Tuesday, 24 September 2013

How to Rise Above “I’ll do it Myself”

This is an exceptional post by Dan Rockwell.
Individual contributors have impact by getting things done. Leaders have exponential impact by getting things done through others.  But, it often feels easier to do it yourself.
Five reasons it’s easier to do it yourself:
  1. Control.
  2. Quality. It’s done the way you want it to be done.
  3. Scheduling.
  4. No relational component.
  5. No communication confusion.
Three real reasons to do it yourself:
  1. You plan to keep doing it.
  2. It’s once and done. It really is quicker.
  3. You have unique technical skills. No one else is equipped.
When others should but can’t:  The work of leaders is the work of others. The first work of leaders is developing the team. It may be easier to do it yourself, but in the end you short-circuit exponential impact.
Develop the team or you’ll do it yourself.
The door to developing others swings on modelling. Humbly live it yourself or shut up and go home.
Don’t neglect the behaviours you expect from others. Arrogant self-exemption closes hearts and minds, but, modelling enhances influence.
After modelling, teach others to combine strengths with contrasting qualities.
Navigate tension between:
  1. Decisiveness and listening.
  2. Focus and flexibility.
  3. Tenacity and kindness.
  4. Vision and openness.
  5. Kindness and candor.
  6. Passion and quietness.
  7. Analysis and initiative.
  8. Planning and people.
  9. Solitude and relationships.
  10. High expectations and helpfulness.
An example:
Listening frustrates decisive leaders. What’s the point of talking when decisions have been made. Teach decisive leaders to slow down and ask questions that explore purpose, align people, and weigh options.
The more important the decision, the more necessary inclusive listening becomes. But, weighty decisions often drive decisive leaders to make choices in isolation.
Listening is the pursuit of excellence not leading by consensus.
Last word:  Leaders who don’t develop the team end up doing it themselves.                                                
How do you help others deal with tensions between corresponding qualities?                                                What others tensions can you add?

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Why The Best Leaders Are Sometimes Invisible

By Justin Lathrop.  As far as I am concerned this is a brilliant post.   

There is a pervasive stereotype that “leaders” are the ones in the limelight, the ones on stage, the extroverts with big personalities who’s faces are on the front page. Like many stereotypes, I think this one is often unfair.
Some of the best leaders I know don’t demand up-front attention, but their leadership is powerful because of the fruit it brings.
Their teams, or organizations or the individuals who come in contact with them are grown and propelled forward by the vision they have, and by their strength, even if their vision and strength are quiet and unassuming.

One of the reasons I think quiet leadership like this is so powerful is because the burden of responsibility is taken off of one person, and transferred to many.

A group of people living up to their full potential is truly more capable than a single person living up to his full potential. This is easy to admit. Which is better — one person who is living out the Gospel, or a group of people, with unified vision and purpose, all contributing equally to the community in his or her own unique way?
The answer is obvious.
So a leader, then, might sometimes be the person from stage, teaching and explaining and casting vision, but a leader might just as often be the one who is discipling, training or just living a life worth mimic behind the scenes.
Chances are, this is happening over coffee, or lunch, or at home, or in an office. No stage (or lights) needed.

The other thing I love about this view of leadership, is that it acts as an important reminder we are all leaders, if we’ll accept the job title.

We are leaders in our homes, with our families, in our marriages, at our work. We all have the opportunity to be someone who sets the “tone” for the year, or the week, or the day.
We can choose to not just respond to what life hands us, but to set the pace, to cast vision, to inspire change.
When we do this, we suddenly start to impact people around us without even realizing we’re doing it. Their lives will change as our lives change. We can make an impact without asking for any credit.

The final reason I love this view of leadership is that my favorite leaders are humble people.

