How to Ramp Up Leadership Development for Christian Women in the Workplace (SheWorks4Him)
I believe we are living in tumultuous times. We are living in a new era. That’s why our leadership development initiatives are more important than ever. Jim and Martha Brangenberg’s book, SheWorks4Him: Embrace Your Calling as a Christian Woman at Work, is a timely resource. I’m honored to contribute a chapter, along with an esteemed group of Christian working women, who had all been guests on the iWork4Him radio show.
During these times, we’re all seeking to live life to our fullest and to walk in the purposes God designed for us.
Here’s what Jim and Martha say in the opening…
“…as a Christian working woman, you need to know you are not the only one struggling to live out your purpose in your work. We learn a lot from other people’s faith stories, so it is our hope and prayer that each chapter helps you feel more celebrated, validated, understood, and resourced for living out your faith in your work.”
Who is the young woman in your sphere of influence that needs you as their mentor and coach?
Why is Your Leadership Development Coaching Important NOW?
I’m sure every generation feels they have dealt with immense obstacles. And yet, I believe the times we’re living in right now, are more tumultuous than most times. This is an unprecedented time in our nation, our world, our history. In some areas of our lives, we all feel it.
Those who study history, say that every 100 years there’s a New Era. Think about all the industrial and technological advances. And, about every 400 to 500 years, there’s a new Epoch…a dramatic shift that causes everything around us to shake. Many years ago, the fall of the Roman Empire caused such a shift.
What is happening today?
- Globally, we see shifting power structures.
- Big Media and Big Tech is controlling more of what we hear, and more importantly, what we don’t hear.
- Technology continues to introduce us to new concepts – AI, Robotics, drones, bitcoin…
- Politically, we’re seeing the introduction of new House Bills that fundamentally shift who we are as a nation.
- The management of the Covid-19 pandemic has introduced previously unknown concepts like global lockdowns, social distancing, and mandatory mask-wearing.
Welcome to a new ERA and a new EPOCH!
No wonder we feel like the earth is shaking beneath us! Because it is!
These shaking times call for fresh insight into how God wants us to mentor and coach women leaders for the future. Your leadership matters now, more than ever. Now is the time to make your leadership count.
It’s an opportune time to ask, “What might I do to make a positive impact in this new era…new epoch?”
This question is the foundation of my leadership development work. It’s a question that enables us to develop the mindsets young leaders need to thrive in a crazy world.
What might you do to maximize the potential influence of up-and-coming Christian women leaders in the workplace?
The Working Women Balancing Act – A Modern-Day Dilemma
Jim and Martha have interviewed me a number of times on their iWork4Him Radio program about my leadership development guidebook, Millennials Matter: Proven Strategies for Building Your Next-Gen Leader.
During both our on-air and off-air conversations, I resonated with their passion for helping all, including working women, find their identity in Christ. In the Introduction, Jim writes…
“I have never met a woman who wasn’t working hard, trying to be everything to everyone. Your workplace may be at home or in a high-rise; almost all women suffer from trying to do it all. We want you to embrace who God created you to be, not fulfill the expectations of culture or the church.”
I agree with Jim. The balancing act working women pull off can be daunting.
Two of my friends who also contributed to this book, highlight the dilemma faced by many women…
“You need to know that God designed you with a unique mix of gifts, talents, and skills. He intends for you to use your abilities actively and not downplay, suppress, question, ignore, or hide them.” ~ Caroline Mendez
“As a working woman, you encounter many challenges in balancing life every day. As I grew in my career, I decided to give my children quality time during the few hours I had with them daily. I also decided to not work on the weekends to have quality family time. During all those years, I prayed daily and asked God to give me grace for each day, so I could work full-time, be a good mom and wife, and handle the household duties.” ~ Marcia Malzahn
Their words resonated deeply with me. I too struggled to keep many balls in the air at the same time. I was often more concerned about what the world wanted me to be, than focusing on who God created me to be.
This excerpt from my contribution chapter to SheWorks4Him will give you a sneak peek into my journey to find my identity in Christ…
“I’m standing in front of my closet, contemplating my perfectly arranged corporate navy-blue suits. Which one offers the best protection for the day? Each suit serves its own purpose—the First Call Suit, the Presentation Suit, the Closing Suit.
I’m donning these beautifully tailored suits as if they are my armor, protecting me and my heart from the harshness of the corporate world. I’m desperately hoping that my clients, colleagues, and employees won’t see past my I-got-my-act-together image. I don’t want them to know that my internal world is chaotic and stressful.
Once again, the nagging question races through my mind: “How can I excel at my high-pressure corporate career … while being a great wife to Gordon … and the best mom to three young children?” The questions don’t stop there—they keep going. “And, how can I also be a good friend, daughter, church worker, and soccer coach … all at the same time?”
On that morning, I had an aha-moment! I realized that I had to let go of my life-long habit of looking to others for approval versus looking to God.
Here are some of the steps I describe in the book to stay focused on God’s plan for my life, versus what I think others expect of me. I invite you to use these insights as you mentor and coach young women to thrive.
- Redefine Success Messaging. We are constantly bombarded by marketing messages, selling an impossible model of what success looks like. To counteract this trend, I have a morning ritual. I repeat the words that I have written on a business card shortly after my navy-blue-suit bonfire: I am exactly who I am supposed to be. I am a woman made in God’s image. I am being strategically sent to particular people, places, and nations to accomplish God’s purposes and plans. These words reaffirm two truths. First, they remind me of who I am and my relationship as a daughter to the Heavenly Father. Next, they help me to embrace what I am called to do: to be an ambassador for the Most High King. My husband thinks it’s a little weird for me to be talking to myself every morning, but he is getting more accustomed to it.
- Identify the Lies. I journal most days. I listen to my self-talk and what I am saying about myself. If the thought is a lie, I make a note in my journal. Sometimes, I’m amazed at the filth that’s in my head! Destroy the Lies. In the next step, I write each lie on a piece of paper. I say them out loud, followed by, “This is a lie.” I tear the paper into small pieces. This is a physical reminder that I have broken the lies, and they no longer have control over me.
- Install the Truth. When I remove a lie, I want to replace that space with the truth. Otherwise, another lie will take its place, or the old one will come back. In my journal, I put a big “X” through the lie and then write the truth on the opposite side of the page. It’s helpful to write the truth statements on flashcards to remind yourself of how God sees the perfect woman He created. When I see some lies that keep seeping into my life, I write them on a card, take them to my fireplace, and have a burning ceremony.
Leadership Development in the New Era
Don’t let the noise of the chaos drown out your leadership insights. You don’t have to fear the shaking of this new era and this new epoch. In the midst of the shaking, I take comfort in knowing that we’ve been uniquely created for a time such as this!
Yes, I believe that we’ve been strategically sent to this place, this time, these people, this nation….to participate in God’s work, and to capture every good work that’s in our pathway.
By coaching women to focus on what God says about them, they learn to embrace their unique skills, talents, and even their vulnerabilities. This gives them the confidence to be authentic as they interact with people.
Use your experience and wisdom to make a positive impact on the life of a young woman leader in your community. Your leadership matters, now more than ever in these tumultuous times.
Leadership Development Lesson: It’s time for character-based leaders to mentor millennials women so they can find their identity in Christ.
Leadership Development Question: How might you coach a young woman to embrace the truth about who God created her to be versus conforming to who she thinks others want her to be?