One of the best books I’ver every read on leadership is A Failure of Nerve by Edwin H. Friedman. It’s a challenging read, but well worth it. The author was a Jewish counselor who wrote extensively on a counseling philosophy called Bowen Family Systems. The more I read about this way of looking at church leadership through ’systems’ eyes, the more I wish I had understood these principles 25 years ago. It would have saved me a lot of angst. Friedman lists 8 principles that leaders should practice when facing a crisis. I’ve paraphrased them and adapted them to pastoral leaders below.
What leaders should do in a crisis.
- Don’t let the crisis become the axis around which your world revolves.
- Develop a support system outside of your church such as counselors or other pastors.
- Stay focused on long-term goals.
- Practice spiritual disciplines.
- Listen to your body.
- Work out the balance between being responsible for yourself and being seen as difficult and self-centered.
- Keep a sense of humor.
- It’s time to make decisions when the same question brings no new informati0n.
When you’ve faced a crisis, what has helped you weather it?