Exploring and developing leadership within The Salvation Army.
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December Issue, 2017

In this edition


- 2017 - What a Year
- Is it ok to say that this is hard?

- Being a Non-Anxious Presence

- Why a non-anxious presence matters
- Further Reading

- Take Time to Celebrate
- Peace on earth and goodwill to all

2017 - What a Year!

Well, what a year it’s been.  There’s no doubt that we are in the middle of unchartered territory in TSA, and this has its challenges for us all.  Those of us who are leaders are trying to figure out how best to support our people while we find our way through.  Some of us are being asked to take on challenges that are very difficult.  We see the value in what is happening for The Salvation Army as a movement, but we feel the effects on us personally.  We welcome the changes that we see necessary for our beloved Salvation Army – we want to see it thrive, and grow, and be the best that it can be.  And at the very same time, we are sometimes not so welcoming of the changes when they affect us, and when they require us to think differently, operate differently, relate differently, and take into consideration things that we have never really had to consider before.

Is it ok to say that this is hard?

Of course!  Not only is it ok – it is vital to remember that what we are going through takes its toll on us.  Some of us feel it more than others, because of different circumstances, or different personalities, different demands made on us.  

But saying it is hard is not the end of the story.  In acknowledging that this is hard, we must also say to ourselves – how am I going to support myself through this?  What do I need so that I can continue to be the best leader that I can be, both despite and because of the challenges I’m facing?

The Christmas season is a great time to reflect again on some of its main messages – peace on earth and goodwill to all.  

How do I bring peace to myself, and to those around me – the people in my team, the people I’m answerable to, the people I work with, the people I live with and love?

I read somewhere that peace is not to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work.  It means to be in the midst of these things and still be calm in your heart (author unknown).  We often desire the kind of peace that is free from the challenges, and free from the difficulty.  The demands of leadership are not easy, and peace is not always our experience.  How can we, as leaders, be at peace, even though things around us are not peaceful?  

First and foremost, this requires that we look after ourselves well – not in a way that panders to and feeds our feelings of overwhelm or anxiety, and gives them cause to continue, but in a way that acknowledges the reality of the difficulty, and finds ways to care for ourselves through it.  We look after our inner selves – our heart, our mind, our emotions, and our spirit.  We use self-talk that is kind and empowering to us, rather than minimising of our capability.  We spend time with people who are encouragers – who are good for us, rather than letting ourselves be dragged down by negativity.  We seek out help to guide us through our challenges.

Being a Non-Anxious Presence

As well as appropriating a non-anxious presence for ourselves, leaders also ensure that we create a non-anxious environment for our people.  This isn’t to say that we minimise all the challenges – on the contrary, we support people through the challenges by providing them with our non-anxious presence.  We remain calm and authentic.  This isn’t about being a Pollyanna – saying everything is hunky dory when it isn’t.  But we lead carefully and with calm confidence – even when we are not sure of the future.  It’s not an easy gig, there’s no doubt about that.  And being able to do that requires that we are first ensuring that we are appropriating a non-anxious way of being for ourselves.

Why a non-anxious presence matters

I recently read a blog about leadership and being a non-anxious presence – Why a Non-Anxious Presence Matters.  Here are some helpful snippets:

  • There is something strengthening about a leader who is able to empower his people without projecting worry


  • The reason a non-anxious presence matters is that teams need to see and experience the calmness of the leader in the midst of the storm.  Your organisation may be going through a massive change right now and your team expects you to remain clear


  • The question may not be: ‘how do I motivate my people?’ to ‘how do I regulate myself?’

If we are proactively bringing calm and humble confidence into our leadership, then it follows that we would be bringing goodwill to any situation that we’re in – kindness, friendly disposition, cooperation, willing good for people we interact with.

When there’s so much going on – and lots of differing opinions happening, and much confusion and uncertainty – sometimes it’s our ‘goodwill to all’ that suffers.   We’re stretched, we’re tired, we’re frustrated, we’re overwhelmed, even.  How important as leaders that we don’t take that out on our team, our colleagues, our leaders and our loved ones.  We need to find the healthy balance of being able to vent, but in a way that doesn’t negatively affect others.

Further Reading:

Why a Non-Anxious Presence Matters

The Gift of Non-Anxious Presence

The Impact of a Non-Anxious Leadership Presence

Called to be Peacemakers

Take Time to Celebrate

Being a non-anxious presence can make a huge difference to the vibe within the team – and so can intentional celebration!

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” Oprah Winfrey

As we near the end of 2017, many of you are no doubt breathing a sigh of relief, and at the same time already wondering and worrying about what 2018 has in store.

It has been a big year! There have been a lot of changes organisationally, not to mention those that have taken place in your local setting. Changing structures, shifting goals, people coming and people going, new activities and opportunities, increasing uncertainty – or perhaps for some, greater clarity on what is required moving forward.

With Christmas coming up and a New Year to prepare for, it is timely to stop, reflect and celebrate – yes, celebrate – all that has occurred over the past 12 months. Maybe not all of it has been as positive as you would like, but before moving onto the next big thing take this opportunity to take a breather, forget about what lies ahead and pat yourself and your team on the back for all that has been achieved. You may be surprised at just how far you have come!

Some extra thoughts on celebration…

Rewarding recognizing and celebrating achievements from afar

Review and celebrate success: You'll be glad you did

Activity to celebrate team success

The right way to praise your teams accomplishments

Peace on earth and goodwill to all

(Luke 2:8-14)

When the angels burst into the peace and quiet of the evening, the shepherds had no idea what effect the news they were bringing would have on the world.  Here they were, causing a raucous in the middle of the night, when I’m sure the shepherds would have preferred a good night’s sleep.  Not to mention the fact that Luke 2 tells us that they were terrified.  The angels’ message was about peace and goodwill.  Um, ok – wouldn’t it have been peaceful and good without the raucous?  But the peace and goodwill they talked about would disturb the status quo of the world, and bring about a new era.  It wouldn’t always be comfortable or easy.  It would culminate in the crucifixion of the one they were singing about.  Not very peaceful if you ask me.  But in the birth, death and resurrection of the Saviour of the world, peace and goodwill will be offered to everyone – not just a few shepherds trying to mind their own business on a hillside.
Our privilege – our challenge – as leaders, is to bring peace and goodwill in the midst of challenge and change.  May God help us to do just that.

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