There’s no getting around it. Leadership is tough—especially when dealing with a crisis as the world is right now with COVID-19. But it’s in hard times like these that leaders need to be especially intentional about how they impact those around them.
Michael Sipe—CEO of 10x, an organization that equips and connects Christ-minded business leaders—has a word of encouragement for leaders today. You may remember I interviewed Sipe recently about how to guard yourself from the insidious disease of negative thinking. He also wrote an article about that topic that we posted on Charisma News. I invited him on the podcast again to talk about how leaders can be effective in this season.
“Anyone who says leadership is not tough is not a leader—because it is tough,” he says. “It doesn’t matter what’s going on in the economy. Being a leader is difficult. And one of the things that’s really important is for leaders to take a look at where the challenges and opportunities of leadership are. And they really lie in the wide deployment of assets and resources—the people, money, equipment and intangible goods that are involved.”
The leader’s challenge, then, is to take those resources and assets and use them in a way that creates the best outcome. So how do we do that? Sipe says it involves the three components of leadership: your heart, your mind and your hands.
If you only focus on the hands—that is, on action items—then you may miss out on crucial strategic thinking that could save you time and energy. On the other hand, focusing only on your mind may cause you to neglect vital motivators such as compassion and empathy. But of course, only letting compassion and empathy drive you will quickly land you in a mess as you take on new projects that benefit others but don’t actually help your organization.
That’s why Christian leaders must work on fine-tuning all three of those areas.
“We have a tendency to default to wherever our strengths is, and often our strength becomes our weakness,” Sipe says. “So if I happen to be an intellectual, then I’m going to default to my strength. I’m going to work out of that. So the idea of integrating these three things into our role of leadership takes intentionality.”
Sipe points to the book of Proverbs as sound advice for leaders. And one of the things Proverbs promotes is getting sound advice from wise counselors.
“For by wise counsel you will wage your war, and in multitude of counselors there is safety” (Prov. 24:6).
That’s why Sipe encourages peer groups of like-minded Christian entrepreneurs. In these types of groups, you can interact with other leaders who have different strengths. If your strength is intellectual prowess, you will greatly benefit from someone whose strength is compassion or action. The same goes for those with other strengths who interact with you.
“This issue of being in a peer group is so critical because you get positive accountability,” Sipe says. “A couple of things that are really surprising to people [are] how many bad decisions they avoid—because bad decisions are the most expensive ones.”
Sadly, though, many leaders don’t have the opportunity to bounce ideas off of other like-minded business owners. If that’s where you are, make sure you check out Sipes’ 10x Catalyst Groups by visiting 10xgroups.com.
You can also listen to our full conversation on my Strang Report podcast to learn some valuable tips and tricks to being the best leader you can be during troubled times.