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Practical Insight to Navigate Leadership Pain

Leadership pain

When you are uncertain if the pain of leadership is worth the outcomes of leadership, you are likely to experience frustration, doubt, and lack of joy.

We all love the promise of leadership. Changed lives, a better future, and the advancement of God’s Kingdom. It’s when the promise of leadership hits the pain of leadership that we can begin to doubt and ask, “Is it really worth it?”

The pain of leadership shows up in several different ways. Here are just a few.

The pain of being misunderstood
Communication is complicated. Social media interprets your words, and they travel at light speed. It’s difficult to recapture truth when perception wins the moment.

The pain of rejection
It’s more challenging to lead today than ever before. If you say the wrong thing (anything can be wrong to somebody), you can be canceled.

The pain of a personal attack
Those you have loved, served and developed for years can take you by complete surprise with a personal attack.

The pain of deep discouragement
Discouragement is highly prevalent among church leaders. It’s perhaps the leading cause of throwing in the towel. Unfortunately, Covid has elevated that reality.

When you read a list like this, it’s a sobering reality.

The first step in navigating leadership pain is to decide if it’s worth it.

You have a sense that the right answer is “Yes, it’s worth it.”

But it so often doesn’t feel that way.

You can’t talk yourself into true belief. The “dutiful solider” thing will help you get through a tough season, but it doesn’t work for a lifetime.

You need to authentically believe that the pain of leadership is worth the promise of leadership at a heart level to stay in the game for the long road.

Practical Insight to Help You Keep Going

3 Truths About Leadership Pain

1) There Is No Progress Without Pain.

NFL players know they’ll never gain ten yards, let alone score a touchdown without some pain while moving the ball down the field. But, it comes with the territory, and they’ll tell you it’s worth it!

How much more for us who get to serve the church?!

There is no progress without pain; therefore, leadership comes with a cost. That is why you must first decide that the pain is worth the promise.

We would all love it if leadership consisted of blissful lunch meetings with wonderful volunteer leaders, good coffee while studying the Bible, and people lining up to serve in the nursery. But we all know that’s not the reality of leadership.

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Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together.