What Can We Learn From This?

Dear Christian Radio,

I haven’t written a blog for industry consumption in over two years.  To be honest, that was intentional.  Instead of trying to inspire and inform leaders outside of PAR, I focused on learning.

What did I do?  I read two books on the plague from the 1500s.  I wanted to gain some perspective on how people reacted, what the economy did, where Jesus followers fell into the mix, and learn how quickly society was able to recover.  I also wanted to see if I could gain any insight on leading in such a crazy time.

Speaking of leading during a pandemic, I began reading interviews of leaders from diverse industries.  Magazines such as Fast Company, Inc., and so on became some of my best friends.  Things I wanted to know:

  • What were they doing to protect their teams?
  • How were they communicating to their teams?
  • How often were they communicating?
  • What were they communicating?

I already knew why a leader should communicate, I just needed to make sure I was on the right path for the who, what, where and how.

Within PAR, we practiced candor like never before.  I listened to the perspectives of fellow leaders—those individuals with whom I have the honor to serve.  They told me what I was doing right and where there were missteps.  I did virtual tours with station and department teams.  The goal was to hear from people serving on the front lines.  So, I tucked in my ego and asked hard questions—remembering that this wasn’t about me, it was about them, the organization, and the people they serve.  I listened carefully and hopefully became a better leader.

My main task was to keep the organization “mission-focused.”  It was not to enter any political or culture war discussions.  Our purpose hadn’t changed simply because a global medical event was occurring.  Our purpose, our mission, remains:

We will change the world by creating and delivering experiences that inspire people to live passionately for Jesus Christ.

We wanted to inspire as many people as possible.

Here’s what we did:

  • We encouraged people to look to Jesus.
  • We shared our lives.
  • We reminded our audience—and each other—that Jesus was still in control.

The pandemic was urgent, but our mission is paramount!  I constantly reminded myself to not allow the urgent to drown out what’s most important.

What you’re reading is the first in a series of blogs I’ll be writing.  Let’s start with what I learned.

I was reminded of this truth: I don’t know everything—no leader knows everything.  A leader can read all the books and articles he or she can stomach.  That person can hire all the consultants he or she wants and still never know it all.  That’s why good leaders must listen…and not just listen, but act.

Here’s some advice: don’t be afraid to be the dumbest person in the room.  Surround yourself with people smarter than you and listen to them.  Encourage them to be bold with their opinions and advice.  Don’t be afraid to pivot and make adjustments in your plan.

By doing so, you’ll be a better leader, you’ll build trust with your team and the organization will get better.

Leadership isn’t easy. But then again, easy never changed the world.


Brian Sanders
Executive Vice President, PAR
Positive Alternative Radio


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