I made the leap this summer and applied for Regent University and was accepted into the Doctorate of Strategic Leadership program. I am SO excited to begin this journey and see what God is going to do in and through me. Seriously though, being on this God-journey continually blows my mind. I love Him so much! I am also starting to enjoy embracing the journey of growth and know this will be a time of pressing. But, as the truth goes – pressure is necessary to grow. Matters of the Heart in leadership is extremely important to me because if an individual is healthy and whole emotionally, spiritually, and mentally then they are able to replicate themselves and raise up others who are whole.
Below is my entrance essay to Regent. We were tasked with writing about the most pressing leadership issue of today. I knew mine would be on Matters of the Heart. Heart health is extremely important to me because if an individual is healthy and whole emotionally, spiritually, and mentally then they are able to replicate themselves and raise up others who are healthy and whole. Imagine what this world would be like with more whole leaders. It would be epic and world-changing. I believe it is going to happen, but only if we continue the journey and pour out into others giving them insight to the freedom we are walking in. Who knows how the dissertation will turn out. One thing is for sure…I will be faithful to the process and will focus on the end in mind (thanks, Covey).
Galatians 5:1 – “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
I want to thank you for being on this journey with me, your support and love means the world. Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime. We are in this together – I am cheering you on!
Matters of the Heart
One of the most pressing leadership issues of today is dealing with matters of the heart. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it (Proverbs 4:23).” When there is an issue with the heart, unhealthy behaviors emerge as a result. Unhealthy behaviors are then emulated throughout the entire organization (Kotter, Leading Change, 2012). When the heart of a leader is emotionally and spiritually whole, healthy behaviors are emulated creating an environment for sustainable change, continual innovation, and sets a firm foundation that will thrive when battles arise (Kotter, Leading Change, 2012).
Today, change is imminent and leaders are facing increasing challenges to lead in a ceaseless state of unknowns. As chaos increases in the world, it is more important than ever for leaders to pay close attention to the health of their hearts. Immense amounts of noise are hurled at leaders from every angle daily. Learning how to navigate the noise while guarding the heart is the greatest challenge of this century, especially for Christians (Scazzero, 2006). When a leader is awakened to the real enemy by which they are facing on the battlefield, the true armor of God becomes necessary to not only survive but thrive (The Holy Bible, New International Version, 2015).
Determining heart health is something both non-believers and believers could possibly come together and agree upon. From a psychological standpoint, there are many studies proving one’s emotional intelligence as a leader is critical to thriving, also equating back to matters of the heart (Bradberry & Greaves, 2009). In the uttermost depths of the heart of any human being are lies and truths (Ashbrook, 2009). In those same dark places can be incidences of trauma leading to potential unforgiveness and bitterness, which manifests in human thoughts and ultimately outwardly through behaviors (Cloud, 2013). Unhealthy behaviors exhibited by leaders then trickle down throughout the entire organization creating a toxic environment (Lencioni, 2002). An unhealthy culture makes it harder to recruit and keep top talent, ultimately hurting the overall health of any organization (Stanley, 2016).
Every leader must be prepared for the battles that will come their way (Cloud, 2013). Putting on the full armor of God will guard the heart of the leader and He will help in preparation for battle if invited (Burke & Riggs, 2016). Every piece of armor is important to be actively on defense including helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, a belt of truth, feet fitted with the gospel, shield of faith, and the sword of the spirit (The Holy Bible, New International Version, 2015). Without all pieces of the armor, one becomes more susceptible to defeat (Burke & Riggs, 2016). Every leader is faced with countless choices making it imperative to hide God in their heart by spending time in the word. Wars will rage, but it is important to remember the ONE who has overcome. Leaders are not fighting flesh and blood, they are fighting against the evils of this world. One of the most important aspects is to not allow the heart to become hardened in the battle. To be a great leader one must have a heart that is in a place of full surrender to God, soft but guarded (Ashbrook, 2009).
Words and behaviors flow from the heart, revealing the motives of a leader, and giving life or death (Scazzero, 2006). When the identity of a leader is rooted in the unconditional love of Christ, only then are they able to truly love people. When leaders constantly invite God in to examine their hearts and surround themselves with wise counsel they can lead from a place of brokenness (Scazzero, 2006). Leaders are then able to build moral authority, living out their convictions and building a character that is unshakable (Stanley, 2016). The world is looking for faithful leaders, ones who lead from a place of brokenness, not ones that seem to have it all together (Kotter, The Heart of Change, 2008). In a state of brokenness, a leader is influential portraying humble confidence, serving and building trust through connecting with the hearts and minds of their people (Houston, 2015).
Developing a healthy heart is a messy process requiring a leader to be faithful to completion (Scazzero, 2006). To truly have peace in a world full of chaos one must be in tune with matters of their heart, protect it well, and lead with endurance to finish the race set before them. As a result, leaders with whole hearts, raise up leaders with whole hearts (Brown, 2017). As Saul became Paul and raised up Timothy, it is important for leaders to unceasingly raise up the next generation and empower them to take the mantle and run their race (The Holy Bible, New International Version, 2015).
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Ashkenas, R. (2010). Simply Effective. Boston: Harvard Business Press.
Bradberry, T., & Greaves, J. (2009). Emotional Intelligence 2.0. San Diego: TalentSmart.
Brown, B. (2017, June 28). TED. Retrieved from Vulnerability: https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability
Burke, R., & Riggs, K. (2016). Heart Work . Broken Arrow: Rick Burke and Kelly Riggs.
Cloud, D. H. (2013). Boundaries for Leaders. New York: HarperCollins.
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Kotter, J. P. (2008). The Heart of Change. Macmillan Audio.
Kotter, J. P. (2012). Leading Change. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.
Lencioni, P. (2002). The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Scazzero, P. (2006). Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
Sinek, S. (2010). Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. Gildan Media, LLC.
Sinek, S. (2014). Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t. Brilliance Audio.
Stanley, A. (2016). Visioneering. New York: Penguin Random House.
The Holy Bible, New International Version. (2015). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
Welch, J. (2005). Winning. New York: HarperCollins.