How do you counteract discouragement? (70-2)

Leaders must repeatedly cast the vision, however, if your team is discouraged, the vision you cast may be undermined. A Spirit-empowered leader counteracts discouragement by the constant restatement of the vision and consistent action toward the goal. Read Exodus 5:22-6:9.

In Exodus chapter 3, God had Moses assemble the Hebrew elders and tell them of His vision to give the Hebrew people “…a land flowing with milk and honey.” God told Moses “The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him…” The initial response to the vision was positive and the people embraced Moses’ leadership. When Pharaoh did not immediately comply with their request discouragement set in.

Once a team is discouraged, their interaction with each other will reinforce the perceived problem and there is a potential for the negative synergy to take the leader and the vision down. I had a firsthand look at how this happens during my time in Viet Nam in the late ‘60s when troops in my unit lost confidence in the mission. I also had a firsthand look at a great leader, our new CO, who refocused us on our goals, returned us to a disciplined unit, restored our pride in being a Marine, and brought focus to the mission we had been sent to accomplish.

When discouragement invades a team, a leader must display consistent character to their team. That does not mean there will not be a temptation to be discouraged but the Spirit-empowered leader will find the source of power God provides to rise above the discouragement.

Several times during the months between initially casting the vision to the Hebrews and Pharaoh finally allowing the people to leave Egypt, Moses found himself seeking God to reinforce in his heart the vision that he had been given. Even though there were no initial successes, Moses was consistent in looking to his source of strength and his actions did not waiver. Moses constantly restated the goal that God had a plan for the Hebrews and that there would be a great reward if they did not give up.

An effective leader must anticipate setbacks and rise above team discouragement. They cannot ignore it but their actions must influence the team to move pass it. The wise leader refines the vision statement so it can be stated in very simple terms, can be remembered and visualized by everyone on their team, and helps the team crystallize the reward that will come when the vision is a reality. The constant restatement of the vision (the goal) allows the team hope and hope allows a team to break the bondage of discouragement.

Do you shape your team’s emotions or do your emotions mirror your team’s emotions? Effective leaders lead!

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