an organization that have to be accepted by new members.

A specific example of culture in the workplace might include all the employees showing up for work between 7:55 and 8:10. Why this time range? Did all the supervisors demand it? No, not at all. This is just the way it is. This is the group norm. As employees have been hired into the company, these new employees just realized that this was around the time that most employees arrive to work. They followed the culture of the organization. Herd mentality.

How Is Culture Created?

Let’s say you just started leading a certain organization. As you spend time getting to know your organization over the first few weeks and months, you begin noticing that there are significant problems within the culture of the organization. What do you do? As the leader, how can you change specific things you don’t like about your culture?

You can’t create culture, at least not immediately. You can’t force a culture on an organization, either. But, there are specific steps you can take to begin the process of reshaping your current culture.

Here are some thoughts on shaping or reshaping an organization’s culture.

5 Steps To Shape Your Culture

  1. Write about it. In all of your organization’s written communications, figure out ways to include quotes, articles, and interviews that reinforce the desired outcome. And, the more written communication from the very top leaders, all the better.
  2. Talk about it. At any and every opportunity, such as in meetings or conferences, talk about the culture you desire to take root in your organization.
  3. Dispense it. In your organization’s leadership hierarchy structure, the vision must successfully move from the top down. The top leaders get with the leaders under them, then those leaders take it to their teams, and so on.
  4. Live it. All the key, highly visible leaders in the organization must model the desired culture, or it’s never going to take place.
  5. Reward it. You can’t force a specific culture on your organization. It either happens or it doesn’t. But, you can reward behaviors, though, to get those to stick. Financial bonuses or other significant gift rewards given to individual employees publicly in front of their peers has the potential to bring cultural changes.

Questions: Do you have experience in shaping or reshaping organizational cultures? What has been your experience in shaping cultures? Do you have anything to add to my five steps above?

Featured Guest Post At XPastor.org On “Second Chair” Leadership

XPastor.orgI’m pleased to announce that I had a new guest post go live this week over at XPastor.org.

Post Title: “Second Chair” Leadership: How to be a Superstar Executive Pastor

Summary: In this post, I discuss the uniqueness of second chair leaders. They hold a challenging position of leadership and authority. I also give five thoughts on being the best at chair number two:

  • Always remain positive about your boss with other people.
  • Understand how to “ride in the boss’s wake.”
  • Ask the right questions in the right way.
  • Always defer to your boss’s leadership, unless you have been clearly handed the leadership baton.
  • When you have been handed the leadership baton, don’t be afraid to lead with excellence.

Read this and more over on my guest post at XPastor.org.

Thank you to Dr. David Fletcher and his team for utilizing my post!

A Financial Vision For America

Photo by Kyle Kim

Photo by Kyle Kim

The Problem

Our nation is in dire financial trouble.

The greatest nation on earth, the richest, most prosperous country the world has ever known, is on the brink of financial collapse. As of the date of this writing on July 4, 2013, the national debt clock is approaching $17 Trillion.

All political parties, all Presidents, all congresses, all state and local governments must be called to account.

For decades, our politicians have been intoxicated with power and vast financial resources they have confiscated from us, the American people.

For too long, our local, state, and federal governments have paid for programs that are too expensive and just don’t work. For too long, we have run yearly deficits that have led us to unsustainable debt loads. For too long, we’ve been throwing money around we don’t have, at problems we simply cannot fix with money alone. For too long, we have kicked the financial can down the nation’s fiscal timeline, hoping for a miracle to materialize that never will.

For too long, there has been little to no accountability for bad fiscal policy. For too long, our politicians have been playing political as well as financial games with us.

For too long, many of our wealthiest citizens have been gagged and shackled, simply because they have incredible, financial savvy.

Spending money we do not have doesn’t work in our own households, and it certainly doesn’t work in our governments, either. There will be a pay-day, someday. It won’t be today and probably not tomorrow, but there is coming a tipping point, soon.

Something needs to change, today. Our nation must rise out of our stupor of financial insanity into a glorious new sunrise of financial responsibility, stability, and plain, old-fashion, common sense.

The Vision

I have a vision of American citizens who understand personal finances. They budget appropriately. They spend less than they make. They live debt free lives. They save a portion of their income for the future. They actually pay for their own food, cell phones, healthcare, college, and emergency expenses instead of relying on government handouts.

I have a vision of churches and para-church ministries who rush to give aid to our citizens, instead of Federal Government agencies.

I have a vision of a prosperous United States of America, a nation that encourages appropriate government budgeting practices, spending below our means, and paying down its debt load as quickly as possible.

I have a vision of politicians who are required to live under the same fiscal policy rules they enact on us.

I have a vision of local, state, and federal governments that encourage hard work, financial reward, business growth, innovation, wealth, investment. This means lowering personal and business tax rates to reasonable levels so that we actually encourage productivity rather than discourage it.

I have a vision of wealthy citizens who are applauded and thanked for their contributions to society, rather than demonized. They are encouraged to achieve great financial success, because they have worked hard and risked their fortunes in order to invest their finances, build amazing businesses, and hire us to help them.

I have a vision; no, I have a dream today.

