As you may have picked up by now, Andy is busy writing a book exploring how leaders flourish. One of the books he has been reading for his research is called Leading Out of Who You Are, by Simon Walker.
Something Simon writes in the book is: ‘What we need to grasp is that the front stage and the back stage are always connected.’ For leaders, it is important to realise this connection because for so much of our lives, people look at our “front stage” – what we do and who we are in public. It is more rare for people to ever ask about the back stage, the unseen, the not public side of our lives.
What we do upfront, engaging with young people, speaking with our teams, engaging with parents, speaking at conferences or even in our church gatherings, is underpinned by what is going on in our back stage, the unseen places.
This is not a permission-giving blog to say that we should be asking anyone and everyone about their back stage, or even feel that everyone can ask about ours, but what it does mean is that every leader should have a few people around them who can ask questions and with whom they can be really honest, knowing they are not going to be judged or condemned.
Ministry is a privileged place but also a vulnerable and often a lonely place. Our back stage may be where so much happens that people do not see or ever really appreciate but it foundational to our front stage, to who we are and how we display ourselves.
Back stages also take time to develop, to ensure the right things are in place; they just don’t get created overnight. Not only do they take time to develop, but they also need maintaining. Time needs to be taken by, and given to, a leader so that everything they give in public comes from a good strong foundation of a back stage.
Are you looking after your back stage space?
Do you ever ask or support a leader in the maintaining of their back stage space?
Do you ever over expect from a leader about their front stage without caring about the back stage?
How much time do you as a leader give, or how much time do you as a supporter allow your leaders to take care of their back stages?