When it comes right down to it, some of the most profound leadership lessons I’ve ever learned are made simple through the eyes of a child.
For more than a decade, I was responsible for delivering children’s sermons for my home church. There’s one particular story I loved to share, because it illustrated a profound concept in a simple way. The story goes like this...
A young boy was wandering through his family’s orchard when he recognized a small chrysalis resting on the leaves. His mind swirled with the possibilities. What a magnificent creature must be waiting inside! He scooped up the tiny treasure and sprinted to his father’s office. There, he slowly and meticulously unwrapped the silky barrier, anxious to uncover the life form inside.
The boy could hardly believe his eyes...A butterfly! A beautiful butterfly! It was all he’d imagined and more.
It wasn’t long, though, before his excitement evaporated into concern. After the slightest flutter of its wings, the butterfly lay motionless on the desk. The boy quickly summoned his father, who didn’t take long to assess the situation.
“I’m afraid this butterfly will not survive,” he said, tenderness in his voice. “You see, a butterfly’s wings become stronger as it works itself out of his chrysalis. Without the struggle, it will never be strong enough to fly.”
Wow. Isn’t that the truth for all of us?
When I look back at the greatest times of growth in my life, they didn’t come during the times of joy or simplicity. No, my leadership skills were honed, and my faith was made stronger in the midst of trials and struggle. Phyllis Hendry
I imagine you would probably say the same.
So if we know this to be true, why is it that we are so quick to lift those we lead out of the struggle? This may happen in any number of ways. It happens when we prematurely swoop in for the rescue...or we avoid confrontations...or we lower our expectations so that the pathway won’t be so difficult.
And while our motives might be pure, they are often misguided. We want to save those we influence from heartache, pain, and difficulty, but ultimately we may end up doing more harm than good.
In his letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul wrote, “We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:3b-5)
Leading like Jesus means filtering every decision through this question: What is the most loving thing to do? It seems to me, the most loving decision is always to help those we influence grow from where they are today, to where God would have them to be. Phyllis Hendry
And more often than we realize, the most loving decision is to have difficult conversations, to hold those we lead to accountability, to set high standards and expect that they will be upheld. These are not interruptions in their path toward growth. Rather, these are crucial moments where we can teach them to “fly” through transformational lessons about perseverance, character, and hope.
The key is to approach these moments with pure hearts... prayed up and ready to love. As we allow Jesus to work in us and through us, our influence can create profound change in the lives of those we serve.
Phyllis Hennecy Hendry serves as the inaugural President and CEO of Lead Like Jesus. Under her capable leadership, Lead Like Jesus has had a global impact. Phyllis has traveled across the United States and various parts of the world to speak and teach the message of Lead Like Jesus. She is a dynamic communicator who gets to the heart of her audiences with messages that come straight from hers. Her messages of truth are clear, personal, filled with stories, and life-changing. She often serves as a keynote and plenary speaker and delights in each opportunity to share the impact of the Lead Like Jesus message in the home, church, and marketplace.
For More Information about Lead Like Jesus or to bring Phyllis Hendry to your organization as a speaker, visit www.LeadLikeJesus.com or call 800.383.6890.