Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles
LEADERS AND LEADERSHIP:
- Character Matters in Public Leadership. Denny Burk writes “This morning I was thinking about our current political moment and about the nation’s indiffernce to moral character in public leadership. I was reminded of a short essay that John Piper wrote nearly twenty years ago during the impeachment scandal. The essay was such a beacon of prophetic moral clarity then. I think it still is now. And it is relevant to our current moment.”
- 10 Prices You Must Be Willing to Pay to Be a Great Leader. Brian Dodd, in writing about Yadier Molina, my favorite baseball player, states that Molina provides a good template for the price needed for successful leadership.
- 3 Actions of Servant Leaders. Eric Geiger writes “Situational leadership is Christian in nature because it calls the leader to serve each person, not to ask each person to serve the leader.”
- A Leader’s Critical Skill. Dave Kraft writes “Probably no skill would be more helpful to develop than that of being an excellent communicator.”
- 7 of the Hardest People to Lead. Ron Edmondson writes “I’ve also learned some people are easier to lead than others. Often personalities, experiences and preferences negatively impact a person’s ability to be led effectively.”
- How Leaders Accomplish More by Doing Less. Matt Perman writes “One of the most helpful books that I’ve read on leading in an organization is Scott Eblin’s The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success.
- The Five Marks of Authentic Leadership. In speaking of leadership, Michael Hyatt writes that it “certainly includes influence, but that’s only part of the package. I believe leadership includes at least five characteristics.”
- 7 Qualities of Good Change Agent Leaders. Ron Edmondson writes “If you want to be in leadership get comfortable with change. It’s part of the experience of every leader. The best leaders get accustomed to leading change.”
- 10 Ways to Elevate Your Leadership Level. Brad Lomenick writes “It’s the middle of the year, and as such, here are 10 reminders and ways to raising your leadership level. Hopefully these motivate you as well as inspire and challenge your team.”
- 3 Types of Leaders. Steve Graves writes “The three common leaders are: launch-the-business leader, run-the-business leader, and change-the-business leader.”
- Wandering Around. You may remember hearing about “Management by Walking Around” years ago. Dan Rockwell has some good thoughts for leaders about wandering around.
- Biblical Leaders Consistently Say 5 Things. Dave Kraft writes “Leaders use lots of words in carrying out their responsibilities. They are communicators, talkers, vision-casters and exhorters; they should also be above average in listening. Here are 5 things leaders consistently say if they are truly excellent leaders.”
- Leadership and the Power of Hope. Dr. Alan Zimmerman writes “Never deprive someone of hope. It may be all he has.”
- What Might Exceptional Leadership Look Like? Dave Kraft writes “Leadership is on a lot of lips and minds today. Christian organizations are constantly on the hunt for gifted, called and anointed leaders, but few know how to actually identify, recruit and develop the leaders they need and want.”
- 10 Warning Signs You are Not a Good Leader. Chris Patton gives us ten warning signs on why you are not a good leader. Here are the first five. Here are the second five.
- What the Best Leaders Know about Technology. In this three-minute video clip, Dave Ramsey states that the use of technology can help you or hurt you.
- Creating High-Performance Teams, Parts 1 and 2. In his Leadership Podcast, Andy Stanley talks about how to create high-performance You can download an Application Guide for this podcast for key takeaways, questions for reflection and/or discussion, and resources mentioned in the podcast.
- How to Use Vision Casting to Create Unstoppable Momentum. Andy Andrews shares four steps to effective vision casting.
- Do Your Leaders Have This Quality? In this short video, Dave Ramsey explains why you need leaders who care as deeply as you and how they can help your business grow.
- On Whose Authority and for Whose Glory? Dave Kraft writes “There is too much personal glory in leadership. Too much about the leader and not enough about Jesus…His plan and purpose!”
- A Sobering Reality for Pastors and Leaders. Ron Edmundson writes “The longer you do what you do well the less praise you’ll receive for it.”
- Are You a Gift-Dependent Or Grace-Dependent Leader? Dave Kraft writes “The bottom-line question to ask: Is the focus of your ministry on the gift or on the giver?”
- Leaders Say Things Others Won’t. John Maxwell writes “No matter where you find yourself on your leadership journey, don’t shy away from saying the things others won’t say. Just find a way to say them with care and be willing to walk people through the aftermath. You and your people will be glad you did.”
