Work Toward Consensus
Complete consensus isn’t always possible, but it’s always worth reaching for. Rather than strive for simple agreement, be ready to collaborate or compromise. You don’t need to suppress your voice, but you might need to soften it to welcome conversation and disagreement. And always be ready to face the possibility that someone else knows better than you do.
You can speak with a strong voice, and be a leader, without undermining other people’s roles or authority. In fact, disrespecting authority is one way to lose other people’s respect for you. If someone else is leading a meeting, let that person be the leader. If another person is the resident expert on the organization’s history, let that person be the expert. As you exercise strength without undermining others, you will learn from them and they will learn to welcome your participation rather than see you as a threat.
Being strong is one thing; knowing how to use your strength is another. Like any gift, it’s best handled with awareness and intentionality. So take ownership of what God has given you, invite him to correct and teach you, and use your strength well.
Amy Simpson is a life and leadership coach, a popular speaker, and the award-winning author of Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission and Anxious: Choosing Faith in a World of Worry (both InterVarsity Press). You can find her at AmySimpsonOnline.com, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, and on Twitter @aresimpson.