by Clare Krabill, MHS COO
I remember almost 15 years ago hearing about a leader named Steve from those who had worked with him. They all agreed they would have given their absolute best for Steve. They knew he gave his best for them, believed the best in them and invested in their best outcomes. They wanted to continue working with him and were not interested in looking elsewhere.
Their testimonies made quite an impact on me. I decided at that point I wanted to lead like Steve! I began a journey of cultivating servanthood leadership skills. I read leadership books, sought knowledge through peers and mentors, and attended leadership seminars. It didn’t take long to realize that while I could learn best practices and skills, knowing these things didn’t translate into consistently doing them.
The MHS membership network is a community of faith. It is one of the things that sets you and your ministries apart. Yet, your belief alone does not result in your being better leaders. The invitation is to take your belief, invest it with time, effort, and perseverance, and go deep into yourself to cultivate practices that arise from the Spirit.
The spiritual practice of solitude of the heart can be foundational. Through solitude of the heart, one seeks to perceive the world from a quiet inner center. It can transform loneliness and neediness to abundance and generosity.
While experienced alone or in a crowd, it is best developed in actual solitude. In speaking of this solitude of the heart, Thomas Merton wrote, “It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brothers. It is pure affection and filled with reverence for the solitude of others… There is no way of telling people that they are walking around shining like the sun.” He goes on to explain that he perceived his practice of solitude as a responsibility that he had for himself and others. That through the practice of solitude he experienced the depth of community. This is the depth that can empower you to give your best to, believe the best in, and invest in the best outcomes for your colleagues. It is a foundation that can set you apart as a leader. I suspect this is the real key to leading like Steve.