Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles about LEADERSHIP
- Are You a Hurried Leader? Selma Wilson writes “Are you a hurried leader? Out of breath most of the time trying to keep up? Are you drowning in emails, things to read, people to call, and not enough time on your calendar? Do you find yourself in your office more than out with your team? Do you look at all there is to do and sometimes it paralyzes you so you do nothing at all? If this sounds like you, then you are a hurried leader.”
- 7 Common Ways Leaders Waste Time and Energy. Ron Edmonson writes “I firmly believe when we get rid of some common drains on our time and energy we dramatically improve our performance as leaders. With this in mind, I’ve observed in my own personal development some ways to eliminate time and energy wasters.”
- Sleep: The Secret Leadership Weapon No One Wants to Talk About. Carey Nieuwhof writes “So here’s a leadership weapon almost no leader will talk about. In fact, in some circles, it’s embarrassing to talk about. Sleep.”
- Can You Lead? Mark Miller writes “Every leader needs to develop a certain set of competencies. To be even more precise, every leader should pursue mastery in five specific facets of the role. Ken Blanchard and I wrote about these five practices in our book, The Secret. The title was derived from the truth: All great leaders SERVE.
- 4 Words Leaders Must Say on a Regular Basis. Eric Geiger writes “Leaders are always communicating, even when they are not talking. But what words must a leader say on a regular basis?”
- Christian Leaders Desperately Need Four Kinds of Grace to Lead Well. Dave Kraft writes “I believe there is a big difference between me being at work and Jesus being at work. I long to see his fingerprints all over what he is leading and empowering me to do…otherwise, what’s the point!”
- Five Ways Leaders Can Get Fresh Eyes. Eric Geiger writes that a downside to tenured leaders is that they can lose their fresh eyes. He offers five ways to get fresh eyes on the organization/ministry you are leading.
- 7 Powers of Weakness. Dan Rockwell writes “Arrogant leaders parade strengths. Successful leaders understand the power of weaknesses.”
- How Leaders Can Avoid Burnout. In this edition of the 5 Leadership Questions podcast, Todd Adkins, Barnabas Piper and Eric Geiger address the issue of leadership burnout.
- 11 Things I Believe About Leadership. Mark Miller writes “I heard a talk years ago from a well-known leader in which he stated several statements he called his “I believes.” These beliefs shaped his life and leadership. The idea of articulating personal beliefs made sense to me then and it still does today.”
- 7 Effective Ways to Battle Discouragement In Leadership. Carey Nieuwhof writes “If you talk to most leaders long enough to get a real answer to ‘So how’s it going?” you will quickly discover that a surprising number of leaders are disheartened. Even discouraged.”
- 10 Habits of Ultra-Likeable Leaders. Travis Bradberry writes “If you want to be a leader whom people follow with absolute conviction, you have to be a likable leader. Tyrants and curmudgeons with brilliant vision can command a reluctant following for a time, but it never lasts. They burn people out before they ever get to see what anyone is truly capable of.”
- Three Kinds of Leadership Decisions. Dave Kraft writes “Leaders make decisions. That’s what leaders do; the greater the responsibility, the more that can be riding on each decision made.” He states that “Almost all of the decisions that are being made will fall into one of three categories.”
- 7 Questions to Help You Develop Your Leadership Point of View. Paul Sohn shares these seven questions from Ken Blanchard’s book Leading at a Higher Level.
- 7 Surprising Questions to Measure Your Leadership. Dan Rockwell writes “You can’t know how you’re doing until you’re measured.”
- Beyond You Leadership. Andy Stanley discusses common objections and misconceptions about a “Beyond You” leadership style, and discusses the positive impact of leaders who fearlessly and selflessly empower those around them, as well as those coming along behind them.
- Top 30 Must Read Posts on Leadership. Paul Sohn shares his always helpful must-read posts on leadership.
- 3 Reasons Your Team Needs Shepherd Leadership. Selma Wilson writes “Shepherd is most often used in reference to someone who herds, tends, and guards sheep. Your team could use your shepherd leadership, and here are three reasons why.”
- How to Make the Difficult Look Easy. Mark Miller shares the fourth post in a series outlining a leadership eco-system that explains how leaders grow themselves and their influence. It also explains why so many leaders struggle. The four stages are Lead Self, Lead Others, Lead Teams and today, the final installment, Lead Organizations.
- 4 Leadership Advantages of Introverts. Kevin Spratt writes “We tend to think that the best leaders are charismatic motivators who are able to be sociable and cast a compelling vision, which are important and valuable leadership tools. An introvert often has a different set of tools, and, with the right motivation, an introvert can be extremely effective.”
