Fourteen things one minister believes about leadership

Jake Morrill, minister of Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church (Tennessee), put an interesting post on Facebook recently. I asked him if I could share it with you. He’s one of my coaching clients (I also share that with his permission).

He put it this way:

“This morning, I’ve been thinking about what I believe. Here’s a first draft. I welcome hearing what you believe–what would your list include?”

1. When in doubt: Feed health; starve dysfunction.

2. Every dilemma offers at least 3 good choices (and usually 10 or 12). If only 2 choices are clear, they will be versions of “fight” and “flight.”

3. Anxiety makes people appear smart, but be stupid. If they laugh, they get smarter. Corollary: complaining can sound smart, but is usually lazy; thoughtful praise can sound dumb, but is often the product of rigor.

4. Bullies use direct power. This is why God invented bank-shots: persist and have fun.

5. “Don’t do for others what they can do for themselves” (Saul Alinsky’s “Iron Rule”). Corollary: people can’t tickle themselves, or give themselves accurate feedback.

6. Self-differentiation is when someone does 3 things: takes a clear stand, keeps in touch with those who see different, and stays calm enough to do the first two at the same time. The people doing these three things are the grown-ups in the room.

7. You can’t change people’s minds. But you can disrupt them.

8. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Jesus, Matthew 5:44)

9. “People can only hear you when they are moving toward you; they are not likely to when your words are pursuing them.” (Edwin Friedman)

10. “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” (Howard Thurman)

11. Remember to ask people, “How did you survive?” because they will testify to the power of grit mixed with love, and you will be inspired.

12. Under anger is fear.

13. Keep curious. Don’t know.

14. God is the creative, cooperative, sustaining power within, between, and beyond each living thing. Trying to be a channel of that power isn’t the worst way to spend your time.

What do you believe?

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