Tuesday, 23 October 2018

3 SHIFTS THAT EXPAND INFLUENCE

The way you treat others is the chief culture building influence in your organization.

Lousy leaders act like individual contributors. Incompetent leaders can’t see the impact of their attitudes, words, and actions.
Newton said, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” The relationships you enjoy, for example, begin with you.
When you focus on weaknesses and ignore strengths, others build protective walls.
Adversarial leaders invite conflict.
Passive leaders create anxiety.
Teams don’t practice accountability until leaders follow-up and follow-through.
When you confront tough issues with kindness, others have tough conversations with greater confidence.  

3 shifts that expand influence:

#1 Shift from who is right to what is right.
In one sense, leadership isn’t personal. The issue is the issue. It doesn’t matter who comes up with solutions. The person who screwed up last week might be this week’s genius.
#2. Shift from talking-at to talking-with.
Engagement requires “with.” The more you talk “at” the more you lose “with.” Talking-with requires humility, honesty, curiosity, openness, and forgiveness.
  1. Humility acknowledges the perspective and strengths of others.
  2. Honesty explains issues without hidden agendas.
  3. Curiosity asks, “What do you think?”
  4. Openness listens and explores. Defensiveness is the end of innovation.
  5. Forgiveness gives second chances after responsible failure. Honor sincere effort. Don’t punish ignorance.
#3. Shift from right and wrong to better.
Most issues are solved with progress. It’s about next steps, not moral imperatives. Stop judging so much. Start cheering more.
Complex issues have more than one answer. Their answer is better than yours, even if it’s not quite as good, because they own it.

Bonus: Shift from punishing to learning.
Treat responsible failure as a learning opportunity and risk is easier. But treat people like tools and you propagate self-serving attitudes.
Carol Dweck says the #1 quality of a growth mindset is learning from failure.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

5 UNEXPECTED STRATEGIES THAT MAKE LEADERS DISPROPORTIONATELY BETTER

A fantastic post by dan Rockwell!  A must read for every leader and practice!

#1. Liking. 
Think about things you like about the people on your team, even someone you’re managing out.
  1. Silently repeat, “I respect you,” when talking with others.
  2. Ask people what they think.
  3. Pat people on the back.
Don’t let people issues sour you on people.


#2. Routines. Establish a few. 
Predictability produces stability.
Which routine would make a difference in your leadership?
  1. Start the day slowly.15 minutes of morning quiet. Don’t look at your computer or email.
  2. Close your computer and put it out of sight at 7 p.m. everyday. 
  3. Schedule 15 to 30 minute walk-abouts every day at 2 p.m. (Afternoon is a great time to walk-about.)
    • Gratitude walks. 
    • What’s working walks.
    • How can I help walks.
    • Noticing walks. Just notice stuff.
    • Curiosity walks. 
    • Learn about people walks.
    • Celebrate progress walks.
#3. Clarifying wants.
It’s amazing that hard-working people often don’t know what they really want. And when you ask them what they want, the answer is often well below their dignity.
What do you you really want today? 
  1. Know what you want for others, yourself, and your team.
  2. Align your wants for others with their wants for themselves. 
Collisions between personal wants and team needs indicates a bad fit.
#4. Posture. 
Hold your head up. 
If you look down when you think, learn to look up or think less.
#5. Smiling. 
If you’re happy, tell your face. 
Isn’t it sad that the higher you go, the more your face droops? If you’re not happy, go make a difference for someone and smile about it. 
Bonus: People. Focus on them.
Leaders who sacrifice people in the process of getting results spend too much time on manipulative management techniques. 
The business of management and leadership IS people.
  1. Respect.
  2. Believe in.
  3. Encourage.
  4. Confront.
  5. Challenge.
  6. Coach.
  7. Mentor.
  8. Honor.
  9. Recognize.
  10. Promote.

Monday, 27 August 2018

ARE YOUR MICROMANAGING OR HOLDING PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE? THERE'S A BIG DIFFERENCE

A great post by dave craft!

