Yesterday, we discussed the power of our words in a team environment. Take, for instance, my missionary trip to Thailand when I was in high school. I remember our 15-person group traveling on a very small, three-wheeled bus. The ride was uncomfortable, hot, humid, and smoky. In addition, one of our team members was super negative, complaining about the heat and smell. Momentarily, we all forgot the importance of our mission: To share the love of Christ.
To remedy this, our director, who reminded me of comedian Will Ferrell both in looks and humor, handled the negativity brilliantly. After boarding our bus, he told the complainer to stop and get rid of the disruptive behavior and negativity; he made a couple of jokes, everyone laughed, and it worked! An activity we did at the end of each trip was to affirm each person individually. This was referred to as “the hot seat.” Each person would sit in the middle, and everyone said what they appreciated about that person. It was a wonderful gift! It was amazing to have your peers affirm you. People would always tell me I was “funny” and “hilarious” but I actually didn’t like it. I wanted to be a great leader.
Friend, I was determined on my last mission trip to Panama to be a real leader. As a teenager, it was my plan to cast a vision, discipline, and institute changes. At the end of the trip during the hot seat everyone still said, “Bobby, you were so funny. You were hilarious.” So I learned to own that affirmation and just incorporate it into my leadership style.