Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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Leadership Courage


I used to regularly get feedback indicating that “Bill doesn’t like conflict”. Well, I’m not sure many people really like conflict, but I do know that if you avoid situations because you don’t want to deal with conflict due to a lack of leadership courage it can result in other problems. In fact, Patrick Lencioni has written that the fear of conflict is almost always a sign of problems.
In the organization that I worked at as a leader for nearly 38 years, we often talked about leadership courage, especially in evaluating emerging leaders. But what do we mean by leadership courage?
John Maxwell has said that he has never known a successful leader who was not courageous. He states that courage is an essential quality for a leader. Samantha Pena has written that a courageous leader is someone who constantly asks themselves if they are being courageous enough, who are willing to make difficult decisions and do not back down when things get too hard.

Leaders who consistently demonstrate leadership courage model these 5 traits:

  • Confront reality. Leaders need to be able to assess their environment effectively and then lead based on the current reality. They have to be able to adjust their thinking and approach based on current conditions.
  • Change agent. Leaders who have leadership courage are comfortable driving change, are not afraid to challenge the status quo and take calculated risks. Susan Pearse writes “Without courage you can’t have the right conversations that lead to change. Without courage you won’t even get off the starting block as a leader.”
  • Open and honest communication. Leaders must be able to deliver the difficult messages about change in their organization, even if they may personally disagree with them.
  • Honest performance feedback. Not being honest about a team member’s performance appears to be kind, but it’s really not. Not being honest doesn’t do the team member nor the organization any favors. Giving a team member a better than deserved performance evaluation is not being fair to them, because eventually they will encounter a good leader who will be honest with them. Give them honest feedback that will help them to address any performance issues they may have.
  • Go back. There are times when a leader must show leadership courage and go back on a decision they have made when it becomes obvious that the decision was wrong. This also takes humility, a trait of all great leaders.

These are just 5 traits of leaders who consistently demonstrate leadership courage. What would you add to the list?

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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • The Church of Chicken. I often say that there is no organizational culture that I respect more than Chick Fil-A. Here’s a long, but excellent, article about the organization.
  • Where is God When I Have Been Fired? Russell Gehrlein writes “I have been reading William Morris’ book Where is God at Work? since last August.  His fresh perspective aligns so well with mine, showing the many ways in which God is present in various challenging situations at work.
  • A Timely New Book on Faith and Work—20 Years in the Making. Craig Sanders reviews Dan Doriani’s new book Work: It’s Purpose, Dignity and Transformation, the best book on work from a Christian perspective that I have read. He writes “Doriani’s years of research and reflection on this important topic sets this text apart from other recent books on the theology of work. His smooth exposition of complex economic and theological themes blended with stories from experience and interviews combine for an eminently readable product. I’d recommend this book to pastors so they can learn about connecting faith and work for their congregations, and the discussion questions in each chapter make this a great resource for small-group studies as well.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
 More links to interesting articles
 The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
 My Review of “The Soul of a Team” by Tony Dungy with Nathan Whitaker
 Snippets from Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”
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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


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The Importance of Truth-Telling for a Leader


Dee Ann Turner was Vice President, Talent and Human Resources for Chick-fil-A, Inc.  In her book “Bet on Talent: How to Create a Remarkable Culture That Wins The Hearts of Customers” she talks about the importance of truth-telling for a leader. She writes that “the kindest thing you can do for someone is tell the truth. This is especially true when providing feedback.” She tells us that truth-telling helps people perform better and often strengthens relationships; it’s likely that people would thank you for telling the truth, even when they don’t like it.
As a leader, this really resonated with me. I always enjoyed giving positive feedback, administering a good performance evaluation or promoting a team member. The flipside of this was not so enjoyable, but every bit as important. Some leaders will sugarcoat difficult messages, perhaps because they want to be liked or perhaps not to hurt the feelings of the person they were providing the feedback to, and I know that I did that over the years as well. But we do no favors to our team members, instead harming them, and not giving them the chance to improve, when we don’t tell them the truth. Here are a few specific situations in which it is important for leaders to tell their team members the truth: Continue reading


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Leadership Lessons from the Life of Moses


We can learn much about leadership by studying the lives of Bible characters. Previously in our “Leadership Lessons from the Bible” series we have learned from Jesus, Joseph, Nehemiah, the Apostle Paul and David. Today, we’ll look at leadership lessons from the life of Moses. Like all leaders, Moses had success and at times faced opposition. Here are 7 leadership lessons we can learn from him.

  • Leaders are called. I would consider myself a reluctant leader. As an introvert, shy and lacking in confidence, I would never have chosen leadership as my calling, but that’s exactly what God chose for me. In Exodus 3, we read about God’s calling of Moses from the burning bush. He tells Moses that He has seen the affliction of his people in Egypt and heard their cry. He knows their sufferings and has come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and bring them to a land flowing with milk and honey. (Exodus 3: 7-8). And, God has chosen Moses to lead his people.

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Leadership Lessons from the Life of David


We can learn much about leadership by studying the lives of Bible characters. Previously in our “Leadership Lessons from the Bible” series we have learned from Jesus , Joseph, Nehemiah and the Apostle Paul. Today, we’ll look at leadership lessons from the life of David.

Like all leaders, David experienced highs and lows, successes and failures. Here are 9 leadership lessons we can learn from the life of David:

  • Leaders demonstrate courage. In 1 Samuel 17:7, we read that David, a youth, and the youngest son of Jesse, courageously tells Saul “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” He then killed the giant Goliath with just a sling and with a stone. Today, good leaders need to demonstrate leadership courage. While not including killing a giant, leaders will need to be able to do such things as make bold decisions, take risks, deliver unpopular messages to their teams, and honestly provide feedback and evaluate performance.

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Leadership Lessons from the Apostle Paul


We can learn much about leadership by studying the lives of Bible characters. Previously in our series we have learned from Jesus, Joseph, and Nehemiah. Today, we’ll look at leadership lessons from the Apostle Paul. I recently re-read John MacArthur’s book Called to Lead: 26 Leadership Lessons from the Life of the Apostle Paul, in which he wrote “If you want a human model of leadership, I don’t think you’ll ever find a better model than Paul. Paul is my hero as a leader”.

There are many leadership lessons we can learn from Paul. But, since Paul wrote 13 books, or about 28 percent of the New Testament, coming up with just a few leadership lessons from him will be a challenge.  We could easily fill books with those lessons, but I’ll give it a try. Here are 8 leadership lessons we can learn from the Apostle Paul:

  • God can use anyone to carry out His mission. The first time we encounter Paul, then known as Saul of Tarsus, in the Book of Acts, it was during the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7. We are told in Acts 8:1 that Saul approved of Stephen’s execution Later, we are told that Saul then ravaged the church (Acts 8:3). But Jesus saves Saul as he was on his way to Damascus, and chose him, the one who was persecuting Jesus and the church, to be the one to take the Gospel to the Gentiles. This is a good lesson for us. We may not have the best grades, most degrees or experience, speaking ability or charisma, but God can still use us for his purposes as leaders.

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