How would I know if I am legitimately holding people accountable or hurtfully micromanaging them? 
Some of you may have taken the DISC assessment (which I use with all my coaching  clients.)  There is a section where it compares how you perceive yourself with how others perceive you.
For example, strong visionary types might see themselves as:
  • Pioneering
  • Positive
  • Assertive
  • Confident
 On the other hand, others may see them as:
  • Demanding
  • Egotistical
  • Aggressive
  • Controlling
One of these comparison situations that has gotten a lot of leaders in trouble is:
1.  They see themselves as appropriately holding people accountable
2.  Others see them as inappropriately micromanaging as they stifle creativity, innovation and gifting
Honestly, I have fallen into that situation myself.  I want to see things done in a certain way and, at times, rob people of doing it differently but still effectively.
I think the key is for a leader to work with people in such a way so as to keep the person motivated, encouraged and producing results without clipping their wings or doing all of their thinking for them. I am sure that trust plays a good part in this. The more I trust people, the less I need to “keep an eye on them,” which is negatively perceived and experienced as micromanaging.
If I don’t trust them to do what they have been assigned to do, I will more than likely wind up over-controlling them in some way and not see it for what it is.
The fact of the matter is that the more freedom you give people to fulfill their roles the way they’d like to, and are gifted to, the more satisfaction they’ll get from their work and the more quality work they will do.
If leaders insist on doing all the thinking for their organizations; if everything has to be done their way, what’s left for the people who work for them to be proud of-- proud in a good sense.
How much personal satisfaction can there be in doing a job where people are asked to do things that are pretty much planned and dictated by someone else? Unfulfilled and controlled people can be just as serious a problem in the church or market place as inefficient methods.
Creating a climate that gives people a high degree of independence takes a lot of leadership skill.  It also hinges on the content of a job along with the judgment and ability of the person handling it. 
As a leader, if you have been accused of micromanaging (and are beginning to believe you are), here are a few ideas for you:
1.  Give capable people a clear idea of the results you want to achieve and leave the methods to them. Together, establish some stretching but realistic agreed-upon goals and then set them free to accomplish them in their own way.
2.  Suggest methods rather than dictating them, with the understanding that people are free to devise something better.
3.  Consult people affected by a problem or a proposed change, asking them for their ideas, regardless of whether you think you need them or not.
4.  Enrich jobs by delegating decisions as far down the line as possible.  If a person on your team (or in your employ) is capable of making certain decisions effectively, why have it referred to someone else?  Read “Levels of Authority” by Michael Hyatt found under the “Articles” tab at DaveKraft.org for some excellent ideas on how to do this.
5.  Guide people to think of constructive suggestions you may already have in mind as opposed to simply announcing them yourself. Personal ownership empowers and motivates.
6.  Get weigh-in and buy-in before making decisions. People who have input in the development of a plan are much more likely to be interested in carrying out that plan.
7.  Eliminate as many rules and regulations as possible and allow people freedom and creativity as long as they produce excellent results. Let’s be honest. A lot of rules, policies and guidelines exist because we don’t trust the people we’ve hired (or recruited as volunteers) to work with us.
Leaders who successfully practice these seven ideas will enjoy excellent morale and discover that people actually get more done and do it with a great attitude. 

Thursday, 16 August 2018

THE ONE BEHAVIOR THAT MOST ADVANCES YOUR LEADERSHIP

A great post by Dan RocKwell!

Seeking feedback is at the top of the biggest leadership failures. 

Everytime I’m asked about giving feedback, I ask, “What are you doing to seek feedback?” I do this because leaders model the way. 
“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.” Albert Schweitzer
Excellence and feedback:
Imagine practicing foul shots or field goals but never seeing if they went in. You could practice for weeks but never improve.
Excellence requires passion, persistence, principles, clarity, direction, and more. But lack of feedback always holds you back.
Sadly, feedback from employees suggests they seldom receive sufficient feedback.
If you aren’t giving enough feedback, you aren’t getting enough feedback either.
Two questions:
#1. How can you ask for feedback and not feel subservient to others? 
Serving is strength; subservience is weakness.
Seeking feedback indicates strength.
Inviting feedback suggests the strength of passion and resolve to make progress. 
#2. How can you ask for feedback without others feeling superior to you? (Questions from a workshop participant.)
  1. Consider feedback a two-way exchange. One directional feedback encourages superior to inferior dynamics.
  2. Divide the exchange of feedback into separate conversations. Ask for feedback but don’t give feedback during the same conversation.
  3. Engage in open ended feedback conversations. “Let’s talk about how I’m doing as a leader.” (But avoid any hint that you’ve asked for feedback as an excuse to give it.)
  4. Extend honor. Protecting the ego of others opens the heart to receive tough feedback. People need to feel important, useful, even powerful. Exchanging feedback isn’t a pissing contest.
Two observations:
  1. “How am I doing?” usually results in useless feedback.
  2. “How is my hands-off approach working with you?” invites specific feedback about behaviors. 
Useful feedback is specific and timely.

