Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Forced Reflection

Written by: on November 17, 2018

This week did not go as planned. Unfortunately, I came face-to-face with my humanity and how quickly my seemingly indestructible super-suit can be rendered inactive. I have been nursing a knee injury for weeks now, but a bad encounter with a staircase this week has left me down for the count, awaiting the orthopedic surgeon’s response.

My teams at work rallied this week to execute some of our largest events of the year and I was forced to connect to strategic planning meetings of our executive leadership team by phone in between doses of pain medicine that left my mind foggy, to say the least. It certainly hasn’t been my best week of contribution.

I was in the middle of Nohria and Kurhana’s Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice when I took the fall. Even though I did not get to read thoroughly through each chapter, I appreciate their approach to the study of leadership. They provided access to overarching leadership theories as well as real-life leadership issues. I particularly enjoyed the chapter “What Makes Teams of Leaders Leadable?”[1] In this chapter, the authors discuss the role and function of leadership teams.

This week has been a great reminder of how fragile yet resilient the work of leadership really is. My injury has taken me out of the game for a short period of time. I am of very little help to anyone. This forced absence has highlighted the need for team purpose rather than leader purpose. Though I am thankful for the trust of those I work with, the collective work of the whole far outranks my own ability. If I must be present at all times for the mission to move forward, we are building on the wrong foundation. The leadership teams I facilitate as well as those I am a member of must have a purpose greater than any one of us as individuals. This week taught me that in some areas, my teams are doing well with this. In others, more empowerment needs to be given and purpose needs to be defined.

I am sure it is very clear from this post that my mind not firing on all cylinders. Even though I am frustrated by my current circumstance, I am always thankful for opportunities to learn. I talked in a previous post about my desire for margin to be a more reflective leader…I didn’t necessarily intend for the margin of time to come in this way. Perhaps this is God’s not-so-amusing way of dealing with my stubbornness!


[1] Nohria, Nitin, and Rakesh Khurana, Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice, (Boston: Harvard Business Review Press), 2014.


About the Author

Rhonda Davis

Rhonda is passionate about loving her Creator, her wonderful husband, and her three amazing sons. She serves as VP of Enrollment Management & Student Development at The King's University in Southlake, TX.

7 responses to “Forced Reflection”

  1. Andrea Lathrop says:

    Rhonda – I am sorry to hear about your pain. May you recover as quickly as possible.

    It’s interesting reading yours and Digby’s back to back – you both allude to the ‘super leader’ myth and the point you make about teams is apt. Appreciate you.

  2. Tammy Dunahoo says:

    God has amusing ways at times. Terrible for you but a great way to evaluate the leadership culture of your teams. Nothing like big events to see who steps up and how the teams work together. It is also a good reminder that none of us are indispensable. It reminds me of when I broke both of my hands and the lessons I learned. Listen well and rest.

  3. Harry Fritzenschaft says:

    Rhonda, I am so sorry for your knee issues. I have always been blessed with great health but have had knee problems dating back to my high school football Friday night heroics. Again so sorry, praying for healing and health however the Holy Spirit wants to do it. Unfortunately, you have hit upon a reality of transformative leadership. That is, it is not what we do, but rather who we have influenced to lean into their own leadership gifts and skills. Sorry again for your injury. Take care and be blessed, H

  4. Jenn Burnett says:

    I echo the sympathy Rhonda! It’s never fun to miss out on key events you’ve been planning. I appreciate your angle of taking the opportunity to evaluate how empowered your team is. I have found over the years that moments where I was unhappily sidelined were fabulous opportunities for not just me to evaluate our progress, but my team to see how far they’d come. What might it look like to lead all the time as if we were wanted, but not needed? Rest and heal well!

  5. Karen Rouggly says:

    I am so so sorry this happened, friend! I am most annoyed when something drastic happens right in the middle of large events. Isn’t that the way it seems to always happen? In this season, I am so glad that you have a team of people who can rally around you, both at work and at home.

  6. Sean Dean says:

    My wife and I have a test of churches to see how they function on Sundays when the pastor is on vacation. If they are able to function reasonably well then we feel good about the way the church runs. If not, then clearly they are too reliant upon the pastor for leadership. It’s good to see your team is able to function without you on site. Get well soon.

  7. John Muhanji says:

    Thanks Rhonda for sharing your challenges as you read through the book. I am sorry foir what you have experienced through your knee injury which is very painful. We thank God that you were able to use the same situtaion to carry out your worth through team spririt from the handbook. I am impressed the way you have connected your situation with the book. May yiou be healled faster Davis.

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