Sunday, 12 November 2017


A great post by Dan Rockwell - A must read!

I’m still grappling with the realization that kindness/warmth is inconvenient. I’d be kind if I had the time.
Thankfully, when I work with people or organizations, they are my agenda. But what if you’re not on my agenda?

Warm and competent:
Change your thinking if you believe gunslinger-leaders get to the top.
“If you’re seen as low-warmth, you have something like a 1-in-2000 chance to make the top quartile of effectiveness as a leader.” (1) Zenger & Folkman
Don’t sacrifice warmth on the altar of competence.
The first thing teams need to know is, are you friend or foe. Do you intend harm or help?
The second thing teams need to know is, are you competent?
Leaders worry too much about competence and not enough about warmth.
Two questions that determine warmth:
  1. What is your intent?
  2. Are you able to act on your intentions?
Trustworthy leaders are warm and competent.
If you must choose between warmth and competence to build trust, choose warmth. That’s not to say that incompetent leaders are trustworthy. It is to say that we are quicker to trust warm leaders.
Adam Waytz, “Warmth really predominates judgments of trustworthiness.” (2)
The seven practices of warmth:
  1. Help others reach their goals. This assumes you know the goals of others.
  2. Display optimism, but don’t minimize challenges.
  3. Follow through. Leaders who don’t follow through are seen as uncaring.
  4. Maximize the strengths of others through coaching and mentoring.
  5. Challenge people to reach high and support them on the way. Low standards aren’t warm or inspirational.
  6. Explain an intention, seek feedback, and change. “I’m working to display optimism. What am I doing that displays optimism? How might I improve?”
  7. Maintain a forward-facing posture. Don’t ignore the past. Just focus on the future.
What concerns you about displaying warmth?
How might leaders display warmth?
  1. I’m the Boss! Why Should I Care if you Like Me?
  2. Measuring Trust Through Competence or Warmth
  3. Susan Fiske – Youtube video  (not quoted.)
  4. The Effects of Status on Perceived Warmth and Competence (Not used in this post.)

Saturday, 14 October 2017


If we aren’t careful, as time passes, leaders expect more from others and less from themselves. 

Would you hire you, if you interviewed yourself?

You expect the people you interview to answer important questions with concise clarity. Maybe it’s time to hold yourself to the same standard.

Questions to interview yourself:

1. Imagine 20 years have passed.
  1. What have you accomplished that makes you proud?
  2. What have you done to enrich the lives of others?
2. What do you wish you could do better?
Don’t humble-brag by saying silly things like, “I tend to work long hours.” Or, “I find it difficult to take time off.”
  1. How have your weaknesses held you back?
  2. How are you compensating for your weakness?
3. How forward-looking would the people you work with say you are on a scale of 1 to 10?
Suppose you believe your colleagues would give you an 8 on the forward-looking scale.
  1. Why didn’t you give yourself a 7?
  2. What would be true of you, if you were a 9 on the forward-looking scale?
4. What have you done to develop your leadership over the last 3 months?
Development requires focused attention and purposeful practice. If you aren’t working at developing your leadership, it’s not happening.
  1. How much time do you spend reflecting on your leadership practice?
  2. When are you reflecting on your leadership trajectory?
5. What leadership behaviors are essential for your future success?

6. If you don’t achieve your dreams, what will you have left undone?

7. What value do your strengths bring to the organization?
Bonus: What is your definition of leadership?
  1. How do you fulfill your own definition of leadership?
  2. How do you fall below your own definition of leadership?                                                                                                                                   One way to stay humble and connected is to give yourself a job interview.

Thursday, 21 September 2017


An Outstanding post by Dan Rockwell!

A great meeting is as rare as a white moose.  Count yourself fortunate if you ever see one.

Meetings include conversations in three directions.
  1. The leader talks to the people around the table.
  2. The people around the table talk to the leader.
  3. The people around the table talk to each other.
All three directions are relevant.

Successful leaders provide direction to meetings, but they don’t monopolize the conversation.  When one person does most of the talking, the people around the table disengage.

Yes, there are times when leaders speak to inform, provide focus, or add insight. But my experience indicates that leaders talk way too much in meetings.

