5 Surprising Benefits of Travel for Leaders

This week I am in the US and Canada for work. Most years I get to do some work travel which is amazing. I have also personally done a decent amount of travel on holidays -not as much as many people, but travel is definitely high on my list of the joys in life. To be honest I have probably spent more money on travel than I have on shoes – and I love shoes !

We al know about the normal benefits of travel ; expanding your understanding of the people’s lives, experiencing other cultures and enriching your soul with the beauty of the planet.

However for leaders there are some surprising benefits.

1. Loss of Control

When you are travelling you are frequently at the mercy of many other people. Whether it is an airplane pilot or some-one picking you up from an airport, you have to rely on people. For people who are use to calling the shots this can be un-nerving. It is good to feel this again and realise we are never really in control. We need to stay in a place of dependence on God, good to be reminded of this as we travel so we are prepared for life’s challenges

2. Keeps us Flexible.

No matter how you travel, even if you can do first class five star all the way (and that is certainly not me -yet !!) you have to stay flexible when you travel. Planes are delayed, baggage gets lost, host families eat dinner at 9pm, instead of 7pm. In your normal life you can get quite stuck in your ways – flexibility means we can flow with these experiences. This ability to be flexible makes us better leaders and ministers because we can learn to flow with the Spirit

3. Teaches us Patience

If you live on the bottom of the world like I do, most places I travel to require a LONG flight. Even short flights require early check-ins and long lines to go through security checks. These places give us a good gauge of how the fruit of the Spirit is operating in our lives.

4. Creates a Strength in our Walk with God

Of course we all prefer to sit or walk in our special place to meet with God. Routines are good for us. However I have had some amazing revelations at 12,000 feet up. We need to have strength in our walk with God that allows us to connect with him wherever we are.

5. Creates a Character Check

Yes we all can behave well in our spheres of influence where our roles are defined. How do we behave in a city where no-one knows us. How do we treat people when we are tired and lost. Will we rip off local people when travelling alone ?

If you can possibly do it, build some travel into your life. It doesn’t have to be expensive, get on a train and go to the next state, stay in a backpackers for a night. Have an adventure – it will do you a surprising amount of good !

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5 times you should Drag the Chain

The team I work in often comes to me for the quick decisions. I have the ability to make a decision under pressure – in those situations where any decision is a good decision. (Are they always the best decisions – no of course not !).

I also see most things as just a problem to be solved and the sooner it is solved the sooner we can move on.

However in the last few  weeks I have literally forced myself NOT to make a decision, or have a response to a situation.

Here are the 5 times I think that dragging the chain, or slowing down action, is an appropriate plan of action .

1. When we are over tired.

Not just normal tired that most if us live with in the 21st Century. The “I have just been through a very busy season, have not been sleeping well, really need a holiday ” tiredness. None of us make good decisions when we are overtired.

2. When we are angry or hurt.

We should rarely make a decision out of an emotional response. I had to make a decision in the last week about something that had caused me to feel a little hurt. I forced myself to work through the hurt, to process it and then to make a decision that was rational and calm, and ultimately better for all concerned.

3. When we know you don’t have all the information.

I often have people come to my office with a story about some misdemeanour or other one of our students have committed. Experience, learned the hard way, now means I make sure I talk to the student involved and any other people involved to get as complete a picture as I can. I do this before I make any decisions or recommendations.

4. When we need to get people on board.

It is important to involve people who will be effected by a decision. They often can see things from an angle that you won’t and can help you make the right call. If you leave them out of the process they will resent the decision and have more trouble implementing it. I work with lots of contract lecturers who have diferent schedules. This  means it is difficult to meet to work through decisions. However it is always worth it to involve key stake holders.

5. When the decision has long reaching strategic implications – obviously.

These decisions need time, counsel of many, the wisdom of Solomon and lots of prayer. These are not really the sort of decisions I am addressing here.

Obviously there are may times when a quick decision is a good decision. However these are a few times when I have experienced the power of dragging the chain.

What about you ?

(If you would like to get my blog in your email and never have to look for it on social media again – just subscribe on the side. I can’t guarantee it will always be brilliant, I can promise it will always be real – my aim is that it would always be helpful)