Monday, 30 July 2018

The healthy leader. Are you one of them?

A great post by Dave Kraft

It was the crash heard around the Christian world. Yet another well know leader took a fall. It was more than a fall…it was an emotional, physical and spiritual meltdown. He was honest enough to write and speak about it. It would be understandable and tolerable if it were an isolated and unusual circumstance; but, unfortunately, it is not. 

The number of pastors and Christian workers who are in poor physical and emotional health are legion. In this article I will focus on physical health which, of course, impacts everything else.

I heard the pastor of one of the fastest growing churches in the country share that he recently attended a meeting with pastors of mega-churches and was the only one there who had not been hospitalised in recent months.

The simple fact of the matter is that as leaders many, if not most, of us don’t take very good care of ourselves. The needs almost always exceed the resources. If I’m not careful, I can be one of those resources that get stretched beyond what is reasonable or healthy and then down I go. 

Doctor and author Richard Swenson writes that there are 22 separate organizations in the U.S. that exist for the sole purpose of dealing with pre/post pastoral burnout. “Houston, we have a problem!”

Personally, I had my encounter of the dangerous kind when I was in my late 20s. I thought I was a Christian superman and had limitless capacity. I was wrong though, fortunately, not “dead wrong”…but definitely heading down a road of self-destruction. 
I was burning the candle at both ends and praying desperately for more wax. I set up an appointment with a doctor because I was experiencing intestinal problems that wouldn’t go away.

I returned to his office to receive what I was sure would be bad news such as bleeding ulcers or stomach cancer. Instead what I heard was some good news and a stern warning. “There’s nothing physically wrong with you…it’s all stress related.” That was the good news, which I welcomed with a huge sigh.  

Then came the warning: I would have to learn how to “slow down or else.” I wasn’t sure what the “or else” might be, but decided then and there that I didn’t want to find out. I also decided one more thing--I was going to study the whole subject of stress, burnout, pacing and physical health and apply what I learned.  I have been a student and practitioner ever since.

Okay, here are a few things I have been learning about being a healthy leader who will last and not disintegrate physically due to my own stupidity and poor choices.
Doctor Swenson, mentioned above, has written two excellent books on this subject.  “Margin” and “The Overload Syndrome.” They have both been a rich source of instruction, warning and wisdom.

Here are my six favourite gems from “Overload Syndrome”:

1. Driven people feel that if they are not busy, they are not of value...the tighter the schedule, the better they feel about themselves and their achievement.

2. The only trouble with success is that the formula for achieving it is the same as the formula for a nervous breakdown. Charles Swindoll

3. Is there a speed limit to life? When we exceed it, does God give us a ticket? I have come to believe that speed is as much responsible for the problem of personal and societal dysfunction as any other single factor.

4.  If we will not recover the discipline of waiting, God is under no moral obligation to speed up His timetable to accommodate our urgency.

5.  It is solitude and solitude alone that opens the possibility of a radical relationship with God that can withstand all external events up to and beyond death...I don’t know of any answer to busyness other than solitude. Dallas Willard

6. We sit at the beginning of a universal “connectivity” unprecedented in human history...the absence of hiding places.

Do you create, or allow to be created, a sane or insane schedule, week, day?  What will you do to:
  • Slow down
  • Smell the roses
  • Simplify
  • Say no to lots of things so you can say yes to a few things
All work and no play can make Jack not only a dull boy, but perhaps a very sick or very DEAD boy!

Monday, 9 July 2018

Seven Ways to Pray for Your Leade

A great article from David Mathis

Executive Editor, desiringGod.org
Wisdom is one of our greatest needs. As finite, fallen creatures, navigating the twists and turns of a complex, chaotic world, we often find ourselves at a loss for what to do next. And that’s only when we stop to consider the tough decisions.
Perhaps even more significant is the wisdom we exercise intuitively in all the little decisions in life we don’t pause to ponder. The overwhelming majority of our actions are not premeditated, but decided instinctively, without reflection. What comes out in these moments is either a trajectory of life with self at the center, or walking in various measures in step with the Spirit.
And the stakes are even higher for leaders, who are making decisions for others.