Some of those very humble people are “limelight” people, in the sense that they are well-known, and sometimes on stage. But none of them are begging for the attention or asking for praise. In fact, each of them are willing to work hard and live their life in an honest, congruent way.
Their main objectives are to do what God has called them to do, and to help others discover and do the same.
They’re contributing to the Kingdom in their unique way, and they’re doing it to the very best of their ability. I know up-front people who are doing this, and I know behind-the-scenes people who are doing it. But all of them are humble.
And people are noticing and changing.
It doesn’t take fame or notoriety to live this way. In fact, it doesn’t take anything other than just a willingness to work hard, be humble, and to welcome the grace of Jesus.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

7 Ways God Will Evaluate Your Faithfulness

By Rick Warren - WOW!  You did it again Rick

Pastors and leaders, I’m going to give you a sneak peek at your final exam.  You’re going to stand before God one day and He’s going to evaluate your faithfulness.  He’s going to look at eight different aspects of your life to judge your faithfulness and you should be highly interested developing these areas of your life and leadership.

1. Do you possess the right values?

A faithful person knows what’s important in life and what isn’t important in life.  A faithful person knows how to invest his or her life.  A faithful person makes their life count.  A faithful person knows the significant apart from the trivial.
Proverbs 28:20 says, “A faithful man will be richly blessed but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.”  This verse contrasts faithfulness with a desire to get rich quick.  He’s not talking about making money.  He’s saying that what we have to realize is there is more to life than just the accumulation of things.  The Bible says we’re to live like fish swimming upstream in a very materialistic world.  Faithfulness is proven by our refusal to buy into the system that says the almighty buck is the number one thing in life.  Faithfulness is often proven by choosing of a simplified lifestyle to allow more time for ministry.

2. Do you care for the interests of others?

The second way God is going to judge our faithfulness is our relationship to other people.  Did we care about the relationships of others and not just our own relationships?
Faithfulness swims against the stream of contemporary culture, which says, “What’s in it for me?  What are my needs, my ambitions, my desires, my goals, my hurts, my values, my profit, my benefit?”  But God says faithfulness is proven by our others-directedness and by giving our life away, by looking at others rather than concentrating on ourselves.

3. Do you live with integrity before an unbelieving world?

In other words, a mark of faithfulness is the kind of testimony you have with unbelievers.  The Bible teaches that a pastor is to be above reproach in the community and to have a good reputation, not with believers, but with unbelievers.  When God evaluates your faithfulness, He won’t be looking at your communication skills but He will be examining the way in which you walked before those who are outside the faith.

4. Do you keep your promises?

When God evaluates your faithfulness, He’s going to look at all the promises you made.  Proverbs 20:25 “It is a trap to dedicate something rashly and only later consider your vow.”  It’s easier to get into debt than to get out of debt – that’s making a promise to pay.  It’s easier to get into a relationship than out of a relationship.  It’s easier to fill up your schedule than it is to fulfill your schedule.  The Bible is saying that faithfulness is a matter of if you say it, you do it.  You keep your promises.  The number one cause of resentment is unfulfilled promises.

5. Do you develop your God-given gifts?

There’s a tremendous emphasis in the Bible on using the gifts and the talents God has given you. God has made an investment in your life and He expects a return on it. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each should use whatever spiritual gift he has received to serve others faithfully, administering God’s grace in its various forms.”  Notice it says if you don’t use your spiritual gift, people are getting cheated.  Faithfulness is based on what we do with what we have.

6. Do you obey God’s commands?

1 Samuel 2:35 god says “I will raise up a faithful priest to serve me and do whatever I tell him to do”  Circle “do whatever I tell him to do”.  God defines faithfulness as obedience to the commands of Christ.  We can be skilled leaders and communicators, but disobedience disqualifies us from being seen as faithful as God defines it. This is basic, but its essential.

