Don’t judge a book by its cover . . .

The cover says, “Bold, aggressive, competitive, and outgoing,” but the inside of the book is also about caring, compassion, and sensitivity.

My dad had a nickname at I.B.M., as the tribal story goes, “Nails Scofield.”  The word on the street was he could be a tough boss.  Yet, he was also the guy that drove chocolate out to nursing homes on a weekly basis, and he was also the guy who sang in the church choir.

Gail Grimston, in the early days at Malibu, was an intimidating person.  There were years that I was nervous around Gail and hoped to impress her.  As I got closer to the book . . . the cover opened . . . and as the pages turned I saw a delicate and delightful person who would DO ANYTHING for others.

I think I get the wrap of being “non-caring,” or lacking in the pastoring side of leadership.  I am convinced that I lean into some of the more “block and tackling” aspects of leadership, and some of the “lighter footwork” aspects of my leadership don’t get as much airtime.

If any of you out there are like me, don’t be discouraged, but instead remember to lead with your book open, pages able to flap in the wind.  What does it look like to allow your pages to turn in the wind?

  • Share your own vulnerability.
  • Be a giver.  Gifts, budget funds, cards, meals, and time.
  • Show up.  Hard to pigeon-hole the non-caring person when they walk into your office, your home, or your hospital room.
  • Don’t miss special days – Anniversaries, birthdays, or even significant days for that person’s family.
  • Ask others:  how they are doing, and how you can support them.

I know what my cover says.  I also know what my book is about.  One of the best moments in marriage counseling last year was when the counselor said this to Marni:  “Eric is communicating he loves you . . .when he holds down the fort, when he shows up, when he cooks and cleans, and when he keeps it all secure . . . that is his way of expressing love.”

There are people out there that are quick to judge and categorize leaders – heck, I have done it!  YOU ARE BEING CATEGORIZED!  Administrative?  Bold?  Decisive?  Pastoral?  Caring?  Adventurous?  Fun-loving?  Whimsical?

Look inside the pages of the leaders you work with . . . go ahead and skip into chapter 17!  Oh, and one more thing, make sure your own book is given the chance to come off the shelf so that people see more than just the cover!

Have a great Friday!


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