Tale of Two Wisdoms

James 3:13–18 draws a clear contrast between two kinds of wisdom: earthly wisdom and “the wisdom that comes down from above” (James 3:15). There is a kind of wisdom, exercised by humans, of human origin, and there is another kind — the true wisdom, exercised by humans, but of divine origin. One is heavenly, spiritual, and godly. The other, “earthly, unspiritual, demonic” (James 3:15).
Fortunately, our Father is an exceedingly generous giver, and he loves to respond with favor when we humbly petition him for wisdom (James 1:5). It is good to pray often for wisdom for yourself — and it is one of the most important things you can pray for your leaders.
Consider James 3:17 as a guide for praying for what our leaders would be.
The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

1. Pure

First, pray for your leaders’ purity. Sexual purity, yes, especially in our highly sexualized society, but “pure” here is so much more than simply that.
“It is good to pray often for wisdom for yourself — and it is one of the most important things you can pray for your leaders.”
Pray that they would be pure in their conduct, blameless, meaning “above reproach” (1 Timothy 3:2Titus 1:6–7). Pray that their motives would be pure, not mixed (2 Corinthians 7:11). Pray that their minds would be pure, not distracted (Philippians 4:8). Pray that the words of their teaching would be pure, not deceptive (2 Corinthians 2:17). “We who teach will be judged with greater strictness” (James 3:1).
Pray that their counsel would be pure and not lead others into sin, and that they would be wise in deciding whom to empower to represent the church as fellow leaders (1 Timothy 5:22). Pray that they would lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and be free to run with endurance the race that is set before them (Hebrews 12:1).

2. Peace-Loving

Pray that your leaders would love peace. Leaders in the church should not be quarrelsome (1 Timothy 3:3), and they should not be indifferent to peace (peace-neutral), but rather peacemakers (literally, “peace-loving”).
Pastors should not be “pugnacious” (the old language for it), quick to argue and pick a fight. Rather, they should be the kind of men who “have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels” (2 Timothy 2:23; see also 1 Timothy 4:7), and who are willing to go the extra mile to keep others from getting swamped in silly arguments.
This means that it is essential for church leaders to correct others. Being genuinely peace-loving means loving peace enough to move toward conflict and controversy for the sake of seeing peace come from it. Pastors who are truly peace-loving don’t avoid conflict, and don’t enjoy picking a fight, but are eager to engage with disagreement for the sake of bringing about the peace of agreement in the truth.
Pray that your pastors would “hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9). And such rebuke is not fight-picking, but peace-making, purging the church from gospel distortions, and ushering in the peace that we enjoy when we share in the truth. “A harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:18).

3. Gentle

Wisdom from above is gentle. In a world that says you must assert yourself and grab the bull by the horns to make a difference, divine wisdom runs in a different direction. Knowing that our Lord is sovereign and engaged, and building his church, enables the Lord’s servant to “not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness” (2 Timothy 2:24–25).
Pray that your leaders would have enough confidence in God to trust his will and ways, and play their part in his plan with patience and gentleness.

4. Open to Reason

Good leaders are good listeners. Wisdom from above teaches a leader that he emphatically does not know it all, and desperately needs the help and insight of colleagues and congregants, and even his critics, to gain fresh perspective and continue to learn as he’s leading.
“Pray that your leaders would have enough confidence in God to trust his will and ways.”
Leaders in the church are teachers (Hebrews 13:71 Timothy 3:22 Timothy 2:24Titus 1:9); they must do more than listen. They must speak. But it is essential that they be nothing less than good listeners. As James 1:19 says, “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” Yes, “every person” — and every leader all the more.
Pray that your leaders would be quick to hear, open to reason, and easily persuaded by good sense, argument, and rationale.

5. Full of Mercy and Good Fruit

True wisdom is inevitably practical. It comes out in action. “By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom” (James 3:13). And in the church in particular, such good fruit includes mercy.
Leaders who are simply just, and not merciful, have no place in the church. The church is the most mercied collective on the planet. Her leaders must know God’s mercy for them, and show God’s mercy to others. It’s true for every Christian, and all the most important for leaders: “Judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13).

6. Impartial

Impartiality is an especially important virtue for leaders. It’s bad enough when anyone plays favorites and treats others unfairly, but when it takes root among the leadership, the effects multiply. The whole church soon suffers.
The impartiality of God is a clear, and often overlooked, theme in the New Testament (1 Peter 1:17Galatians 2:6Romans 2:11Acts 10:34Luke 20:21Ephesians 6:9Colossians 3:25). Pray that the wisdom that comes from Christ would make his under-shepherds increasingly fair and impartial (James 2:191 Timothy 5:21).

