When I was a kid, I led some of the friends I had at church into a trap. I dug a big hole and then covered it with sticks while putting grass and other things on top of that. By looking at it, no one knew there was a hole underneath. Then, I would lead my friends on a chase while I jumped over the hole they would fall into.
This worked a few times and then I was caught. Needless to say, my parents didn’t think it was funny, and then the trap was over.
King David faced traps too and he said this about overcoming them,
“We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap. The trap is broken, and we are free!”Psalms 124:7
I love this promise too,
“Although they plot against you, their evil schemes will never succeed.”Psalms 21:11
Notice King David escaped and they didn’t work. This is our promise too and I believe we can avoid traps and stay free.
To do this we must do our best to know what the traps are so we’re ready. This is why it’s vital to have older leaders in our lives and to choose humility as our posture. The truth is we don’t know it all and we don’t have it all together. We need others and when we ask questions and listen, we can be prepared for what’s ahead.
One BIG trap we face as a leader is taking things personally.
This is so subtle and so easy to do. In fact, we’re tempted to do this at home, with friends, with our teams, and more. The problem is when we do this we’re making it about us when most of the time the issue is beyond us.
The big picture could be that a person’s personal struggle needs to be healed, the teams’ ability to communicate and trust you and each other, or a culture item that can improve. The list goes on and on but the point is, most of the time it’s not about us but rather something bigger.
If we bring it back to us we’re missing the moment and the opportunity to lead at a higher level.
Furthermore, being offended starts with taking things personally which leads to offense. We know offense comes, but being offended is a choice. That choice starts if we take it personally or not.
The truth is we all have taken things personally way too much and yet, God is calling us higher as leaders and as people.
So, here are two ways to NOT take it personally.
1st – Care for the person’s health more than defending yourself.
When we care for the person’s health, more than we care about defending ourselves, our hearts will be focused on the right thing, and we won’t make it about us. One of the roles we have as leaders is to help people grow and become better. To do this we must keep the focus on their health and growth.
“When leaders get better, the organization gets better.” When leaders grow, the organization will grow.”John Maxwell
When we care about the person’s health more than we do defending ourselves, we’re helping them grow which then helps the organization grow. Ultimately this helps us keep growing because we’re not taking it personally.
Notice how this creates a win, win, win scenario. Isn’t this what we want? Of course!
We set the flow of growth by not taking things personally.
2nd – Be curious, not furious.
When something comes up and we are tempted to take it personally, choose to be curious, instead of furious. Meaning, seek to understand what is going on below the surface. Ask questions that will help you understand who they are and where they are coming from. Don’t take the trap to make it about you which then makes your view short-sighted of the person you’re trying to lead.
Asking questions helps clarify and understand many layers of the individual and the circumstance you are navigating.
“The most interesting person in the room, is the one that’s the most interested in others.”John Maxwell
This principle applies to avoiding the trap of taking things personally. Choose to be curious by understanding on a deeper level what is going on so that you can effectively lead through the situation and help the individual grow.
Of course in asking questions, if you find out you missed something, apologize. Make things right and move on. Healthy leaders admit to wrong and then make it right.
So I ask you, are you taking things personally?
Remember, when we do this we’re making it about us when most of the time it’s beyond us.
I encourage you today to make the decision to not fall into the trap of taking things personally.
Be a leader who cares about their health more than defending yourself and be curious, not furious.
Doesn’t it feel good to be free and to avoid the trap? Yes!!!
Move forward today and be the leader God has called you to be. Don’t be petty, be big, and don’t take it personally.
Have a great week and the best is yet to come,