Tag Archives: Leadership

5 for Leadership (08/17/12)

Here are five new posts for 5 for Leadership.  If you are familiar with the 5 for Leadership series then you will recognize a couple of these authors.  But I am also highlighting some new ones.  Click on some links and see what you think.

5 Traits of an Aware Leader  This is a throw back to March of this year and comes from Ron Edmondson.  These five points will help you to think about what you don’t know regarding the health and function of your team or others you lead.  This is a worthy read.

For Those Who Want To Lead, Read  This post hits a nerve for me.  From the time I was a young leader I have been admonished to read–a lot.  You have probably heard it too-“Leaders are readers and readers are leaders.”  I think there is a lot of merit to this.  Take a look at this Harvard Business Review post by John Coleman.  There are some very practical insights to get you going.

Missy Franklin: The Cincinnatus of the Olympics  This is a fun and insightful post linking a famed Roman general of character with the young American hero of the London games.  I found this on the Let’s Grow Leaders blog.

Genuine and Wholehearted Praise  This comes from Mary Jo Asmus.  I have highlighted her before because of her insightful and practical posts.  In this one she highlights the need for employee praise and for not crossing the line into “cheerleading”.  She also offers three wise steps to help you be sure that you remain genuine and effective with your praise.

Andy Crouch: Celebrate the City  This comes from the Faith & Leadership blog and is an interview with Andy Crouch.  Andy is part of a project sponsored by Christianity Today about the value of the city and what churches are doing in the city to be a blessing.  This resonates with me as my day job is also about being a blessing to the cities of our country.

There are the 5 for this week.  Lead well!

Three Daily Tasks of a Spiritual Leader

1 Chronicles 22 provides a good example of what I consider to be the three daily tasks of any spiritual leader.  In this portion of the Bible King David is making necessary preparations for the building of the temple.  It has been his dream to provide a permanent place for the presence of God among His people.  But God communicated to David that he would not be the one to actually construct the temple and see it to completion.  Because David was also a warrior and had blood on his hands, God limited David to the preplanning, but not the construction or the completion of the temple.  That would be reserved for David’s son Solomon to do.  Yet, even in his limitations, David exhibits the following three qualities that are a daily necessity for leaders.

1. Give clear direction.  Followers simply and rightly want to know what is expected of them.  They want to know where the enterprise is headed.  They want to know what is “true north.”  A good leader should be able to provide that for those he leads in daily doses.  David does so in verses 1-5.  He communicates clearly that a house of God is to be built and an altar must accompany the temple.  He communicates clearly to the laborers that it will be Solomon who will see this through.  There was no doubt as to what the direction of the endeavor would be.

2. Provide adequate resources.  Leaders must also provide their followers with the necessary resources to actually carry out what they have been directed to do.  Resources can come in the form of money, tools, or people. It could be in the form of training or expertise.  It can even come in the form of providing hope.  Again, this should be a daily consideration for the good leader.  What do my people need today to succeed?  In verses 14-19 David clearly communicates to Solomon all of the resources he has provided for him for the construction of the temple.  David has provided both raw materials and expertise so that his son can complete the vision.

3. Point people to Christ.  Finally, good leaders must continually point their followers to Christ as their ultimate source of dependence and hope.  There is not doubt that there will be days when the task will be discouraging.  There will be other days where wild success will tempt people to be proud.  The good leader knows how to handle both imposters and direct the people’s gaze back to Christ.  David does this for his son in verses 6-13.  Not only does David porvide Solomon with a clear picture of what is to be accomplished, but he also reminds him that God will be with him every step of the way.  It is God who will grant Solomon success.

I truly believe that every spiritual leader can measure his or her day according to these three tasks and know how well they have done in leading.  As I start my day and end my day I try to ask:  Did I give clear direction so that people knew what was expected of them?  Did I provide adequate resources so that people had what they needed to succeed?  Did I point people to the deep well that is Christ for their ultimate source of hope and dependence?

