Leadership in the Storm
Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan said: “The greatest failure in leadership is for the leader to be afraid to speak and act as a leader.”
Afraid? Didn’t Jesus tell us to not be afraid?
In the story of the calming of the storm (Matthew 8:23-26), at sea, Jesus is in the boat with his disciples, when suddenly a violent storm comes up. He’s asleep and so they wake him, yelling, “Lord! Save us! We’re perishing!”
And he said, “Why are you terrified oh you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm.
During the past few weeks, given the momentum of the cancel culture, and everything that’s going on, I’ve wondered: How am I going to proceed in the storm? I’m thinking that I may need to be more audacious than ever in my own leadership. In fact, my own melancholic, phlegmatic temperament requires it if I’m to lead with the creative courage we’ve talked about in the face of the end of Christendom and our call to apostolic mission.
As for how to speak and act as a leader, Jesus himself tells us what to do in Luke’s gospel (Luke 6:27-37 ):
- Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you, offer the other cheek as well, and give to everyone who asks of you.
- Do to others as you would have them do to you. For if you love those who love you, do good to those who do good to you, lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you?
- Be children of the Most High, for He Himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
- Be merciful, stop judging and condemning.
- Forgive and you will be forgiven.
These sound simple on paper but we all know they are not easy. John Maxwell wrote: “True leadership is not easy…becoming a better leader pays dividends, but it takes great effort….It is demanding and complex.”
Below, I’d like to share a resource recently used by our Leadership Groups…a simple YES/NO checklist self-assessment based Maxwell’s Leadership Gold. As you read through them, you may find that many point back to Jesus’ command to “Be not afraid.”