When work is your identity, if you are successful it goes to your head, if you are a failure it goes to your heart. Tim Keller
At some point every one of us confronts the question: How do I find and fulfill the central purpose of my life? Os Guinness
- Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. Vince Lombardi
- Leadership is like coaching. Recruit great players. Train. Motivate. Keep developing. Help them have their best game. Celebrate wins. Ron Edmondson
- As modern people we are all on a search for significance. We desire to make a difference. We long to leave a legacy. Os Guinness
- In 1962 there were zero articles on self-esteem in the education journals. By 1992 there were 2,500 a year. David Brooks
- In leadership, the quality of your success is often directly proportional to the quality of your investment in others. Ron Edmondson
- A wise man will cultivate a servant’s spirit, for that particular attribute attracts people like no other. Andy Andrews
- What I have learned about mentoring is that when you help others you learn a lot too. Be intentional about spending time with others. Ken Blanchard
- I define anxiety as experiencing failure in advance. Seth Godin.
- What are you busy doing? As a leader, you should be busy serving others. Mark Miller
- Success is never owned, it’s rented and rent is due every day. Coach K
- Are you becoming the kind of person you want to be? Are you growing into the kind of person you admire? Dr. Alan Zimmerman
- To be successful, leaders have to fight (often enormous) pressure and expectations and discover how to effectively use the word no. Ron Edmondson.
Faith and Work News:
- Best Books on Faith and Work. The Connecting Sunday Worship & Monday Work blog writes “The past few decades, numerous books have been written on integrating faith and work. We’ve created an annotated list of the best books on theology of work, calling and vocation, business and ethics, practical application, prayer, leadership and engaging culture.”
- The Massive Upside to Determining Destination First, Methods Second. In this podcast, Andy Andrews answers a listener question on how to guide your thinking when beginning with the very best end result in mind.
- Maximize Vacation ROI. The Harvard Business Review offers four suggestions on how to reduce stress on your next vacation.”
- Poise. In this “Minute from Maxwell”, John Maxwell looks at the word poise.
- Is Your Work Meaningless? C Patton writes “We first need to realize that our work, to the extent that it points others to God and a relationship with His Son, can have eternal meaning AND create eternal reward! Once we realize this, we can begin working through our jobs and businesses to have impact on people for eternity.”
- 4 Root Idols That Corrupt Leaders. Eric Geiger writes “Because leaders set the pace for others, idols in a leader’s heart harm others too. Leaders are wise to heed the apostle John’s encouragement: “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.”
- Change or Chance – What’s Your Approach? Dr. Alan Zimmerman shares two tips to ensure successful change.
- An Example Mission, Vision, and Core Values. C. Patton shares an example of God-centered mission, vision and core values from his organization.
- Yes, You Can Talk About Christ Without Being A Jerk in the Workplace. Bill Peel responds to John Shore’s post entitled “10 Reasons It’s Wrong to Evangelize in the Workplace.”
- Why Is It so Important to Befriend and Build Relationships with Non-Believers at Work? Jessica Schaeffer writes “Regardless of how often we are in the vicinity of those who need Christ, it is imperative that we as believers make intentional efforts to befriend non-believers.”
- How an Ex-Convict Learned to Worship Through His Work. Joseph Sunde introduces us to Alfonso. Watch this short video “Work is Worship” in which Alfonso tells his story.
- 13 Signs of Leadership Fatigue. Chuck Lawless writes “Leadership is sometimes wearisome – so wearisome that we come close to giving up. Over the years, I’ve watched leaders slide into defeat, and I’ve seen some of these common signs of trouble.”
- Make it Happen. Nick Vujicic’s 5-part video series will make you think twice about what may be holding you back from living life and accomplishing your dream.
- Tom Nelson to Lead New Pastors Network. Nelson, author of Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work, was announced last week as the President of Made to Flourish (MTF), a new network that seeks to help pastors close the gap between Sunday worship and Monday work “in order to empower them to lead churches that produce human flourishing for the common good.”
Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?
The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business by Patrick Lencioni
I’m reading this book with a few colleagues at work. This time we look at Behavior 2: Mastering Conflict.
- Contrary to popular wisdom and behavior, conflict is not a bad thing for a team. In fact, the fear of conflict is almost always a sign of problems.
- Of course, the kind of conflict I’m referring to here is not the nasty kind that centers around people or personalities. Rather, it is what I call productive ideological conflict, the willingness to disagree, even passionately when necessary, around important issues and decisions that must be made. But this can only happen when there is trust.
- When team members trust one another, when they know that everyone on the team is capable of admitting when they don’t have the right answer, and when they’re willing to acknowledge when someone else’s idea is better than theirs, the fear of conflict and the discomfort it entails is greatly diminished. When there is trust, conflict becomes nothing but the pursuit of truth, an attempt to find the best possible answer. It is not only okay but desirable. Conflict without trust, however, is politics, an attempt to manipulate others in order to win an argument regardless of the truth.
- But that’s not to say that even productive conflict isn’t a little uncomfortable.
- Overcoming the tendency to run from discomfort is one of the most important requirements for any leadership team—in fact, for any leader.