7. Do you pass on what you learn?

The Bible talks a lot about the transferring process of multiplication.  You’re to give what you learn to faithful men and those faithful men are to give it to others, and so on.  None of us would be here today if there hadn’t been faithful men and women in the last 2000 years of the church. We’re leading today because some faithful men and women took time to write down the Scriptures, and others preserved the Scriptures, and others translated the Scriptures.  We’re here because of the testimony of faithful people.
If God teaches you a spiritual truth and you’re learning a spiritual truth, it’s your duty to pass it on to others.
How do I become faithful?  Galatians 5:22-23 says, “The fruit of the Spirit is faithfulness.”  It’s one of the nine fruits.  When the Holy Spirit lives in my life, I will demonstrate faithfulness.  How do you know when you’re filled with the Spirit?  What is the test?  Some kind of emotional experience?  Not necessarily.  You can have an emotional experience and not be filled with the Spirit.  What is the test?  The fruit is the test.  How do I demonstrate that I’m filled with the Spirit?  I demonstrate it when I’m faithful to the responsibilities that God has given me.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Marriage Reveals, Not Creates Problems!

This is an exceptional post by Rick Warren.
If you are prolonging a relationship that you know is going nowhere, don’t continue it. “But I won’t have anybody to take me out on Friday night,” you say. A bad marriage is a million times worse than not going out on Friday night! The longer you’re in a relationship, the more difficult it’s going to be to get out of it.
Proverbs 28:23 says, “In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery” (NLT).

Size that person up quickly. Make sure he or she is emotionally healthy. Don’t be afraid to ask questions like, “Do you have uncontrolled anger?” “Can we talk about me?” or “Will you pick up the tab?”

Regardless of the emotional state of your partner, you need to begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ yourself. If you haven’t done that, you need to start there. You need to get spiritually connected to God.
Then I want to challenge you to commit yourself to God’s standard and not let oceans of emotions sway you into making a stupid decision. Given the right situation, you can get a quiver in your liver and fall in love with the idea of being in love. But don’t make a stupid decision!

Don’t date until your own emotional hurts are healed or at least in the healing process. Get rid of the bitterness. Get rid of the anger problem. Get rid of your baggage.

I remember marrying a couple many years ago at Saddleback. About five years later we had them over for dinner. The woman told me, “When I walked down the aisle in that white dress, I had no idea that I was carrying an entire bag of emotional garbage on my back. And I took all that garbage into the marriage.”
Friends, marriage does not create problems. It reveals them. The more you can deal with it before you get married, the happier, more God-honoring, and more fulfilling your marriage is going to be. You will have that deep soul intimacy that is personal, relational, sexual, and spiritual. It is the oneness that comes from being unified by a relationship to God, your purpose, and your calling.

Talk About It
  • What are the changes you need to make in your relationship?
  • What are the hard questions you need to ask in your relationship?

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Five Reasons Your Not Getting Leadership Development Results

This is a great post on leadership development from Mac Lake...

You’re spending time, money and man power trying to develop leaders in your organization but your leadership pipeline remains dry and devoid of any new potential leaders. Why aren’t you getting the results you want? Here are five potential problems you should consider as you evaluate your efforts.
  • You’re trying to develop leaders fast. We want leadership development to be fast, easy and linear. But the truth is it’s slow, messy and customized to the learner. True development takes time. When we rush development we short cut the process and don’t get the results we’re looking for.
  • You’re not using a reproducible model. If you survey your staff you’ll likely discover that each are using different processes to develop leaders. Left to their own they had to come up with something, so they did. And now there are varying levels of success across the organization. But no one has every stopped long enough to ask, “What are the best practices for developing leaders in our industry?” I’d recommend you communicate, coordinate, collaborate and develop a reproducible model you can use across all departments.
  • You’re building your development on the shoulders of one person. We love it when there’s one person in our organization that’s a leadership development machine. It comes natural to them. They’re passionate about it and there’s a constant outpour of new leaders coming up behind them. This is a huge benefit to an organization until that person leaves. Building a culture of leadership development requires building an army of leadership developers in your organization.
  • Your training isn’t adding value to your leaders. I hear this comment all the time, “We tried getting our leaders together for development but they stopped showing up over time.” Listen carefully…People will attend things that add value to their lives. Stop blaming them for not showing up and take a look at what you’re delivering. Was it boring? Was it irrelevant? Was it all lectures? Did it violate adult learning principles? Could they apply the principles in their leadership at home, work and ministry? Make it valuable and they won’t want to miss it.
  • Your training is not accessible. Leaders today need options. Offering training at one time in one location is restrictive and inhibits people from participating. Leadership development will have broader impact when it’s delivered anytime, at any place and at any pace. This means less control and will require more leaders willing to invest themselves in reproducing new leaders. But with new tools such as Ministry Grid, a new online leadership development resource by Lifeway, accessibility to leadership development increases exponentially. See www.ministrygrid.com.
If you’re not getting the results you want then take time, evaluate and make adjustments. Allowing your leadership pipeline to remain dry is damaging the future impact of your mission.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

