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5 Leadership Insights I Wish I Knew 25 Years Ago

4. Others mirror a leader’s emotional temperature.

The term for mirroring another’s response is called emotional contagion. Teams actually ‘catch’ the emotional state of their leaders.

Early in ministry I felt that I had the leadership right to get angry, pout or emotionally cut myself off from others if things didn’t go well. It was being authentic, or so I thought.

While not discounting the importance of authenticity, I’ve learned that I must bring a positive and hopeful tone into the office each day.

When I experience something painful and it’s appropriate to share it, say in a staff meeting, that sharing builds trust. But if I regularly bring negative emotions into the office, I set up a tone that others often catch and mirror, even though that emotion may have nothing to do with their circumstances.

Such negative emotions can hinder a team’s effectiveness.

5. Less is more.

I’ll never forget my first elder’s meeting almost 30 years ago. I had started a church in the Atlanta, Ga., area, and we had just elected our first slate of elders. I planned the agenda for the first meeting. It was three pages long. I am not kidding.

I actually still have memory traces of me racing through the agenda at a breakneck speed so we could check off all the items. The meeting was a flop.

I’ve learned that less is more applies not only to meeting agendas but also to sermon prep as well. People in general absorb a few key ideas (or one idea) much better than when we use the proverbial firehose approach.

What key lessons in your ministry do you wish you had known when you started? 

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