- 14 Things Leaders Tend to Forget. Chuck Lawless writes “My experience is that even the best leaders tend to be forgetful at times.”
- How to Complain Like a Leader. Dan Rockwell writes “The difference between complaining like a leader and complaining like a loser is duration, focus, and orientation.”
- Making the Most of Influence in Motion. John Maxwell writes “At a time when some leaders seem only to care about those who are “for” them, we need leaders who care about everyone. We need leaders who make valuing others a priority instead of a promise. We need leaders who make others better instead of bitter. Our society needs leaders who take special care to consider the unnoticed follower.”
- 7 Easy Risks You Can Take Today If Too Scared to Risk More. Carey Nieuwhof writes “I believe risk-taking is both a habit and a mindset. Take a few steps toward tackling small challenges, and soon you’ll be up for the bigger ones.”
- The Seven Pillars of Preeminence. In this episode of the Andy Stanley Leadership podcast, Stanley talks with Glen Jackson, the co-founder of Jackson Spalding, about what it means to be a preeminent organization.
- The One Required Leadership Quality. Dan Black writes “The required leadership quality all leaders must have is character. Those with good character live out their beliefs, values, and convictions.”
- The Power of Disadvantage. Dan Rockwell writes “Teams trust leaders when leaders disadvantage themselves for the advantage of others.”
- The Power of Praise. Dave Kraft writes “I have never met a person who felt they were encouraged too much. Maybe those people are out there, but I have never met them. Most people are starved for affirmation and encouragement and get little of it.”
- Why America’s Leadership Fails. David Brooks writes “Over the past few decades, thousands of good people have gone into public service, but they have found themselves enmeshed in a system that drains them of their sense of vocation.”
- The Greatest Battle Leaders Face. Shawn Lovejoy writes “The greatest battle that leaders face is the battle for our minds”.
LEADERSHIP BY THE NUMBERS:
- 2 Qualities of a Good Leader. Steve Graves writes “Good bosses also have common traits and qualities. Two easily stand out: they Lead and they Feed.”
- 3 Shortcuts Leaders Should Never Take. Eric Geiger writes “But there are some shortcuts leaders should never take. And we must be careful that our obsession with efficiency does not steer us away from effectiveness. Much of effective leadership takes time and offers no shortcuts.”
- The 3 Focal Points of Leadership. Dan Rockwell writes “Unfocused leaders live frantic shallow frustrated lives. Worse yet, they lead unfocused teams.”
- 4 Ways a Short Temper Can Hurt Your Leadership. Art Rainer writes “If you are a leader that finds himself or herself with a short temper, be careful.”
- 4 Unfair and Untrue Myths about Kindness in Leadership. Scott Cochrane writes “If you are going to maximize the potential of kindness into your leadership you might first have to dispel 4 unfair, and untrue, myths about kindness in leadership.”
- 4 Principles for Using Your Power as a Leader. Randy Conley asks “Do you needto be in power?”
- 5 Questions to Ask During Tough Conversation Leaders have to have those tough conversations. In this post, Dan Rockwell states “The choice to avoid difficult conversations often masquerades as kindness.”
- 5 Ways It’s Visible that Someone is Teachable. Kevin Lloyd writes “Leaders discipline themselves to handle success successfully by maintaining a teachable spirit. We also develop keen eyes to spot other teachable leaders around us. Talent and past successes are great, but a teachable mindset makes a leader indispensable to your team.”
- 5 Leadership Questions with Simon Sinek. In this episode of the 5 Leadership Questions podcast, Todd Adkins and Barnabas Piper visit with Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last as well as presenter of one of the most popular TED talks ever given.
- 6 Ways to Use Your Job This Week. In this adapted excerpt from Tom Nelson’s Gospel Shaped Work, a new curriculum from The Gospel Coalition and The Good Book Company, he shares six ways you can intentionally leverage your job to serve God and grow in grace.
- Six Questions Leaders Should Routinely Ask Themselves. Eric Geiger writes “Leaders are merely stewards. We don’t own the people, the ministry, or the organization we lead. We merely steward the opportunity for a season. Someone will come along after us. Because our leadership is short, we should lead and serve with thoughtful intentionality. Wise leaders routinely evaluate their lives and leadership.”
- 7 Differences Between Motivating and Manipulating. Eric Geiger writes “Great leaders motivate with the strength of their character and commitment, by uniting people around shared values, and by pointing people to the mission that drives all the activity.”
