Stories of Transformation – Mike Weber

On Suffering in Leadership

We recently published a blog post about how flourishing cannot exist without suffering. I asked Mike Weber of ProMinent Fluid Controls, Inc. to reflect on the concept of suffering in leadership that Andy Crouch lays out in his book, “Strong and Weak.”

By definition, leaders have authority. But in order to lead well and to flourish as leaders, they must also bear hidden vulnerability, the weakness and the risk that no one else sees. This, Crouch says, is the drama of leadership. The willingness to not only bear the inevitable suffering that leadership requires but even more, to actively choose to embrace that suffering, knowing that it is the pathway to flourishing for the community is THE common characteristic we see in the most effective leaders.

If you know Mike you know that he is a unique blend of compassion and no nonsense. His immediate response was this; “It is not a philosophy, it is a reality that God grows us through suffering. “ In fact, just before my conversation with Mike he discussed this very issue with a senior member of his staff who manages an incredibly difficult client. “There are people in every industry that are insecure and aggressive. They are petulant and mean and they use their power and position to belittle those under them.” Honoring those customers and standing between them and others in the organization is a difficult to do and takes its toll on a leader. I asked him how he thinks about these situations. He said, “first, be prepared. You will encounter difficult people and situations. Don’t go it alone. People are embarrassed to talk about their struggles. You have to bring those pains and struggles into the light- offer them up to God, share them with coworkers and family. This may be uncomfortable but it is vital. Ephesians 6:13 says, “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” A leader in God’s economy does not go into battle but to takes up the armor of God, bring their full self to the tasks at hand to the best end of those around them, and, in the end, to remain standing.

  • Be prepared. You have to know that difficult times will come if you are doing the right things.
  • Don’t go it alone. Have your trusted advisors close let them in on what’s going on. Seek God ask, “What do you want me to see in this?”
  • Celebrate a good outcome. Know that God suffers with us seek to find a spirit of gratitude and trust that faithfulness will bear fruit over time.

Mike said it well, “I don’t seek out difficulty but when it comes my way I don’t avoid it. I actually embrace it. I know that when time are hard I am more humble, more open, more willing to ask for help and more willing to share.”