10th grade biology taught me two things: That I didn't need to go into the medical field and that I was terrible at biology.
It was the only class I have ever nearly failed. I carried a solid "D" average all year. Hey, I was proud it wasn't an "F"!
As the final exam approached for this course it became clear that I would have to make a strong grade. In fact, I needed a 90 just to pass the class! I was stressed. I literally stayed up all night studying the night before.
The day of the test I was diligent and focused, answering every question with care. My Number 2 pencil was sharp and ready to fill out that little Scantron sheet like a boss. I filled that thing out perfectly so the computer didn't accidentally grade me wrong for marking my answer outside the lines of those tiny boxes.
Once I had filled out the final answer, I took a deep breath of relief just for finishing. Then it happened. The nightmare scenario. I sneezed on my stinkin Scantron sheet! All over it! It was ruined! What was happening? Were the gods of biology out to get me? Was I really going to spend another year building models of cells out of jello molds?
When it came to biology, my struggle was real!
Leaders face similar moments. Seasons of leadership bring struggles and difficulties. No matter how accomplished or experienced we are, moments arise when we feel like we are stumbling through a class that we can't pass.
I have learned the best leaders focus on three things during these seasons. Hopefully you can adopt these in your life as well.
Fight against ANGER
During tense times followers take their emotional cues from leaders. If anger begins to become evident in a leader, it impact the tone of the team. Panic breeds panic. While a leader isn't immune to emotions, they must be able to process them in healthy ways. Circumstances and mistakes all have to possibility of drawing anger out of us. Remember, just because you are angry, doesn't mean you have the right to be cruel.
Maintain your AIM
Struggles can derail leaders by shifting their focus. Instead of aiming for a cause, they focus on surviving the moment. I have heard it said that if you chase two rabbits, both will escape. Never is this more true than during a tough time. Those you lead need your faithfulness to the cause during difficult times. You are the one who cuts thru their panic and provides the vision that helps them rise above it. Aiming at something larger than the moment will enable you to be larger than the moment.
Keep your AWE of God.
When we have nothing left but God, we discover that God is enough. During these times you may need extra time for yourself to focus on your Creator. Awe of God puts problems in perspective. Once you clearly see how powerful He is, you are able to view your issues as, the Bible describes them, "light and momentary troubles." One practice is to shift from reminding God of how big the problem is to reminding yourself how big God is. Spend prayer time speaking words of worship instead of words of worry. As your perspective changes, you leadership will come in line will as well.
And how did that biology exam turn out? I ended up filling a new answer sheet out, barely passed the class and decided not to choose biology as a profession. The medical field is grateful.
The next time you find yourself leading through a tough season, focus on those three things to pull you through. You will survive and your team can continue to thrive in spite of the moment.
Keep leading bravely!
Kevin Lloyd is a coach for CourageToLead.com. He currently serves as the Executive Pastor at Stevens Creek Church in Augusta, Georgia and is is the founder of LeadBravely.org which serves as a hub for practical leadership.