If I can say that I have done this to the best of my ability, I can know that I have led pretty well and fulfilled my daily calling.

4 Priorities for a Spiritual Leader

I recently attended a conference for a portion of our staff that serve in the cities of America.  We are currently reorienting our vision around city transformation.  It was a rich time of honest interaction about change and our need to be better mobilizers of what God has called us to do.  In the midst of our time together one of my mentors and friends, David English, shared some very insightful priorities for every person attempting to successfully engage in the mission.  I thought they were quite profound and wanted to share them with you.

1. My character is more important than my competency.  I have commented on this principle many times.  Character is tantamount, no matter what our culture says.  We can tend to place greater emphasis on leadership competencies than on our integrity.  But competency will never cover for bad character.

2. My godliness is more important than my giftedness.  I am always concerned when I see young leaders rise in prominence based largely on their giftedness.  Usually this valued giftedness revolves around gifted communication-either of the vision or of the Scriptures.  But when this giftedness is not enveloped in a growing godliness it could set up for great fall of pride.

3. Who I am in Christ is more important than any scope of ministry I may have been given, any position I may have attained, or any task that I may perform.  Ultimately our true identity is in Christ.  It is so easy to base our identity on our scope of ministry, our title or position, or the monumental task before us.  But these are impostors and serve us poorly as building blocks of identity.  God is responsible for the breadth of our ministries.  We must see ourselves as recipients and transmitters of the grace of Christ.  Nothing more, nothing less.

4. Who I am is more important than what I do.  Being over doing is a cornerstone to making it to the finish line.  I have been thinking about this a lot lately and I have decided it is very hard to finish well as a leader for the cause of Christ.  It is easy to list those who have not.  It takes great determination and a view of self that realizes the importance of being over doing.

What are your thoughts on these four principles?  What else seems important to you as a leadership priority?

David has written much on the stages of a man’s life.  His insights are life changing.  If you would like to know more here is a web link.

5 for Leadership (8/10/12)

Today’s 5 will expose you to some new authors for me.  I have included a powerful leadership story, some great leadership principles, and some timely leadership quotes.  Enjoy.

Red Marbles and a Very Kind Leader  You must read this post.  I found it on the Teamwork and Leadership blog.  It is the story of personal leadership with influence and great generosity.  For me it highlights well that all leadership is influence and that generosity in leadership is often a forgotten component.

Overcoming The Fear of Asking  Are you an inquisitive leader?  If not, why not?  This is something I struggle with at times.  I either think that I am wasting someone else’s time or I fall into the trap that I don’t have time to be an asking leader.  This post from the Leadership Solutions blog provides some very practical reasons and practices for becoming a more inquisitive leader.

Leadership By Choice  I have often highlighted the Leading Blog for it’s quality content.  This offering is a simple four part evaluation to better determine if you are leading with great intentionality.  It is a brief summary of a book written by Eric Papp.  I think all four parts are critical and worthy of our reflection.

Can A Church Be Both Attractional and Missional?  This comes from Tony Morgan’s blog and is an interview with Dave Ferguson.  Dave and Alan Hirsch recently co-authored a book entitled On The Verge.  This is an insightful interview on this ongoing and very important topic.  It will give you a taste of the book.

Leadership Summit: Bill Hybels  The well known Willow Creek Leadership Summit is currently in progress.  I returned to Tony Morgan’s blog for this offering because he has been capturing some of the key principles and quotes from the summit for our digestion.  Here is Tony’s gleanings from Bill’s opening address.

There are the 5 for this week.  Lead well!

Movements & Organizational Boundaries

Yesterday I was sitting in some important meetings with a group of organizational leaders trying to determine how to best spawn movements.  A focus of our organization is to see thousands, if not millions, of micro movements around the world that are led by volunteers.  But we are an organization that has been around for over 60 years.  It is a significant challenge to structure existing organizations in such a way to actually be nimble enough to see this through.

