April 17, 2013
Leaders lead. It sounds so simple; and yet, we make it seem so complex. I do think it is beneficial to occasionally go back and review the basics. Being an enthusiastic college basketball fan, I marvel at how often “great teams” actually execute the basics the best. So for aspiring and seasoned leaders, reviewing and practicing the basics will help us become strong performers.
The following are five basics worth remembering and practicing:
- Leaders influence
- Leaders think about the big picture and help others to see the future.
- Leaders create vision and direction.
- Leaders motivate others to unite around future vision and direction.
- Leaders challenge and expect aspiring leaders to grow to a greater level of influence.
- Leaders mentor
In The Mentor Leader, Tony Dungy emphasizes the need for leaders to make developing future leaders a priority.
- Leaders develop the strengths of others.
- Leaders help others achieve success.
- Leaders spend time building mentoring relationships to counsel, coach, and challenge.
- Leaders speak with conviction
Al Mohler in The Conviction to Lead says that Christian leaders possess a passion to lead which springs from deep and heartfelt inner convictions based on truth and Biblical principles.
- Leaders lead based on principals and convictions.
- Leaders lead with passion and enthusiasm.
- Leaders are hopeful and have strong faith in the future.
- Leaders know the importance of organizational history and telling stories to marry the past, present and future.
- Leaders lead from their strength zone.
- Leaders assess their strength zone and operate within it.
- Leaders become who God has wired them to be.
- Leaders focus on developing their own strengths.
- Leaders spend time taking their strengths, talents and giftedness to new levels.
- Leaders read – Steven Sample, former President of USC
Steven Sample in The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership talks about how important it is for leaders to take time to read a variety of books and articles from current to classics.
- Read the word faithfully.
- Read articles and books on leadership.
- Read current events.
- Read biographies and classics.
- Read for fun.
Five Biblical Principles for Leaders
The following biblical principles can provide God’s power for you to lead day in and day out. Try starting each day reading these verses and praying for wisdom to not only do the right thing, but to have courage when facing tough decision. Operating from His power in faith will provide a great sense of strength and peace for facing all circumstances.
- Pray for wisdom – James 1:5 – “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
- Exalt Christ – Isaiah 25:1 – “O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks for Your name; For You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.” Hebrews 12:2 – “Keep eyes; focus on Christ.”
- Have courage to do the right thing and make hard decisions.
Psalm 27: 3, 14
Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear; Though war rise against me, in spite of this, I shall be confident.”
Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.”
- Be devoted to prayer. Colossian 4:2 - “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
- Remember, it is a privilege to serve Christ.
During recent times of challenge, I had a trusted friend that kept reminding me that it is a privilege to serve Christ even when you may be misinterpreted or misunderstood. If you have the opportunity to serve Christ and risk all, it is still worth it to risk all for Christ.
January 3, 2013
If you are a leader, you know what it is like to discover that there can be conflict, even in great organizations. Conflict represents discord, differing viewpoints, and frequently brings out the worst in people in how they act and interact with one another. Conflict does impact organizations in negative ways and can put a cloud of oppression over the environment.
But leaders can demonstrate through their actions that there can be positive outcomes to conflict if handled with care and deliberateness. A good leader can address conflict and differences between people with strength and resolve to bring reconciliation and healing. An effective leader recognizes resolving conflict can lead to improved communication and a strengthening of relationships.
Top leaders do not shy away from conflict but are deliberate to engage problems because they know there can be a positive outcome from experiencing conflict.
There are three ways to view conflict as positive:
- Addressing conflict leads to personal growth.
- Addressing conflict deepens relationships.
- Addressing conflict enhances communication, provides clarity, and instills truth.
Being willing to engage others in hard discussions does deepen your ability to be open, to be authentic, to be respectful, and to be sensitive. Working through crucial conversations does develop wisdom for appreciating and resolving differences between people.
Working through conflict does force a leader to enhance her communication skills by seeking clarity and truth. This overwhelming drive to form clear and truthful communication patterns needed to resolve conflict does lead to positive outcomes for the leader and those involved.
Getting through something hard does produce personal satisfaction and it does deepen and strengthen relationships. Good leadership seeks to engage conflict knowing that it can lead to positive outcomes if handled with integrity and deliberateness.
December 18, 2012
Leaders frequently talk about the need for transparency and authenticity. It is commonly accepted and fashionable today to encourage transparency in all areas of life and leadership. However, living and practicing truth telling and integrity in all matters seems to be a difficult task for effective leaders today.
In our world it appears that being highly truthful and careful to clarify all statements is less of a concern on the part of leaders as well as followers. Today, being dishonest or telling half-truths seems to be commonplace and even acceptable even when in contrast we are quick to judge and criticize those who have highly visible moral or financial failures. Perhaps we are less willing to hold them accountable to live and practice leadership with a high degree of integrity because society today regularly overlooks lying and exaggeration among high profile leaders. There is a disconnect between how we judge leaders for lying and being deceitful versus judging them for much more serious sins or illegal activities. We are ok to let leaders tell half-truths if they portray a positive and likeable image. Holding those in authority accountable for truth telling does not seem to be of high value and importance. However, I contend that demonstrating integrity and truth in all communication and interactions is critical to effective leadership.
Why do those in top positions so frequently communicate in shades of grey? Leaders who desire to be well-liked or who have an overwhelming desire to please people can easily fall into the trap of communicating with less than accurate information. Leaders who have a high need to be liked or favored are often willing to tell people what they want to hear.
Why is it important to speak and lead with truth and integrity?
- People deserve to know the truth.
- Truth telling clarifies and defines actions and information.
- Truth telling creates real authenticity and provides consistency between past actions and current and future actions.
Telling people hard things can be difficult. But it is far better to tell people hard things rather than avoid telling them just because you do not want to be disliked or criticized. Leaders who speak the truth even when it may represent bad news are willing to do what is right even in the face of experiencing criticism. It is important to applaud true authentic leadership – leadership which operate based on truth and integrity.
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