Ways to Bring Courage to Your Team
One of the best things you can do to lead with courage is listen to your team. The more people you lead, the more you must listen. The information our team shares can help us make wise decisions.
I recently heard a quote from someone that said, “The leader surrounded with people he won’t listen to will soon be surrounded by those who have nothing to say.” Wow! If you aren’t getting feedback from your team, perhaps it’s because they’re weary of talking and not being listened to. Leaders who want to preserve the status quo only listen to those who agree with them. If you want to help your team and your organization win, listen. It will pay you tremendous dividends.
#2: Bring Courage Through the Difficult Times
No doubt, your organization experiences good times and bad times. It’s easy to lead with courage when things are good but not so much when things are tough. However, your team and your board are watching to see how you will lead in times of difficulty and challenge.
Years ago, when I was a student pastor, I took a group of teenagers to the beach for camp. I went down early with some of the leadership team to set up for the week. Some of my other leaders stayed behind to bring the students down on the bus. One hour out from the beach, they stoppedfor gas and disaster broke out.
The students got off the bus and went into the convenience store to get some snacks while our bus driver pumped gas. A spark occurred at the gas pump, and the bus caught fire. Within moments, the entire bus exploded into flames, and the bus driver was engulfed. The students and youth leaders stood in horror as they watched from the parking lot.
I’ll never forget receiving that call from my youth leader. Thanks to the wonderful invention of cell phones, parents back home knew of the explosion within moments. Multiple scenarios and conclusions had already developed in their minds. I was an hour away from the convenience store and began to field dozens of calls on my cell as I headed toward the chaos.
I will never forget the sight of the charred remains of the bus when I arrived. The frame of the bus was literally all that remained. The bus driver had been airlifted to the burn center. When I jumped out of the vehicle, all the teens ran toward me and broke out in tears. All I could do was hug them, pray over them, and love them. At that moment, the bond that held them together was the courage they had in that devastating event.
Thankfully, after months at the burn center, the bus driver went home healed and whole.
Needless to say, it was during that time my leadership was tested. I don’t know if I handled everything in the correct way or not. Parents drove down to pick up their kids and take them home. Some parents wanted their kids to go on to camp. In the weeks and months that followed, my leadership was put to the test. But through all of it, I tried to provide encouragement and hope to the families involved.
As leaders, we will carry burdens just like that. We will see people face trauma, disappointment, and heartbreak, and we’ll have the opportunity to be courageous and provide encouragement during these times of crisis.
#3: Bring Courage During “Regular” Times
As a leader, it’s your job to provide courage and encouragement. Sometimes, we think because people are doing work in a Christian organization that they don’t need to be led with courage or that God will give them the courage and encouragement they need. “They should be doing their work for the Lord, He will reward them,” some think.
While this is true, the reality is that this attitude won’t be an encouragement to your team or your board, and it won’t help grow your organization. Never underestimate the power of a personal touch or word of encouragement.
While driving to a meeting, I was listening to the radio. “Dave, how do you give courage to your team?”
Financial guru Dave Ramsey answered the listener’s question. “I get out from behind my desk and make a conscious decision every day to walk through our building and see what people are doing. It takes fifteen minutes. I make it a habit to encourage people. Just today, I was in our shipping department and found a team member who had put together a shipment that looked professional and top-notch. I stood up on one of the big boxes and began yelling, ‘Way to go, Rodney!’ and everyone thought I was crazy. Except for Rodney. It made his day.”
Dave gets it. We must bring courage to our team through the regular stuff of each week. Celebrate the seemingly small stuff today so one day in the not-so-distant future you can celebrate some big stuff together as a team.
The Apostle Paul talked about providing encouragement in First Thessalonians 5:11. “Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” I sometimes wonder why there is so much talk about encouragement in the Bible. I think it could be because discouragement comes so easily. What could you do to encourage your team today? Why don’t you stop, close the book, and do that right now?