The Dream

I have a dream that one day, all of us will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

Sweet land of financial liberty; let financial freedom ring!

And if America is to return to being the greatest nation this world has ever known, this must become true. So let financial freedom ring from the New York Stock Exchange to the San Francisco Transamerica Pyramid Center.

Let financial freedom ring from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to the Dallas Stock Exchange.

Let financial freedom ring at the IRS Building in Washington, D.C.

Let financial freedom ring in the US Treasury as well as Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Let financial freedom ring in the City of Miami Mayor’s Office to the Washington State Legislature.

Let financial freedom ring from every household, yea, from every institution, business, church, and government entity in this great land.

And when this happens, when we allow financial freedom to ring from every corner of these great United States, then we will truly achieve the unalienable rights outlined by our founding fathers: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Question: Will you join with me in this vision? If so, please leave a comment and then share in every corner of social media. Thank you!

Leadership Is A Stewardship

Photo by WillowCreek D/CH

Photo by WillowCreek D/CH

The Catalyst Podcast

I enjoy listening to the Catalyst podcast regularly. It’s one of a few podcasts that I like to listen to while I’m working out. If you’re familiar with this podcast at all, there are some great leadership quotes by well-known leaders spoken in the front-end bumper music portion of the program.

My favorite quote in the opening bumper is Andy Stanley‘s statement, “Leadership is a stewardship. It is temporary, and you’re accountable.” This is a simple, yet profound statement that always causes me to pause and reflect on my own leadership of those I have been called to lead.

The Stewardship of Leadership

Stewardship. There’s one of those fancy, King James Bible kind-of words. A simple definition of the word is “management.” A steward is simply a manager of the owner’s property.

Because of its connection with God’s Word, I also believe stewardship has a very serious, spiritual connection. It’s not simply a management role. Stewardship is a spiritual discipline that Christians are expected to engage in. We have all been called to manage well everything that God has given to us manage in our temporal life here on earth: our personal finances, our possessions, our talents, our families, and our career calling.

If God has made you a leader, then He’s expecting you to manage with excellence your leadership role, however big or small that role may be.

You Will Be Held Accountable

The second half of Andy’s statemement “ … It is temporary, and you’re accountable” is where this whole stewardship concept can get a little scary. There is coming a day for all who follow Christ in which we will hand off the leadership baton to others and then give an account to God of our management ability of what He has asked us to manage.

I’m reminded of these New Testament passages in regard to the accountability of our stewardship of leadership:

Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you (Hebrews 13:17).

Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer’ (Luke 16:1-2).

It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God (Romans 14:11-12).

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account (Hebrews 4:12-13).

One day, we will all give an account to God for our management abilities. For those of us who are leaders, especially within the church, we will be held to a higher standard than other believers.

I would encourage all of us to live and lead today as though our personal evaluations by God will be held tomorrow.

Question: In light of this revelation that the management of your leadership role will be evaluated by God Himself, how will you lead differently, now?

Is It Possible To Change People’s Attitudes?

Photo by Ryan Hyde

Photo by Ryan Hyde

We’ve Always Done It This Way

I was having a recent discussion with a church staff member who has been encountering change resistance from some volunteers under his leadership. He acknowledges that these volunteers are good people. They desire to minister to others. He is convinced, though, that their style of service needs to adapt to the next generation. Unfortunately, these volunteers are too “old school” for the church’s current needs.

I believe every generation probably struggles with the attitude of “ … but, we’ve always done it this way.” All of us can get set in our ways. We can get hung up on one way to do something. We can become resistant to any kind of change.

Leaders are (supposed to be) change agents. We are the ones who must show and lead the way to those who follow us. The problem we sometimes run into, though, is when our followers don’t want to follow in the change path.

The questions then start. Why is this person resistant to change? Do they not understand the reasons we need to make these changes? Are they just set in their ways? Is this all my fault? Did I try to make too many changes, too quickly? Am I bad leader?

Changing People Is Hard

The reality for all of us who lead teams is that change is difficult. No one likes change. Everybody enjoys their comfort zone.

So, what do we do? How do we change these people?

Is there a training program you can implement? Is there a magical, inspiring speech you can give that will light a fire under these people? Can you give these volunteers a 5-point plan to accomplish the change you want?

Yeah, probably not.

Growth Is The Answer

The answer that this staff member mentioned to me is that you can’t change followers who are resistant to change. Realistically, it’s not possible.

But, you can grow right past them.

You can grow as a leader. You can facilitate the growth of the followers who have captured the vision you want to accomplish. You can grow your base of followers by adding people to the team who see and believe in the vision you want to accomplish.

If this kind of growth takes place, then what? What happens to those who continue to resist the change?

Well, there are a few possible scenarios in a situation such as this.

One, they keep hanging around, and you end up working around them with your other team members. Two, they observe the growth happening around them, and they finally decide to go with the change. Three, they end up quitting because they don’t like the change. Four, you end up letting them go.

Changing people’s attitudes is difficult, if not impossible to achieve. As a leader, don’t get stuck focused on a bunch of people who won’t make the changes you’re looking to make. Focus, rather, on growing past them.

Questions: Have you encountered similar situations in your organization? How have you dealt with this problem?