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The Trapeze Artist: Leading Your Team in Navigating Change

As a kid, I loved going to the circus and watching the trapeze artists. You’ve probably seen them, too—limber, athletic men and women who bravely let go of one bar, sail through the air, catch another bar (or another trapeze artist!) and continue gliding above the audience’s heads as if they can fly.

I like to think of navigating change as a trapeze act. If you’re a leader, you’re overseeing a team; and chances are, you’ve already had to help your team navigate some change. Right now, your team is swinging on bars in one location—they have systems, passions, goals, and relationships that are familiar. It’s brave of them to even be on the bar at all. But chances are, you see more opportunity across the way, and you’re trying to bring everybody along with you.

What we do as leaders when we navigate change is, we basically tell our teams, “Hey, I know you’re comfortable on this bar, going back and forth. But over there...

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Inviting Authenticity

Eliminating the Need for Camouflaging in Your Organization

My mom is a very strong leader and a strong personality. She’s amazing. She ran the praise team at our church; played piano; organized the kids music — I mean, she did a lot. But I vividly remember that, whenever she had to get up and give an announcement about the praise team practice, or something for Awana…something strange would happen.

My mom is a loud woman, like me: she talks with her hands, has a big smile, possesses a loud voice…you can hear her laugh across the room. She would get up with the microphone, and softly croon in an overly-sweet tone, “It’s so good to be here this morning. And I’m so glad to talk to you.”

This different person was happening up there! She was camouflaging. Camouflaging is a phenomenon that happens when a woman senses that her environment calls for “good women” to display certain traits and actions. She adapts by hiding her true...

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Communication Cues: Men vs. Women

You’re probably aware that men and women communicate differently; this is a well-known truth. Often, however, we don’t take time to consider exactly how men and women communicate differently. When we look at communication styles on a specific level, we find that the cues each gender uses differ significantly.

What does this look like in a workplace setting? Let’s take a standard meeting as an example. If a man is in front of his colleagues, communicating, he likely has men and women listening. Each audience member will be different; but on the whole, male and female listeners will contribute to the conversation in gender-specific ways.

A woman listening in will communicate her attention by nodding, and saying things like, “Yes, I understand.” She may even interrupt and say, “That’s exactly what I was thinking!” She’s going to give lots of positive affirmation. She wants the speaker to know that, even if she doesn’t agree...

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Bias Impacts Both Male and Female Church Leaders

In today’s society, it’s easy to pinpoint others’ biases: we easily spot them in the opposing political party, the opposite gender, other groups who don’t see eye to eye with us. A bias is a prejudice in favor of a certain person, group, or thing. The term denotes an unfair preference, or one that has little to no logical foundation.

Biases affect both male and female leaders. Why? Because, whether we’d like to admit it or not, we all have them. We all struggle with them. Our upbringing, culture, friend groups, workplaces, faith, and other factors combine to inform who we are. The first step to overcoming our individual biases is to acknowledge that they exist.

As I’ve worked with church leaders nationwide, I’ve found the same propensity in those circles: it’s easy for church leaders to pinpoint the biases of those who hold different theological beliefs. For instance, two churches who fall on opposite sides of the theological spectrum...

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Be Patient and Intentional in Change

Why Intentionality in Making Changes is Critical for Leaders

Church leaders have the unique task of initiating change in their congregations and ministry teams. This isn’t an easy or simple role, especially when challenges and disagreements are a regular part of the change process. Whenever you are leading change of any kind, it’s vital that you be both patient and intentional.

Any change will include important stakeholders and influencers — these are the people whose say, and resources, are essential to the change. As a leader, it’s wise to give these stakeholders them an opportunity to hear what’s going on in your heart, and to ask questions about it. It’s easy to move forward and tell others what you’re going to do; but true leadership is leading others along the path with you.

Let’s take the issue of women in leadership in church as an example. It would be easy to assume that all women would easily welcome having more female...

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