W48D3 - Self-Awareness

"While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife
sent him this message: 'Don’t have anything to do
with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great
deal today in a dream because of him'" - Matthew 27:19.

Pilate was in a leadership position and was sitting in judgment of Jesus. While there, his wife sent him a message that he should have heeded. She knew Jesus was innocent and she also knew Pilate should have dismissed the case. God gave him one last warning, yet he could not pay attention because he was about to make a politically expedient decision to condemn Jesus in order to please the Jews and keep the pax Romana - the peace of Rome. If leaders want to get the wisdom and insight they need for good decisions, they only need pay attention to their heart, or listen to the insight and integrity of others closest to them. It is often when they ignore these warnings that they stray into the land of poor decision making.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to spend 30 minutes of quiet time today to listen to your heart. Go where there are no distractions, turn off your cell phone, don't take your computer and only take your journal and Bible. If you aren't 'done' after 30 minutes, then linger a bit longer. If you can't get away, then get with one or two trusted colleagues or advisers and ask them to share their heart about the direction of your organization or decisions being considered.


W43D3 - Self Awareness

"But Peter declared, 'Even if I have to
die with you, I will never disown you.' And
all the other disciples said the same" - Matthew 26:35.

Peter is often remembered as the disciple who proclaimed his loyalty, only to deny Jesus hours after his declaration. Yet this verse states all the disciples did the same thing. They assumed they were one place in terms of loyalty and commitment but were really in a very different place. Leaders must be aware that they are as susceptible to failure - bad decisions, fear, fickleness, betrayal, lying, exaggeration, misinterpretation and faulty memory of the facts - as anyone else in their organization. An accurate assessment of their dark side gives leaders a chance to face and overcome it. Denial only challenges God to devise a scenario where reality will be revealed, just like it was for Peter and his friends.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Leadership Step today is to face the fact that you, like everyone else, have a dark side, but you may need help to identify and see it. Armed with this realization, you may want to find a leadership coach, someone who can listen to, observe and evaluate your performance and give your honest feedback. You want to focus on your dark side so that is not functioning while you deny it exists, thus becoming a source of dysfunction in your world.


W38D3 - Self Awareness

"My ears had heard of you
    but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
    and repent in dust and ashes" - Job 42:5-6.

Job summarized what he had been through and concluded that before he lost everything, he had only heard about God. After that, he had seen God and it gave him a better perspective of who he truly was - he was insignificant when compared to God. That is a lesson many leaders who are impressed with who they are could afford to learn. Not only did Job see an awesome God and a relatively un-awesome Job, but then he humbled himself and admitted that he had erred in his judgment and his ways and vowed to 'repent', which simply means he wanted to turn his thinking around and move in the opposite direction.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to humble yourself before God to insure that you, like Job, are not someone who has simply heard about God without a proper vision of who God is. You can do this in several ways. Consider a time of fasting. Perhaps you can do some volunteer work that involves menial tasks. Maybe you need to seek reconciliation with someone from whom you are estranged, or ask forgiveness for a situation or relationship you botched.


W33D3 - Self Awareness

"Let us not become conceited,
provoking and envying each other" - Galatians 5:26.

Leaders are often out in front of others because they are charismatic, dynamic, intelligent, visionary and skilled. They also often have some measure of success due to their strong ego drive to get things done, achieve and excel. A problem doesn't arise when leaders use their ego to get the job done. The problem comes in when leaders become egotistical, when they insist on getting the credit for everything, when they begin to 'believe their own press clippings' that they are as good as others say they are. When that happens, leaders resent or envy anyone else's success and demand that they be the center of attention in all things.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your transition from ego to egocentric can be subtle but painful for those around you and dangerous for you. Your Step today is to take measures to keep this from happening: 1) surround yourself with people who will tell you the truth you need and not want to hear; 2) celebrate the success of others; 3) mentor others so they can excel and thrive; 4) serve others' needs; and 5) divest yourself of all privileges you get simply because you are the leader.


W28D3 - Self Awareness

“Have pity on me, my friends, have pity,
    for the hand of God has struck me" - Job 19:21.

Job was in the midst of his trials and he turned to his friends for help. Their lack of compassion and harsh advice are legendary as an example of how not to comfort someone going through a tough time. They could not empathize with Job because they had not done the tough work of recognizing their own weakness and emotional neediness, so how could they possibly identify with someone else's pain and sorrow? Leaders can learn to empathize with others when they are in touch with their own shortcomings and humanity, and can be gracious to others when they learn to be gracious to themselves.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your awareness of others begins with your own self-awareness. Your Step today is to recognize your own emotional condition. This may seem awkward, but keep a journal today chronicling your emotional state for the day. If you feel fear, write it down and explain why. If you are happy, record that too along with what made you happy. Do the same with anger, surprise, joy and all other emotions along with the details of why they emerged.


