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Watch 2022 online sermons » Craig Groeschel » Craig Groeschel - Leading Out of Crisis, Part 1

Craig Groeschel - Leading Out of Crisis, Part 1


Craig Groeschel - Leading Out of Crisis, Part 1
Craig Groeschel - Leading Out of Crisis, Part 1
TOPICS: Leadership Podcast, Crisis

Let's dive into new content, what we're gonna do is a two-part teaching, this is part one. And part two drops on the third Thursday of this month, so two weeks from today we'll drop the new episode. And I wanna start by stating the painful obvious truth that our world has been through over two year of extreme trauma. And you know what we've been through, but the pandemic shut down the world, we've had countless tragic deaths. We've had political division, we've had the ongoing racial tension. We've had economic inconsistencies, and now we've got all sorts of new problems, supply chain issues. You can't get anything delivered to you. You've got soaring inflation, you've got soaring wages. The Fed raise the interest rate, you've got a high employee turnover in many organizations, and of course you've got the war in Ukraine and the whole world feels very, very unsettled.

Well, I wanna tell you, in leadership language, how I've been processing the latest season. With three decades of leadership experience, that means I'm getting kind of old, well, I've seen most different types of what you might call leadership seasons, or leadership situations, or leadership environments. I thought that I've seen almost all the different things you could see, until I realized that I've never led in a season like we're in now. And the reality is, neither of you. None of us have led in this very unique season, and what I wanna do is try to unpack it for you in this episode and in the next one. So here's what's been goin' on in my mind. I have been so focused on leading well in crisis. Heads down, hands on, intense leadership in crisis, that there's three things I didn't notice about this current season. I'll tell you what those three things are.

The first thing I didn't notice, is the toll that crisis leadership took on me. I didn't realize how difficult this was, and how much I was beaten down in the crisis leadership mode.

The second thing I didn't notice, is the toll that crisis leadership took on our leaders. They've been paying a real price, and we've just been working, and I didn't realize just the weight they've been carrying, and the toll that they've been enduring.

The third thing I didn't notice, is that we've entered a completely uncharted season of organizational leadership, and let me say it again. I can't overstate how important this is. That right now, the season we're leading in, it is uncharted. We have not led through this type of season in any of our leadership. And I wanna unpack all of those, but I'm gonna spend the most time on the third one, and then we'll really spend a lotta time in the next episode. Let's talk about the first thing, because this may hit you as a leader.

Number one. I didn't realize the toll that crisis leadership took on me, Like you, for the last two years, I've been heads down, hands on, focused in an intense leadership season. And due to the ongoing intensity, I was just kind of in the game, trying to lead well. I didn't realize how emotionally exhausted, mentally depleted, and even spiritually fatigued that I was. And I wanna slow it down for a moment, because this will speak to a significant percentage of you. Most of you may be in a very same place, you don't realize the toll that the last couple of years have taken on you, because you've been in the game, you've been leading with intensity, you've had passion, you've had focus. And there are many of you, and I want you to hear this. Many of you, you're not just tired right now. You're not just tired. You are depleted.

And there's a really, really big difference, you aren't just tired, but you're depleted. If you're tired, you can take a nap, you can go on a vacation. But you aren't just tired. You're depleted, you're empty. And so you don't just need time off, you need time to refill. You need to replenish your leadership energy, because, you'll never lead well when you're on empty. If you don't refill, if you are depleted in your leadership, you have to refill or your leadership is always going to be limited. And I wanna just kind of get into your personal business for a minute and tell you, it is absolutely up to you. No one is coming to rescue you. No one is gonna help you do this. You have to take the initiative on your own, not just to rest, but to refill to do something that builds your faith, your energy, that is engaging your mind in a new way. And you have to refill so that you can give out, in fact, I've talked openly about working with a performance psychologist for quite some time.

