Show Notes:

Join Beth today as she pulls from her 25 years of corporate leadership, explaining why only ONE way of leading truly matters: the way Jesus taught us.

Beth spent more than a quarter century in a male-dominated sales world, leading thousands of people within some of the largest Fortune 500 companies to identify and execute process improvement. During the course of that career path is when she finally recognized what she had been truly been doing all along was showing up alongside people and helping them persevere in their own personal process improvement journey.

Her strong business acumen, coupled with a deep desire to help others traverse difficult situations through a relationship with Jesus, is what led her to resign from a lucrative career and write her first book, Remorseless: Learning to Lose Labels, Expectations, and Assumptions—Without Losing Yourself.

Today, she serves in the role of Chief Advancement Officer for Mel Trotter Ministries, a large non-profit homeless shelter which exists to demonstrate the compassion of Christ for anyone experiencing hunger and homelessness. She holds two master’s degrees in Theology and is a certified holistic coach. Beth is a sought after speaker and leads 1:1 and group personal and professional leadership development programs in a variety of settings. Mostly, she just wants to help you understand how much value and dignity you have and how deeply and unconditionally you are loved—no matter what.

Podcast Transcript:

028 Podcast

We can’t always be “in the business.” We can’t always be in the weeds and in the details. We’ve got to look-big picture. We’ve got to look with laser focus at the entire mission. Jesus. Yes. He dealt with details. Yes. He dealt with individuals, but his mission was kind of big, right? Eternity is kind of long-term!

You’re listening to the Remorseless Podcast!

Hey guys, what’s up? It’s Beth Fisher. Welcome to episode number 28. Okay. Housekeeping items. Here we go. It is summertime here in Michigan. Now I’m not Kid Rock around these parts; but at work, we actually have this thing between Memorial Day and Labor Day wherein we can have a flex schedule. So that’s what I’m opting to do here on the podcast. 

Instead of the weekly, you guys, now they’re going to drop every other week between now and Labor Day. I just need kind of a minute. I gotta reset. I have to sort of practice what I preach, which is like, you know, show up in the world for yourself so you can help others.

And so  that’s what I’m doing. This is Friday, June 4th, that you’re listening to this; the next episode will therefore drop on Friday, June 18th.  Ok, today it’s just me. You’re welcome!

I love talking about leadership. That’s what this episode is about. It’s not a very long one, but it’s short, sweet, concise to the point. Thank you guys for joining me. Thanks for being here. Let’s go. Episode number 28: FIVE characteristics of good leadership.

I am always, always, always so glad that you’re here and joining me. It’s just, it’s really a privilege to spend time with you to share this space with you. Thank you as always to Life Network for Women for providing this platform, for reaching all of you, for all of the many women on here, men, women, people all over the place, who just really care about you. Who care about Jesus, and who care about life, and who care about showing up in their stories and saying, you know what? It’s not always easy, but these are some of the lessons that I learned.

And I want to pass those on to you, our viewers and our listeners. So you guys thank you for being here because without you, this really wouldn’t be a thing, right? We’re all in this together and I’m just very grateful that you’re here. So today, where are we going you might ask? First, let me tell you this.

It’s the morning here, where I am, and typically I record in the evenings. So typically in the evenings, I’m a little bit tired from a long day of work, but this morning you guys are super lucky cause I’ve got all kinds of energy and I’ve got coffee. And I’ve got my readers on, and I got a lesson here. So look out people! 

Leadership. I don’t know how many of you know a little about my background, but I had 25 years in corporate America. Like the proverbial business woman. I would go to all kinds of organizations, agnostic industries, meaning all over. It didn’t matter what kind of industry they were. And I would go in and I would sell software and I would automate their business processes.

And so when I would go into different kinds of organizations, small, large Fortune 100, mom and pop shops–it didn’t matter how big they were–what really intrigued me the most were the people. I mean, you guys probably know by now I’m a people person. I love people. I love their stories. I want to know more.

