Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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Bad Leadership and What You Can Do About It


Over the past few weeks I’ve heard about some terrible examples of leadership. In one instance, a twenty-year employee of a major organization walked out because of their leader. Unfortunately, I don’t think that this all that unusual. In his book Leadership Gold, John Maxwell wrote that people quit people, not companies. Employees often leave companies not because they dislike the company or their job, but rather because they want to escape a particular person, usually their leader.
In another example, a first-line leader held a team meeting to announce changes in work schedules that they knew would not be popular with the team. In doing so, they came equipped with criticism of the team as justification for why the changes were being made. Fortunately, the second-line leader was present and continually softened the blow, indicating that the team was in fact doing good work and was valued, messages that were not made by the first-line leader. Continue reading


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My Book is on Sale for $.99 August 6-13!

The Kindle edition of my new book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace will be on sale for just $.99 for one week, beginning at 10:00 am CST August 6. The sale will end at 2:00 am CST on August 13.
In the book I share what I’ve learned about calling, vocation, work and leadership from my experience of leading in both the general marketplace and the church for more than 40 years.
Here are a few endorsements for the book:
“I rejoice to read sound words on how to integrate a Christian leader’s faith and work from such a faithful elder, who has immersed himself in the contemporary and historical writings of Reformed theologians and the essence of the Gospel. Bill Pence’s own integrated leadership in this area has spread by his mentoring of other leaders in the workplace and the “pews,” his Coram Deo blog, and his service in his local church. God has made Bill a rich resource to recover what was lost in the divide between faith and work.”
Dr. Robert Davis Smart, Senior Pastor of Christ Church (PCA), Normal, Illinois and author of many books including Waging War in an Age of Doubt Continue reading


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Servant Leadership: Leading Like Jesus, Part 3

In the first part of our three-part series, we looked at my takeaways from the book Lead Like Jesus: Lessons from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges. In part two, we looked at my takeaways from a few other books on servant leadership that I would commend to you, and in this third part, I’ll look at my takeaways from a few more books. Continue reading


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Servant Leadership: Leading Like Jesus, Part 2

In the first part of our series, we looked at my servant leadership takeaways from the book Lead Like Jesus: Lessons from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges. Now I want to look at my takeaways from three books on servant leadership that I would commend to you. 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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Servant Leadership: Leading Like Jesus, Part 1

I’m a huge proponent of servant leadership. It’s the way I try to lead, and I believe it is the best leadership model. I’ve read many good books on the topic, with the first, and best, being Lead Like Jesus: Lessons from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges. In this two-part series on servant leadership, I’ll first look at takeaways from that book, and in part two, I’ll look at what I’ve earned from a few other books on the subject.

    • The world is in desperate need of a different leadership role model. Many leaders act as if the sheep are there only for the benefit of the shepherd. The good news is that there is a better way. There is one perfect leadership role model you can trust, and His name is Jesus.
    • Self-promotion (pride) and self-protection (fear) are the reigning motivations that dominate the leadership landscape today. But Jesus is clear about how He wants us to lead: He asks us to make a difference in our world by being effective servant leaders. For followers of Jesus, servant leadership isn’t an option; it’s a mandate.

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5 Best Books I Recommend on Servant Leadership


I’m a strong proponent of servant leadership. I’ve previously shared four reasons why I aspire to be a servant leader. You can read that article here.
I’ve read many books about leadership over the years, and several about servant leadership in particular. Below are 5 books on servant leadership, plus a bonus chapter, that I recommend you read if you would like to find out more about the topic.
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BOOK REVIEW: “BET ON TALENT” BY DEE ANN TURNER

Bet on Talent: How to Create a Remarkable Culture That Wins the Hearts of Customers by Dee Ann Turner. Baker Books. 213 pages. 2019
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I have often said that there is no organizational culture that I respect more than that of Chick Fil-A. Over her thirty years at Chick Fil-A, Dee Ann Turner had a lot to do with their remarkable culture. In this helpful book, Turner shares both principles and stories. She shares the principles she learned, practiced, and taught about creating and growing a remarkable culture and selecting and developing extraordinary talent in her role as vice president of human resources and later vice president of Talent at Chick-fil-A. She shares stories about how people working in remarkable cultures can build brand loyalty by providing remarkable customer experiences, and gives you practical steps to follow to grow a remarkable culture in your organization. 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 17:37, 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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