So many of us are walking around with wounded hearts, trying to be good spouses, parents, friends, but our conduct in relationships reveal that something is off. You sense something is not healthy in you, but aren’t even able to name it at times.
I am coming to believe that most of us have heart wounds. And 9 times out of 10, it’s foundational hurt and wounds from our primary relationships and in our earlier formational years. You may have heard of them as mother wounds or father wounds. Well, whether it was Mom or Dad or an Aunt or Uncle, few people arrive at adulthood unharmed by the behaviors of others.
And it can take years before people can see their brokenness, admit it, and have access to it so it can be healed. Many live forever never facing it because it hurts too bad. They don’t admit the abuse. They are to afraid to share the offense. They have told their false narrative so long that it becomes true for them. They have no issues. Everything is fine (even though every...
Emotional safety and freedom is like a tit for tat process. I give a little and then you give a little. I share a tad and then you open up a tad. I say little more, and then you go a little further. As I take risks and bear my soul, you start taking risks to share your pain. It’s an incremental give and take process. It’s kind of like a boomerang of vulnerability. You throw a little bit out and a little comes back to you.
I have spent time with countless leaders and lead out by sharing my weaknesses, my fears and my mistakes. And almost without fail, they will match the intensity of my vulnerability. Safe people create safe spaces. They reproduce themselves. But somebody has got to go first. This is the way that trust is cultivated and increased. It requires the risk of someone being “brave enough to be real."
I’ve learned that one of my most fruitful strategies in leadership over the years has been creating trust-filled safe space. This one has taken me a longer time to cultivate because I have run my mouth too much and talked to broadly to earn peoples' trust. But as I have worked at that area of my life with God’s help, I have begun to earn peoples trust, and often very quickly.
Here’s what I have found: you be fake, and they will be fake. You act perfect, they will (try to) act perfect. Instead, I strive to be vulnerable, real and open with leaders with whom I walk. Contrary to counsel I have received for many years from other leaders who tell you to stay guarded and careful about what you share with those you lead… I don't sign up for their philosophy. I try to share my heart and avoid hiding my brokenness and the result has been deep relationships. Leaders end up sharing their real stuff with me. They share their sin, their fears, their past hurts and abuses and feel safe. ...
There is GREAT power in a GOOD question. But GOOD questions without GREAT listening only patronizes the other. Most of us are good at listening with our ears. But, listening with our hearts is different and more difficult. People can feel the vast difference between the two, though they may not have the language for it.
David Augsburger says, “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.”
Listening well is so important in making people feel safe and loved, but it is not easy. The following concept has helped me. For lack of a title, I will make one up (since I made up the concept, I guess I can make up the title, though it probably isn’t original). Let’s call it “360º Listening” — listening for what you hear coming from every direction. It looks like this:
LISTEN LONG: It takes many people time to gather their thoughts and get them out. Stop rushing people. Keep waiting. Allow for awkward silence. Often, the most important things...
We are thrilled to report that the first ever Integer Network international training trip was an immense success! Noah was joined by colleagues and friends in both Kenya and Tanzania to lead 6 training experiences in 2 weeks that reached over 200 leaders! Some of the concepts were so new to the East African context that there were barley even words in Swahili to capture them.
John Wambura, General Secretary of the Mennonite Church of Tanzania said: “My cup is full again! God is using you in a very different way and it will change the way we think, live and lead. Here in Africa we need such training to happen for our church leaders. Please plan an East Africa event and run it in Uganda and invite people from Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, South Sudan, and Ethiopia. Dream BIG! Go Integer!”
In some ways it was quite a challenge to address emotionally charged character issues that stretched the worldview of the trainees. In other ways, it was a surge of joy and ho...
Not long ago, I posted about the downside of real people where I talked about the ways in which highly authentic/real people can also have the tendency to be embarrassing or to make you cringe with their candor. Here are 5 ways you might deal with that:
1. Look inside: Pay some attention WHY you are reacting to this person. Don’t settle for pithy answers like “they just bother me,” but seek to understand why the conduct of the other is causing a reaction inside you? What are they actually touching on?
2. Ask questions: When someone is making you cringe, try asking them creative questions in the tense moments. If you talk much when you feel awkward or offended, you may say things you regret…so ask them to keep talking. This might increase the chance of them discovering their ignorance or putting their brakes on and gaining some self awareness. Sometime Tricia and I will say: “go ahead, keep digging your ditch so you can fall in it.”
3. Match their candor: This won’t work for everyone, but...