Most leaders I know are go-getters. They establish goals and move forward, seldom slowing down or looking back. Sometimes, though, leadership pauses are critical. Here are some times to pause:
- Before you brag. Take one breath first, and you might realize how obvious arrogance is to others.
- Before making a career move. Pause long enough to seek God’s direction. Don’t let today’s frustration control your decision about tomorrow.
- When reading the Word of God. If you read without ever pausing, you’re probably “checking off the box” rather than letting the Word sink in.
- Before responding verbally to a critic. If you respond immediately, you’re likely to evoke more criticism by your unhealthy response.
- Before hitting the “send” button. All of us have regretted emails we wish we’d considered more thoroughly before sending.
- When praying. Leaders who only talk when praying miss the blessing of just listening quietly for God’s “still small voice.”
- Before crossing the sin line. Charging headlong toward temptation usually results in sin. Instead, pause. Say a prayer. Call a friend. Walk away from temptation.
- When preaching and teaching. Get comfortable with what I call the “silent stare.” Look your hearers in the eye, and let the Word just sink in and convict.
- Before spending money you don’t have. A debt-ridden life is not only anxiety-producing, but it’s also a bad witness to the world.
- Before hiring someone despite your questions. Ignoring your own intuition, especially if you’re a Spirit-filled believer, usually results in trouble.
- When your spouse misses you. The constant activity of leadership doesn’t matter much if you lose your family in the process.
- Before you adopt the latest fad for your organization. Just because it works in another context doesn’t guarantee it will work in yours. Consider it thoroughly before you adopt it.
- Before giving advice. Some of us give advice before we’ve even heard the end of the story because we’re not really listening in the first place. Pause. Listen. Then speak.
- When you’re sick. You don’t get better by working through the illness. Believe it or not, the work will often go on fine while you take a recuperation pause.
- Before you criticize. It’s easy to be critical. It’s hard – and godly – to pause, pray, and speak if love if you must speak at all.
- When you just need time with God. A pause in your daily activities to retreat with God will pay long-term dividends.
If you’re a leader, it’s okay to hit the “pause” button occasionally. In fact, it’s necessary.