And I started that career when I was just out of college. So I had done it for about 25 years before I moved on to where I am now, which is the nonprofit world. But part of what not only intrigued me about the people in terms of their individuality and their backstories, was how they showed up inside of those organizations in terms of a structure.

I care a lot about organizational structure, organizational behavior, how people function on a team. We did a couple of series ago about the disciples, right? Cause they were a team. And  if you go into any kind of organization, you see the structure, you see who’s at the top, the proverbial leader of the organization, you see department leaders, you see team leaders, you see leadership all around.

And what was interesting to me was to watch the people respond to that leadership, how people respond to good leaders and how people respond to maybe not so good leaders. Sometimes it’s just pretty obvious. You can tell when somebody is in a position of authority of leadership and they kind of just don’t know what they’re doing.

Not their fault, not to try and call people out. Maybe they weren’t onboarded correctly. Maybe they, I don’t know, lied in the interview. We have no idea how they got in that position, but there they are. And they’re leading a team of people and they don’t know how to do it. I have seen you guys, people who are leaders of organizations, who don’t like people who are 100% introverted and literally don’t want to be around people.

And oftentimes, they are  maybe not so nice in general. They would prefer to keep to themselves, a closed door policy. And these are people leading organizations! I have no idea how that works. You can’t do that. So imagine if, when Jesus was walking the earth and modeling the best kind of leadership (if we want to know the best leader, it was obviously Jesus); but imagine if he did it behind closed doors all the time. Imagine if he didn’t walk around in Galilee. Imagine if he didn’t like, go in and interact with people. If he just like hung out all the time by himself and you had to knock on a door and then he acted bothered when you got there.

I’m just going to pause there a second. Think about that.

I can’t get there. I can’t think about that. I cannot think about leadership wherein a leader doesn’t communicate. Jesus communicated then, as he does now, to us in ways that are just very obvious at times when we need it, just to say, this is the way you lead, this is what you do in this circumstance or that situation.

He also communicates to us through non-verbals through the Holy Spirit, living and breathing and active inside of us and things that we need to know. We receive that from Jesus, if we’re open and, you know, praying without ceasing, and we’re just in this constant state of curiosity and relationship. Good leaders and organizations do the same thing.

They will communicate directly when something needs done. And this is the goal. This is the deadline. This is the date. This is what we’re doing. But oftentimes relationally, a good leader will communicate through non-verbals. Maybe it’s when nobody’s looking. Maybe it’s one-on-one, maybe it’s to say, you can do this.

I showed you the first one. I helped you with the second one. And now I believe in you to go do that. That’s the way, that’s the model that God gave us  back all the way in the Old Testament, when he held the sun still in Ai. So people could, the Israelites could finish fighting the people, you know, back in the day when they needed to conquer to get to the promised land.

So what I’m saying is leadership. It’s hugely important and not only in organizations, but within our lives, right? Within our household structures, we are leaders everywhere. We are leaders in our communities. We are leaders in our homes. We are leaders in our friendships. We are leaders in anything that we do throughout the course of the day.

So if you think for one second, that just because you don’t have a title of an executive or a C- level or a director or whatever those titles are, you guys know I don’t really care about labels too much. I do think structure is important, but if you are down on yourself, because you think your title is not indicative of a leader, I’m here to tell you we’re all leaders because at a bare bones minimum, you’re leading you, right?

You are leading your life. Jesus died so you can have life to the fullest. Lead it well.

Okay, so I want to read to you five principles of leadership that Jesus exuded. And they’re just very, I like these a lot because they’re pretty direct. And I also, I’m going to go back to Proverbs iron sharpens iron.

I’m a big believer in surrounding yourself with people who know more than you. If you walk into a room and you’re the smartest person in that room, you’ve got nothing to learn. Does that mean that you can’t go into a room and be the smartest person and lead? Well, sure people need that too, but don’t always be the smartest person in the room.

