On today’s episode, we have Terry Smith, Lead Pastor of The Life Christian Church, and the author of The Hospitable Leader: Create Environments Where People and Dreams Flourish. What does it truly mean to be hospitable, and how can it transform your leadership? And what do you know about the discipline of hope? Listen to the full episode:
What does it mean to be a hospitable leader?
Being a hospitable leader is about creating environments of welcome. It’s a worldview, mindset, approach, and philosophy that can have multiple expressions.
Terry discovered this connection between hospitality and leadership from the church he serves. Their congregation is extremely diverse across several measures, from age to race, and even religious backgrounds — and yet these people who are so different love each other.
Creating an environment where people and dreams flourish
“Flourish” might be looked down upon as a soft word, but it’s been proven again and again that soft leadership skills bring hard results: an environment where people and their dreams can flourish is an environment that paves the way for success.
Creating an environment that’s hospitable to people engages their hearts and makes them ready to run through a wall and make something happen. Terry breaks this down into five different environments — physical, spiritual, emotional, attitudinal, and communicative — and shares how all of this is paralleled in the story of The Last Supper.
When you prepare this environment, you can say things that people will hear in a way that they wouldn’t have heard otherwise.
The corporate implications of a spiritual environment in the workplace
Whether or not you’re a believer, there is tremendous power in being connected to something transcendent and bigger than you are. You want to connect what the people in your organization are doing to something beyond themselves, something that has meaning. The challenge now becomes: How do you get your people to think about what they’re doing as more than just their tasks?
From hostility to hospitality
Right now, everyone is yelling at each other left and right, and that doesn’t accomplish a bit of good. This is true in families, in churches, and in businesses. We need to be able to sit at a table and talk about differences in a way that speaks the truth, wrapped in grace. At the end of the day, we all want the same things: a world where people are respected, and a world where nobody is falsely accused. What’s keeping us from working that out?
The word hospitality in the original Greek means to love a stranger. We need to love people who are strange to us and to whom we are strange. When you’re willing to approach life like that, you’ll discover that people can expand your life in ways you never could have contemplated.
What are the empty seats around your table? What perspectives and insights are you missing out on because you’re not welcoming those who may be strange to you?
Hospitality, influence, and the discipline of hope
Leadership is about influencing people, but for that to happen, you have to speak truth. Hospitable leaders create environments where truth can be spoken… and most importantly heard. And when truth is received, it can be acted on.
To practice this kind of leadership, you need to practice the discipline of hope. You cannot encourage others as a discouraged person. Create an environment in your own person so full of hope and happiness that it bleeds out into whatever you are creating, and people will be more inclined to follow your lead.