Leadership From The Ground Up

Day 1 of 4 • This day’s reading

Devotional

Resilience


The refinement that happens when a struggle comes into your life is pure gold. (That’s right…pure gold!) The process of focusing your eyes and praise on a forever good and faithful God in the midst of struggle is an offering that we can only give Him on this side of eternity. It is a sweet sound in His ear, producing a beautiful offering that is unlike anything we can give when things are simple and smooth-sailing.


Navigating through tension produces some serious character and leadership development results. In many years of working with and coaching talented leaders across the Fortune 500, I can testify first hand that the very best leaders - the ones recognized as being the best to work for, the best in creating value for the company, and the ones with the most potential ahead of them - they have worked and struggled to get there through countless difficult personal and professional challenges.   


These leaders have managed for years through many levels of tension. They have succeeded and failed. They have bounced back and learned from their mistakes. You may have heard this skill described as resiliency, and wise leaders actively seek out current and next generation talent with loads of this “bounce-back” factor.


Resiliency is one of the most predictive traits of emerging leadership talent. Resilient individuals are the ones open enough to receive tough feedback, listen, learn, and try again.  


In the middle of the struggle, it is important for leaders to realize the gift that has been given to us and reframe the potential opportunity. Only in the struggle can we develop resiliency. Quite possibly the last thing you want in a leader is someone who has only experienced and led through good times. Think of a palm tree and the critical importance of its strong, deep roots. After all, what is the value of a stunningly tall, beautiful palm tree that becomes uprooted at the first sign of a tropical storm?  


A tree needs to be exposed to winds that seek to push and pull it out of the ground so that it can stand without support. As it encounters winds, the tree will send new growth to its roots and stabilize itself more deeply in the ground.  


We often get excited to see evidence of a tree’s growth in its leaves, flowers, or fruit (aka, the showy stuff), but it is really the growth below the ground that is the most important factor in the longevity and stability of a tree. Tomorrow, we will begin to review a story from the Bible that will help us consider what we should and shouldn’t do in order to establish our leadership strength from the ground up.


Leadership Action: 



  • As a leader with responsibility for hiring team members, ask potential candidates in an interview what they have learned from their life and career experiences and why they chose specific jobs or educational opportunities. Looks for trends. If they demonstrate deep personal insight and learning in each decision they made, you’ve got a winner!

  • If they don’t show learning or an ability to take feedback & coaching in their decisions, or if they always seem to be the hero of their own story…then they likely aren’t the best candidate, regardless of any unique skill or qualification they may have.

  • To further test your perspective, give the candidates some real time feedback in the interview process, and observe how they react in the moment. Do they defend themselves quickly or do they stop to consider feedback thoughtfully? Those who defend themselves often lack resiliency to navigate difficult situations effectively.