How to Make Someone Else a Better Leader 20 Understand Emotional Space

When you learn something new or encounter a new idea, it generally starts on a visual level. You see it. We use seeing language a lot with new ideas – “oh I see it”, “I can see that now”, “It’s all clear now”.

So, step one is a visual step. People need the space to see a new idea. Let’s stay God speaks to me, and tells me as the leader of Tree of Life Family to start a church in, let’s say, Cardiff. Now what I need as a leader of leaders is for the other leaders to SEE IT. I need to paint a picture of how I am going to have meetings, where they are going to be, what is going to happen. I need people to see Tree of Life Cardiff. Then they see it, they go “I see it”, and that’s awesome.

Now for me, and for many leaders, that seeing is enough, we want to go to the DO IT stage next. Just hire a hall, pick a date, start advertising. That’s great, but as a leader of leaders, and as someone committed to raising leaders, you need to give other people stage 2, FEEL IT.

Just because someone who is with you sees it, does not mean that they immediately feel it. That is an assumption I have made too many times and got it wrong most of the time. Many people need to SEE IT, then FEEL IT, then DO IT.

We must give people space to FEEL IT before we move to the DO IT stage. People need a chance to process their emotions and that cannot be done instantly.

People might see that we are going to plant a church in Cardiff, they might see why we need a church in Cardiff, they have seen that God is calling us to do it. but they have not yet processed their emotions – for many reasons:

  1. They might not feel confident enough to step up. If one of our pastors is going to be in Cardiff, people may realize and SEE that someone else might need to preach more at home, but they might not FEEL capable or confident to do that.
  2. They might not feel up to the change. All progress requires change. They might not feel like change is good – they like things the way they are. They struggled to change enough to get where they are, and now you are talking about more change! It takes time to process those feelings. We have to allow people the emotional space to do that.
  3. Other leaders who are with you, that you are leading, will not have the faith you do. That is not an insult, you are fellow workers and you know you could not do what you do without them, but there is a reason you are leading what you are leading. People need space to feel what you feel automatically because it is your dream. If we fail to give them that space, we will bruise them. Trust me, I know. Most people’s first reaction to growth and increase is not excitement, it’s terror! We need to let people have emotional space.

I am not saying be duplicitious with people, but it is not necessary to tell everyone all your dream all the time. Do not tell someone what it costs to go on TV every month if they are struggling to believe God for a new sofa. You will bruise them. Do not tell someone how much travelling you do a month if a twenty-minute commute to work crushes them. Do not tell people how you had to correct someone else in the team over a certain sin, if they are struggling to forgive their family. Part of being the senior leader is protecting people from the whole weight on your back. You delegate what people can take and what they are designed to do. You need to know your team and in your planning for the future you need to plan FEEL IT time for your people as you present new ideas. That time needs to be in your timeline.

There are two special groups of people who you need to make sure get enough FEEL IT time when you are stepping into something new:

  1. Anyone who is going to be involved. Often when I am planting a new church, I have a good idea of who will be pastoring it. often before they have an idea. That’s part of the grace of God on my life as an apostle. I often see the call of God on someone before they do. Now, previously I would wait until they saw it, but that is not enough. I need to wait until they FEEL IT too. If you need someone to fly an aeroplane for you, make sure they feel it before they get in the cockpit.
  2. Anyone who is leading anyone who is going to be involved. If you take someone’s assistant from them, they are going to FEEL something, and you need to let them process it.

Make sure that people have the emotional space to process the change of the progress you are making, that way you will effectively raise leaders who will then be able to raise leaders themselves.

Published by Tree of Life Church

We are a growing network of growing churches, with services weekly in Dagenham, Guildford, Watford, Croydon, Brentwood and Dorset. We are also planting churches in Cambridge, Suffolk, West Midlands and Hemel. Find out more at, and

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