Ego:  Today, as I listened to the conversation, I felt a need to be the “wise one.” My ego whispered, “You have ‘the’ answer. After all, they hired you because you’re so smart.” My ego loves me more than anyone else.

  1. Monopolizes conversations.
  2. Overshadows others.
  3. Needs the spotlight.
  4. Defends its viewpoint, rather than exploring another’s perspective.
  5. Adds too much “value” to the contributions of others.
  6. Loves to look like the smartest person at the table.
Ego in the leader sucks the life out of the talent around the table.

Leading the meeting isn’t dominating the conversation.

Talking to each other:  1) Strengthens connections  2) Generates surprising insights and options  3) Fuels energy.

Bigger conversations:  Get people talking to each other.  E.G  1) Fred, I noticed you haven’t contributed yet. What’s going through your mind?  2) Where does Wilma’s comment take our conversation.  3) Let’s generate a list of ideas that might help Barney work through his concern.

How might you lead meetings without dominating conversations?

Monday, 28 August 2017


Any bully can kick someone in the pants. It takes real leadership to inspire.  If you encouraged a team member once a week, you’d do it about 58 times a year. (taking into account holidays!)

Courage takes teams further than timidity. To encourage is to inspire courage.

Negative energy is like running with rocks in your pockets.

“The way to develop the best that is in a man is by appreciation and encouragement.” Charles Schwab

12 sentence starters that inspire courage:

  1. I appreciate …
  2. I notice …
  3. You’re great at …
  4. Thank you for … (Be specific.)
  5. I’m impressed with …
  6. You help us get where we want to go when you …
  7. You’re making progress on …
  8. You encourage others when …
  9. Great effort when you …
  10. Congratulations on …
  11. You’re making a difference for …
  12. I’m encouraged when you …
Skillful leaders use encouraging language EVERYDAY!

7 sentences that inspire courage:

  1. Let’s give it a try.
  2. What’s the next imperfect step you could take?
  3. What would you like to try?
  4. What are you learning?
  5. If you weren’t nervous, what would you do next?
  6. I’ve seen you rise to challenges in the past.
  7. You’re on the right track.
Give yourself permission to encourage imperfect people. Don’t use someone’s weakness in one area as an excuse to withhold encouragement in another.

Lifting-up takes leaders further than beating-down.

Thursday, 24 August 2017


A great post by Dan Rockwell!

I can not notice people. I want to notice, but I’m easily distracted.
People can’t see your heart, when you’re lost in your head.

It doesn’t matter if you want to notice people. It only matters that you do.

Distraction blocks interaction.
I walk around distracted by a million things – what’s next, problems, opportunities, and performance, to name a few. I’m contemplating a coaching client’s concerns or the next presentation.

Remember you matter.
It’s easy to forget that people watch leaders. A frown on your face signals problems to the team. You may not mean to be a downer, but a nagging frown drags others down.

It ain’t hard, but it’s important.
People talk about simple things like smiling when they describe how leaders might improve their leadership.

You object that you’re not good at smiling. That’s so sad.
Bad is stronger than good. You need at least three smiles to overcome the negative impact of one frown. You’re in the hole baby. You better get smiling.

3 tips for frowning leaders to get their smile on.
  1. Tell yourself you like people. Think of something you like about the person in front of you. If you don’t like people, get out of leadership.
  2. Find a positive thing to believe in. What positive thing might you believe about others on the team?
  3. Admire a strength. When you walk up to someone, think about something you admire about them.
A smile that creates wrinkles around your eyes indicates that you notice positive things.
7 small things that make a positive difference.
  1. Smile.
  2. Show interest. “How are the kids?”
  3. Pat on the back.
  4. Bring coffee for the team.
  5. Celebrate progress and hard work.
  6. Sing happy birthday.
  7. Say thank you. (A smile and a little eye contact takes ‘thank you’ to a whole new level.)
What tips might you offer to frowners?

What small behaviors have big impact?

