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Part 2: The Top 10 Challenges to be an Emotionally Healthy Leader

Posted on April 26th, 2017
Last week, I explored the 5 top challenges for being an emotionally healthy leader: remaining in deep loving union with Jesus, taking time to grow in high self-awareness, embracing limits, choosing brokenness and vulnerability, and remaining a lifelong learner.

This week, I want to you to consider the 5 remaining top challenges we consistently face as leaders:

6. Organizational Integrity. Exercising power and setting wise boundaries in leadership is complex, especially when we add in the “God factor.” Dual relationships, clear expectations and job descriptions, hiring and firing (even of volunteers) all require skill and high differentiation. Antidote: Include a wise, outside consultant into your process. Seek counsel from mentors who have led healthy ministries. Master the 8 skills from The Emotionally Healthy Relationship Course in your own life so you can apply them in your ministry. And carefully study chapter 8, “Power and Wise Boundaries,” from The Emotionally Healthy Leader.

7. Truth. Spirituality is not an escape from reality, but rather an immersion into it. That includes seeking to know the truth about the things that are not going well. I like things “nice and neat” and don‘t like conflict and tension. Living in truth, especially as leaders, demands character, courage, and faith in Jesus. Why? It often leads us to places we prefer to avoid – both in ourselves and those we serve. Antidote: Ask difficult questions. Be curious. Trust Jesus who is the Truth. Ask often for feedback from people willing and able to tell you hard things. And bring in objective outsiders whenever possible to give fresh perspective.

8. Wise Counsel. When I turned 60 last July, I gave myself the gift of two hours with a wise mentor. I set up phone calls with two other godly leaders in their 70’s and 80’s. I read books with theological and practical insight on aging.  At each stage of my journey with Jesus, I search out people ahead of me – whether it is in the area of prayer, organizational leadership, spirituality, finances, or social media. I was careless and sloppy in seeking out wise counsel in my early years, resulting in needless pain in my personal life, our family, and our church. Antidote: Pray. Ask trusted friends for referrals. And set aside time in your calendar to meet with more mature people.

9. Your Marriage or Singleness. We work out our marriage to Jesus through our secondary callings, or vocations, as single or married persons. For this reason, building a firewall to protect the health of our closest relationships, whether we are married or single, is critical. Establishing healthy boundaries so we can model a marriage or singleness that is a sign and wonder to Christ is no small task – especially amidst the crucible of leadership.  Antidote: Talk with your core community (spouse or close friends) about what is needed for you to have a high-quality marriage or singleness. Seek out mentors or therapists with the maturity to speak into this vulnerable area of your life.

10. Say “No.” Discerning what God has specifically given us to do is one of our most difficult tasks. Good opportunities that are not God’s best, and demands from strong people can easily distract us.  It has taken me decades to more fully realize how a yes I say without prayerful discernment results in a no to many of God’s precise plans for my ministry and time. Antidote: Have a hard conversation with yourself, and then with your team. Are you clear on God’s vision and plan? The team He is calling to work with you? Are you willing to be patient and take the necessary time for prayer and wise counsel before saying yes to opportunities?

Let me invite you to join us in New York City next Wednesday or Thursday via Live Stream (or in person) at our 2017 Emotionally Healthy Leadership Conference. Get equipped to integrate a discipleship that deeply changes lives into your leadership and church!

Pete Scazzero
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Church Culture Revolution: A 6-Part Vision That Deeply Changes Lives