8 Habits for Leaders

My teleconference guest this month is Ed Bacon, author of 8 Habits of Love. I’ve interviewed him several times before, and I always learn something that I keep thinking about for years after.

I enjoyed his book (see my review here). I’ve been thinking about his habits from the perspective of leadership. Bacon talks about moving from fear to love. As church leaders, we can find ourselves functioning out of fear more often than love: fear that people won’t like us or will be angry with us, fear that they won’t give enough to meet the budget, fear that they won’t step up to help make the ministry happen. We can be fearful about our families, and how our kids will turn out. We can be fearful about the future of the church in our society.

It takes a lot of energy to be afraid. I find that usually when I’m afraid, I’m living in an imaginary future. My mind has traveled down a path to a situation which does not actually exist. I’m only afraid it might exist, and I can imagine it so fully that adrenaline floods my body. Living in the non-existent future, especially when it’s negative, saps my energy and limits my resourcefulness in the present.

Ed’s habits, of generosity, stillness, truth, candor, play, forgiveness, compassion and community, can counter the negative energy of fear. This doesn’t mean we pretend that the challenges don’t exist, but they help us live more fully in the present, not a past that is over or a future that is imaginary.

I’ve written on this blog about my practice of daily fun during Lent. I realize now this was a cultivation of the habit of play. After 40 days, I’m continuing this habit after Easter. And it has contributed to other areas of my life besides my leisure time: I finished the manuscript of my book Money and Your Ministry on Good Friday.

All these habits contribute to our growth, which is in turn a contribution to others:

  • When leaders are generous, others are more inclined to be so.
  • When leaders make time for stillness, those who follow can calm down.
  • When leaders know their own truth, they can challenge others to think for themselves.
  • When leaders are candid, communication by all becomes cleaner.
  • When leaders play, they and others will be more creative.
  • When leaders forgive (especially the families they grew up in), they can release energy for ministry.
  • When leaders are compassionate, the energy they use to judge others is available for more creative ministry.
  • When leaders understand community, they can both set boundaries and give support.

NEXT TELECONFERENCE: Please join me Thursday, April25, at 9 am PT/10 MT/11 CT/noon ET, when my guest will be Ed Bacon, rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, who will talk about his book, 8 Habits of Love. To register for the teleconference e-mail me at Margaret@margaretmarcuson.com, and I’ll send call-in information. If you can’t make the time, the teleconference will be recorded. There is no charge for the teleconference or recording (long-distance charges apply). Hope you can make it!

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