I have heard many say that if you were able to lead through 2020 with no major casualties you succeeded. Many pastors testified it was the roughest year of ministry they have ever experienced.
It was a challenge to say the least. We made plans and changed plans on a daily basis. My white board was never white! Adding a Christian school in the mix didn’t make things any easier, trust me!
But leading though 2020 has taught me many valuable lessons.
I would just like to share 8 lessons I’ve earned leading in 2020.
1. No decision is the best decision.
We faced many roadblocks and issues this past year. Many of the issues seemed to call for some type of decision. I learned in late March that if you wait to make a decision, chances are, the circumstances would change. That happened over and over. I sat in countless meetings where people were to make a decision based upon what “might happen.” These discussions were pointless. I always believe you should have a plan, but it has been impossible to predict exactly what might happen. I told our staff many times, “We will cross that bridge when we get there (if we ever do).
2. You will never make everyone happy.
It didn’t matter what we tried or suggested there was always someone who was not in favor of it. I had to make a tough decision one afternoon and I literally received several calls within minutes of the decision. Some people patted me on the back and others…well…not so much!
3. You can’t base your decision on what others have done.
Each situation is different. Every church/school culture is different. Their school is not like our school. Our church is not the same as their church. No decision could be based on what another ministry has decided. Each state, county and case was and is different.
5. You can’t second guess your decision.
Once you make the decision, go with it. It is way too easy to second guess yourself in difficult times. People need a true leader in times of uncertainty. People do not need someone who is indecisive trying to make a decision. Strength is contagious. Courage builds confidence.
6. Write every edict in pencil.
You might make the decision, stand by it, execute it perfectly and it flops. Failure is bound to happen! That is ok. Just go back to the white board and start over. Communication in times like this is key. I believe many are struggling in their churches and businesses right now because they are afraid to make “another” decision. If it’s broke, FIX IT!
7. Take the blame when you make the wrong decision.
Navy Seal Jacko Willink wrote a book titled, “Extreme Ownership.” The summary of the book is: It’s your fault! If it does fail, you as the leader must be the one to take the blame. You must take the blame for the wrong decision. If Covid spreads in your organization, take the blame. You take the blame for the decision of having everyone tested and it causing tons of issues. Take ownership, admit your failure, and make it right.
8. Be prepared for criticism.
Expect it. Embrace it. Learn from it. Our first instinct is to hand over the reigns and say, “If you think you can do a better job than me, go for it!” (I’ve never thought that…) That is not the right attitude! In midst of the criticism there will be truth expressed. Never respond until you have had time to sleep on it. The next day examine the conversation with a fresh outlook. Criticism will help you make decisions in the future.
9. Don’t ask everyone for their opinion.
You will always find those who will agree with you. And when someone doesn’t, you will make an excuse why (they’ve never liked me) and write them off. There is safety in the multitude of counsellors, but there is also confusion in opinions.
If you or your team feels this is the right thing to do, do it. If you feel you need to require mask, go for it! If you see no need for mask then don’t do it.
I NEVER want to lead through a 2020 again, but I know it has made me a better leader! It also has helped us as a team to know and work together better than we ever have before.
Feel free to share any lessons you have learned in the past year in comment section below.