Monday, 11 June 2018 06:33

Avoiding Impulsive Leadership

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Have you ever been guilty of impulsive leadership? Impulsive leadership happens when you plan an activity as an afterthought or in a hurry. Most often these occur because the activity is expected or the calendar dictates. For instance, if you serve in a location where a fall revival is a part of the church tradition, impulsive leadership can creep in. And the results will show your impulsiveness.

What is the problem with impulsive leadership? First, you react rather than act. It is not my purpose to critique the pros and cons of a fall revival. However, the fall revival is an example where we react to tradition rather than being proactive.

If you feel a tradition (such as a revival) is worth honoring, then by all means be proactive. For example, start planning several years out so that you get a good speaker. In addition, follow good practices so that the revival is not empty of eternal value. Even traditional activities can be beneficial if done right.

Also, impulsive behavior may be a sign of passive rebellion. Following this (revival) example, consider your true feelings. If you despise fall revivals, then sit down with your leadership team and explain your feelings. You don’t have to bash their tradition in order to lead them in a new direction. Being proactive about your feelings is better, in the long run, than planning another “dead” event. I say, “in the long run” because you may have to run a marathon to get them to give up their tradition. But every tradition starts as someone’s idea. As you discuss your feelings you might find others who share your thoughts. From this discussion you might find creative ideas that serve your church well.

Closely aligned with rebellion may be procrastination. Impulsive behavior may cause you to procrastinate in following through. You’ll find yourself leaving important details and decisions left undone.

So, what do you do to avoid impulsive leadership? First, follow a plan. If bringing in guest speakers is beneficial in motivating your people, then get out in front. Start early and explain the purpose of the guest speaker and what you hope to accomplish. Your people will generally support a change of tradition if they have time to process the change and understand the reason for it.

Second, work with a leadership team. The leadership team can be an accountability and support group and serve as a sounding board as you plan your events.

Third, I have found it helpful to work with a detail person. Some people have the gift of doing detail planning. If you sit down with this person, they can help you think through the details that must be addressed. People who are not detailed planners will let events creep up without being prepared for them. This will leave you frustrated and others doubting your leadership.

The writer of Proverbs warns us about planning. “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.” (Prov. 6:6) The ant knows to plan for the coming winter months. We can gain wisdom from this tiny creature. God has an approach that works.

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