You are leading in a time when tension, complexity, and uncertainty seem to lead the way. Artful nuance is necessary.
It’s difficult to get in front and lead when circumstances and culture change so rapidly. Yet, leadership is our responsibility, and now more than ever.
- Racial injustice has reached a tipping point.
- COVID-19 continues to increase our economic challenges.
- Re-opening the doors to churches continues to bring more questions than answers.
Plus, the problems you faced before more recent events and cultural impacts.
With all this, as leaders, it’s up to us to bring hope, seize opportunities, and point the way. No small task, right? The good news is that you are not expected to lead perfectly, but only to do your best to make progress in the right direction. Take the next right step by doing the next right thing. It’s easier to write that in a blog post than actually do it; I know, I lead in a church too. Leadership requires a great deal of thought, prayer, and work.
But every new day, I’m ready to see what good I can do and what progress I can make. I’ll be candid with you, there are days when it seems like I’ve taken two steps back, (or in fact have,), but the next day I resolve once again to move forward.
That’s my encouragement to you. No matter how frustrated or discouraged, you may get, start fresh again the next day, striving to know the next best step you can take. Bottom line… Move forward. Even just a little. Any progress is good. (Repeat that to yourself many times.) Let me try to make this practical.
I believe deeply in a strategy to make progress toward your vision and that you need to stick to that strategy.
However, there are rare times when circumstances seem to say that leading according to artful nuance, the complexity of culture, and the speed of change takes priority over the strategy.
3 principles that will help you lead more effectively with artful nuance over the next few months:
Artful Nuance #1: Place values over pressure.
It’s impossible to meet every need and solve every problem. In fact, if you try, you will likely not make a lasting difference with anything.
There are enough things that we cannot and should not ignore, like those I listed at the beginning of the post—realities such as COVID, racial injustice, economic uncertainty, and obviously more.
But within this growing list of significant issues, there are still many decisions about what you can do to make a difference.
Now is the time to make sure you and your team have a deep connection to your spiritual leadership-based core values so that you can respond correctly to external pressures.
Late last fall, a group of staff on the 12Stone team began work on our values. Not to write new ones, but to bring fresh language and clarity to the values that mean so much to us.
This has become an interesting time to engage in such a project. I can sense how internal and external pressures can push on, ironically, the very process of a fresh touch to wording.
The practical point is this.
Take some time with your team and talk about your values.
Get honest about the pressures you are facing. Literally, list them out. Talk about what you want to do, what you can do, and the ever-important, what you actually will do. Throughout that conversation, ask if your actions will align with your values.