- Extraordinary Leadership. Dan Rockwell lists qualities of extraordinary leadership. Which ones most resonate with you? Are there any you feel he left off of the list?
- Vision. In this “Minute from Maxwell”, John Maxwell discusses taking the vision from “me” to “we”.
- 50 Leaders for a Better Tomorrow. Bob Chapman writes “Our friend Shawn Murphy of Switch and Shift – who recently released a new book, The Optimistic Workplace – compiled a list of 50 leadership innovators changing how we lead for Inc. Magazine. It contains many friends of Barry-Wehmiller who’ve been featured on this blog: Amy Cuddy, Jacob Morgan, Tony Schwartz, Simon Sinek and Rich Sheridan; but other friends like Daniel Pink and Jeffrey Pfeffer, with whom we’ve also connected.” The list also includes a few of my favorites – Patrick Lencioni and Marcus Buckingham.
- 3 Qualities of Every Great Leader. Dr. Alan Zimmerman writes “There are certain traits that great leaders exhibit. To the extent you can master and exhibit the same traits, you’ll be more effective in getting others to excel.”
- 3 Powerful Ways to Solve Lousy Leadership. Dan Rockwell writes “The most dangerous quality of lousy leadership is the belief that they’re good leaders.”
- “Be Strong and Courageous”: Two Key Ingredients for Effective, Biblical Leadership. Using the example of Joshua, Glenn Brooke writes “You stand in the company of leaders throughout history who needed encouragement and reminders. Be strong and courageous because God is with you.”
BOOK REVIEW: Learning Leadership from Nehemiah by Dave Kraft. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 84 pages. 2015
I’ve previously enjoyed Dave Kraft’s books Leaders Who Last and Mistakes Leaders Make, and was looking forward to reading his latest book based on the Old Testament character Nehemiah.
Kraft writes that in Nehemiah’s story we see every facet of leadership lived out. He writes that Nehemiah receives a vision from God and then he casts the vision, recruits the vision and works tirelessly to insure the vision happens. In this short book, Kraft focuses on twelve leadership principles he sees in Nehemiah’s life. He includes helpful “Questions to Ponder” at the end of each chapter to stimulate your thinking as you consider your leadership role in light of these principles.
Kraft writes that leadership always begins with God. True spiritual leadership is getting on our heart what God has on His. The first task of leadership is to hear from God and let him form a vision. Kraft writes that if you don’t set the vision, you’re not the leader. Whoever is establishing the vision and goals in your church or team is the real leader. For the Christian leader, God must be the beginning, middle, and end of the vision.
Kraft writes that when a vision is clear, you have a way of measuring progress. When a company, group, team, or church is casting vision, it needs to be as specific as possible.
Kraft states that a leader is a person who is dissatisfied with the ways things are. He has a burden, a vision, and a call to see something different. He wants to see something change, to build a new future. He then begins to communicate what he thinks, and where he wants to go.
He lays out three aspects to leading:
- Who the leader is: Identity
- Where the leader is headed: Inspiration
- How the leader brings others along: Investment
He tells us that anyone who has had a leadership role for any length of time knows that being judged, condemned, or having one’s motives questioned goes with the territory. Unfortunately, in many cases it comes from some of your key people and that’s especially hard to take. But, Kraft states, if everybody likes everything you’re doing, you are probably not doing anything of significant value. Leaders don’t lead and make decisions in order to be popular or appreciated.
Kraft writes that the wise leader confronts people and issues head-on by considering various solutions and then acting prayerfully and decisively. However, many leaders are cowards when it comes to confronting people, especially other leaders. He writes that he has known and worked with leaders who would rather quit and move on rather than confront people.
Kraft writes that it is powerful for leadership to often review what has been happening, both the victories and accomplishments as well as the difficulties. One of the things good leaders do is make a big deal out of victories regardless of the size. People are starving for encouragement and affirmation. Followers are hungry for leaders to express appreciation and affirmation, but seldom hear it.
He also states that leaders are at their best when they are calling followers to their best, not letting them get away with sloppy standards and sloppy living.
A leader should not be afraid to remind people what the organization or group values are and then hold followers accountable for those values.
Kraft states that Nehemiah exemplifies all the best in leadership. He is bold, courageous, confrontational (when it’s called for), and persistent in sticking with what he feels led to do. In his estimation, the book of Nehemiah is the best book of the Bible to study and learn exemplary leadership.
He concludes the book with some suggestions on how to apply what we have learned from these leadership principles seen in the life of Nehemiah. I appreciated this short, but helpful look at leadership principles in the life of Nehemiah.
