Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Managing with Grace

I have no idea how to manage others with grace. I keep asking God for wisdom, and I think I've learned a little over the years. I know I've made quite a few mistakes along the way, and I ache over those whom I have caused pain. I also ache over the lost opportunities for some that I avoided correction. Sounds weird, but I'm not the easiest person to love at times, and those who have been brave enough to correct me haven't always been the people I have cherished. In fact, I can think of at least two times of major correction that I look back at with deep pain, partly because of how it was done, but more because I needed to hear what they had to say.

So far my best tool is to put myself in the other person's shoes. How have I felt when I've been reprimanded or been corrected? What was my relationship with that person, and did I walk away encouraged and strengthened or beaten and hurting?

My constant questions as a leader are:

How can correct my teams without creating walls? This is hard because we as humans struggle with being corrected. I know that I personally hate it, but just reading through Proverbs reminds me how important it is to take it in, sometimes even to seek it out from those you respect.

How can I communicate the importance of things that need to be changed while still giving them ownership or stepping on toes? Sometimes the teams think what I am saying is just a suggestion and not a requirement. It's tough because our clients run a business. I think I'm learning to just come out and say..."It has to be done this way." My hardest struggle is when I'm helping the teams at events. It's very easy for me to just take over certain things when they seem unsure. I'm trying to learn to give suggestions.

Can I be their friend and boss? I think to some extent, in this job, I have to be. While some may disagree, I think it makes correction easier to hear. My goal is that they know I've been there for them through good and bad, and they can fully trust me. However, I have also seen that our teams don't think of me as a friend like I would hope, which is sometimes very painful for me as I care so deeply about them.

How can I keep our lines of communication open so they aren't afraid to come to me when they fail or when they have a problem with me? Still working on this. Same struggle with parenting. If you know you are going to get in trouble, do you want to tell your mom what you did? Trying to help me teams realize that I am on their side and can help them navigate their way out of a mistake. I also try to encourage them that I've made mistakes and make them all the time. I probably have even made that mistake before. :-)

The second part of that question is difficult. I know very few who enjoy confrontation, but I really want to know if I have done something to hurt my team members. I can't change or apologize for something I don't know.

There are more questions, but these are the ones that hit me tonight.

Lord, give me wisdom. Help me to learn from how you teach, guide and discipline me.

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