Stewardship is not a word you hear a lot in day-to-day conversations. However, I think it’s an important idea for leaders to keep in mind. If you look at what the word really means, it implies a relationship and an understanding. The core idea is that we don’t really own what we think we own - we are merely managers, or stewards, of these things. And, as a steward, we are accountable to someone else for how we manage that which has been entrusted to us.
As leaders, most of us would quickly acknowledge our role and agree with the premise that we don’t own our job, and for most of us, we don’t own the company either. Does this reality affect the way you lead? It does for me. I believe we make better decisions when we firmly grasp the implications of being a steward.
Have you ever thought about what you steward as a leader?
We are stewards of…
Time – How we invest our time is how we invest our lives. Good investments yield good returns.
Money – This is often our default when we hear the term stewardship. It is certainly important, but only a small piece of our total stewardship opportunity.
Relationships – The people we come in contact with on a daily basis are often overlooked in a conversation about stewardship. How are we investing in others? How are we encouraging people?
Opportunities – When opportunity knocks, do we answer the door? To squander an opportunity is as much an issue as wasting time or money.
Challenges – If we don’t learn and grow from pain and trial in our lives, we will have failed to steward it well. Stewardship is ultimately about what you and I do with what we’ve been given – both good and bad.
What do we need to do to be better stewards? That’s a question I ask myself constantly. Here are three ideas to consider:
Stewards Take Action – Passivity is not what you want from a steward. Think about the money manager you’ve selected to steward your retirement account. You don’t want that individual to do nothing for 40 years and see how things turn out.
Stewards Take Risks – If a steward wants to maximize what has been entrusted to them, risk is inevitable. Wise, calculated risk, but risk none the less. No risk equals poor stewardship.
Stewards Expect Accountability – If I want to be the best possible steward, I have to live with an understanding that the day will come when I will have to give an account for what I did with what I was given.
I think stewardship is one of life’s greatest privileges. Stewardship is one of my personal core values. I guess it’s one of the drivers behind my leadership journey. At the end of it all, I want to be found faithful regarding what’s been entrusted to me. I see every day as a stewardship opportunity. I hope you do too.[GLS_Shield]
How would your leadership be different today if you saw yourself as a steward?