Leading with love

By Stanley Arumugam

Good leaders love their teams. It feels almost sacrilegious to connect work, leadership and love. Somehow we have been socialised to believe love stays outside the workplace. The Sufi poet, Kahlil Gibran, teaches us that ‘work is love made visible’. 

To some extent, the industrial revolution commoditised people and sanitised any emotion in the workplace. They become an object in a big machine. We talk about system, process and results and lose the people. Yet we know that every person coming to work is looking for an expression of love and a sense of belonging, which is our primary need. In the absence of loving workplaces, we have corporate toxicity, abuse and burnout. We can show workplace love in some practical ways: daily/weekly check-in with staff; paying full attention when speaking to staff, especially with distracting technology; giving open, honest feedback in a kind and constructive manner and being open to receiving feedback as leaders. All of our corporate wellness, diversity, inclusion and development programmes can be leveraged for good when intentionally grounded in love. 

The Forbes article, Leading With Love: An Unconventional Approach To Leadership, seeks to balance professionalism and caring. “With the right boundaries intact, showing genuine concern or compassion for the people you lead will not diminish your respectability or reputation as a strong leader, but it will instead bring out the best in them while fostering an environment that is conducive to thriving…Showing love is not a license for your team to be incompetent. Instead, it conveys that their job performance is not the only thing that matters to you as a leader. They matter too.”

This week, how practically might I lead with love?

Intercessory prayers for peace in Ukraine

By Charles Câmara

Dear sisters and brothers, once again Europe is facing an armed conflict. Worse still, a war is unfolding between two neighbouring countries, Russia and Ukraine. Not since the Second World War has Europe experienced such horrific situation, which impacts nations far beyond the conflict area. In trust, we turn to our Heavenly Father and pray:

For all those in power in the world, that they work together to end ongoing armed conflicts and wars, as well as tirelessly work to promote peace and reconciliation among all peoples and nations.
Lord, hear our prayer.

For the political leaders of the world, that they refrain from launching new armed conflicts and wars, neither today nor in the future, neither in Europe nor anywhere else on earth.
Lord, hear our prayer.

For those in power in Ukraine and Russia, as well as in international organisations such as the United Nations, the European Union and NATO, that they use all their power to reduce the conflict, and work tirelessly to discern peaceful solutions that benefit all parties through diplomacy and sincere dialogues.
Lord, hear our prayer.

For all military leaders and soldiers in their respective countries, that they do not use more force than the situation allows, and that they respect international laws that prohibit use of force against civilian population.
Lord, hear our prayer.

For all the spiritual leaders of the world, that they use their abilities to convince the political authorities that God is love and wants all nations and peoples to live in peace, as loving brothers and sisters on this earth.
Lord, hear our prayer.

For all the people who are in the conflict-impacted area of Ukraine, that they experience the solidarity of the world, and that the world generously receives people who have been forced to leave their homes from the horrors of the armed conflict and war.
Lord, hear our prayer.

For religious orders, congregations, missions, institutions and organisations in our church, that we among the younger and older faithful continue to instil Faith in that a peaceful world is possible to accomplish with God’s assistance, Hope in that the Reign of God will be established on earth as it is in heaven, and Love that exists in the people’s hearts will be the driving force to live in peace and harmony with each other.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Heavenly Father, we thank you for hearing us and being with us in our anxious moments. Grant us the courage and strength to be Your collaborators to promote peace and mediate reconciliation, everywhere, now and always. In trust we pray, through Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace and Saviour of the world. Amen.

Where do I take refuge?

By Rick James

Last week has been tough. The shocking stories and pictures from the Russian invasion of Ukraine shows the evil in people’s hearts. I find it almost too overwhelming to think about. I desperately want to pretend it is not happening. Jesus’ words “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33) are too painfully true. At a more personal level, an NGO I know and love is failing to deal with its organisational problems; my church is really struggling without leadership; close members of my family are sick and others are unable to find a place to live; friends not able to find work… The list of worries large and small goes on. Yet Jesus also goes on in John 16 … “But take heart for I have overcome the world”.

I don’t know what quite this means for people in Ukraine at the moment, but I do take heart from the defiant acts of hope in that country. For example, last week Jews and Christians came together in Kyiv to recite Psalm 31:
In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame;  deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge,  a strong fortress to save me…
… Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.

The Deputy General Secretary for the Bible Society, Anatoliy Raychnets, said: “This ancient prayer – written several thousand years ago – now we see is so alive, so living.”

I can learn from their example. It makes we think:
Where am I taking refuge?
What or who am I making my rock and fortress?

Ending well

By Rick James

Last week I had the privilege of sitting in hospital with Joan, a 93 year-old neighbour, in her last days of life. She had a remarkable story. 45 years ago she left her family (including teenage children) to move in with another artist, abandoning her faith along the way. In the last year since her partner died, she rediscovered both her faith and then her family. Despite decades of no contact and obvious hurt, her daughter decided to leave her job and come to live with and care for her mother. Though angry at first, she quickly found she could forgive her. She discovered an unexpected and overwhelming love for her. A couple of months ago at Christmas, Joan met grandchildren and great grandchildren she did not know even existed. This reconciliation has spread further out affecting other broken family relationships.

It was a beautiful example of the power of forgiveness, when conflict is the norm in the world, in our organisations and even churches. Paradoxically, the last months of this elderly lady’s life became life-giving. It showed me the importance of good endings. Endings that bring healing, reconciliation and new life. These probably often involve forgiveness.

This week let’s consider:
What are the upcoming endings in your life or your organisation’s?
What might you do to encourage good, life-affirming endings?