How To Lead on Empty

Lead on EmptyOur house has oil heat.  Not the greatest or most efficient but that is how we heat our home.  Recently, I was in the basement and I looked at our oil tank and it was right on the edge of E.  I had to call my friend to get a delivery asap.  Why?  Because with the oil my house would not have heat.  When we run on empty we risk the reality of stopping all together.  I got my delivery the next morning.  I did not wait.

Too may leaders wait way to long to refuel.  It can be devastating and have huge affects.  Here are some things that I have discovered:

1.  Recognize you can’t lead on empty long.

In fact, it is impossible.  Those who lead on empty long term damage themselves and those they lead.

2.  Find your gas station.

What helps you reboot or recharge.  Go there.  When you energy is getting low or you are exhausted.  Get some gas in your leadership tank.

3.  Don’t wait until you are on “E” to refuel.

I know a lot of leaders who give, give and give.  They are always exhausted and miserable.  That’s because they are running on “E.”  You have to refuel quick.

4.  No one lead on “F” all the time.

There is this misconception that the greatest of leaders are always FULL.  Not true.  Even the great leader Jesus had to “get away from the crowds,” “find a solitary place” and recharge.  If Jesus needed it – we probably need it even more.

5.  Know yourself.

Only you know when you are reaching your limits.  Don’t push yourself so hard and so fast that you don’t see the cliff you just fell off.  Know when you need to take a breather.

6.  Never apologize for a brief pause or a rest stop.

I don’t apologize for not returning calls, texts or emails immediately.  As a leader, my day is usually non-stop – so when I take a break, when I breath I need it.  I won’t apologize for looking out for my personal, family, relational, spiritual and emotional health.  I can’t.

I had a friend of mine recently resign from his church.  A great church.  He simply said, “I am burnt out.”  He ran on “E” too long.  If you run on “E” you will burn out and miss the full destiny God has prepared for you.

So how do you lead on empty?  The answer truly is YOU CANNOT!  Lead with plenty of fuel in your tank.  You will lead well and long!

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