A Continued Voice About Leadership

Some more thoughts on “Evidence of a good leader.”

Don Essig, friend for over sixty years, taught me two lessons…one fifty years ago and the other today.

When I was Associate Pastor at the First Congregational Church in Eugene, Oregon, circa 1969-73, Don received his PhD in Communication from the University of Oregon. We had scheduled a visit in my church office.

A large office with a large, actually imposing desk. Not my choice, but, hey, it was what it was. Don entered my office. Without thinking, I got up, walked around my desk, shook his hand. We sat in front of my desk.

Before a word was spoken, he pointed, ‘You get it.”

Not wanting a multiple-choice, I cut to the “What?”

“You didn’t stay behind your desk. You prefer relationship not authority. That’s good. Very good.”

Obviously I never forget that and tried to keep that pattern with office visitors.

Then this morning, Monday, May 20, 2019, he wrote in response to this morning blog, “Evidence of Good Leadership,” the following:

“A great leader always picks people on his team who are smarter than he is”

Go, Don!

Then, some additional thoughts…more than random, not presented with sequence or priority:

A good leader doesn’t keep his or her arms crossed when talking with me.

A good leader, unless a most critical medical situation, does not stand by a hospital bed when visiting a parishioner. It’s a time to sit and not look down.

A good leader keeps eye contact.

A good leader knows how to be empathetic more than judgmental, knows how to paraphrase in order to make sure what is shared is understood by both.

And, this. Only happened once. It was a Monday morning…I went to the church. The senior minister wasn’t walking in front of my office door. He was stalking, obviously ranting in his body language, hands not opened. He pointed to my office door, “Disgusting. You have no leadership skills.”

Puzzled, I tried to open my door. It didn’t budge. I pushed and pushed, and then. I started to laugh. I mean, really laugh. The youth, because it was my birthday, after our Sunday night Youth Fellowship meeting, snuck back into the church and literally stuffed my office with newspapers. I knew I was loved. I was appreciated. I was vulnerable. THAT, to me, is a character of leadership…be vulnerable. Better than a birthday cake. Much better.

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About Mark H Miller

Diane and I live in Leander, Texas. This past June 17, 2015 I celebrated the 49th anniversary of my ordination. We returned to Texas after three years in Washington, during which I served as interim minister in Bellevue/Eastgate and Mercer Island. Am planning to begin a 5th novel that will have my protagonist, Tricia Gleason, serve a year in licensed ministry in Snoqualmie, Washington. The novel, "The Lemon Drop Didn't Melt," will find Tricia wrestling with ministry challenges. None of which more daunting than someone wanting her breathing to stop. All the published novels are available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle under Mark Henry Miller. A primary goal in our return to Texas is to make sure grandchildren get lots of attention--here and in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Traveling is definitely an activity that will not slow down. With that, of course, fishing will happen. To that the t-shirt is apt, "I fish; therefore I am." In addition to novels, the book of Blogs, "Voice Of My Heart," is also available on Amazon.
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