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Are you a toxic leader and perhaps don't know or don't think you are? Find out by taking the TLS

 There are more toxic leaders leading today than you might think. There are three possibilities. 1) You are a toxic leader, know it, and are allowing the Holy Spirit and those you lead to facilitate change in your life and ministry, 2) You are a toxic leader and don’t know it or don’t think you are. 3) You are a healthy leader and are aware of toxic attitudes and behaviors and are prayerfully watching for it in your life. 
 Dan Rockwell will help us take a Toxic Leader Score (TLS).
Your Toxic Leader Score* (TLS) is the level of unnecessary irritation you cause others. If you occasionally irritate colleagues by arriving late, you’re a 3 on a range from 1 to 10.

If you frequently irritate colleagues, but don’t realize it, your TLS is 9. The worst leaders don’t know they’re toxic.

10 ways to elevate your Toxic Leader Score:
1.     Make everything about results. “Relationships are for babies and losers.”
2.     Minimize or ignore emotion and energy. “Just do your job!”
3.     Change course in mid-stream without preparing people or giving reasons.
4.     Complain more than affirm and compliment.
5.     Devalue progress. When someone makes progress, remind them they have far to go.
6.     Set long-term goals – ignore short-term wins.
7.     Focus on fixing weaknesses, rather than maximizing strengths.
8.     Be a know-it-all.
9.     Interrupt people.
10.   Believe it’s all about the money.

Leadership is more than vision and strategy. It’s also inspiration. Your unscientific Inspiration Score (IS) is your ability to tap the power of happiness.

10 Ways to elevate your Inspiration Score:
1.     Dedicate yourself to building positive energy environments. The most powerful thing you do is create positive environments where people love coming to work.
2.     Show respect. If you want people to act like owners, stop treating them like slaves.
3.     Be decisive with openness.
o    Seek input.
o    Explore options.
o    Explain purpose.
o    Make decisions.
o    Adapt as you go.
4.     Trust people. Meddlers and micro-managers top the Toxic Leader chart.
5.     Ask questions, gently. Questions feel like interrogations when all you care about are results.
6.     Make work about them, not you. Help people get where they want to go.
7.     Give helpful feedback.
8.     Practice open handed generosity.
9.     Pat people on the back, literally. Touch energizes. But, don’t lay your hand on people.
10.   Pursue excellence collaboratively. Set high standards and figure out how to reach them together.

What behaviors make leaders toxic?

What behaviors make leaders inspirational?

*TLS is an unscientific scale created for this post.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Ten things that can cause church conflicts to get out of hand

WOW - A must read!

Conflict is not necessarily bad, but the way it’s handled can be bad. Where there are no conflicts there probably aren’t real deep relationships either.

Chuck Lawless shares ten things that contribute to conflict in churches getting out of hand.Originally posted by Chuck Lawless

Some years ago, I was a volunteer firefighter. It was amazing to see what could happen when a tiny spark ignited a small blaze that could quickly become a roaring fire. Given the right conditions, a spark could lead to absolute destruction. 
That happens in church conflict, too. Here are 10 “right conditions” for escalating conflict in a church. 

1.  The church is made up of sinners. That’s the case, of course, and that fact won’t change. Sinful people are naturally selfish and divisive. Sanctification sometimes takes a while to correct these tendencies.

2.  Members care about something. This “condition” might seem strange, so hear my point. Some conflict in the church heats up in direct proportion to how much people care about some issue in the church. Their care may be misdirected, and their sense of ownership may be problematic – but they fight for something precisely because they care about it that much. 

3.  The church has no “up front” relational expectations. The churches I know that deal well with conflict are usually those who teach how to deal with relational conflict as early as their membership class. The church that ignores these potential issues invites problems.

4.  Nobody’s praying for unity.  Jesus prayed this way in John 17:21 – “May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me.” If Jesus prayed that prayer for His followers, we, too, should be praying for this unity.

5.  Church leaders have not taught biblical principles for conflict resolution. Matthew 18:15-20 is a starting point. Putting others before self (Phil. 2:3) obviously matters. Believers who don’t know what the Bible teaches about reconciliation will follow the ways of the world – and the way of the world is often, “I want to win.” 

6.  Leaders do not address legitimate concerns.  At times, the concerns that church members raise are legitimate. When church leaders blatantly ignore those concerns, nonchalantly hear them, or superficially address them, the conflict is not resolved. Its resolution is only delayed.