W23D3 - Self Awareness

"In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of
King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him,
I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not
been sad in his presence before, so the king asked
me, 'Why does your face look so sad when you are
not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart'" - Nehemiah 2:1-2.

These verses are a good example of self-awareness - on the part of the king. The king noticed something was wrong with his trusted servant and did not hesitate to ask what the problem was. First of all, it was impressive that the king noticed, with all the trappings of royalty surrounding him. Second, it was significant that he cared enough to ask what the problem was. Finally, anyone who did what the king did was probably aware of his own emotional state and that enabled him to be in touch with that of others - to empathize and identify with those who are depressed and hurting. The king noticing Nehemiah's funk set off historical events that touched many lives and helped restore Jerusalem.

LEADERSHIP STEP: The king in today's story knew his 'employee' and when Nehemiah did not look happy, the king noticed and spoke up. Is there anyone on your team, staff or family that does not look like their usual self? Today you will gather courage, ask to see them and then spend some time talking about how they are doing and what is going on. Then, if it is in your power, do something to help alleviate their sadness, even if it costs you or the company something.


W18D3 - Self Awareness

"Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul,
David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief
would come to Saul; he would feel better, and
the evil spirit would leave him" - 1 Samuel 16:23.

Saul had an 'evil spirit,' perhaps of depression, anxiety or anger. This problem was a problem for everyone in the royal court, yet no one would dare confront or deal with this issue, including Saul himself. Instead everyone tried to 'medicate' and placate him with music played by David. Saul became the focus and center of attention instead of God or the needs of the people. When leaders control their situation through moods or preoccupation with their own personal problems, an organizational dysfunction takes root that only grows bigger and stronger unless dealt with honestly and directly by the management team or the board of directors.

LEADERSHIP STEP: As a leader, do people know which one of you will show up every day? Are you consistent with your moods and feelings, or do you have people walking on eggshells around you? Your job today is to identify a counselor, whether you think you need one or not, and to schedule time to talk about any personal or personality challenges that may be impacting those with whom you work. Then you should plan on meeting at least once every quarter.


W13D3 - Self Awareness

"I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me" - Psalm 16:7.

Leaders make decisions using not only their heads but also their hearts. For this to happen, however, leaders must develop their heart life and then pay attention to what their heart is telling them. When done effectively, their heart actually becomes the place where God can speak to and guide them through their desires, wishes, intuition, compassion, empathy and stored memory of experiences, both good and not-so-good. This process can go on both day and night and is not restricted by sleep or recreation.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Today you will make a journey into your heart. First, read Psalm 37:4. Then take out your leadership journal and write down the desires of your heart for your business, family and ministry. Don't try to figure out how any of it will happen, just listen to your heart. Once you have those things written down, examine them for insight and then set some goals or otherwise act on your heart's desires, having faith that God is counseling you through them.


W8D3 - Self-Awareness

"It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance,
that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,
among whom I am foremost of all" - 1 Timothy 1:15.

Paul was aware of his state and condition before the Lord. He was not being overly humble to say that he was a great sinner, for he had at one time put people in prison and to death, and thought he was doing God a favor. Yet he did not allow that reality to hinder him from serving the Lord and becoming a great leader who is still impacting the world. Leaders do not have to hide from or deny their weaknesses or failures. They simply acknowledge them while looking to operate in their God-given strengths, all the while acknowledging their propensity to 'sin' and shortsightedness.

LEADERSHIP STEP: How transparent and self-aware are you as a leader? You don't have to hold a special meeting to confess your sins, but you do need to be aware when you acted inappropriately or are demotivating your team. In W3D3 you were encouraged to have a 360-degree profile done. Did you do it? If not, then take steps to get one done and study the results. Then walk in a fresh awareness that you have blind spots that are negatively impacting your team.


W3D3 - Self-Awareness

"But Peter declared, 'Even if I have to die
with you, I will never disown you.' And
all the other disciples said the same" - Matthew 26:35.

Peter was convinced of his own loyalty and commitment, and so were the other disciples. They were sincere, but they were sincerely wrong! Where did they go wrong? Those men were not in touch with the true state of their hearts, their inner being, and it caused them to make statements they could not back up in reality. A leader must do the internal work necessary to be in touch with his or her heart condition and then take steps to address whatever is found there. This is part of the process that is called personal or leadership development.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Are you walking in self-awareness? There is a process called a 360-degree profile that gathers information from a number of people close to you and then gives you feedback about your current state of leadership skills and heart matters. If you are interested, you can find someone to administer this for you. But watch out! It is like taking a spiritual x-ray and will show you the reality that others see every day, but you may not.