The Biggest Challenge of being a leader

This is a great Post by Tony Morgan.

- When there is uncertainty for the future, leaders clarify vision for where the organization is going.
- When a good opportunity pops up that pulls the organization from its core strategy, leaders say “no.”
- When teams are pulling in different directions, leaders prioritize what’s important now.
- When conflicts arise around competing core values, leaders lead through the conflict to preserve unity.
- When leaders make mistakes, leaders are quick to admit responsibility.
- When mistakes are made by someone else, leaders are quick to take responsibility.
- When the team gets comfortable and content to stick with past practices, leaders challenge the status quo.
- When there is work to be completed and deadlines to hit, leaders prioritize time for leadership development and equipping others.
- When talented, high capacity people join the team, leaders let others lead but they never give away accountability.
- When someone continues to drop the ball, leaders step in to coach and redirect.
- When someone continues to ignore the coaching, leaders remove people from the team.
- When consensus is impossible and people are watching, leaders make decisions knowing criticism will follow.
- When the future is set and a team has clear vision, values and priorities, leaders empower others to make decisions.
- When the crisis hits and people are searching for direction, leaders make decisions quickly and decisively.

Do you know the biggest challenge of being a leader?  Eventually you have to lead.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Courageous People Resolve Conflict

This is a great post by Rick Warren. 
“God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and self discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT)
Why does God want us to live at peace with everyone? Because unresolved conflict has three devastating effects in your life.

First, it blocks your fellowship with God. When you’re out of whack with others, you can’t be in harmony with God. When you’re distracted, when you’re in conflict with other people, you cannot have a clear connection with God. 1 John 4:20 says, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar” (NLT).

Second, unresolved conflict hinders your prayers. Over and over again the Bible says that where there is conflict and sin and disharmony in your life, your prayers are blocked.

Third, unsolved conflict hinders your happiness. You cannot be happy and in conflict at the same time. When conflict comes in the front door, happiness goes out the back.

So, don’t you want to get rid of the conflict in your life? The starting point of resolving any conflict is to take the initiative. Don’t wait for them to come to you; go to them. You be the peacemaker.  Don’t ignore the conflict. Don’t deny the conflict. Don’t push the conflict under the carpet.  Have you heard the expression, “Time heals everything?” That’s a bunch of bologna. Time heals nothing! If time heals everything, you wouldn’t ever need to see the doctor.  Actually, time makes things worse. When you’ve got an open wound and you don’t deal with it, it festers. Anger turns to resentment, and resentment turns to bitterness.The conflict is not going to resolve itself. You’ve got to intentionally deal with it.

Only courageous people resolve conflict. Maybe the most courageous thing you can do is face an issue that you’ve been ignoring for a long time in your marriage, or with your kids, or with your employees, or your boss, or whoever.

Where do you find the courage to face it? You get it from God.
The Bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7, “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and self discipline.” That means if you let God’s Spirit fill your life, you're going to be filled with power, love, and self-discipline. And God’s love overcomes fear.

When your love is greater than your fear, you’ll do things you’re afraid to do. That’s called courage. When you’re filled with God’s love, you’ll also be filled with love for that person who is irritating you or that person you’re in conflict with.

Talk About It
  • What are you pretending is not a problem in your relationships? Money? Trust? In-laws? Family? Children? Communication? Values? Work schedule?
  • What will you do today to take the initiative to resolve those conflicts?