7.  Conflict is not separated from emotion. I think, for example, of battles over worship styles. These preferences are so connected with emotions that it’s often difficult to separate the two. Conflict escalates because emotions heat up.

8.  People operate in secret. You know the scenarios. Anonymous complaints. Unsigned letters. Behind the scenes meetings. Opposition rallies cloaked as “prayer meetings.” It’s all secretive – and it’s often demonic.

9.  People listen to gossip. Once conflict begins, it’s often fueled by rumor and innuendo. Those who spread the rumors are acting in sin, but so are those folks who stoke the coals by listening. As long as anyone listens, the fire spreads.

10.  Nobody carries out church discipline. It would be ideal if all conflict were resolved before discipline became necessary. The Bible, though, assumes that churches will take necessary steps to deal with troublesome members. If the church doesn’t do so (or, if they do so, but in an unbiblical or uncharitable way), they prolong the conflict. 

Friday, 4 August 2017

The Ultimate Character Test Any Great Leader Passes

It was John Wooden who said, “Pay more attention to your character then to your reputation, for your character is what you really are whereas your reputation is merely what other people think you are.”

In this day of Christian leadership we pay more attention to a lot of things instead of paying attention to our character which the Lord highly values. Here Carey Nieuwhof shares his thoughts on “The Ultimate Character Test Any Great Leader Passes.”  by Dave Kraft

Originally posted by Carey Nieuwhof

The longer I lead and the more I see, the more I’m convinced that character ultimately determines a leader’s true success.

Moral failure takes out more leaders than it should. But real success is deeper than just avoiding the ditch!

Monday, 26 June 2017

Getting yourself unstuck

Leaders get stuck and can’t seem to maintain forward momentum.

It happens to all of us at one time or another. How do you get “unstuck?” Here is Brad Lomenick, founder of the Catalyst movement, with some simple solutions.

Originally posted by Brad Lomenick.

Sometimes we just feel stuck. Not that anything is really wrong, but more the sense that we’re not going anywhere. That place where you sense that things are okay, but not great. Where it seems like you are just going through the motions. Dependable and reliable, yes. Consistent, absolutely.

But not necessarily bringing your A-game.

I know the feeling. For me, this usually happens after an event is over, or completing a big project. About 10 days-two weeks later. I usually just feel stuck at that point. I have a hard time being creative, being intentional, getting things done, moving the ball forward, and making decisions. I feel like I’m walking in knee deep mud at these points.

Another time of the year many of us feel stuck is mid to late summer, right about now. You feeling it right now?

If so, here are a few things to do:
1.  Get out of your “normal” routine. Break up your schedule. Go on a trip. Visit someone you’ve wanted to see for quite a while. Hang out with people you don’t know but want to learn from. The key on this is break up your “normal” with something that is out of place, out of context, or just simply breaks up the rhythm. Makes you see things from a different vantage point. For me, when I travel, it usually “unsticks” me.

2.  Go back to the Basics. Sports teams will go back to the basics to get out of a rut. In football it’s back to “blocking and tackling” or in basketball it’s back to “passing, dribbling, and shooting.” For you, this could mean a number of things, but in essence, returning to the foundations of what you do, why you do it, and how you are uniquely designed to be doing what you are doing.

3.  Jump on the Inspiration train. When I get stuck, I usually take time to find some stories of inspiration, read some emails, watch some videos, and allow myself to be re-inspired and re-energized.

4.  Talk with someone who motivates you. I also like to make sure I find some time to spend on the phone or in person with people who inspire me, because they usually can pull me out of my funk that I’m in. Make sure you have some people in your life who are motivators and inspiration icons- when you are around them it just fires you up. Could be a friend, a boss, a mentor, or someone you don’t know well. For me, I’ll call Bob Goff. If you know Bob, you know what I mean!

5.  Keep it simple stupid. Kiss. Figuratively, not literally…! Start a new to do list with no more than 5 things on it. Get those done. Then move on to the next 5 things to do. Don’t overwhelm yourself with a to do list that is unachievable and not reachable. Focus on simplicity and clarity.

6.  Hang around kids. Whether your own kids or someone else’s. Children have a way of providing inspiration because of their imagination, childlike faith, and sense of amazement at everything.

