Over the holidays I was able to reconnect with the man who has influenced me more than anyone outside of my parents. We hadn’t seen each other in person or even spoken on the phone in years. Thirty years ago, Jim was my boss, but also my mentor and friend.
He did not treat me like a cog in the machine. He was curious about me. He asked my opinion (and boy, did I have a lot of them in my late 20’s). He led from a place of humility and normalized deep conversations. Rather than sticking his head in the theological sand pretending everything is neat and tidy, he taught me about grace. The accountability Jim offered was anchored in love. He gave me opportunities to lead, and those opportunities helped me find and develop my voice as a leader. And when it was time for us to part ways, Jim affirmed me and sent me on to the next chapter, remaining available if I needed him.
The forty-minute phone call was filled with plenty of laughter, catching up, and reminiscing. But true to who I know Jim to be, he also opened the door for us to say things that are often, and unfortunately, left unsaid. The risky things. The uncomfortable things. The lasting things that warrant verbalization and should not be assumed. “I have always loved and respected you deep in my heart.” “I will forever treasure the days we worked together.” “I wouldn’t be who I am without your influence in my life.”
In this week’s video, Raynisha asked two profound questions followed by a powerful statement about leadership.
- Are we listening to the Holy Spirit and being mindful of how we are to steward those around us?
- Are we seeing God’s desire to edify the people around us?
- We have an opportunity to see people come alive.
I was fortunate to follow someone who lived out an artful and enthusiastic “YES” to both questions and was instrumental in me coming alive as a leader.
In many ways, what Raynisha is inviting us to and what I experienced with Jim were qualities that the psalmist points to in King David. “And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.” Psalm 78:72
Leadership is an incredible responsibility that goes beyond projects and strategy and managing P&L’s. It is a legacy we step into, a legacy that engages our hands and our heart.
The video closes with some very clear and compelling action steps to take our place in the legacy of Godly leadership:
- Where is God calling me to stretch and get out of my comfort zone?
- Do I leave the risky things unsaid?
Engage people who are different from you.
- Who has God put in my path that has a different perspective and can help me see things differently?
- How do they steward the people under their care?
Learn from the women around you.
- What ideas or preconceived notions do you hold about women in the workplace?
- What skills do they possess that you need to grow?
- How do they tune in to the prompting of the Holy Spirit?
Taking in the knowledge and insight that Raynisha shared with us, let’s make an intentional effort this year to say the risky things, engage people, and learn from those around us. And beyond that, let’s lead like Jim – fostering curiosity, encouraging humility, and most importantly, leaving a leadership legacy anchored in love.