Don’t always be the only person in the room who knows about a certain topic. Go places, learn more, be curious. That is how you grow and transform and stay open-minded.  And love other people well because not everybody is going to think like you. Okay, so iron leadership, right? This is from Philippians.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourselves, servant leadership. Each of you should look not only to your own interests. But also to the interests of others, to the interest of the team, to the interest of the organization, right? Not just to climb the corporate ladder, not just to make more money, not just to be the person in charge with the title, your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus who took on the very nature of a servant. Servant leadership was all the buzz  back in the day. There are so many books on leadership, you guys. And the older I get, the more I realize that while cliches kind of get on my nerves after a while, there’s also a lot of truth oftentimes in cliches or adages that we hear.

A lot and, you know, servant leadership was all abuzz back in the day and it still should be. And I don’t know that we need to call it a certain thing, but what we need to do is what we just heard from Philippians. We need to just basically say, I’m going to do this. Not for me, not for my glory, not for my name, not for my selfish ambition.

And it’s not for my ego. Right? If you want to be a good leader, you put the interest of others before yourself. Always, they have to have the trust in you. They have to see that you have their back. They have to see that you are showing up every day. Not so you can reign down power and authority on them, but so you can empower them, lift them up to say, you know what, you’re learning. It’s okay to make a mistake. The best kind of leadership I’ve ever seen is when a leader does not pounce the second somebody messes up, but instead says it’s okay. Way to try. That’s how, you know, next time that whatever it is that you just did, you’ll learn from that.

So if you correct in humility and in love, then they will receive it as such. And then the next time they do it, they won’t feel afraid to move forward. They will continue to lead themselves. Well, they will continue to be a good team member and lift up the entire team as a whole. So these are the five principles you guys, and this is what I really want you to take away from the five characteristics of Jesus’s leadership.

One. He was disciplined in prayer, right? If we go to Mark chapter one verses 32 through 38: That evening at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door and he (Jesus) healed many who were sick with various diseases and cast out many demons.

And he would not permit the demons to speak because they knew him and rising very early in the morning. (Like here while it was still dark. Okay. It’s not dark here!) He departed Jesus, departed and went out to a desolate place and there he prayed Jesus prayed and Simon, and those who were with him, searched for him and they found them and said to Jesus, everyone is looking for you.

And Jesus said to them, let us go on to the next towns that I may preach there also for that is why I came out. Jesus makes prayer a priority. He gets up early and does the opposite of what we would have expected. 

Okay. How many of you wake up and just start your day? Your feet hit the ground. You are not in prayer. You don’t have quiet time. You just are already stressed. Maybe you get up out of bed and you’re like, go, go, go, go, go, go. That’s not what Jesus is modeling. That’s not leadership because you’ve got to lead yourself first, before you can lead other people. You’ve got to take care of your priorities and the best way you guys.

I know you know, this means wake up, have quiet time, be in prayer. Jesus modeled that. 

If we go to the second characteristic of Jesus as the all-time leader, he led himself well. He learned self control. Okay. I got to pause and take a sip of coffee. Jesus led himself well. He learned self-control. Jesus understood if he was going to lead others well, he had to lead himself first. One area of breakdown, and all would be ruined. One area of your life that you are struggling with, and that kind of comes out, right? It’s hard to hide that. Just like a wall for protection. If even one part of the wall is not up to strength, the flood is going to prevail.

So there are cracks, right? There are cracks in our days, there are cracks in our lives. There are things that we don’t see coming, but we have got to have self-control. We can’t all of a sudden, just be good, be good, be good–and then freak out, fly off the handle. We can’t do that because we are leading people as leaders.

Even when we lead ourselves, we kind of do ourselves a disservice don’t we, if we’re just everything’s chill, we’re leading ourselves well,  and then we just fly off the handle for something. That’s just too inconsistent. Good leaders are also very consistent, not perfect. Right? We’re all human.

