Leadership requires taking steps. Sometimes the steps are forward, sometimes to the side, and sometimes backward. The classic biblical example of taking bold steps is, of course, Peter stepping out onto the water after asking Christ to call him. But not every bold step is outwardly bold.
Bringing a team forward and enacting culture change in an organization blends outwardly bold steps with inwardly bold steps. The organization needs to understand that change is coming or is already in process. Those are the outwardly bold steps.
But the inwardly bold steps are more critical to success. The choice to bring a neutral response to a tumultuous situation shows your people that calm gets the job done better than panic. The choice to show understanding even while correcting behavior proves both that everyone makes mistakes and mistakes cannot continue as a standard practice. And let’s face it: sometimes the choice to walk out the door is the boldest decision you can make.
But with Peter’s water-walking so prominent in our memories, we sometimes need a reminder that the more private bold steps make a world of difference.
- Hannah, while praying boldly before God in 1 Samuel about her desire for a child, took the bold step of revealing her heartache to the priest who thought she was drunk. That boldness, not described in scripture as something she shared with anyone else, led to the blessing that led to her son who would become a priest for the people Israel.
- Stephen, in Acts, took the bold step of accepting the task from the disciples to feed the widows. The people’s needs were met while allowing the disciples to continue with their work.
- David prayed with all his might that his son with Bathsheba would be spared the illness. But when the child passed away, David changed his clothes and continued with his work. The time for supplication over the matter was complete. He didn’t love his son any less, but he boldly chose to continue living.
As we lead others, remember that the seemingly small, quiet steps lay the bricks of the organization you seek to build. Boldness is not merely outward; boldness emerges from the quiet decisions made when nobody else is looking.