- 7 Tips for Leaders to Improve Your Self-Awareness. Paul Sohn writes “Self-awareness is your ability to accurately perceive your own emotions in the moment and understand your tendencies across your situations.”
- 7 Pitfalls of Leadership Which Can Derail a Leader. Ron Edmondson writes “In years of studying leadership, both in the business world and in ministry, I’ve seen some consistent traps which get in the way of a leader’s long-term success. I call them pitfalls.”
- Ten Differences Between Delegating and Dumpster Leadership. Eric Geiger writes “Dumpster leadership stands diametrically opposed to wise delegation.”
- 10 Proverbs for Leaders. Eric Geiger writes “Here are ten wise sayings from the Book of Proverbs that should impact how leaders lead.”
- 10 Reasons Leaders Stop Growing. Chuck Lawless writes “The best leaders I know keep growing. They never settle for mediocrity. They look for and tackle challenges that stretch them beyond their own comfort zone. Stagnation alarms them into action.
- 11 Warnings About Foolish Leaders. Brian Dodd shares these warnings about foolish leaders from Psalm 26.
- 12 Tips on How the Most Successful Leaders Deal with Failure. This is the first of Brian Dodd’s posts on Apex Leaders – people who are the best in the world at what they do. This post deals with the subject of failure.
- 12 Don’ts of Tough Conversations. Dan Rockwell shares these helpful tips of things not to do when having that crucial conversation.
- 21 “Go-To” New Testament Scriptures for Leaders. Dan Reiland writes “One great practical application is to read one passage a day for 21 days, and ask God to make the power and truth of that scripture come alive in your life as a leader.”
- 10 Signs You’re Just a Jerk…Not A Leader. Carey Nieuwhof writes “And yet, sometimes there’s a fine line between being an effective leader and being a jerk. The strength required to be a leader can sometimes push you up against the hard edges of your personality.”
- 10 Qualities of the Leaders I Want on My Team. Scott Cochrane shares 10 less celebrated leadership qualities that he would like to see in the leaders on his team.
- 10 Attributes of a Humble Leader. Ron Edmondson writes “Humility is a desired, but often neglected characteristic of good, servant leadership.”
- Top 10 Behaviors of Insecure Leaders. Dan Rockwell writes “Insecure teams are led by insecure leaders.”
- The Top 10 Rules for Talking Like a Leader. Dan Rockwell writes “The only reason to open your mouth is to make something better.”
YOUR WORK MATTERS:
- 3 Things to Learn from Olympians David Boudia and Steele Johnson. Davis Lacey writes “It doesn’t take long for the divers to identify the source of their joyful stability; each man insists his ultimate identity is not defined by performance or status, but rather is “rooted in Christ.”
- Is the Sunday to Monday Gap More Perilous Than We Think? Tom Nelson writes “I have become increasingly convinced in both my own personal experience as well as in my conversations with many pastoral colleagues that the Sunday to Monday Gap is wider and more prominent than we care to admit. An inconvenient truth is that some of our more thoughtful congregants have a more clear perspective of their work as worship than their fog-shrouded pastors.”
- Seven Reasons to Celebrate Work. Hugh Whelchel shares these helpful seven reasons to celebrate work.
- Calling in the Workplace. Listen to this message from Shelley Simpson, CMO; EVP; President, ICS and Truck J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc.
- Jesus on the Job: How Faith Mixes With Work, Part 1. Ed Stetzer writes “There is an incredibly helpful and encouraging conversation happening in churches right now around faith and work and how the gospel impacts everything we do.”
- John Stott’s Simple – Yet Surprising – Productivity Secret. Kevin Halloran writes “Sometimes the best way to move forward in life is to hit the pause button and begin to see life as God does.”
- How the Market Process Enables You to Make an Impact with Your Work. Anne Bradley writes “We can also make an impact by being who God created us to be. We make an impact when we use our specially created skills and talents to serve others, whether that happens to be in the non-profit world or whether you work as a truck driver. All of it matters to God if it is what he has called you to.”
- Change. In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell asks are we going to change for the better or change for the worse? How we change is determined by how we live.
- 25 (Really) Lame Excuses for Not Following Your Calling. Nicholas McDonald writes “I’ve found over the years that I hinder my own calling with excuses. Identifying them, however, helps me annihilate them.”