7.  Return to the core. What do you love to do? What brings you to life? Maybe it’s reading a good book, or taking a drive in the country, or playing golf, or playing guitar or singing. Reconnecting to our areas of strength and passion usually reignites the momentum.

8.  Exercise. Take a run, go swimming, work out, climb a mountain, jump on a bike, water ski, play basketball, or whatever activity fits you

Monday, 19 June 2017

The winning leader

Have you experienced a teacher or professor who was brilliant in their subject, but didn’t seem to care about you as their student?Have you encountered a doctor or nurse who seemed to be a genuinely caring person, but only average in their skills?

This is a common experience and can be true in anyone from a plumber to a therapist.

But when you find someone who is both competent and cares, that is an extremely valuable person.

The same is true for leaders.

When a leader is highly competent and clearly demonstrates that he or she sincerely cares, that is always a winning combination.

I’ve met pastors who are brilliant Bible teachers, but somewhat distant from the people. I’ve also met warm and loving pastors who are only average in their communication skills.

Here’s an intriguing question. Which do you think is more important? Competence or Caring?

The quick answer might be, “It depends.”  Perhaps you’d say: “I want the pilot of my next flight to be competent; I don’t care if he’s aloof and distant. I don’t need him to hold my hand, I need him to land the plane.” Fair enough.

But there are far more situations where I think you will say caring matters. For example, I want my dentist to be really good, and I want him to care. I don’t want some guy with a drill in his hand with zero compassion!

You don’t want the teacher of your 1st grader to be brilliant in early childhood education, and yet be cold or even harsh toward your child.

As a leader, I don’t think we have to settle for either/or, and I know the people who follow you don’t have to settle.

Candidly, people have choices. They will search until they find a leader, doctor, teacher, coach, boss etc., who is both caring and competent.

Two Truths to Help You Move Forward:

1) Caring isn’t automatic.

Not everyone cares. We agree on that.You can’t learn to care. It’s not a skill. You either care or you don't and caring come from he     If you ask God to give you a heart that cares and the ability to demonstrate that you care, He will. I believe the only criteria is that you use that heart level care for the good of others and the advancement of His Kingdom.

It also takes personal capacity to care. You need to have the margin in your life to express that you care. For example, if you have a serious health issue, or a struggling marriage, or have just experienced a significant loss, or intense personal financial pressure, it’s difficult to show others that care when your life is, (understandably or otherwise), centered on you.

Further, caring isn’t independent from competence. As a church leader, if you don’t really care, it’s difficult to possess the needed empathy that allows you to be motivated to pay the price to get better.  

Truly caring is necessary in order to have have the empathy needed to be better leaders.

2) Competence always comes with a price.

I love the principle that Malcom Gladwell writes about in his book,  He calls it, “The Rule of 10,000 hours.” He lists and tells amazing stories about people who have reached an extraordinary level of excellence, and all have invested at least 10,000 hours of practice in their arena of expertise.

You can’t dodge the bullet of sacrifice to become great at what you do.

The following process will help you increase your competence so you will become better at what you do.

Honest assessment:  Gaining a solid and accurate self-awareness is where this process begins. Knowing what you are good at, and what you are not, is essential. Accurate assessment includes the honest opinion of leaders beyond you in their level of experience and capability.

No one gets really good at what they do without hard work and burning a little of the “midnight oil.” Without passionate and consistent effort, even the most naturally gifted leaders will remain average.

Great coaching:  Very few leaders can teach and coach themselves. You don’t need a coach or mentor to meet with you every week or even every month. You are fortunate if you have a great mentor or coach who meets with you two or three times a year. You need all that time between meetings to practice!

Practice, practice, practice:  Playing the guitar is different from practicing. When I play the guitar, I’m doing what I know. When I practice the guitar, I’m working on something that I can’t do till I can. Perhaps it’s a really tough chord that I just  play. So, I work on it until I can.

The same is true in leadership. If you practice something in leadership, that means you are working on a skill that you don’t have, until you do. And then you keep working on it until you master it.

Of course, if your church continues to grow, you never really master anything in leadership because as your church continues to increase in size, your skill needs to advance with it.

So how about you? What do you need to focus on more right now?

Competence or Caring?

How about each individual on your team?