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The Best Leaders Do This....

People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.

I remember hearing this for the first time in a leadership training and thinking “I’ve got some work to do.” Unfortunately, this meant that I went to a different extreme of caring so that I get things done through people. My care wasn’t genuine.

Fast forward to today, having the opportunity to show care and concern for people is one I see quite differently now. Another way to talk about this is empathy.

Empathy is appropriately acknowledging and responding to others’ feelings. (By the way on Friday, September 30 at 11 am Central you're invited to a free workshop on Empathy and Belonging. Learn more here).

I get it, you’re a pastor and I bet you think you’ve got this one on lock down. However, I’ve found that pastors who take EQ assessments tend to score average in this competency. When they do we discuss their surprise. Sometimes it’s not that they are not empathetic to others it’s that they are not empathetic to themselves. At which point in the convo I hear an “Ok that makes sense.” As if to say ‘at least I have some toward others.’ Clearly demonstrating the lack of self empathy in that moment.

Other times pastors are so production driven that they forget about the people-side of ministry. Or we use people so that the tasks get done (I have been guilty of this). All of this can lead to resentment and unhealthy relationships with your teams.

One of the best things we can do is bring both productivity and people together in our leadership stance. While it won’t be perfect, it’s worth trying because lopsided either way does not yield the fruit of the spirit nor the fulfillment of the Great commandment.


Connecting your daily choices with your overarching purpose.

In effect it’s living on purpose and allowing one’s purpose to permeate their daily life choice by choice. In Christian circles we can speak of this as a calling. Leaders who are clear on their call, the command, and commission of scripture live most fully into all of those when they make aligned decisions.

There are many right answers. How does one decide which to choose? We test alignment. Are there a few choices more aligned with one’s noble goal? This helps to narrow.

I think one of the key characteristics of a great leader is that they make decisions and they know why they chose it. So what’s the last leadership decision you made? How much of your call, the Great Commission and Commandment were part of it?


Action Brings Clarity: Practice empathy on yourself. What’s one sentence or phrase you need to hear right now in ministry? (Example: I am leading well. I make solid decisions. Based on what I know, I am doing the best I can. I am a child of God and am loved. It doesn’t have to be perfect rather purposeful.) From there identify the next leadership decision you need to make. Consider your noble goal, purpose.



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