- The Hard Work of Rest. Steve Graves writes “What everyone wants is the very thing that we need more than we realize. Rest. True biblical rest. A real break from the weight and pressure of life and work.”
- The Wonder of Work. Melissa Kruger writes “Knowing that we have an opportunity to build for an eternal kingdom allows us to work with a deeper joy and purpose as we work. Our labors are not in vain! (1 Cor. 15:58). Whatever we’ve been called to do, may we live and labor as servants of the King. We have the privilege of a kingdom calling.”
- Monday Morning and My Endless To-Do List. Courtney Reissig writes “Do your plans for plans for this week cause anxiety to rise in you before you’ve even seen the sun rise? Are you trying to cross off tasks from your to-do list before you’ve finished your first cup of coffee and your toddler bounces into your room? Hello, Monday, we have not missed you.”
- It Matters How You Set Your Goals. Hugh Whelchel writes “Yes, absolutely set goals. Take the necessary steps to reach them. But pay attention to who you’re becoming along the way.”
- Our aim is to joyfully magnify Christ—to make him look great by all we do. Boasting only in the cross, our aim is to enjoy making much of him by the way we work. John Piper
- This is a golden age for leadership if you are a leader and a follower of Jesus. Patrick Lencioni
- There is a thin line in leadership between motivating people and manipulating people. John Maxwell
- Work is simply taking the raw material of creation and developing it for the sake of others. Tim Keller
- Once you set a vision and create values, turn the hierarchical pyramid upside down to serve the people in your organization. Ken Blanchard
- What would happen if our leaders focused on the power of love instead of being consumed by the love of power? Brad Lomenick
- Universal Christian job description: In every way possible, leave people, places things better than you found them. Scott Sauls
- You’ll never take pleasure in your work until you realize that the ‘work under your work’ has all been done by Jesus Christ. Tim Keller
- Being relevant, popular and powerful… are not vocations, but temptations. Henri Nouwen
FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEWS:
Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family by Bob Chapman and Raj Sisodia. Portfolio. 272 pages. 2015
I first heard of Bob Chapman, CEO of Barry-Wehmiller Companies (BW), a St. Louis based manufacturing organization, in Simon Sinek’s 2013 book Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t. Sinek writes the Foreword to this inspiring book about how BW does business. Sinek states that nearly every CEO says that their people matter. With Bob Chapman at BW, this is actually true.
The book is about “what happens when ordinary people throw away long accepted management practices and start operating from their deepest sense of right with a sense of profound responsibility for the lives entrusted to them”. It is the story of BW’s organizational and leadership culture, based around what they call “Truly Human Leadership”, and is sprinkled throughout with stories about the people and programs of BW.
Chapman tells his personal story – he grew up in Ferguson, Missouri. After his girlfriend got pregnant, he got serious about his education, getting his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Indiana, his MBA from the University of Michigan and his CPA. His father was the President of BW. He asked Bob to join the company, eventually reaching the position of Executive Vice President. He initially turned things around significantly and then went through a difficult nine months before there was a very successful public offering. Since that time, BW has acquired, or as they say it “adopted”, 80 other organizations.
The authors write that BW’s culture changed in 1997. That’s when BW’s “Guiding Principles of Leadership” were created. Those principles state that BW measures success by how they touch the lives of people.
BW aims to inspire behavior resulting in value creation. Trust is very important in their culture. They see leadership as stewardship. Leaders at BW are committed to helping team members find fulfilling and meaningful work.
The authors talk about business as family and discuss the similarities between parenting and leadership. They are concerned about not only how work impacts their team members but their team members’ families as well.
The authors discuss BW’s Lean (the core idea of lean is to maximize customer value while minimizing waste) journey. They added a human aspect to traditional Lean. While traditional Lean looks at eliminating waste, BW’s Lean model looks at eliminating frustration. One of the aspects of continuous improvement is the Kaizen (Japanese for improvement) event. I found it interesting that I was reading about BW’s experience with Kaizen on the same day that I was participating in a Kaizen event in the organization I work at.
BW’s Living Legacy of Leadership is the convergence of the Guiding Principles of Leadership and Lean. To date, BW has completed 500 process improvement efforts, involving more than 3,000 of their team members.
The authors state that we shouldn’t judge an organization’s culture during the good times. I found of particular interest how BW did business during the 2008-09 business downturn. They approached it by saying “What would a caring family do”? They implemented across the board measures, so there was shared sacrifice. They rebounded within 9 months and went on to record success in 2010.
