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I was only twenty-one years old as I stood reading a copy of the letter from my Executive Director. It was addressed to one of the key supporters of our ministry whom he wanted me to visit. Reading the last line I said to my wife, “I’m not going on this trip. I’m afraid I will not live up to the expectations on these pages.”

I was flattered by his confidence, but frankly could not believe he was willing to put his reputation on the line for me. I was relatively new on staff and for all intents and purposes had not “proven myself” yet.

This would be one of my first lessons in Leadership 101. Real leaders are willing to be Misunderstood in the Meantime, if necessary, to help build into the life of another person. Doing so does not suggest throwing caution or logic to the wind and with abandon risking your reputation on anyone that crosses your path. However, it may mean getting out of your comfort zone for some less secure, risk-adverse leaders reading this blog.

Here are some questions to help determine your risk-tolerance when it comes to being Misunderstood in the Meantime for the benefit of others in leadership:

  • Are you willing to let others lead a project that you could do better just so it can help them to grow?
  • Are you willing to let young people speak in key places so they can receive input and guidance?
  • Do you let students take active roles in your church under the watchful (discipleship) eyes of others?
  • Do you have a discipleship model set up in your ministry for students and adults?
  • How often have you asked another person to assist you with a project knowing it will personally slow you down but practically benefit them?
  • When was the last group meeting where you publically praised a new believer or rookie leader for whom everyone else was still choosing to reserve judgment?
  • How willing are you to let people who work with you fail?
  • Do people in your ministry feel like they can fail and still be acceptable?
  • Do you tell or teach when communicating?

Great leaders are those who are willing to be Misunderstood in the Meantime because they have the best interest of others at heart. How would you classify yourself?

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