And what he helped me do, is to do activities, in order to refill, I have to disconnect my mind. Probably like many of you, my mind is always spinning on leading the organization, I'm always thinking about issues. I think about it when I wake up, I think about 'em in the middle of the night when my mind drifts to work-related issues. And so in order for me to refill and be at my best, I have to disconnect my mind. So, how do you do that? And here's the key, it's gonna be different for all of us. For some people, they're gonna disconnect their mind by relaxing, that might be gardening, or working with their hands, or reading, or meditating. For my personality type, my counselor helped me understand, I need intense activity. I need something that's high adrenaline, and something that even feels dangerous to me. Hence, what I've talked about before, is I've been doing jujitsu for a little over a year, and I've been takin' flying lessons, I just passed my written exam, now I have my oral and my check ride before I get my pilot's license.

Are those things really dangerous, eh, they're pretty safe. But when there's a guy much stronger than me smooshing my head on a mat, or I'm trying to land a plane by myself, it feels really, really intense, and what it does is it disconnects my mind, and that helps me to refill. So what I want you to do in your leadership, is I want you to take a moment, and you may discuss this with your team, and assess where you are. And I want you to look at four different areas and be really, really honest. How are you physically? Meaning, when you're leading intensely, sometimes your physical health slips, you might start eating comfort foods, you might not sleep as much, you might start using medicine to get to sleep, or you might start using too much caffeine to get going. You might not be exercising, because you've been going, how are you physically?

Also, you wanna look at emotionally. Leading well takes an extraordinary amount of emotional energy. And when you give out and give out and give out, if you don't replenish your emotional health, you're gonna find yourself in a very compromised state. Also look at your relationships. Anyone who's leading intensely will oftentimes neglect some of their key relationships. And that puts them in a very compromised situation, as it goes in your home, so it goes with you everywhere else. That is primary to your effective leadership, and anything that matters in life. And then look at your life spiritually. Physically, emotionally, relationally, spiritually. Sometimes we get distracted from what really, really matters in life, because we get so focused on the urgent problems. We tend to forget what's really, really important. It's a little bit like this. If you've ever been in a fight. Or if you've ever played some intense sports.

What happens is, if you're in a fight, you take a punch, or you're in the game and someone hits you, It doesn't really hurt, because your adrenaline is so high. But afterwards you go, "Oh man, that was a real blow. Oh man, I'm really hurt". You start to assess, am I injured? And this is very likely how many of you have been leading, you've been in such an intense battle, that you don't recognize the battle has taken a toll on you. Assess where you are. Assess honestly. And what you wanna do is you want to make some adjustments, you may not be just tired, but you may be depleted. And if you're tired, you can take a nap, if you're depleted, you actually need to refill. Because you can't give out consistently without refilling occasionally. We have to do this, and so, I wanna encourage you to really take a look, in order to continue to lead well, you have to take care of yourself.

The first thing I didn't notice was the toll that this season took on me. The second thing that I didn't notice was the toll that crisis leadership took on our leaders. Chances are, you're surrounded by really good leaders. And like you, we have world class, durable, and very consistent leaders. But think about what they've endured. On top of all the organizational challenges, most of your team members experienced different forms of, let's just call it trauma. They've had emotional challenges. They've experienced significant personal loss. Many of our team members lost loved ones. Some lost relationships, everybody's dealing with crazy, right? A lotta people lost a sense of peace in their lives, they lost a sense of purpose. And the great leaders on your team, I wanna promise you, just like you, they paid an extremely high price. They've made extraordinary sacrifices.

When you think about what you experienced in your leadership, think about what you went through. You had the excruciating weight of leading in the middle of a crisis. And if you're on the top of the leadership chain, there are many times you felt like the whole organization rested on your shoulders, you felt the entire weight of all of the leadership energy. But your team felt something similar. In the same way that you felt the weight of sustaining your organization. Your leaders felt the weight of their area. Because in their area, the buck stops with them. So, not only do they feel the weight of leading in their area, but watch this. They also feel the weight of pleasing you. And if you're an intense leader like me, you're probably sometimes difficult to please. And so that's a lotta pressure on the leaders that you love.

