Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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Leaders, You’ll Rarely Be the Smartest Person in the Room

Leaders may or may not be subject matter experts in their given field. I was rarely, if ever, the smartest person in the room when working with my teams. A leader’s primary responsibility has to be to provide a compelling vision of a better future for their particular area of responsibility (team, division, organization, country, etc.). This has to be a vision that attracts others who believe that the leader has the ability to bring it to fruition. Thus, the leader needs to influence others to follow them. Leadership expert John Maxwell has often said that “Leadership is influence, nothing more and nothing less”.

Why do I say that the leader may not be a subject matter expert in their area of responsibility? That seems to go against what I have previously written that we want our leaders to have both competence and character. Wouldn’t a leader need to have an understanding of the area they are leading in order to be competent, and earn the trust of their followers? Continue reading


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Leadership Attributes: Humility


What makes a great leader? A few years ago, I asked a few colleagues at work to tell me what they thought were the attributes of a great leader. As you can expect, I got a wide variety of responses, from motivator to inclusive to risk taker and problem solver. In this new series on leadership attributes, I will write about several of these attributes. The first one will be humility.

Jim Collins, author of the business classic Good to Great, in looking for what made the difference in companies that were able to move from “good to great” and sustain that greatness, identified two distinct characteristics among the leaders of those companies, one of which was humility. At first, the importance of humility seems surprising. Think of some of the leaders you have worked with. Would the attribute of humility describe them? I hope so, but I’m not sure. Or consider some of our national political leaders. Humility may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of them. Continue reading


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The Kindle Edition of My Book is on Sale for $.99!

The Kindle version of my book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace, will be on sale for just $.99, beginning at 6:00 am on January 9 until midnight January 15.

In this book, I bring my unique perspective of having been a leader for nearly 38 years at a Fortune 50 organization, a seminary graduate and a leader in my church for more than 25 years, to the growing faith and work conversation. I make the case from the scriptures and many books that I’ve read, that God values our work and callings, as long as we are doing work that is pleasing to Him. I also hope to help you to determine your callings.

The book was written for those who want to know that God values what they do in their work and callings, as they do it to serve and glorify Him. The book is also written for those in the “pews” who struggle to see the connection between what they hear from the pulpit in Sunday morning worship with the rest of the week. The book can be read individually, or in a group setting as “Questions for Reflection and Discussion” are included at the end of each chapter.
Here are a few endorsements of the book:
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How to Make Feedback Your Friend


One of the last leaders I had in my career – one of my favorites and a true servant leader – would often say that we needed to see feedback as our friend. I’m not sure how many people can really say that they feel that way however. I know receiving performance feedback was always stressful for me. Continue reading


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As a Leader, You Don’t Need to Have Many Rules


My brother stopped by while we were playing with our then four-month-old Alaskan Malamute puppy Clara. After he heard me tell her “Stop biting”, “quit jumping”, “don’t pull so hard”, etc., his response was “Too many rules!” I hadn’t thought about it before he said that, but when you are raising a puppy, there has to be a lot of rules, especially when they are between eight and sixteen weeks old, when they are very impressionable. For example, they need to have rules about where they are to go to the bathroom (and where they aren’t), what rooms of the house they can go into, etc.
But at work when you are leading your team, after you communicate your expectations, you don’t need many rules. Continue reading


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Time Management: Not Working Harder, But Smarter

I had the opportunity to lead a group through a session on time management in our local NXTGEN Pastor’s Cohort (a small group of seminary students that is outside of the classroom or internship, that meets monthly to grow in six soft skills categories).  Much of the material in this article was adapted from that module.
We have all heard about time management, but what is it really and why is it important? In our session we learned that:
“As Christians, we should be managing our time because it is not ours. Just as we should think of our possessions and money as on loan to us from God, so is our time. Time management is important because God calls us to be good stewards of all that he has entrusted to us. But time management is not just learning how to cram more into an already life. Time management is about balance in life.”
We learned that:
Click on ‘Continue reading’ for more of this article…
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Plan Practical: Business Building Tips for Disabled Parents

If you’re a parent with a disability, you may be facing more obstacles than others as you work to establish a small business. Thankfully, there are plenty of exclusive opportunities to help you get a leg up. Today, our guest writer, Ed Carter from https://ablefutures.org/about-us/ is here to cover some of the basics of small business planning, as well as provide a few helpful links.

Research

Before you invest time and money into a venture, it’s important that you first understand the market landscape. This means researching competitors and identifying reasonable demand (and who/where these potential customers are). Take the time to learn about methods of researching and see how these can be applied to your business – the right methods involve adaptation depending on your customers’ needs. Continue reading


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Relational Conflict Will Kill Team Harmony

We generally have a negative reaction when we hear the word “conflict”, but ideological conflict can be a good thing for your team, as I’ve written previously. However, relational conflict, which is what we normally think of when we hear the word conflict, is not a good thing, and will kill the harmony on your team if not dealt with quickly and effectively. Relational conflict will not just go away on its own, unless one of the parties involved leaves your team or organization, which leaders should see as a failure. The ability to effectively resolve conflict is a key responsibility of leaders.
As a long-time leader, sadly, I would not always give myself high marks on how I resolved conflict on my teams. Many times, when dealing with conflict between two team members, leaders are faced with two diametrically opposed versions of a situation from people that they trust, when oftentimes the truth is somewhere in the middle. How a leader handles the situation is critical to team harmony and how successful the team will be in the future. Continue reading


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How Can We Be Salt and Light in the Workplace?

In his “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew chapter 6, Jesus calls his disciples to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world”:  
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Hugh Whelchel, in his article “Jesus Showed Us That Being Salt and Light is True Power” shares this quote from John Stott about being the salt of the earth and light of the world:
“The world, he says, is like rotting meat. But you are to be the world’s salt. The world is like a dark night, but you are to be the world’s light. This is the fundamental difference between the Christian and the non-Christian, the church and the world.”
What does it mean to be salt and light in the workplace? In his book Living Salty and Light-Filled Lives in the Workplace , Luke Bobo tells us that work is the most logical and likely place where Christians should be making the greatest impact. Salty and light-filled workers influence their peers; they push back the effects of sin and expose darkness.  When we live salty and light-filled lives in the workplace, others will witness or see our good works and give God our Father praise. Continue reading


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Praising your Team Members

It is important for leaders to accurately assess the performance of their team members. If performance is below what is expected, a servant leader will meet with the team member to share that feedback. They will then re-clarify expectations, make sure that they are understood, offer additional coaching and end by assuring that the individual is a valued member of the team.

When team members perform well. their leaders should praise them for their work. Three things to keep in mind about praising your team members are that the praise must be: Continue reading