Pain. Uncertainty. Chaos.
If you are a leader with any tenure, you've experienced them.
If you aspire to be a leader, you should expect them.
Life.Church Pastor Craig Groeschel, an author and leadership podcast host, shared those key words during his opening keynote speech Thursday for the Global Leadership Summit. More than 2,200 in the Fort Wayne-Warsaw areas were registered to view the two-day broadcast via satellite from a suburban Chicago church.
"As leaders, we must grow in our capacity for PUC," Groeschel said, using the acronym he came up with.
The tendency among leaders, though, is to instinctively avoid those realities. But in doing so, they could be stunting their personal growth -- or that of the companies and organizations they lead.
“Anything that grows will have a little bit of chaos," said Groeschel, who also has the title of Champion of the GLS. "As leaders you can have control or you can have growth, but you can't have both.”
Groeschel shared some of his personal experiences with pain, uncertainty and chaos.
He acknowledged dealing with depression himself during the pandemic last year and sometimes wondering whether he was the right leader for the mega-ministry he oversees.
Earlier in his ministry, Groeschel recalls parting ways with a colleague because of differences in theology. The individual he was at odds with warned that he would take half of the ministry's members if he was forced to leave, and did.
"There is no pain like leadership pain," Groeschel said.
He was just 28 when that relationship was fractured about 25 years ago. But Groeschel's ministry now has churches in about a dozen states, and the YouVersion Bible app one of his leaders helped innovate has been downloaded on millions of mobile devices.
Groeschel's ministry made one move last year -- pushing ahead with groundbreaking on a new church -- that many others would have felt better waiting on because of the coronavirus pandemic. That church location, though, has attracted more than 1,700 people to the building.
Faith over fear, as Groeschel describes it.
He quoted another prominent pastor and author, Andy Stanley, as having once said that uncertainty underscores the need for leadership. A good leader plans for unforeseen challenges; a great leader plans for unexpected opportunities.
“If you're waiting until you're 100% sure," Groeschel said, "you will most always be too late."
Your capacity to lead toward the future is based on your ability to endure pain today, he said.
“We want to run, we want to hide, and we want to play it safe," Groeschel said. "The way is through, not out.”
Here are a few other thoughts shared during the first day of the summit:
From Jamie Kern Lima, who started IT Cosmetics in her living room, grew the business and eventually sold it in a billion-dollar deal to L'Oreal: One day people might tell you that you may not fit and one day they may also call you a mogul. “No one can tell you how big your dream can be…. I was really able to turn down the volume on the 'No's' and turn up the volume on the knowing.”
From Shola Richards, a researcher, author and workplace civility expert: Years ago, Richards said he attempted suicide, partly the result of being in what he calls a toxic employment situation: "We are defined by how we treat each other.... If you would never think of saying it at a job interview, then do not do it at work."
Many leaders are not mindful of how their words or actions affect others. The five values of leading others -- value their work, value their roles, value their time, value their skills, value their humanity.
From Tom De Vries, president and CEO of the Global Leadership Network: “If we're humble, we can learn from anyone.”
To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lead On also appears as a column in The Journal Gazette's Sunday Business section.