How to Lead Effectively During Difficult Times

Leaders must know how to lead through the most difficult times.  Here are eight tips to help you lead effectively through troubled waters.

MARK 16:9-11  “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.”

When Jesus Christ was in the grave, the disciples were devastated. Understandably, those who walked away from this world and centered their lives around Christ were crushed when they saw Him crucified and buried.  They did not understand the teaching of our Lord concerning His death, burial, and resurrection.

This was a difficult time.  But wait a minute.  Jesus had been training twelve men to lead for the last three years.  Where were they?  They dropped the ball.  They were so busy hurting that they didn’t lead.  They didn’t even believe Mary when she told them the Lord was alive.

Leaders must lead on the good days and the bad; on the mountain tops and in the valleys.  Followers need leadership, especially during difficult days.  If the leader falters, the followers will too.

Here are eight tips to help you lead during the most difficult times.

1. BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO US ALL.

The rain falls on the just and the unjust.  We live in a sinful world full of the consequences of sin.  Bad things will happen, but it’s how you handle them that defines you.

2. BAD THINGS CREATE NEGATIVE EMOTIONS.

Terrible circumstances affect us all differently, but they always create negative emotions.  Fear, doubt, anger, envy, malice, regret, are examples of the negativity that will rule you if you let them.

3. NEGATIVE EMOTIONS ENCOURAGE FOOLISH ACTIONS.

When you are feeling these negative emotions, you will be tempted to act foolishly.  Leaders must lead by principle rather than emotion.  Learn to act instead of reacting.

4. A LEADER DOESN’T HAVE THE LUXURY TO RUN.

Luke 22:44-46  “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.”

Many people today run from difficult situations.  A leader can’t do that.  He’s the one that’s supposed to fix the situation or at least lead through it.

Don’t run from problems.  Face them head-on.  Have difficult conversations.  Confront the trouble.  Get it over with rather than letting it linger.

If you run from trouble, it gets easier the next time.  Running from your problems becomes a habit.  Stay and lead.

5. A LEADER DOESN’T HAVE THE LUXURY TO REACT.

Proverbs 16:32  “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.”
A leader must keep his cool when everyone else is losing it.  If the leader reacts, everyone else will increase their intensity of negativity.  Someone has to remain calm, cool and collected to guide others through the chaos.  You call that person a leader.

6. A LEADER IS ONE THAT HIDES HIS PANIC.

Leaders panic like everyone else, but they learn to control it before it comes out of their mouth and actions.  Leaders must hide their panic from the followers and take it to the Lord to receive strength.

If a plane you are on begins to have trouble, how would you feel if the pilot came on the PA and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!  AHHHHH!”

Some leaders handle problems like that.  Not helpful.

However, an experienced pilot will stay calm and say, “Ladies and gentlemen, the seatbelt sign will remain on as we experience some turbulence.”  Their calm demeanor is strengthening to the fearful.

Be the leader that hides his panic and helps the weak.

7. A LEADER IS REVEALED DURING DIFFICULTY.

Problems don’t make good leaders.  They reveal them.  Stress, pressure, and distress push your true character to the surface.  Trials today will help you in the future if you learn from them, but today they will reveal what you have been becoming.  Allow God to make you in private, and you will be ready for the next trial.

A godly leader points people to God at all times.  He doesn’t get caught up in the drama.  He acknowledges the difficulties and points out the positives.  He reminds people that God is in control and gives them a vision of what God can do.

During the difficulties, a godly leader emphasizes:
1. Faith not fear
2. Action not reaction
3. Spirit not flesh
4. Healing not hurt
5. Fact not feeling

8. LEAD ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES.

Proverbs 16:20  “He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.”

A godly leader doesn’t lead by emotion.  He leads by the Book.  Let the Bible be your guide.  Study the Scriptures and learn how God wants things done.  Stay the course when difficulties come.

Often, you will come against problems that you have no idea how to handle.  Search the Scriptures for answers.  Ask godly people for counsel.  They will have a different perspective.  Sometimes, we are too close to the problem to see it clearly.  Above all, lead according to the Scriptures.

In these days of upheaval and turmoil, we need godly leaders who are capable of leading on the worst days. May God give us the strength to do so!

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