059 - How To Avoid Being a Defensive Leader - Leaders.Church


059 – How To Avoid Being a Defensive Leader

What’s in this Episode?

Have you ever worked for someone that was very defensive? I mean, you want to tell that person to get a life, relax, come on, ease up. But time and time again, they get defensive and it’s frustrating. Well, today on the Church Tips podcast, we’re going to talk about exactly how you can avoid being a defensive leader so that you don’t react this way towards others.

Read the Transcript

Dick Hardy 0:28
You know, as I was preparing for this particular episode, I was just reflecting on the kinds of people I’ve worked with over the years. And as you might guess, with all this gray hair, I’ve been with the whole range of people, very strong people, the very not so confident people and everybody in between. Well, and I’m trying to think of the subject here today is how to avoid being a defensive leader. So I’ve thought, you know, who are some pastors I’ve come across that just always seem to be defensive about things. They’re kind of a little edge to them, and I just couldn’t come up with anybody. And then I went looked in the mirror. And I thought, oh my goodness, Lord, why do you have to make this so apparent to me? I remember one time I was talking to a gal. Good gal. And in fact, she and her husband became fast friends of my wife and I, but I remember dealing with Karen, and Karen was so right on so many things. And yet, I was an insecure defensive leader. And I was really showing my true colors and not being the kind of leader I needed to be. So maybe that’s you, maybe it’s not, maybe it’s the furthest thing from you, but all of us have weaknesses in our own leadership. In my particular case, I ended up being on the defensive side as a leader. We want to talk to you today. Fortunately, the Lord has helped me grow beyond that. And, we want to be able to help you just think through some things about how you can avoid being a defensive leader.

Jonathan Hardy 1:56
Yeah, that’s good. Well, so let’s just jump in!

Dick Hardy 1:58
Yeah! Why don’t you jump in. Give me some tips on how to fix myself.

Jonathan Hardy 2:03
You need some church tips.

Dick Hardy 2:04
Yeah I need some church tips.

Tip #1: Remind Yourself of Who You Are

Jonathan Hardy 2:07
Well, the first thing is you want to remind yourself of who you are. And it goes back to just the ability for you to inventory yourself to examine yourself, and take a real hard look at who you are. Who of you, you know, not only who you are in terms of your relationship with God, and that you are a child of God, and in your salvation, but even the calling, the direction that God has given you to accomplish the through ministry, know what you value in life. All these things are part of who you are. And you have to start by knowing who you are. And if you didn’t know who you were…

Dick Hardy 2:45
Yeah, and I was no spring chicken. I was probably in my early to mid 40s at the time.

Jonathan Hardy 2:49
Yeah, yeah. So like really old?

Dick Hardy 2:53
Somebody’s coming up on it!

Jonathan Hardy 2:56
Just teasing. No that’s so young.

Dick Hardy 2:57
But the fact is, it can happen to any of us. Young or old. And so remind yourself of who you are. That you, you really, you’re the child of God. And he has great plans for you. And you need to have the security of leading in that.

Tip #2: Respond Correctly to Criticism

Dick Hardy 3:15
You know, another thing that I factor when I just look back on that situation is I wasn’t responding correctly to criticism. So, you know, this, Jonathan and I have faced our fair share of criticism along the way, and I’m going to bet as a pastor, you have to. You’ve got to rightly respond to criticism. Recognize that people around you believe in you. The critics, you want to pay attention or the people closest to you, who love you, and want the very best for you. You know, in fact, in Episode 38, we talked about how a pastor can address conflict with a church member we drive specifically to that issue of criticism, because it’s there, it’s going to be there. If you’re going to lead, you’re going to lead anything that’s worth leading, which obviously the church is, you’re going to face critics and you’ve got to rightly respond to them. I will say as well, you’ve got to consider the source of the critic. The critic that’s that far away from you versus the critic that’s right here are two different things. In both cases, you have to rightly respond to that criticism.

Jonathan Hardy 4:25
Yeah. And for our Leaders.Church members, we actually have a full series inside the membership on criticism, dealing with critics in ministry, that’s a great series to check out. If that happens to be where you’re at today, and you’re trying to figure out how do I navigate this, so that’d be something for you to check out here in the the membership.

Tip #3: Buy Time When You Might Be Facing Criticism

Jonathan Hardy 4:43
Another thing just kind of on the heels of that, that this reminds me of, is the idea of, you know, buying time so when you’re in the middle of a situation where you might be facing criticism. Maybe you’re in the moment where you’re being defensive to someone is trying to step back for a moment, even if it’s a few seconds, or even if you can defer and not have to respond right away, because you know who you are. And you know, maybe how you respond, defenses come up and say, hey, you know what, let me pause. Let me take some deep breaths. Let me even get back to you on this, rather than having to give an answer or respond right away. Certainly, you can do that if it’s more like communication view, through email or something like that. But I’m thinking specifically, if you’re right in the middle of a conversation, is there a way for you to buy yourself some time? Don’t allow yourself to step back.

Tip #4: Buck Up and Smell The Roses

Dick Hardy 5:34
Don’t allow the heat of the moment to cause you to make a rash emotional decision that you’ll regret. When you step away, you buy yourself time. You know, the other part of it, at least for me was, I ultimately had to buck up and smell the roses. Like I had to be a big boy. You know, here I was dealing with this gal. She’s a very strong gal. But I had to buck up and realize that I was not right. And I was throwing defenses up when I shouldn’t have. I should have been stepping up in modeling leadership for her. When I really wasn’t, I was being a defensive leader. Nobody’s perfect. I’m the first one to say I’m not perfect. He’s not perfect. You’re not perfect. But God has called you to lead anyway. He’s called a very imperfect pastor called you, Jonathan, Dick to lead. So, I mean, really, you want to blame it on somebody blame it on the Lord, because you’re there to lead. Nobody’s got it all together. That includes us and you, but you can lead. But to do that, you just have to buck up, own it, and lead and drop the defenses and just own who you are, own what you’re doing and you’ll see good things happen at the church.

Jonathan Hardy 5:35
All right, let’s do a quick recap.


Dick Hardy 6:53
Recap. Number one, so if you’re going to avoid being a defensive leader, we encourage you to remind yourself of who’s you are, and you’re the Lord’s. Number two, respond rightly, to criticism. Buy time to allow you to make a good decision. And number four, buck up and smell the roses. If you’ll do those four things, you’ll see your defenses drop may not happen overnight, but you’ll see yourself be in a better position where you can respond better and lead better.

Jonathan Hardy 7:21
Right. Well, with that being the case, we want to thank you so much for being with us today. We have a review that we have from someone on Apple podcasts, Rgurian said this about the Church Tips podcast. “It’s concise and meaningful information that is valuable for anyone in a leadership role. Well worth listening to.” Well, we want to thank you, Rgurian, for that. That review. And we would love to have you leave a review. If you would go to Apple podcast, give us a five star review, leave a comment and we would love to read it on a future podcast episode. As well, if you’re listening or watching this on YouTube, be sure to hit that subscribe button so you can subscribe to all future episodes coming out here on our channel and we just thank you so much for being with us today on this episode. We’ll look forward to seeing you next time. Take care.

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