And here's what happens. Whenever your leaders feel this intense, ongoing pressure, they don't tend to perform well over time. What happens is, the pressure starts to weigh in on them. They start to feel maybe defensive. They start to wonder, is it worth it? They start to ask, does what I do matter? And then they start to wonder, would I be better using my gifts somewhere else? And that's one of the reasons why we're seeing what people are calling the great resignation. People are leaving where they are, and they're trying to go somewhere else because they've been through so much. And as a leader, you'll be really, really, really, really wise to recognize, we're not just leading in a crisis, but we're leading out of a crisis. And even though some things may be settling, there's so many things that are still incredibly unsettled. And the most unsettled thing might be many of your leaders right now. The problem with unsettled leaders is this, what do unsettled leaders create? Unsettled leaders create unsettled followers.

And if your top leaders right now are unsettled, or if you're unsettled, it's gonna be impossible to lead well deep into your organization. And that's why in the next episode. we're gonna talk about, how do we correct this? How do you help your team members, how do you help settle them? How do you help them heal, motivate, appreciate them? How do you lead out of the season that we're in into a season of health? And this is really, really important. Three things I didn't realize, number one, I didn't realize the toll that crisis leadership was taking on me. Number two. I didn't realize the toll that crisis leadership was taking on our leaders. And number three, and this is where I wanna spend the most time. I didn't notice that we were in a completely uncharted season of leadership. And I cannot overstate how important this is, it was like a light bulb went off in my mind and I'll try to explain what happened.

As one who's been leading for over three decades, okay, that's a lotta water under the bridge, I've seen a lot. And it's not because I'm good, it's just because I've had a lot of experience in most different environments, and I'll kinda summarize what our team is good at. Our team knows how to start things. We start organizations, we launch ministries, we launch apps. We know how to shut down things that aren't working. We know how to scale up, we know how to scale down. We know how to see problems early and solve them quickly. We know how to lead in different organizational life cycles. We create systems in whitewater or go-go. We're good in prime, we recognize the rut. We know how to reorganize. We have experience leading through localized crises, we have experience leading through short term international crises, times of war. Global terrorism, domestic terrorism. We lead in bull markets and in bear markets, we lead in economic booms and economic crashes, we have a lot of experience.

So, I wrongly assumed, and I can't tell you how big a mistake this was. I wrongly assumed that leading after a crisis was similar to leading before one. And I could not be more wrong. And I wanna say it again. If your leadership plan today is similar to your pre-pandemic plan, you probably have a bad plan. Because, you're not leading after a crisis. You have to lead out of one. This is your most important role right now. And it takes an entirely different mindset to lead out of a crisis. Because listen, none of us, there's no-one alive, that's ever led out of a two-year, world-altering global crisis. This is a different gear, this is a different mindset, this is a different strategy. And I wanna dive deep into how do we do it in the next episode. Because, most leaders I see right now, including me. They're trying to go back to what they call business as usual.

We just wanna go back and do what we did before, but there's nothing usual about the economy, there's nothing usual about your team morale. There's nothing usual about the future. What are you leading into? You're leading into the most rapid changing, uncertain, unsettled world that we've seen in our lifetime. And to the extent at which you realize that fact, will determine your capacity for effectiveness moving forward. The world has changed. Your leaders have changed. And I want you to stop for a moment and think about what your leaders, or your volunteers, or your coworkers, I want you to think about what is different about the people that you serve with, over the last couple of years. They've had totally different work rhythms. We're workin' hard normally, then we're workin' from home, then we're comin' back, then we're not comin' back, then we're wearin' masks, then we're doin' meetings, then we're doin' Zoom, they've had totally different work rhythms.

