Falling Off the Leadership Wagon
Let’s face it, times are hard, our lives are for most of us dramatically different to what they were even two months ago. Everything has changed, but who we are remains the same, we are leaders with responsibilities in the home, the workplace, our communities, our churches.
So how is it, with our souls, and with our leadership development?
Today, we took some time to catch up with Rachel, a leader for whom life has become difficult during Covid 19.
How are you today, Rachel?
Today, I feel fine, the wheels are on the proverbial bus, I have a plan and for the first time in weeks I feel as if I am in control of my desk.
So it has been hard?
Extremely hard, even for me, someone who is normally super efficient and highly organised. I knew six weeks ago, that I needed to be more intentional in my approach to this “new normal”, yet somehow, the time to sit and reflect, and get organised never found its way into my diary, and so consequently I lurched from task to task, and crisis to crisis.
Did any of your leadership training kick in or has it been total chaos?
Boundaries have been important, my 8 am start and circa 5.30 pm finish has rarely been breached and as Sabbath is an important part of my lifestyle I have remained quite disciplined about that, although I confess even that has slipped a couple of times. Our home timetable has changed, I find myself cooking five nights out of seven and this has been a big challenge, we have slipped into eating the most simple fare, at times so repetitive and boring it is untrue.
How locked down are you?
Very! I venture out once a week to a small local C0-0p with sliding doors to pick up the groceries which have fallen out of my Asda shopping delivery. We have a vulnerable person living in our house, and my hubby works with another. So especially important to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives!
Has keeping in touch been an issue?
Not really, as a ISTJ, with a huge emphasis on the I, I reckon I could live like this for a good while yet, just missing Costa Coffee and our caravan holidays. Apps such as Microsoft teams, Zoom and What’s App have filled the void, along with social media channels.
You said Sabbath is important to you, why is that?
As a Christ-follower, I believe that we are made in God’s image, and as part of that image being enacted out in our lives we need to fashion them as He did. God gave the Sabbath to man, it is a precious gift, a time for recreation and recalibration as well as slowing down to be with Him.
I was going to ask about a typical Sabbath for you, but perhaps a better question is what did it look last weekend?
Glad you asked that, as no Sabbath is typical for me, I love the freedom God gives and so tend to live out my Sabbath in an unshackled way, ensuring that the principles learnt from studying Peter Scazzero’s Emotionally Healthy texts of rest, delight and contemplation all feature in some way, while ensuring time for both connection and solitude.
Last Sunday, began with coffee and puzzles, before I decamped with coffee to our outside space where with sun streaming down I started to engage with last week’s GLSnext session, Trailblazing in Uncertainty. I fully expected to be challenged by this, and was, but also felt my spirit being ministered to as so many God-inspired truths were shared, and scripture breathed. A simple lunch was followed by more engagement, this time with worship sets from around the world, and some biblical teaching from my favourite Bible teacher. Whilst work does not normally figure, I did listen to one of six CPD talks from my professional institute that I have to listen to in the next month too, no condemnation please. By teatime, I felt able to come out of hibernation, it was time to connect round the table with my family, we popped wine in the fridge, had a game, and then ate pudding with said wine before retreating to our different spaces to end our day.
You mentioned the GLSnext event, what did you learn from that?
The key message was that I had fallen off the wagon by not being more intentional at the start of the lockdown, and thinking about bringing order to this new season. I loved what Henry Cloud shared about relational connectivity, and as I listened realised that by simply thinking about what I would call my circle of influence I could be far more pro-active in relationship building than I have been. I was encouraged by Juliet, in that many of the tips she shared I am already putting into practice, clearing down the desk, setting boundaries, having a daily list alongside the more intricate one produced by my Priorities App. I loved what Patrick said about God giving blessings in packages that we just don’t recognise the wrapping – Covid 19 for some people has been and will continue to be a really difficult life event, but his comment reminded me that we serve a God who brings order from chaos and dare I say it in everything works out for the good of those who are loved and called according to his purposes.
So what are your next steps?
I am sensing that the Covid 19 season will change again for me in the coming weeks, a return to the office could be imminent, the businesses I serve in my work will start up again. It was said at the GLSnext event that efficiency and professionalism has for many in this time been replaced by effectiveness and productivity as how we live and work relationally has changed, we have been forced into living out of humanness and vulnerability, and this has been incredible. My goal is to take that circle of influence and work through how the way in which each relationship works has been changed during Covid 19, which ones have been neglected and need to be rebooted, which ones dare I say it, have faded away and may for the good of my health never return.
As a leader, I had fallen off this wagon, and need to get back on!