- Avoiding conflict creates problems even beyond boring meetings and poorly vetted decisions, as bad as those things are. When leadership team members avoid discomfort among themselves, they only transfer it in far greater quantities to larger groups of people throughout the organization they’re supposed to be serving. In essence, they leave it to others below them to try to resolve issues that really must be addressed at the top. This contributes to employee angst and job misery as much as anything else in organizational life.
- As critical as conflict is, it’s important to understand that different people, different families, and different cultures participate in conflict in different ways.
- When people fail to be honest with one another about an issue they disagree on, their disagreement around that issue festers and ferments over time until it transforms into frustration around that person.
- When it comes to the range of different conflict dynamics in an organization, I’ve found there is a continuum of sorts. At one end of that continuum is no conflict at all. I call this artificial harmony, because it is marked by a lot of false smiling and disingenuous agreement around just about everything, at least publicly. At the other end of the continuum is relentless, nasty, and destructive conflict, with people constantly at one another’s throats. As you move away from the extreme of artificial harmony, you encounter more and more constructive conflict. Somewhere in the middle of those two extremes is the demarcation line where good, constructive conflict crosses over into the destructive kind.
- The optimal place to be on this continuum is just to the left of the demarcation line (the Ideal Conflict Point). That would be the point where a team is engaged in all the constructive conflict they could possibly have, but never stepping over the line into destructive territory.
- Nowhere does this tendency toward artificial harmony show itself more than in mission-driven nonprofit organizations, most notably churches. People who work in those organizations tend to have a misguided idea that they cannot be frustrated or disagreeable with one another. What they’re doing is confusing being nice with being kind.
- When leadership team members fail to disagree around issues, not only are they increasing the likelihood of losing respect for one another and encountering destructive conflict later when people start griping in the hallways, they’re also making bad decisions and letting down the people they’re supposed to be serving. And they do this all in the name of being “nice.”
- Even when teams understand the importance of conflict, it is frequently difficult to get them to engage in it.
- One of the best ways for leaders to raise the level of healthy conflict on a team is by mining for conflict during meetings. This happens when they suspect that unearthed disagreement is lurking in the room and gently demand that people come clean.
- By looking for and exposing potential and even subtle disagreements that have not come to the surface, team leaders—and, heck, team members can do it too—avoid the destructive hallway conversations that inevitably result when people are reluctant to engage in direct, productive debate.
- Another tool for increasing conflict is something I refer to as real-time permission. When a leader sees her people engaging in disagreement during a meeting, even over something relatively innocuous, she should do something that may seem counterintuitive but is remarkably helpful: interrupt. That’s right. Just as people are beginning to challenge one another, she should stop them for a moment to remind them that what they are doing is good.
- What it will do is give people the permission they need to overcome their guilt—and they’ll definitely be fighting off feelings of guilt—and continue to engage in healthy but uncomfortable conflict without unnecessary and distracting tension.
- It’s important to remember that the reluctance to engage in conflict is not always a problem of conflict per se. In many cases, and perhaps in most of them, the real problem goes back to a lack of trust. Remember that when team members aren’t comfortable being vulnerable, they aren’t going to feel comfortable or safe engaging in conflict. If that’s the case, then no amount of training or discussion around conflict is going to bring it about. Trust must be established if real conflict is to occur.
The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership That Matters by Albert Mohler
We’re reading this excellent book from Albert Mohler, one of the best that I’ve read on leadership. It is broken down into 25 relatively short chapters. Won’t you read along with us? This week we look at Chapter 19: The Leader and the Media:
- But it really doesn’t matter which kind of leader you are—if you are a leader, the media is part of your world.
- Never apologize for having a message and for wanting that message to receive the widest possible coverage and exposure. That is why you are leading. You are the steward of beliefs and convictions that your organization represents and to which you have committed your life. Your organization exists to serve the mission defined by those beliefs, and you have been charged to lead. So lead, and never apologize for leading.
- Here is one of the keys to all communication: People simply tune out the things that don’t interest them.
- If you send out a press release, it had better be interesting. Don’t expect an assignment editor to waste time on the boring or the ordinary.
- If you want to get your message out through an op-ed column on the editorial pages, you had better have a good, clear point to make about an issue of very current concern, and your column had better be written well.
- The best way to learn what kinds of news items make their way into print and what kind of columns get printed on the opinion pages is to read those same papers and magazines regularly, carefully, and strategically. There is no substitute for familiarity.
- On the radio waves, you have one central asset—your voice.
- You have a message, and you cannot ignore television. In terms of impact, nothing yet exceeds the nationally broadcast networks and cable news channels.
- If you want to get your message out on these platforms, learn to face a camera with confidence, learn to immediately lead with something interesting, learn to answer the interviewer’s questions, and learn how to be warm and unflappable on the outside, even when you are frustrated and agitated on the inside. The camera reads emotions more quickly than the microphone carries words.
- Leaders need to determine in advance what to do when a reporter calls, because you never know when one will.
- First, be honest.
- Second, be direct.
- Third, realize that you can say no.
- Fourth, respect the reporter or program host.
- Fifth, realize that reporters do not control the final form of a printed news story, and that radio and television reporters are also subject to editing.
- Sixth, realize that some media appearances don’t go as you expect, and some don’t even go.
- Seventh, know that everyone at every stage in this process operates out of his or her own worldview.
- Eighth, building on what was just stated, know that explaining what you believe is the very mission that brought you to this position of leadership.