Friday, December 13, 2013

Joy in Leadership

It’s Christmas time.  When I think of Christmas I think of joy.  Jesus was born to bring us joy through a restored relationship with God.  On that first Christmas night the angels came proclaiming to the shepherds, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” The angels were speaking of joy through Christ.  It’s a reminder that Jesus came to give us joy.  The word "joy" is prevalent in the Gospel accounts of the birth of Jesus.

  • Luke 1:14 “And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.”
  • Luke 1:44 “For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.”
  • Luke 2:10 “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”
  • Matthew 2:10 “When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.”

Jesus came to give you joy.  Do you have joy in your leadership?  You may ask, “What does joy have to do with leadership?”  I believe it has everything to do with it.  If you have no joy, those you lead will have no joy.  And that makes for a joyless environment.  Moreover, I have yet to meet a person who delights in following a joyless, grinch-like leader.

The best leaders I know have a contagious joy about them.  I took some time to think through the traits of the most joyful leaders I have met.

1. They love what they do.  In fact their attitude is that of Thomas Edison who said, “I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun."  When they awake in the morning, they look forward to the day - the people they will see and the tasks they will do.

2. They love their family.  Their family holds a place of higher priority than their work. Their wife is their best friend and they enjoy spending time with their kids and/or grandchildren.  In fact, the most joyous leaders I know not only enjoy time with their family, they make time for their family.

3. They love people.  They love being around people and talking to people.  They believe the best in people.  They have taken to heart the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

4. They have a positive attitude.  They are optimistic about their future and have a hopeful state of mind.  They understand the power of a positive thought life.  They understand what Paul says in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

5. They have a passion for personal growth.  They are continual learners.  They read every day desiring to learn something new.  They have mentors.  New experiences excite them.

6. They delight in adding value to people.  Knowing that they had a part in another person’s success brings them great joy.

7. They work within their strength zone.  They know what their strengths and weaknesses are.  They don’t waste their time and energy trying to do things they are not gifted or equipped to do.  They know what activities and tasks produce the most fruit and bring them the greatest return and they stick to those.

8. They have learned to deal with criticism.  Every leader faces criticism.  They have learned to handle criticism in a positive way.  They know how to differentiate between positive and negative criticism.  They learn from the positive and forget the negative.  They have learned to forgive and move on.

9. They have a vision for the future.  They understand that what they do today will determine where they will be tomorrow.  They work with enthusiasm on what is most important to them knowing that at the end of the day they will be one step closer to seeing their dream realized.

10. They like to have fun.  “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing,” wrote Dale Carnegie.  They know how to have fun at work and away from work.