Healthy Leaders


Adam’s Awkward Moment in Leadership

Adam FlemingAdam Fleming

I chose to enter the “Awkward Moment in Leadership” speech contest because leaders build other leaders through authentic transparency. Authenticity and transparency are buzzwords that get tossed around a lot, but true authenticity is catalyzed by sharing deeply about our experiences from a position of security in Christ (we don’t need to worry that we might be judged).

I thought it was a great way for the Leader Development Consultation (LDC) to begin, because the speakers had an opportunity to help set the tone for the event. Are you willing to share the lessons you have learned with others? Use detail, share from an emotional level (use words that describe your feelings) and share the principle you learned.

Here is my “Awkward Moment” story:

In 2009, my very first assignment as a Missions Coach was with a leader twenty years my senior who had spent two grueling decades persecuted, imprisoned, and putting his life and his family in danger for the Gospel. The worst I had seen was a mild student demonstration in Zaire as a missionary kid in 1988.

I didn’t have much to go on, but as we told each other our life stories, I did my best to build rapport. I don’t remember my exact words, but it must have been something like, “so I know what you’re going through.”

He almost screamed at me: “You have no idea how difficult my life has been!”

He was right.

I was shocked at my blunder. I apologized and offered to get him reassigned to another coach. He declined a reassignment, but the rest of our six sessions were an uphill battle.

I felt discouraged and insecure about my abilities, so I told my supervisor, “I don’t know if I can do this.” She laughed and said, “Oh, Adam, you’re a well-trained coach, you’re going to be just fine.”

What a relief to know that a key value in the coaching world is the value of believing in people. That has stuck with me – because it was applied to me when I failed!

Recognizing that your security is in Christ, Who has forgiven your bumbling moments, now it’s time to share your story.

Remember that not only Peter, but other disciples, made significant errors which are recorded in Scripture. In telling the story of Good News, they did not shy away from moments that made them look bad (or perhaps we should say, human).

Pause and Reflect:

The Apostle Peter is quite famous for his awkward moments. Three times he was interrupted by God – by the Son (Matt. 16:23), by the Father from heaven (Matt. 17:5), and by the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44). Yet Jesus made it clear that He believed in Peter and assured Peter of his usefulness to care for the flock of God (John 21:15-19; 1 Pet. 5:2-3).

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