Trudging Through Mud   2 comments


mud (Photo credit: Jared Kelly)

As a leader, sometimes it feels like I am trudging through mud as I try to move down the road of progress.  Yesterday was one of those days which felt mired in mud.  I have been working on a project for over a year.  This project has significant impact one of the organizations where I have a leadership role.  The project has taken a long time because it requires a realigning of the organization’s philosophy regarding how it is to exist.  Everyone agrees that the organization desperately needs the realigning but the method is the debated topic.  A component of the organization which has a lot of power and impact on the whole organization is the focus of the project upon which I have been working with others.

Yesterday, it was time to take the planned changes to one of the groups which is vital in the component which is being addressed.  It was difficult to even be allowed time to speak to the group.  The leadership of the group indicated that she was frustrated with the slow progress being made in the direction of change and so had partnered with another leader to create their own plan.  They had already identified members of both groups to do the work of creating a plan.  All of this had been done without consultation with anyone on the team which has been charged with this work.  So the stirring of the mud begins.

The presentation overall went fairly well.  I sensed a high level of tension in the room.  There were some very good questions and concerns raised.  There were also some suggestions.  All of this will be taken back to the team for discussion in a few weeks.  However, there also appeared to be some hostility, especially by the leadership.  It felt like some mudslinging was occurring.  As all leaders know, this is not that uncommon, especially when someone feels that the direction is not the direction they had hoped for or were planning on going.

The frustration for me, is that I see a great potential for this whole project to be stuck in the mud once again.  The project has had difficulty in gaining traction and any sense of momentum until the recent months.  None of that is due to a lack of commitment or work on the team but because of dynamics that had to be dealt with first.  I am concerned that there may be a loss of momentum or an opportunity to get sidetracked dealing with personality dynamics.

However, as a leader, I know it is vital to trudge through the mud.  Mud is not a permanent reality.  Mud will dry up and become dirt which is easily overcome.  A leader my emerge with a little mud on them but the leader (and the organization) will emerge.  So I will trudge away.  I will work with the team and we will continue along the road of progress.  I know the little storm that created the mud will move away and be gone as well.


Posted July 3, 2013 by thoughtfulbeliever in Experiences, Leadership, Life

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2 responses to “Trudging Through Mud

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  1. I had not read this until my latest e-mail of maybe 4 minutes ago. I was less attuned to the “hostility” angle, and I don’t think I’d overemphasize that in my thinking. As one experienced in telling people what they they need to hear, at least if I’m in a representative capacity (representing the presbytery and the congregations in this case). So I have experience telling Sarai what I think. I wasn’t looking for hostility, but I did note that her reactions were very measured, which could come off to me as hostile if I let them. I would prefer to think that that was what was going on, but I didn’t have the understanding that there was a history and I could just have not noticed. So yes, there was not a warm reception by some, but no organization does well in being told that things have to change when it’s that group that has caused them to need to be changed. I wouldn’t have called it mudslinging, but there were certainly some loaded comments.

    I have felt like John the Baptist preaching an unfamiliar and challenging method for months now, and I’m sure there are those who would just as soon I died in a fire while visiting a difficult church, but if I am to do any good at all, I have to call ’em as I see ’em. So I think that it’s way to late to worry about whose ox is gored and pull back.

    The post itself, by itself, is right on. You and we expected blowback, and you are right to say that it’s your duty to complete the job and that you are up to it.

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