And what you've had very likely is, you've had some new leaders emerge. I know we have, like, hey, that gal, we didn't know who she was, but now she's killin' it. That guy, where'd he come from, he's doin' great. You've had some new heroes. And you've had other ones who were good that they're actually struggling right now. So the leadership dynamics have probably shifted. Here's what you've also had. You've probably had some new relationships form on your team. You've probably had some new systems emerge because we're doin' things differently. Bottom line is this. Your team members. They are very, very different than they were two years ago. Some of them, they have distinctly different priorities. Some of 'em, they don't wanna work as much, they wanna work from home, they don't wanna do what they used to. Others, they're more passionate, they wanna do more, they see opportunities. Some of them, they have different values. They have different goals. And that's why I just wanna say it. If you lead now, like you led before, you will not succeed in your leadership.

Now, here is the big new idea for me, that's really been reshaping how I'm attacking this season. I've discovered, and you could argue with this and it may not be true, but my theory is this. That leading out of a crisis is actually more difficult than leading in one. Let me say it again, it's my theory that leading in this complicated season out of a crisis is actually more difficult than leading through a crisis. And the reason is because when you're in the middle of a crisis, when you're shuttin' things down, when you're all hands on deck, you're fully focused. You instinctively know that you have to do four things. When you're in the middle of a crisis, you have to act decisively. You don't have time to sit around and have long meetings. You act decisively. Number two is you adjust swiftly. Everything is up for debate and you're gonna make changes. Number three, you communicate frequently. You know you need to. Number four, you conserve cash. Because you know cash is king, you act decisively, you adjust swiftly, you communicate frequently, you conserve cash, and you instinctively know that you do those things.

Now, what's happening? The world in many places is starting to reopen. The external pressure that we've felt 24 hours a day, seven days a week, that's starting to lessen in many places. And so what happens is, in our leadership mindset, we're tempted to scale back a little bit on our leadership intensity. And that, honestly, is kind of what I did. Okay, so, my leadership's not as important, I don't have to be quite as urgent, I don't have to communicate quite as much, massive, massive mistake. Because I would submit to you, it is my theory, that leading out of a crisis is likely more difficult leading through one. When you're in a middle of a crisis, you are intense, you're hands-on, and now so many people are letting up, and honestly, it's not great news, but it's the truth. This is not the time we need to let up.

So in the next episode, what we're gonna do is we're gonna get really, really practical, we're gonna get down into the weeds and we're gonna talk about a very defined strategy. And I'm gonna give you the six keys to leading out of a crisis. And what I wanna say to you right now is this, so, so true. Your leadership matters more than you can imagine. And so I wanna encourage you to go back through all of these thoughts, and dive into them, assess your leadership. Because I'm guessing that if you lead at any type of intense level, this season has taken an intense toll on you. Assess where you are. Do what it takes, not just to rest, but to refill.

Then I want you to look at the leaders around you, because it's really easy to take great people for granted, and we cannot take great people for granted. We tend to think that great people are always gonna be in a great place, but we've got great people that are not in a great place right now. And it's your role as a leader to find out who is struggling, and it's your role as a leader to bring help to them. It's gonna help make your organization better, it's gonna show that you care, and you do care, and so that's really, really important.

And then, we need to recognize that we're in an entirely uncharted territory. And even though things seem to be getting a little bit easier in some places in the world, and obviously I don't wanna downplay all the massive challenges globally that so many people have, and the pain, and there's still people dying, and we know all that. But things are opening back up. And so some leaders are taking a sigh. You need to take one quick sigh, and you need to get your head down and lead like you've never led before, because leading out of a crisis may be more complicated than leading in one.

Now, I wanna tell you this, I'm gonna work really, really hard to bring great leadership content that adds value to you. I'm gonna work to do it. And we're not monetizing this, we're not doing ads or anything. This is my gift to you. Your gift to me would be to rate it, review it, share it, invite people to be a part, make sure you get the leadership guide. Share like crazy. Invite people to be a part, because we know that everyone wins when the leader gets better. We'll see you in two weeks, be intentional about your leadership, because your leadership matters more than ever before. You don't have to know it all. Be yourself, show up, because we know that people would rather follow a leader who's always real than one who's always right.
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