Part two of the book is about applying the BW Playbook in your organization. They authors discuss BW’s “Ten Commandments of Truly Human Leadership” and their BW Leadership Institute.
Their Ten Commandments of Truly Human Leadership are:
- Begin every day with a focus on the lives you touch.
- Know that leadership is the stewardship of the lives entrusted to you.
- Embrace leadership practices that send people home each day safe, healthy, and fulfilled.
- Align all actions to an inspirational vision of a better future.
- Trust is the foundation of all relationships; act accordingly.
- Look for goodness in people and recognize and celebrate it daily.
- Ask no more or less of anyone than you would of your own child.
- Lead with a clear sense of grounded optimism.
- Recognize and flex to the uniqueness of everyone.
- Always measure success by the way you touch the lives of people.
The authors state that visioning is the most powerful tool in leadership. Their version of empowerment is called “Responsible Freedom”, which requires two-way trust. Recognition and celebration are also important to their culture. Important to the BW culture is caring, inspiring and celebrating.
BW has a “Truly Human Leadership” blog and podcast. You can find out more about them here.
Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?
If you find yourself anywhere on the spectrum from workaholic to weekend warrior, it’s time to bridge the gap between Sunday worship and Monday work. Striking a balance between theological depth and practical counsel, Tom Nelson outlines God’s purposes for work in a way that helps us to make the most of our vocation and to join God in his work in the world. Discover a new perspective on work that will transform your workday and make the majority of your waking hours matter, not only now, but for eternity.
Dr. Nelson is the senior pastor of Christ Community Church in Kansas City and also the President of Made to Flourish, a pastors’ network for the common good. This is one of the better books that I have read on integrating faith and work. This week we look at highlights from
Chapter 8: Gifted For Work
- Our work is a gift from God, but we are also gifted by God for our work. How God has created us and gifted us, and the very human dispositions we have been given, shape his vocational will for our lives.
- I believe that at any stage of life you can discern and live out your God-honoring vocational contribution in the world.
- Our lives and our vocational callings are woven into the beautiful tapestry of God’s often mysterious providence. Through the eyes of faith, we can be confident that God is moving his redemptive story forward and empowering us to participate with his work in the world.
- Frederick Buechner makes this important and insightful observation: “God calls you to the kind of work that you need most to do, and that the world most needs to have done . . . the place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
- You were created with work in mind. You have been gifted to do a particular work. As a follower of Christ who has been born from above, you have been equipped and empowered by the Holy Spirit to make an important vocational contribution, a contribution that God has providentially arranged for you to make in this world.
- An important aspect of the filling of the Holy Spirit is the supernatural empowerment mediated in and through our vocational callings.
- The gifts of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit, as well as the guidance and empowerment of the Spirit, find great expression in and through our vocations.
- Your vocational calling is not only a gift from God but also equips and supernaturally gifts you for work.
- I have also found these four diagnostic questions very helpful for vocational direction at any stage of life. We need to ask ourselves: (1) How has God designed me? (2) What life experiences have shaped me? (3) What circumstances surround me? and (4) What do my wise counselors say?
- There are also many personality assessment tools available that help us get a better read on how we have been designed.
- The kind of spiritual gift or gifts we have been given by the Holy Spirit when we come to Christ also play a role in discerning our vocational calling. Oftentimes particular spiritual gifts such as teaching, leadership, administration, or mercy dovetail beautifully and seamlessly in our vocational calling.
- Another consideration in discerning how God has designed us as individuals is to assess what interests and motivates us.
- The kind of work we like to do is an indicator of the kind of work we were created to do.
- To get a better grasp on how God has designed us, it is also helpful to recall those times when the work we have done has emotionally drained us.
- God not only designs us in a particular way with a particular contribution in mind, he also providentially allows many experiences to shape our lives.
- We often find our vocational calling through relational networks that are already part of our lives.
- When we are seeking vocational guidance, it is important to carefully read and prayerfully reflect on the guiding truths of Scripture. It is also important to seek out wise counsel from others who are very knowledgeable in our vocational fields of activity and are known to be mature individuals brimming with understanding and wisdom.
- Your vocational sweet spot is that place where your creativity is most unleashed, your passions are most engaged, and your work makes the greatest contribution to advancing the mission of the organization or business you serve.