Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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The Most Difficult Conversation I Ever Had at Work

As a leader, I had to have many difficult conversations in my career. But as I reflect back, there was one conversation that took place several years ago that stood out above the rest as the most difficult.

In the organization I worked at, we would regularly have conversations about analysts who had the potential and interest to move into a leadership position. If everyone agreed, these analysts would be placed on a “promotability list”. This list would have multiple levels.  Being placed in the top category indicated that they were ready to take on a leadership position.
One of my team members was in that top category when our leadership team had their regular conversation about our area’s candidates. At that time, there was very little movement of analysts into leadership. As a result, there was new criteria applied to those on the list. As a result, my team member was not approved to stay on the list. They were not going to be moved back a level on the list, but taken off the list completely, which was very unusual. As their leader, I would have to communicate this news to them. But I was going to be out of the office on a previously scheduled vacation before our meeting. Needless to say, I thought about our meeting a lot during my vacation. Continue reading


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How to Become a Leader Others Will Want to Follow

When I worked with team members and mentees who were emerging leaders, I would tell them that I wanted them to be leaders that others would want to follow. Now, in my organization, and perhaps in yours, neither leaders nor team members often got to pick who they work with. But I wanted those emerging leaders to be the type of leaders that people would want to work for if they had the chance. I was always overjoyed when I got to work with an individual more than once, and I was blessed to work with a few people three and four different times.
When I talk about a leader worth following, what I am describing is level 2, or “Permission” in John Maxwell’s “Five Levels of Leadership”. A description of the level 2 is:
“Level 2 is based on relationship. At this level, people choose to follow because they want to. In other words, they give the leader Permission to lead them. To grow at this level, leaders work on getting to know their people and connecting with them. Level 2 is where solid, lasting relationships are built that create the foundation for the next level”.
Why is it important to be a leader who others want to follow? Marcus Buckingham has said that “People don’t leave bad companies, they leave bad managers”. Maxwell says that “People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision”. Continue reading


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Can an Introvert Be a Successful Leader?


In the organization where I worked as a leader for almost 38 years, it seemed that the vast majority of leaders were extroverts, and that particular personality type was most valued in a leader. The question we must ask is whether an introvert can be a successful leader.
First of all, we need to know what we mean when we say someone is an introvert. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of an introvert is “a reserved or shy person who enjoys spending time alone.” That definition doesn’t seem to scream “leader” to me. In comparison, an extrovert is defined as “a gregarious and unreserved person”.
Although I would occasionally have people challenge my assertion that I am an introvert, I had no doubt. For example, on family vacations, I would rather be by myself in a canoe, on a bike or reading a book, than I would be with the rest of the group playing a game.  My wife Tammy even reminds me when I was too shy as a teenager to order a pizza on the phone. Now that’s shy! Continue reading


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3 Areas I Needed Discernment in as a Leader


Hannah Anderson discusses the issue of discernment in her book All is Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment, which was named the best book in the “Christian Living” category of the 2018 Gospel Coalition Book Awards. She defines discernment as the ability to sort between a host of options and pick what is good. She tells us that discernment carries the idea of judging the merits of something, being able to distinguish between good and bad and what is best.
She states that in order to make good decisions, you must become a discerning person, a person skilled in wisdom and goodness itself. At the same time, she states that people who are confident in their own ability to make good decisions shouldn’t be. How are we to get this discernment?  Anderson tells us that God will give us discernment when we ask Him for it.
Discernment is a key attribute of leadership. I would go so far as to say that it is an essential for a good leader to have discernment. I had to make many difficult decisions as a leader. Here are three situations in which discernment was needed for me, and where I would often go to the Lord in prayer for wisdom: Continue reading