5 Ways A Leader Can Deal with Adversity
Every person is, in some way a leader and all face adversity. Whether you are leading a ministry in your church, your children, a Bible study group, or attempting to exert godly influence over friends and co-workers, we all are leading someone. Sometimes our roles will bring great joy, other times incredible pain.
Leadership is one of the most difficult, humbling calling a person can occupy. It means accepting the blame when things go wrong and giving others credit for your team’s successes. It means tackling projects others drop, initiating hard conversations, and making difficult decisions based on information others might not have. And while all this is true, regardless of one’s gender, many times the challenges people face are magnified.
Leaders often experience additional adversity from their followers and their peers; moments when others behave condescendingly, disrespectfully, challenge or misunderstand them, undermine their competence, and ability to persevere.
Perhaps you can relate. Perhaps that is where you are now. If so, consider this; God who formed you and called you has promised to equip you. In fact, He is likely using your greatest, most painful struggles to build you into the leader He created you to be.
Hey, Leader, Trump That Adversity.
Here Are 5 Ways You Can Cooperate With God As A Leader To Not Only Endure Adversity But Grow Through It.
1. Hold Tight To Your Calling
When challenges and injustice hit, when events or projects don’t turn out as we hoped, it’s easy to doubt our position and ourselves. We may wonder if perhaps another person could better lead our team or that we have done something to forfeit the position.
And while there are times God does indeed ask us to change directions, when doing so, He is direct, clear and repetitive.
Jesus promised to guide us as attentively and faithfully as a shepherd does helpless sheep (John 10:1-5 KJV). He also said we would hear his voice. This means, as long as we’re seeking His will, unless He says otherwise, we must keep moving, regardless of how we feel or what we encounter.
When circumstances and naysayers try to confuse, distract, and defeat us, may God’s voice reign loudest, for He alone has the authority to lead our hearts.
2. Focus On Growth
Throughout the Scripture, we see God using adversity to train His children, Joseph, the once braggart Hebrew, learned humility through slavery and spiritual dependence while falsely imprisoned (Genesis 37 KJV). Both qualities, and all the other character traits shaped during dark and painful periods, moulded him into God’s faithful “servant leader.”
Moses, God’s chosen liberator to free His people from slavery learned obedience after experiencing the life-altering effects of self-reliance (Exodus 3 KJV). And David, the Hebrew shepherd boy turned king, learned trust while fearing for his life (1 Samuel 21-24 KJV, Psalm 31 KJV).
God uses our experience, the most frustrating and painful especially, to transform us into the men and women he desired us as leaders. Though we have likely heard his truth numerous times in church, when adversity hits, in our pain, we may forget.
Our desire for comfort may tempt us to bypass the lesson, but this will only leave us ill-equipped for whatever is ahead.
When life hurts and we long to disengage, may we remember God is always working out His plans.
Read Our Article On Leadership Traits HERE.
3. Cultivate A Listening Ear
As earlier mentioned, God has promised to speak to us, to guide us each day. Isaiah 30:21 KJV says, “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left”
If we can’t hear Him, our ears may have become dull. Sin, distrust, busyness, and the noise all around us can drown out God’s voice. Clarity comes not from having all the answers but rather from connecting deeply to Christ.
As we carve out time for Him, to simply sit in His presence, His spirit expands within, bringing wisdom and insight where confusion once sat. He will show us how to respond to adversity with love and how to learn and grow through it.
4. Practice Grace
Leadership will challenge our patience and sanity, often. Tense situations and unmanaged stress will probably cause sin such as pride and selfishness to rise up within us.
There will be times when we act and speak in ways we wish we hadn’t. Our team members and those we serve with will, at times, behave similarly.
In addition, we will regularly encounter a wide variety of people with varied backgrounds and levels of spiritual and emotional maturity. Some may even attack or mistreat us. When this occurs, it’s easy to view our “offenders” as enemies undeserving grace. But God challenges us to view them through two interconnected lenses – the cross and our sin.
Often, He will remind us of all the times we have responded to others in anger, fear, pride, in order to grow our compassion. He will remind us that we are all prideful, sinful creatures in desperate need of grace.
5. Ruthlessly Deal With Personal Fear.
The more chaotic or uncertain our world feels, the more likely we are to respond from fear rather than faith. This means, when adversity hits, we need to be extra diligent to remain close to God, He is our power source (John 15:1-4 KJV), Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6 KJV), an ever-present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1 KJV, Matthew 28:20 KJV). He can calm the storm within us, no matter how strong the tornado surrounding us.
Everyone struggles with anxiety and insecurity, but fear left unchecked often turn ugly. It caused the ancient Egyptians to oppress and enslave an entire people (Exodus 1:1-22 KJV). It spurred Saul, “the ancient king of Israel”, into a murderous rage (1 Samuel 18 KJV), and it kept the Israelites from fully following God’s lead into the promised land (Numbers 14 KJV).
In fact, fear of rejection, failure, and insufficiency hinder our relationships, our impact, and our ability to hear from and respond to God.
When we are threatened, we are more apt to react, to strive, compete and compare, and we are less able to listen. When we sense anxiety rising, we can push through, attempting to overcome our emotions in our own strength.
As a leader, you will face adversity, but your challenges don’t have to defeat you.
In fact, if we draw near to God, seek His guidance, and follow His lead, He will use the most difficult situations for our good.
When we hold tight to our calling, listen well, focus on growth and grace, and surrender our fears to God, we position ourselves for eternal, unstoppable impact.
In fact, we become more like the leaders He created us to be.