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6 Remedies for Recovery from Leader-Inflicted Hurt

I have recently been writing about good leadership in my series “United We Move: Creating a Team Culture.” Much of what is learned in leadership comes from personal mistakes as well as lessons learned from the mistakes of other leaders.

This is true in my own story. 

I was hurt by leadership early in my missions career. There were issues of control, manipulation, and a very works-oriented mentality. The smallest mistake was treated as massive, leading to feeling as if you disappointed the leaders. Perfectionism was modeled; grace was not.

During these years, I had to contend with tribalism, accusation, character attacks, and many other wretched things people do to each other. At one point, I was even advised to engage in illegal activities by a senior leader in the organization!

I would like to share several tips that have helped me journey out of the pain. These tips will help you regain health and succeed as a leader.

Here are 6 remedies for recovery:

1. Taste something different

Realization and healing often begins by seeing something different. Go to another church, serve in another ministry, or align yourself with someone who leads in a different style. Healthy leadership reveals unhealthy traits and points you in a good direction.

2. Seek Good leaders

This is very closely linked to the first one. These leaders can be in the flesh as well as through podcasts, teachings, and various friendships. 

I credit one leader with saving my career in missions. During my period of turmoil, I phoned him and asked if this style of leadership was rampant in our organization. He did not engage in a debate or defense of the hurtful leaders; rather, he spent time describing how he led his region. Hearing a healthy leader’s perspective gave me hope and kept me in the game when I was tempted to quit missions.

3. Give yourself time and grace to process

Overcoming disappointment and hurt is a journey that takes time. Time is the great healer and bringer of perspective. My path led me to step out of leadership for a season to process. I would strongly advise speaking to a counselor during this time of seeking answers.

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Chris Lautsbaugh lives in Muizenberg, South Africa. He serves with Youth With a Mission (YWAM), teaching and training internationals to be missionaries and church leaders. Together with his wife Lindsey, they lead and steward training programs and ministries in and around Cape Town, reaching out to under privileged communities, planting churches, and meeting needs associated with the issues South Africa is facing. They have been in missions for 35 combined years. They serve together with their two boys, Garett and Thabo. Chris blogs at www.nosuperheroes.com and has published a book on grace, Death of the Modern Superhero:How Grace Breaks our Rules.