10 Favorite Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
Leadership functions on the basis of trust. When trust is gone, the leader soon will be. John Maxwell
Allow your failures to be innovation benchmarks on your way to excellence and greatness. Brad Lomenick
Giving people real responsibility communicates that you trust them. Mark Miller
- You discipline those under your supervision to correct, to help, to improve – not to punish. John Wooden
- Work is a godly activity. Duane Otto
- Essentially, your vocation is to be found in the place you occupy in the present. Gene Edward Veith
- One’s purpose anticipates design. What’s your purpose? Tim Keller
- It is not freedom for a fish to sun itself on the beach. It is death. The question of freedom is: What were you made for? John Piper
- Be the varsity version of yourself, not the junior varsity of someone else. Brad Lomenick
Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?
Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. Crossway. 192 pages. 2003
Other than the Bible, this small book by John Piper has had the most influence on my life. It played a key role in my returning to seminary after ten years in 2005. I have read it almost each year since it was published in 2003. Listen to John Piper describe the book in this less than two-minute video.
This week we look at Chapter 3: Boasting Only in the Cross – The Blazing Center of the Glory of God
- I plead with you: Desire that your life count for something great! Long for your life to have eternal significance. Want this! Don’t coast through life without a passion.
- One thing matters: Know Christ, and gain Christ. Everything is rubbish in comparison to this.
- What is the one passion of your life that makes everything else look like rubbish in comparison?
- Paul means something that will change every part of your life. He means that, for the Christian, all other boasting should also be a boasting in the cross. All exultation in anything else should be exultation in the cross.
- Therefore every good thing in life, and every bad thing that God turns for good, is a blood-bought gift. And all boasting—all exultation—should be boasting in the cross.
- We learn to boast in the cross and exult in the cross when we are on the cross. And until our selves are crucified there, our boast will be in ourselves.
- You become so cross-centered that you say with Paul, “I will not boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The world is no longer our treasure. It’s not the source of our life or our satisfaction or our joy. Christ is.
- Therefore every enjoyment in this life and the next that is not idolatry is a tribute to the infinite value of the cross of Christ—the burning center of the glory of God. And thus a cross-centered, cross-exalting, cross-saturated life is a God-glorifying life—the only God-glorifying life. All others are wasted.
The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business by Patrick Lencioni. Jossey-Bass. 240 pages. 2012
Patrick Lencioni is one of my favorite business authors. His books The Advantage and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team are among my favorites. I recently started reading and discussing The Advantage with two colleagues at work. I’m sharing key learnings from the book and this week we look at what Lencioni has to say about Question 1: Why Do We Exist ~
- Answering this question requires a leadership team to identify its underlying reason for being, also known as its core purpose.
- An organization’s core purpose—why it exists—has to be completely idealistic.
- In order to successfully identify their organization’s purpose, leaders must accept the notion that all organizations exist to make people’s lives better.
- There is a darn good chance that your company—in fact, any given company—has not yet identified its purpose.
- This leads to two problems. First, those teams don’t achieve a real sense of collective commitment from their members.
- Second, and this is certainly related, those executives don’t see the company’s reason for existing as having any practical implications for the way they make decisions and run the organization.
- Some executives, especially those who are a little cynical about all this purpose stuff, will say that their company exists simply to make money for owners or shareholders. That is almost never a purpose, but rather an important indicator of success.
- When leaders set about identifying the purpose of their organization, there are a few critical factors they must keep in mind to give them a good chance at success. First, they must be clear that answering this question is not the end of the clarity process.
- Second, an organization’s reason for existence, its purpose, has to be true. It must be based on the real motivations of the people who founded or are running the organization, not something that simply sounds good on paper.
- Third, the process of determining an organization’s purpose cannot be confused with marketing, external or internal. It must be all about clarity and alignment.
- So how does an organization go about figuring out why it exists? It starts by asking this question: “How do we contribute to a better world?”
- The next question that needs to be asked, and asked again and again until it leads to the highest purpose or reason for existence, is Why? Why do we do that?
- There are a number of very different categories of purpose, any of which can be valid. Identifying which category fits your organization’s purpose can be very helpful in focusing your discussion of why your organization exists because it better clarifies who the organization ultimately serves.
- Customer: This purpose is directly related to serving the needs of an organization’s customer or primary constituent.
- Industry: This purpose is all about being immersed in a given industry.
- Greater Cause: This kind of purpose is not necessarily about what the organization does, but about something connected to it.
- Community: This purpose is about doing something that makes a specific geographical place better.
- Employees: This purpose is not about serving the customer, the industry, or the region, but rather about the employees.
- Wealth: This purpose is about wealth for the owners.
- An organization’s reason for existing is not meant to be a differentiator and that the purpose for identifying it is only to clarify what is true in order to guide the business.