Steve Addison characterizes movements that change the world as having five elements: white-hot faith/belief, commitment to a cause, contagious relationships, rapid mobilization, and adaptive methods.  I agree with Steve that any movement would have to possess these elements to truly be impactful-whether they are spiritual, political or social in nature.  But what role does organizational leadership play?

In my mind, organizational leadership will always play one of two possible roles regarding movements.  Either the organization will act with institutional controls that actually prevents true movements from happening or it will act as a channel to spur on movements and aids them in being highly effective.  Notice that the issue is not one of boundaries or a lack of boundaries.  But in the 1st instance boundaries are used to protect and prevent.  In the 2nd instance boundaries are used to direct and support.

True movements by their very nature are unpredictable, messy and alive.  They resist control and thrive best when their is vibrant, entreprenurial leadership and a common will.  Organizational leaders must keep the end in mind and resist the temptation to control rather than support and provide.

What are your thoughts?

How Not To Lead-5 Principles For Failure

No leader plans to fail in their leadership.  Yet, leaders do fail regularly and sometimes in such a way that they even forfeit their leadership position.  I am not talking about leaders who make noble efforts and fail in the pursuit of a worthy vision.  I am talking about errors of judgment and character that go unaddressed and lead to total leadership failure.  These types of errors are most often revealed in times of trial.  The consequences are not simply personal.  Leadership is always a leveraged proposition and affects many others.  Here are five ways to self destruct in a leadership role.

1. Act presumptuously when faced with a difficult situation.  To act with presumption is to overstep your bounds or take undue liberties.  This most often takes place when leaders feel great pressure to perform.  Presumption often flows from a sense of entitlement or self preservation.

2. Take control and usurp the role that was not meant for you.  When a leader is faced with a difficult situation, the temptation is to double down on control and wrongly step into the role entrusted to another.  It comes from the belief that you can do it better than the other person-and you must.  Failure is not an option so presumption moves toward over control to the point of over reaching.

3. Blame others and your circumstances when things go wrong.  You know a leader is on the path of self destruction when a pattern of blaming becomes apparent.  When leaders fail and blame everyone and everything but themselves you can be certain that you have a leader who is insecure and inauthentic.

4. Sanitize your wrong actions when they have been discovered.  When leaders are ultimately caught in wrong doing and they attempt to explain away their sins, you have a leadership platform in super erosion.  Followers can smell this and will follow grudgingly at best. This is where a leader’s character is clearly revealed.  A leader must always take responsibility personally and corporately.

5. Do not take seriously the authority over you.  Every leader is ultimately a person under authority.  How you treat or respect that authority will in some measure determine the longevity of your leadership life.  When you work around authority, disregard authority, or simply defy authority-you do so at your own leadership peril.

What would you add to my list?

By the way, all of the above principles come directly from the Bible.  You can look at them yourself and make some other observations by going to 1 Samuel 13 to read about King Saul.

5 for Leadership (8/6/12)

Here is 5 for Leadership for the 1st week of August.

Leadership and Courage This first post comes from Gwyn Teatro on her blog You’re Not The Boss of Me. Gwyn defines courage in the context of good leadership. She offers a great real life illustration of a CEO who either lacked the courage to truly investigate a problem or was simply ignorant of the problem. Gwyn closes with the principle that real courage is sometimes simply facing the truth.

The Outrageously Simple Visual Guide to Goal Setting Here is a great info graphic on goal setting in ten practical steps. Take a look.

Rembrandt and Leadership This is a guest post on the Great Leadership blog. The authors compare the life of the great Dutch painter to leadership. The points are very sailable as they talk about dealing with both success and failure-and the need for authenticity.

Graceful Leadership 101 This post is by Tanmay Vora and offers a pdf download of 101 ways to be a more graceful leader. This is a resource you can read and share with those you lead or those you are developing for leadership.

The Three R’s of Christian Engagement in the Culture Wars This final post is from Kevin DeYoung and offers three worthy points of how Christian leaders should act when taking on the moral issues of our day. This post holds some good principles in light of the Chick-fil-a controversy.

There are the 5 for this week. Lead well!