Cover art for podcast Christian Woman Leadership Podcast

Christian Woman Leadership Podcast

144 EpisodesProduced by Esther LittlefieldWebsite

It's time for you to embrace your God-given gifts, skills, and passions and lead with confidence. Host Esther Littlefield is a pastor's wife and business owner, and she is joined by co-host Holly Cain. They discuss issues related to leading as a Christian woman, and they also interview other women w… read more


80: How to Avoid the Trap of Niceness and Speak Boldly with Sharon Hodde Miller [Communication Series]

Being the "nice Christian girl" has benefits, and it can lead to positive outcomes many times. But what if being nice is the wrong goal for us as Christians?

In the final episode of our communication series, Holly and I chat with Sharon Hodde Miller about the issue of niceness. She shares why it’s a problem when we make it our goal to be nice, the difference between niceness and kindness, and what niceness stops us from doing.

In addition, you get to hear about Sharon’s journey as a leader, how God has led her to do things she didn’t ever anticipate, and how she stays healthy as a wife, mom, and pastor.

For the full show notes for this episode, visit

Key Points Discussed:
  • Sharon’s Leadership Journey [3:45]The Problem of Niceness [12:30]
    • Difference between niceness and kindness [17:50]
    • The trap of niceness [21:30]
    • Why we need discernment as leaders [27:30]
    • The importance of integrity in our leadership and in our church communities [34:20]
  • Speak Boldly - Why We Need to Be Willing to “Lose People” as Leaders: [38:00]
    • How Niceness Keeps us from Having the Hard Conversations [43:10]
    • How We Can Become Courageous Leaders [47:11]
    • Cultivating a Better Tree by Embracing Your Design [50:04]
  • Leaders Are Learners
    • Habits and routines Sharon implements to stay healthy [56:10]
    • Advice for the woman starting out in her career or ministry [58:45]
    • What Sharon is learning: [1:01:15]
Key Quotes from the Episode:

“There is a nice Christian girl image that, if you are in ministry, will be very profitable for you.”

“I had to make a choice between continuing to serve the ‘nice girl’ image or to serve God.”

“Niceness seems to be about the other person, but it’s really about you. It’s about trying to ensure a certain type of response.”

“There are so many people in the church who are not actually free because they’ve settled for this appearance of Christianity instead of the real thing.”

“Integrity matters. Character matters. Holiness matters. Being above reproach--it matters. And it matters in the small things and it matters in the big things.”

“What stands in the way of people coming to the church or to Jesus is if we are more concerned with the church’s reputation than with people’s freedom and safety.”

“People love candy; but what people are craving is a meal.”

“Niceness will never ask you to die to yourself.”

“Don’t quit.”

“Most of the leaders that you see are there because they persevered when no one was paying attention to them.”


Episode Sponsor: Confident Conversations

If you’d like to learn how to initiate and lead hard conversations as Christian woman–even if you struggle with confrontation, aren’t sure what to say, and want to avoid hurting people in the process–then grab my mini-course, Confident Conversations. 

Learn how to have courageous conversations that lead to more connection and conflict resolution in this 5-step mini-course for Christian women.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Get the timing right
  • Be guided by your faith in hard conversations
  • Know how to approach the convo
  • Develop the right mindset
  • Use the exact words and phrases to help guide your hard conversations

Get the mini-course here:

  Other Links Mentioned:

*Affiliate link.

Connect with Sharon Hodde Miller:

Sharon Hodde Miller leads Bright City Church in Durham, NC alongside her husband, Ike. In addition to earning her PhD, Sharon has blogged at for nearly ten years, making God's Word accessible to women everywhere.  

Author of “Nice: Why We Love to Be Liked and How God Calls Us to More” and “Free of ME: Why Life is Better When It’s Not About You”, she has been a regular contributor to Propel, She Reads Truth, and Christianity Today, and has written for Relevant, (in)courage, and many other publications and blogs. 

She speaks regularly on topics ranging from leadership to body image to Scripture. She and her husband have two sons and one daughter.

Connect with Esther and Holly:


This episode was originally published on

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