Today is the first guest post in the series 3 Things A Leader Taught Me where friends talk about leaders who have made a positive impact on their story and leadership Each friend will describe 3 things that they’ve learned and how those things are working out for them.
Our first voice is Kelly K. Green.
I’ve been in various positions of leadership over the years within ministries or jobs that were well-established and structured, but a few years ago I felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit towards starting a task force to open the eyes of the church to sexual exploitation and to how we can be the hands and feet of Jesus to those enslaved in it. Building something from scratch that I care so deeply about has been equally terrifying and exhilarating. It continues as a slow work in progress, and I’m grateful to have Matthew Miller, the faith-communities coordinator at Love146, come alongside to coach me through the process. Matthew works with churches and faith-based Love146 task forces nationwide. He has listened to my many ventings and helped me stay focused. The burnout rate of those working in issues of mercy and justice is high, so knowing ways to ease the load is crucial. Here’s some of his advice on how to manage it:
1. Embrace tension– The last time Matthew and I met together, he listened as I lamented all the different ways in which I was trying to move forward and encountering resistance. He listened well but then simply said, “Your life will always be lived in tension. Get used to it.” Because I know he also lives in these places himself, this was actually quite comforting. We don’t always have to try to fix everything or provide a solution. Sometimes the best thing we can do is normalize discomfort.
2. Execute from strength – While working to improve our weaknesses has it’s place, being part of a team means playing your part well and leaning into your strengths. You are in that role for a reason. In order to maintain a healthy, long-serving, fired-up leader, it’s vital to engage in the life-giving work that put you in that position in the first place. This also means being able to give up control, which leads to the next thing I leafed.
3. Empower others – if you are trying to do everything, it doesn’t give opportunity for others to step up and take ownership. Any organization that is solely dependent on one individual cannot thrive in the long run. It’s unsustainable. This is the beauty of walking alongside people instead of above. It gives space to work on our strengths together and build from a place where we all are well aware of the value each of us bring to the table.
While I’ve been empowered to realize my role in fighting for others, I’m working to do the same for those on my team. I’m learning to delegate instead of taking on everything myself. Recently, I gave one of our biggest projects to someone else and resisted the urge to be in charge. I’m there to provide support and help in ways that I can, but she has taken ownership. She’s working hard and has taken the initiative to attend trainings that equip her to do it well. She’s put herself out there and has made connections that will help us explore new directions. I’m confident in her abilities and also thankful for how it frees me to more fully pursue the areas that bring me life. I’m learning that leading well looks a whole lot more like interdependence than independence.
Kelly Green lives with her husband and two children in Lakeland, FL where she leads a Love146 task force to fight child sex trafficking and exploitation, focusing on community empowerment and initiatives. She is an advisory board member at a local safe home, and facilitates The Space Between,a faith-based anti-trafficking community connection group. Kelly is also a contributing writer at www.antiochsession.com and blogs sporadically at www.glimpseofgreen.blogspot.com. Kelly tweets @KellyKGreen