Ashamed, I Changed the Way I Lead


As one in leadership, I was ashamed, hurt and sorrowful to know that as a leader, this is how others saw me. It has changed the way I lead.

At a season of life, our individual focus is different for each of us. For the most part, we are either focusing on growth in one of five areas: Spiritual, Mental, Emotional, Financial or Physical. Bringing such diversified and individual goals to a team at any given time can create division rather than unity if the Leader does not recognize and understand which “season” the members are in. 

I was clear about what was necessary to receive a license to practice law. I understood that while in high school, I would not receive the license; while in undergrad I would not receive the license; while pursuing a juris doctorate I would not receive the license; until I passed the bar exam, I would not receive the license.

Therefore, as I walked through the path of “preparation” laid out to be licensed, I was not anxious about why the State had not licensed me to practice…I was not ready. So often we hear songs and messages about “waiting on God.” However, the message in the book of  Esther, is one of  preparation to become the King’s wife. All the years on the backside of the mountain slaying lions and bears prepared David with the faith (experiences which removed all fear) to slay Goliath.

We do not always know or understand exactly what God is putting in us or taking out of us in preparation for where HE is bringing us to, but we are not “in waiting” we are “in preparation.” So then I  asked, what is it that HE wants to instill in me or remove from me? How does this experience at this time in my life accomplish that goal? What are the things I have prayed about over the years and desired that I need to be prepared to receive?

After searching for those virtues which “against such there is no law”, I discovered love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (Gal 5:22-23). What was not in the list was “patience.” I was elated. I knew then that HE is not “not working.” My character was being developed by the present experience such that I would be “fit for the Master’s use and prepared for every good work.” (2 Tim 2:21). I simply did not know which of these virtues He was developing in me so that I would be prepared to receive that which I has asked for. Having received an understanding, now, I patiently wait to receive the desires of my heart.

Long-suffering was one of my greatest challenges. I thought to “endure” an unfavorable condition or foolishness from others was long-suffering. Then I read “charity suffers long and is kind” (1 Cor 13:4) I had to confess. Indeed, I was suffering and  it was long, but I was not kind. I was impatient and wanted this to be over. I was sometimes indifferent and uncaring. I had a plan for my life and I wanted to “get on” with it and this person and their situation is delaying me from where I was headed. Compassion for them was not my job; it was not a part of my job description. My job was to answer the questions, give instructions and send them to “go and sin no more.” I had zero tolerance for the same person, same problem. I presumed that inasmuch as I clearly gave the instructions on how to resolve the matter, then the hearer could understand and follow through. However, much to my dismay, that often was not the case. It was not until the Lord revealed me to myself did I see that these virtues were lacking. As one in leadership, I was ashamed, hurt and sorrowful to know that as a leader, this is how others saw me. It has changed the way I lead.

So it is with Leaders. Sometimes our “personal” goals overshadow the “ Team/Family” purpose. We lose sight of the purpose for which we have been brought to this place at this time and on whose behalf we are working. (Esther 4:13)

It is about those whom we serve, not just lead.

Genia Coleman-Lee