The differences in functioning from an "approach motivational state" versus an "avoidance motivational state" are huge. (See page 16 for the introduction to this topic.) "When avoiding failure is a primary focus, the work isn't just more stressful; it's a lot harder to do. And over the long run, that mental strain takes a toll, resulting in less innovation and the experience of burnout."
"Having a team that's afraid of admitting failure is a dangerous problem, particularly because the symptoms are not immediately visible." (page 19) This is common sense, and yet, how frequently do we see co-workers trying to avoid accountability for their actions. If a tight-knit work group is formed, it is easier to be more vulnerable and own up to mistakes. This opens the door for improvement and growth.
That is all I am going to quote from the book at this time. I will be spending much of my three day weekend packing, but I think there will also be some time spent sitting on the beach reading more of this book. As I get deeper into it, I am looking forward to an abundance of new insights and nuggets of wisdom. I never want to stop learning about the things that can improve my leadership skills.
Since my ordination to the diaconate, I have felt a profound responsibility to serve the people in our churches and schools to the best of my ability. They deserve that commitment from me. It is a privilege to serve in the Lord's vineyard, but I also recognize the commensurate responsibility that comes along with that privilege. Reading books like this helps me stay grounded in the practical components of serving others. Prayer keeps me rooted in seeking God's grace and the power of the Holy Spirit to truly propel my work to a higher level. I want my faith to be what compels me to work diligently day in and day out for the building up of the Kingdom of God. I don't simply want to be a humanitarian doing good works. I want to be a faithful follower of Christ. My work should then flow from that faith in the Good Shepherd.
As I begin saying some farewells here in Hilton Head, I have been deeply moved by the words of gratitude expressed to me for my preaching and teaching while I have been here. The people of Cheyenne had heard my homilies for nearly nine years; they attended retreats that I presented; they participated in parish missions where I was the preacher. I had a longer period of time to make an impact. The time here has been much shorter, but I am grateful to know that God has still used me an instrument to proclaim the Good News of Salvation.
I now look forward to being an instrument of God's grace for the St. Albert Catholic School Community. There are some significant challenges awaiting my arrival. As I prepare to undertake these responsibilities, I trust that God will move powerfully in our midst. I will do my best to utilize all the skills I have developed through the years to lead the school community well. As for now, I am doing my part to blanket the school community in a cover of prayer. I pray the Liturgy of the Hours each morning and evening and specifically lift up everyone at St. Albert Catholic Schools in Council Bluffs.. I also pray specifically each night that my leadership will give glory to God and bring abundant blessings to His people. (I also continue to pray specifically for St. Francis by the Sea as well as each parish and school where I have ministered in the past. I especially include all the good people across the state of Wyoming in the Diocese of Cheyenne. I don't miss the wind and the snow, but I do miss the people.)
Wherever you are located, please pray for your parish (and school) community. Pray for the leadership. It is not enough to just believe in the power of prayer, we have to actually pray. Trust that God really can move mountains. Our society needs us to be faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ. It starts with us being people of prayer. Experiencing renewal and vibrancy in our local parishes begins with each one of us being a person of prayer.
Please keep the people impacted by the tornadoes in your prayers.
Pray for the safety of the utility crews and others responsible for cleaning up the mess left behind in the wake of the storm.
Finally, have a safe and restful three-day weekend. Pray for all those who made the ultimate sacrifice that we may enjoy the freedoms we have.