In Session 6 at the Global Leadership Summit 2016, Bill Hybels, Dr. Henry Cloud, and Shauna Niequist teamed up to share three illusions that leaders often believe. Take some time to read and reflect on them below. I’ll warn you ahead of time, this isn’t your standard set of conference “how to’s.” This session dug deep to address the souls from which we lead:
Illusion #1: We Can Increase Our Speed While Maintaining Our Souls
Bill Hybels shared passionately that we fool ourselves into thinking we can both increase the speed of our life and simultaneously maintain the same level of care for our souls. But at some point, our souls are no longer able to keep up. In order to take on more in leadership, we must also adopt new spiritual practices and become more intentional about creating margin.
Illusion #2: We Are Connected Enough
Dr. Henry Cloud mapped four “corners of connectedness” in which we each live:
Corner #1 – No Connection: We are disconnected from everyone.
Corner #2 – Bad Connection: The connections we have make us feel bad about ourselves.
Corner #3 – Fake Good: We use something external to fake ourselves into feeling good.
Corner #4 – Real Connection: Truly valuable and value-adding relationships.
The thing about Corner #4 is that it only happens when we walk into relationships vulnerable enough to let our needs be known. Is your team experiencing real connection? Are you personally living with the vulnerability required for real relationships? The quality of the relationships on your team will stem from your personal level of openness to create them.
In my experience, if the leader lives guarded, the entire team will remain withheld from genuine relationships with one another.
Illusion #3: Perfection Is Possible
Shauna Niequist encouraged us with a passage of our her latest book, Present Over Perfect. Her words challenged us to be present and to lead with love rather than working hard to gain the approval of others. This is one of the most common heart challenges leaders face. As Niequist shared, the search for productivity and efficiency often overrun our core identity and purpose. It takes daily intentionality to create space and self-reflection to keep ourselves centered and let God speak to our identity.
If you’re discovering that you’ve been leading from one of these illusions, it’s probably time to create more space to care for your soul. Lance Witt’s, Replenish: Leading From A Healthy Soul is an excellent resource that has helped me do just that.