Updated: May 14, 2019
Lisa Howard is a youth minister. She shares with Dr. Sarah Andreas that building trust is key to leadership.
You will learn:
Be ok with being you
You are here for a reason
Dr. Sarah Andreas: Hey everyone. Welcome back. Today, I am talking to Dr. Lisa Howard. I am so excited to introduce her like that because she began her leadership and Ph.D. journey the same day that I did. It is so awesome to finally be on the other end instead of at the very beginning, where we were marking on the calendar every time we finished up a course. Welcome, Lisa.
Dr. Lisa Howard: Thank you, Sarah. It is a joy. It is such a joy to get to walk this journey with you, and it has certainly been a journey.
Sarah: Tell everybody a little bit about yourself and about your history. What inspired you to do this leadership Ph.D. program. What are you doing in general?
Lisa: I have been in educational and youth ministry for about 35 years, both as an Educator in Elementary and Middle School. Now, working as a full-time Youth Pastor for Grade Six to 12. I've run the gamut of working with volunteers, working with staff, working with young people. It is quite an adventure to work with young people. I absolutely love it.
What got me to take the Ph.D. in Leadership is just, I've always into furthering your education if at all possible in one way or another. Whether that's taking more courses, whether that's working as an apprentice with someone further, never quit learning. No matter what you do in life, never quit learning something. I just felt a burning desire that I needed to continue and take the next level. I had my Bachelor, I had my Master's. I needed the next level.
I did a lot of research on whether to be an EDD, or whether a Ph.D. and all that stuff. What's good for one person isn't necessarily the best program for another. I searched and searched until I found the program that we went through at Johnson. To me, it was an answer to prayer. It was what God was leading me to. Knowing that it will open doors to be able to speak to more people. It will open opportunities to be able to help and speak into the lives of more individuals. That is what I'm all about, is helping people.
Sarah: I know. Every once in a while, I'll see one of your post online. It looks like you really do have a heart for young people.
Lisa: Yes, I do. I've had a heart for young people since before mine were even born. Now, they're having their babies. If there's anything that I could try to convince people to do, is to be significant in the life of a young person.
Sarah: That's beautiful.
Lisa: That's one. Just find one kid somewhere, obviously your own. I'm talking about some kid who doesn't have someone, or just a kid in your neighborhood, or a person at your church, or a person at your community, whatever you're doing. Just be significant. Just be there for their journey. Now, in my life and my husband's life, we actually adopted a 15-year-old and walked that journey with him. You don't have to get to that extreme. I'm telling you there's a kid next door who needs an adult in their life. There is. Just be a safe place for a young person.
Sarah: That's awesome. Lisa, we've been studying leadership for a long time now. What has been your biggest leadership lesson that you had to learn?
Lisa: My biggest leadership lesson, the lesson that I had to learn was, "I'm okay for being me." We're trying to be that other leader or that person over there or this person who significantly impacted your life even, the heavenly father has made us who we are for a reason. Now, it doesn't mean you quit stop improving for crying out loud, I got my Ph.D. Don't stop improving. You are placed where you are placed for a reason. You have a job to do where you are, quit trying to be who you're not. You are comfortable being you. Then, you can impact so much more. You're there, your confidence is there, your abilities are there when you know that you are you. You are who God has made you to be.
Sarah: How did you learn that lesson?
Lisa: It was a journey. I started out in life very, very insecure. I had a very real fear of people. A very real fear of failure, of never being good enough. I had to become secure in my faith first. I was secure in my relationship with my husband. I think he really showed me a lot. He was so supportive of who I was and who I was becoming. I had to realize that I really did have something to offer the world that I was okay with me.
No, I was not okay staying the way I was. I've been in continual progress of growth. I'm okay being me. I don't have to meet everybody else's expectations. I have to do a good job. If I do my job well, my boss is going to be happy with me. My focus is not making my boss happy. My focus is doing the best that I can do.
Sarah: I love that. What advice would you give to a young leader who wants to be the CEO someday? As like, I'm not even sure where to start. What advice would you give them?
Lisa: Build trust. Be a trustworthy person. Trust other people. Nowhere in this life do we walk alone. This journey that we're all taking, we're taking with other people. Leadership is done with other people. You can lead yourself, but if that's the only person you're leading, it's a pretty lonely journey. We have to realize that we need each other and trust in this culture is very hard. I work with young people. It's very hard to gain their trust.
Besides working with them, you've got to gain the trust of the parents who are doing their best to try to do something with their kid. It started out hard for me to trust other people, therefore, I felt like people couldn't trust me because I couldn't trust them. Really, it boils down to three areas. If I can just speak to you for a moment here. "Trust." You have to have stability. You have to have consistency and you have to have communications.
If you're going to lead anywhere, it leads any people. You have to prove that you're stable. I followed. I came into this youth pastorship as a volunteer for eight years where we went through four different youth pastors in eight years. That itself leads to distrust. "Well, they're just going to up and leave, why should I spend my time trusting them." Do you understand what I'm saying?
Lisa: That's very common in a lot of jobs where people come, they stay a year or two or three and leave. It's hard to build trust that way. You have to have stability. Am I going to be around? Am I a stable person? You have to have consistency. If I'm which's one day and a super sweet guru the next, we have a problem. People have to know who you are. Are you authentic? Are you walking a consistent lifestyle? Then, you have to communicate, overcommunicate in as many forms of communication as you can figure out.
Social media, yes, you got to watch it, but use it man. Use it to your advantage. Writing, talking, notes, calling, texting, use every form of communication you can to help build trust. Let them know that you are there for them, not just at 8:00 to 5:00. If you're going to lead them, you're going to lead them. The hard things don't always happen 8:00 to 5:00. Even, if you're in a corporate job, someone's kid is in an accident, you're still there. That doesn't happen 8:00 to 5:00. If someone's sick and they need help, that doesn't happen 8:00 to 5:00. I hear people saying, "Lisa, that's not realistic." Fine, don't be a leader. It's your choice.
Sarah: That's amazing.
Lisa: Leadership is a choice. If you choose to be influential, if you choose to be that person that people want to model their lives after, then first you have to be that person and I know that sounds hard, but just start where you are. One step at a time. I'm just starting out. I don't have anybody under me. Be the most authentic, stable, consistent person you can be and communicate that to others.
Sarah: I love it. That's awesome advice, Lisa.
Lisa: Thank you. Eventually, you're going to get a raise. Eventually, opportunities will open. Don't quit. Don't stop loving people simply because, maybe, you're not where you think you ought to be at this point in life. You don't have to have a title to be a leader.
Sarah: Yes. That's perfect. All right, Lisa. Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to talk to me on my podcast.
Lisa: Love you, Sarah.
Sarah: Thank you. If you enjoyed this podcast, make sure you subscribe so that way, you can hear new podcasts that come out every week. Embrace your journey and we'll talk to you next week.
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