I live in and lead a church in Charleston, SC. A city that is growing at a rapid pace every single day. Fifty three new people move here daily. This population growth creates many traffic problems because our roads are not prepared for the number of people that travel them each day. This means daily issues with traffic and the frustrations that can come accordingly. Not that you understand these types of things, but road rage is real. Especially for me.
If I'm honest, I find myself in a love-hate relationship with this entire issue. I am a pastor who moved here to plant a church five years ago. One of the reasons we chose to plant in this city was because of the population growth coming to our area. However, the very thing that drove me to start a church then is now one of the things that drives me crazy now. As I sit in traffic every day, I find myself frustrated with the problem that the people create. See, I love the people; just not the problems they cause.
One of the most difficult aspects of leadership is knowing what to love while knowing what to hate.
As you lead the people under your influence, here a few ‘Love-Hate’ principles to remember in order to effectively lead:
1. Love the people; hate the problem.
Far too many times, I have found myself dealing with the symptoms of an issue rather than the issue itself. Not only will this lead to frustration, but it will lead you to identify the person as the problem rather than identify the problem itself. While these seem to be very connected, the reality is people are valuable because of who they are not simply what they do. As a leader, it is important to remember that your greatest resource is people and your responsibility is to help people achieve their maximum potential. The sooner you separate the person from the problem the more likely that principle will become a reality for you. In other words, the problem is the number of people driving in traffic not the individual people themselves. Love the people; hate the traffic.
2. Focus on progress; not just pace.
Most strong leaders like to see results quickly. I'm one of those myself. The pace of leadership is often very exhilarating. Fast learners. Quick growth. Exciting expansion. Inflation. Results coming in at a rapid rate. However, other times the pace slows down. Slower learners. Results coming in at a slower rate. Takes time. And. It. Can. Feel. Like. F o r e v e r.
Back to the road rage, it’s like driving at 70 mph may feel amazing, but stop and go traffic may feel like paper cuts.
In order to enjoy the journey of leadership, you must be willing to look at progress and not just pace. Just because something is developing slower doesn’t mean you won’t arrive at the destination. Will there be frustration? You bet. Is it annoying at times? Absolutely. However, the slower times can be some of the most developmental times in the life of the people you lead. While you press the brakes, don’t focus simply on the pace of the journey choose to identify the progress along the way.
3. Know where you’re going.
It's no surprise that Charleston is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. This means that much of our traffic are from individuals who honestly don’t have any idea where they are going. They are here to look at our city, often times with relaxed schedules, and history of driving that does not match the needs of our city. I’m mainly talking about people from Ohio - you know who you are.
I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve had to pull up the GPS and figure out a different route to get to my destination on time. Because I know where I’m going, I can explore alternative ways to actually get there. When it comes to leadership, it is so important to know where you are taking people. If your destination is known, you will never be open to different avenues to get there. This does not mean you compromise your goals along the way, it just means that you can be open to different ideas and concepts that will help get you there. Far too many leaders are leading people to a place that they cannot actually identify. Who do I want this person to become? What is it that I want him to do? And most importantly, why is it that I want to see this happen? As you lead others, it is incredibly important to know where you are going so that you can know how to help get others there with you.
So, whether you're in stop-and-go traffic or cruising at 70 mph, drive with this in mind:
Love the people; hate the problem.
Focus on progress; not just pace.
Know where you’re going.
Pastor Brandon Bowers
Pastor Brandon is the founding and lead pastor of Awaken Church in Charleston, SC. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communications, he attended New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary earning a Master of Arts in Missiology. As a husband, dad, and pastor, he is passionate about preaching, teaching, and leading others to achieve their full potential.
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