Have you ever found yourself wishing you could have a “do-over” in a given situation? Man, I know there have been many times I wish that I had that opportunity! Well, there is such a thing in real, adult life, and we can stop what we are doing and start doing something else. It doesn’t erase what has been done, but we can begin anew.
A Visual Example of a Firm Foundation
A few weeks ago, I wrote on the importance of building your ministry on a firm foundation. What has struck me since then is that faulty foundations can be removed and rebuilt. This week I was shown a physical structure where the previous foundation has to be restored to be able to support the current structure above it, so I got a live visual of what I had been thinking.
Rebuilding a New Foundation
The idea of laying a new foundation is not only an important concept for leaders, but it is vital for all of us. If you are like me, you’ve probably allowed habits to develop over...
It has been said that leaders are learners, but not everyone in that role is willing to put in the effort it takes to become a better learner. A leader may believe they understand everything they need to know to do their job and to get others to do theirs. However, this type of thinking will limit how far a leader can go and take their team. They have what psychologist Carol Dweck calls a fixed mindset. Such a person may be very talented, and they believe their talent will get them through life, not needing to put in much effort to improve.
Talent alone will not sustain you
I have seen very talented people who start their careers well. People follow them because they appear to be someone who will go far. They might be like King Saul, who was taller than everyone else around him, was handsome, exhibited a charismatic personality, and was a talented leader that people were proud to call their king. God placed him on the throne because the Israelites wanted a king...
My wife and I once lived in a house in which the basement walls had been rushed and poured during a time of the year that allowed for it to crack and eventually leak. That basement was the foundation of our house, and although every other area of the cement walls was strong, this one area was flawed, and every year we had to deal with water coming into the house.
This troubling scenario came to mind as I listened to my pastor’s message today from Matthew 7:24-27 about the importance of building on Jesus and his commands as our sure foundation. My mind wandered back to another message I had heard years ago while I was still in the pastorate about the foundations we, as pastors and ministry leaders, lay when we begin our ministries. His words challenged me that day, and I was re-challenged by them and by my pastor's remarks this morning as I contemplated the foundations on which many ministries are established. I want to challenge you to think about the things on...
Good Business Sense Does Not a Leader Make
Many people confuse business acumen with leadership ability. Just because someone is successful in business does not mean they are also good leaders. It might be they can develop a great product or service and can get people to buy it from them. It might mean they have a great ability to manage finances, so they are successful. My grandmother was like that. After my grandfather died at an early age, she took the life insurance money and purchased rental home fixer uppers and flipped them for a good profit, even after paying others to do the work of updating them. She was tight with her money and was able to accumulate a very sizeable amount of money in the last half of her life. She displayed good business acumen. However, she was not a leader. She didn’t have day-to-day employees that she had to lead so she didn’t have to worry about interpersonal skills such as listening or empathy, or even having vision. I would argue that...
Although I am not currently in a pastoral position, I spent 16 years in that role. One thing I know is that I love ministry, most pastors do. Of course, there are some aspects of the job that I like more than others, but that is true of anything we do and enjoy. The sad fact is that I knew pastors who loved ministry, but were let go due to one sin or another. Many of them were more concerned with going through a “quick” restoration period so they could get back into the ministry than they were in how their sin affected the people they were called to serve. For those of you who are wondering, they had the wrong perspective.
The Importance of Honest Leadership
As ministry leaders, it is important for us to remember that much of the emotional, psychological, and spiritual well-being of those we lead is in our hands, at least to some degree. Whether we like it or not, people look to us for spiritual and practical guidance. Our actions and our words matter. It took me...
Today I want to talk to you about why leadership training seminars do not work. I know that sounds a bit odd coming from someone who teaches courses on leadership. But there is a big difference between taking leadership courses and going to a seminar. Now, I must admit, I have gone to many seminars over the years, and I continue to attend a few every year. But I have learned that there is no magic bullet that is going to transform someone into a great leader; it doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, I have learned that it is a journey that takes time and practice. Here are three reasons I don’t think seminars work very well.
Too much information given in a short period of time.
There is no way you can learn all that you hear at a conference or seminar. And even if you could, implementation of everything all at once would wear your followers out when you tried to put it into practice. Taking courses allows you to slowly learn and practice the things you are being...
I spent several years traveling the country for business. As a frequent flyer, I was one of the first people to get on the plane, which allowed me to get settled in my seat without holding up the line of people behind me. To keep myself busy while others were boarding, I would play a game on my phone. There were two that I played on a regular basis; solitaire and Sudoku. One day I realized there were four leadership lessons I had learned from solitaire. I list them below for your consideration.
Leaders need to admit when they are stuck and need help.
The solitaire game on my phone has a “hint” button, which I use when I get to a place where I can’t see that there is the next move. Hitting this button allows me to see what I am missing. As leaders, there are times when we can’t see what our next move should be. We may feel stuck and not know where to go from here. In those moments, we need to get another person’s perspective and insight. They may...
Put Your Phone Away
Being a truly present leader in all your interactions can radically increase your impact and influence. As outlined in my previous post, forgetting your title and focusing on the person in front of you are two important ways to be an effective, present leader. In this post I will am going to give you one more tip to help you optimize how you lead: put your phone away.
There few places one can go without seeing the ubiquitous phone. It’s nice that people can get a hold of us wherever we go, that’s a convenience. However, as leaders these useful devices can hinder our ability to gain trust with others, which is necessary to become a great leader.
The Value of Pen and Paper
I had a co-worker who never took his phone to meetings. He never even brought his computer. He took notes on paper! At first, this bothered me. When I began teaching college courses, I finally understood the reasoning for my co-worker’s previously thought-to-be...
It’s often said that great leaders make those around them feel important. Yet, how many leaders do you know who orchestrate their conversations to convince you about how important they are: how busy they are, how much they know, how many people depend on them, and so on? If you desire to be a great leader, you have to be wholly present with the people around you. In this blog, I’m going to give you 2 tangible tips for how to have conversations that are truly meaningful that leave the person you’re speaking with feeling valued and important.
Forget Your Title
Here’s a true story of an individual who was entirely too concerned, even to his company’s detriment, with having people know who he is and what position he holds. We will call this leader “Bob” (not his real name). Bob was at a stand-up dinner event hosted by his company for some very important, potential clients. These clients were wined and dined in order to see the organization...
When our kids were young, our family invested in one vacation every year. Most of these vacations were camping at the Oregon Coast or in the Redwood Forest, and there were a few trips to Disneyland. Since we lived in Washington and our budget was limited, driving was usually the desired mode of transportation. I was like the main character in the movie, The Great Santini, making sure that we had a schedule and that we stuck to the “schedule.” That meant no lingering when we stopped for gas or food. I was quite the enforcer.
In fact, one time when we visited my sister, she informed me that we had arrived late at her house, to which I gave her a funny look. She told me that I said I would be there at 9:10, and we didn’t get there until 9:21 (I remember it specifically because she was quick to point out the time!). What I actually told her was that we would be there around 9 or 10, but she was so used to me having an exact time...
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