Not to say that we can’t have a bad day, not to say that we can’t lean into a feeling that we have because something else is going on in our lives. But in the main, in the majority for the majority of time, good leaders are consistent because people trust consistent behavior. Okay. So Jesus time and time again shows us his self-discipline, self-control. He fasted for 40 days. He constantly withdrew to solitude, which we talked about to be in prayer with his father with God. And he repeatedly walked away from recognition. 

Okay. Some of my earliest learnings about being a business woman came at the expense of self. I would walk into an organization, oftentimes male-led and I, there oftentimes more than once, where I’d walk into somebody’s office and be degraded with words, and be degraded with, um, eyes. There was a feeling of: I was not important for my brain; I was important only for what the person thought they saw through recognition. 

So I have a very hard time personally with this.  I don’t receive recognition all that well. I don’t do compliments all that well. And I certainly am skeptical of people who that’s the only reason that they care about anything. It’s all about them, right? They want the recognition, they want the win. They want all of the credit for somebody else’s idea. You ever had a leader like that, or a boss in your organization where you’ll have a one-on-one conversation with them, and you’ll give them a fantastic idea, and then the boss goes in front of everybody else and pretends it was their idea? I’m like, okay, I don’t have a lot of tolerance for that anymore. I address that lovingly, but I don’t put up with it because this is the model of Jesus as a good leader. He doesn’t want the recognition.

He didn’t, it’s not about him. Jesus was the most selfless human who walked the planet. We get to John six, 14 after the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they said, surely this is the prophet who is to come into the world. Jesus, knowing they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again, to a mountain by himself.

So self-control self-leadership, alright. Moving on. Characteristic number three. Jesus was laser focused on his vision. Laser focused on his vision in John chapter 17, verse four. As I have brought you glory on earth, I have completed the work you gave me to do. I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world.

Isn’t that surprising? There are so many more still unreached in his humanity. Even Jesus’s role was limited. I have brought you glory on earth. I have completed the work you gave me to do from John chapter 17. Laser focus. He’s like, my work here has done, people. I was laser focused. I was sent to the world to save it. I’m out. This is what I was called here to do. 

Laser-focused on that, as you guys know in scripture, all the times people try to deter Jesus and he was laser-focused. He’s like, it’s not my time. This is not right. This is why I’m here. So let me go to number four, the fourth characteristic of really, really important leadership:

We’re part of the mission. Okay. Coffee to this.

How many of you guys say fine, I’ll be laser-focused. I know what I’m doing. I’m going to start a business. I’m going to start a podcast. I’m going to start writing. I’m going to start helping people. I’m going to wake up every day and this is my mission. It doesn’t have to even be a grandiose one. It doesn’t have to be this giant thing, but you can be laser focused in whatever you choose and there will be distractions.

Okay. Let me tell you the hardest part of leadership for me. Is when I have my to-do list. I am laser-focused on that to-do list. And then my door. All day long in my office, people come through it, people that I’m leading. Um, it’s hard. It’s hard because I love them. I want to hear what they’re doing, but at the same time, I’m trying to lead myself well and get done what I need to get done.

Good leaders. Did Jesus ever say, yeah, sorry too busy for you. I mean, let let’s remember. When Jesus was on the earth, how tired he must have been. I mean, he took on humanity, so it’s not like he didn’t feel the things that we feel. Of course he did. That’s why he can relate to all the things that we go through because he was here in this humanity, understanding how the world treats people who are ostracized, people who are on the margins, people who, um, were discarded or were set aside. The Pharisees went to Jesus and they were like, Hey, you’re not supposed to be healing on Saturday. He’s like, really? Okay. I came to abolish the law because I am the law because love transcends rules.

So it’s like how many times when people are laser-focused do distractions come up and oftentimes those distractions are other people. So Jesus handled distractions. How? With grace. With grace. Here’s a paraphrase example from Mark five; We know this one, the bleeding woman, a large crowd followed and pressed around Jesus because he was going to heal a father’s daughter.

A woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for 12 years. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. Jesus asked, who touched me, the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet. And trembling with fear, told him the whole story. The WHOLE STORY.

Jesus didn’t treat her like a distraction, did he? He did not treat her like she didn’t matter. He did not say all right, I’m going on a mission here. I’m laser-focused lady, got a lot going on. I get it. But man, the story like, took forever to tell me and I’m busy. 

Are you doing that in your life? Are you doing that with the people that you care about, that you’re leading well in your house, in your organization and your friendships, wherever you go, are you short with people? This is a hard one for me.

And if I’m honest, you know, I’m a go, go go kind of person. It’s really hard for me, but the more I’m in relationship with Jesus, the more that I am very intentional about leading in the same way or as best I can, that he modeled, the more I realize it’s not about me. My to-do list can wait. And it’s, I’m not the most important person, right?

There have been organizations that I’ve been a part of, that I’m no longer a part of and they’re still operating, right? Like the world doesn’t stop if we, as one individual, are no longer there. So choose to be there in the moment that you are there. Be present for people, be a good leader. Last thing. Number five, Jesus built a team.

He needed a team and he gave his mission away to a team. Jesus does not intend your life to be a solo mission. Okay. So I’m gonna read this quickly from Acts. We see it in Matthew 20, but also the great commission. So in Acts two, verses 12 to 14, one of my favorite scenes, the Holy Spirit. Following the apostles, they were preaching the gospel and several different languages. Right. Remember that? And after all this commotion, Peter steps up as the leader, just like Jesus intended. And here’s what it says. 

And all were amazed and perplexed saying to one another, what does this mean? They were confused. It was chaos. Other people were kind of making fun of it. They were mocking and they said, Oh, they’re filled with new wine, like, they’re drunk, they’re off their rockers, man. They have no idea what’s going on. But Peter standing with the other 11, Peter standing with his team lifted up his voice and addressed them. 

Peter said, men of Judah and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give ear. To my words, to stay aligned with Jesus, you guys, it takes a team.

Do you have a spirit team around you? Do you have people in your life who are sharpening your iron? Do you have people in your life who are saying, look, you’re leading us well, but what are you doing for you? What are you doing in self care, which is both overused and important, but what are you doing to lead yourself?

The organization where I work, we oftentimes our leader will tell us, okay, we can work on the business or we can work in the business on the business means big picture, right? As a team leader, as somebody who is saying, if we want individual people to thrive, we can’t always be in the business. We can’t always be in the weeds in the details. We’ve got to look big-picture. We’ve got to look with that laser focus at the entire mission. Jesus. Yes. He dealt with details. Yes. He dealt with individuals, but his mission was kind of big, right? Kind of big picture worldly. Long-term. 

I hope that is as encouraging for you, if you are also leading teams and people in the workforce, right? If you are working at home, if you are working to lead your family well, if you are working to be a great partner and spouse and leader in your community, then this is applicable, right? It’s just so important. I want you to hear me say this: it’s not just these characteristics if you are a C level, if you are in an organization. Instead, it is every day when you wake up, be in prayer, because you’re going to lead.

Somebody is always watching you guys – always. When you walk out and get your mail, people are watching, when you go to the store, people are watching, when you are in your community, people are watching. If you are out in the world, people are watching, and you’re leading. You’re leading by example, always. 

I hope this encourages you to lead the way that Jesus led us by his example. And to say, it’s not going to be perfect, but it can be intentional. We can exude those five characteristics of Jesus and really see the difference that we’re able to make in people’s lives.

So thank you. You guys, leadership is hugely important. You are hugely important. You’re valued. You matter, you are loved. And I just want to personally remind you to be remorseless  on your journeys, which means “without guilt, in spite of wrongdoing.” 

If you are a leader and you mess up, don’t have guilt about it. Don’t get stuck, do the next right thing. The next time, apologize to people. Be authentic. Be you; be real because you matter. 

So thank you as always for joining me here and I will see you guys next week. Peace. 

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