Leading with Clarity

Yesterday, I wrote about my desire as a leader to have all the answers. I think this really comes from a need I have for clarity. Does any of this remind you of yourself, or is this just me?

  • At the end of a meeting, I want to know exactly what the next steps are and who is in charge of those steps.
  • I need to know exactly how I am spending my workday.
  • When I have “down time” at home, I think of a million small projects I need to try to take care of.
  • I want to know exactly how to get to where I’m driving at the beginning of my drive, even if it is a 6-hour drive.
  • A meeting without an agenda is a meeting that should be canceled.

Last week, I was facilitating a full day meeting in which I was responsible for the agenda and moving things forward. Within the first five minutes of the meeting, the agenda was completely re-written (which was a good thing since my agenda missed the mark.). I knew going into this project that it would be tough, that there were no easy answers, and that we needed to make progress. However, I didn’t know what progress looked like for this team.

As the meeting progressed, I began to get more worried. Where would we end up? What are we going to be talking about? What are going to be the next steps? As calm as I looked on the exterior, my interior was racking its brain for a solution or two. My emotions were high.

During a break, I shared some of my emotions with one of the team members. I asked him the following question (which was really a question for me): If we walk out of this meeting not knowing what do to, does it make this meeting a waste? His response: trust. Trust? Trust?!?! Come on! Fast forward to the end of the day, we had three specific next steps to move forward. Trust.

Yes, I need clarity in life. Clarity is a great gift. But I learned that day that ambiguity can be a great gift as well. But I did need to trust:

  • Trust the process
  • Trust the team
  • Trust the Holy Spirit

I’ll tell you what – by lunch time that day, I was not trusting any of those things. My desire for clarity trumped trust. Looking back, I realized that trust trumps clarity. As a leader, not all the answers come clearly, but I need to be comfortable in the unknown from time to time.

I just hope that “time to time” does not happen too often!

John Rinaldo

As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.


John Rinaldo


As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.



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