7. Sincere

“Pray that your leaders would practice what they preach, that they would be doers of God’s word and not teachers only.”
Sincerity now brings us full circle to purity at the beginning of the list. The term literally means “without hypocrisy.” Pray that your leaders would practice what they preach, that they would be doers of God’s word and not teachers only.
Pray that they would have the spirit of the apostles: “We are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:17). Pray that they would be free from people-pleasing and too much concern with public relations.
Pray that the leaders of Christ’s church would renounce “disgraceful, underhanded ways” and “refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word,” but that in a world of spin, posturing, and deception, they would lead “by the open statement of the truth” (2 Corinthians 4:2).

Monday, 2 July 2018

Five Reasons You Should Pray for the Government

A great post by Josh Moody


Many at this stage in the election cycle are cynical of the motivations of our elected leaders.

Some may despair of finding effective (let alone godly) government. Yet, here are five reasons why you should pray for the government.

1. We should pray for everyone. Given that our leaders share our common humanity, and given that Jesus urges us to even pray for our persecutors (Matthew 5.44), praying for our leaders reminds us that they need it. Leadership is a tough job. And our leaders are people like us doing a difficult job. They require prayer. Plus Paul tells us to pray for ‘everyone’ (1 Timothy 2.1), and that even includes whichever politician it is that most infuriates you.

2. We should pray specifically for ‘those in authority’ (1 Timothy 2.2). Sometimes we may be tempted to pray less, or not at all, for those whose authority we deem to be illegitimate, or who in some way abuse their authority. But Paul urges us to pray for ‘kings’, and the kind of leaders he had in mind were mainly distinctly less benign than our royalty, and were certainly not a modern republic or parliamentary democracy.
So the first two reasons for praying for our government are quite simply that we are told to do so. We are asked in God’s Word to pray for everyone, and to pray specifically for those in authority.
But the Bible rarely tells us to do something without giving us explanation as to why we are to do it. Here come the next three reasons, each of which explain why we are to pray for our government beyond merely ‘because we are told to do so’.

3. We pray with the purpose that we may live peaceful and quiet lives. This is very different from a pseudo-messianic view of political leadership. We do not pray that they will solve all our problems, or reverse the noetic effects of the Fall, or solve every calamity that may happen on their watch. We pray so that we may have peaceful and quiet lives (1 Timothy 2.2). In other words, we are asking so that we can mind our own business and get about our lives without being interfered with and messed about by idiotic or evil rule. The sort of government we want is government that lets us have peaceful and quiet lives. And we pray so that we would have that sort of government. No caped crusader politicians; politicians that let us live peaceful and quiet lives.

4. We pray so that a context and culture may be encouraged by our political leaders which will help foster godliness and holiness (1 Timothy 2.2). There is no doubt that leadership has an influence, and perhaps beyond the bald power of making laws its greatest influence is the soft power of example. So we pray that our leaders will help set a tone, and provide a context, whereby godliness and holiness, moral decency, and good behaviour, are encouraged — and certainly not discouraged. There is much to pray for here in the modern West. A non-Christian leader can have this effect, as can a Christian, and we can ask that, whether our leaders are converted or not, they would act in a way that would help create a culture that allows for the fostering of godliness and holiness.

5. We pray because this pleases God ‘our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth’ (1 Timothy 2.2-3). Most of all, the reason why we pray for our leaders is so that they would allow for the preaching of the gospel. This is a big prayer, a much-needed prayer as relativistic tolerance begins to unravel and show itself to be — as it logically is — deeply intolerant, and gives a great reason for us corporately and individually to pray for our leaders. We ask that they would provide, or protect, or continue to further, opportunities for the preaching of the gospel. We want schools to be open to the gospel, universities, public spaces, and churches and Christian institutions to be able to go about their work unhindered. Paul does not ask us to pray that the government would itself convert people; it is unable to do that. Government instead has the relatively limited task of allowing for the gospel to do its job, which, by the power of ‘God our Saviour’, is the conversion of all those who believe.

What’s stopping you or your church from praying for your government? Leaders need our prayers, and we need to pray for them. Perhaps the next letter we write to our politician should let them know a) that we are praying for them, and b) what we are praying for.