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Thursday
Dec252014

3 Critical Responsibilities of a True Leader

Three critical responsibilities of a true leader:

“View From the Top”

I just finished a very insightful book, “View From the Top,” by David Michael Lindsay, President of Gordon Cromwell College (a Christian university in Boston).

Here are three critical responsibilities of a true leader adapted from the book. I both resonate and agree with all three. The three main points are David's the content under each point is mine.

True leaders…

1.  Are productive with their time and energy

The best leaders I know keep track of, and invest wisely, the time God has given them.  It's a matter not only of the hours but also when our energy peaks. Emotional energy is something that all leaders need to be aware of. We might have enough hours, but lack emotional energy depending on the amount of draining people and draining activities that come our way. Psalm 90:12 (ESV) reminds us to “number our days” which is not just a matter of counting our days, but also making our days count. It's a priceless ability to be able to distinguish the vital few from the trivial many when it comes to deciding what the WIN is. What (or Who) is important now. It's best to think in terms of investing, not spending, time.

Time is immensely valuable and utterly irretrievable.  Without controversy, it is the most precious asset you have. You can lose money and regain it, you can lose your health and regain it; but when an hour is past, it is gone forever and can never be retrieved.  We all have the same amount of time.  The only variable is how we invest it. Whatever our station in life, our clocks all run at the same rate and we all have l68 hours a week…no more, no less.  Sir Walter Scott said, "Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of.”

2.  Motivate and manage people well

It's my conviction that every leader needs to manage; even leaders who are visionaries for the most part and don’t like details. Visionary leaders still need to be able to manage people and workflow.

So it’s a matter of both managing and motivating direct reports, thereby keeping spirits and morale high. It’s also a matter of giving people clarity as to their job descriptions, laying down challenging but realistic expectations, spelling out what authority you're  giving people and work with them in setting goals for their areas of responsibility.

I have found that people do much better when there is clarity across the board and the crystal ball to help them read your mind is forever put into storage. I believe that people respond well to strong vision, regular encouragement, along with challenging but reasonable expectations and goals

3.  Build an organizational culture with civility and respect

I have been in the workforce for over 50 years and have worked for a number of Christian organizations as well as in the market place. If I have learned one thing it is that it's all about people and relationships. As leaders we need to build cultures which help those working with us to flourish and thrive, not wilt and die because of a toxic or command-and-control style of leadership.

People want to work for a boss and in an organization where they matter and what they do matters. Too many leaders don’t take the time to encourage and express appreciation for those they lead. Recently I read Acts 20:2 in The Message, referring to the Apostle Paul,  

“Traveling through the country, passing from one gathering to another, he gave constant encouragement, lifting their spirits and charging them with fresh hope.”

Giving encouragement, lifting spirits and giving people fresh hope is what leadership is truly all about.

On February 23, 2013 I posted a blog titled, “Four steps to building a culture of respect.”

Here's a quote from that blog:

“Many who experience incivility or bullying at work do so in silence. They feel they have no one to turn to or fear retaliation. Building a culture of respect begins when you teach it, adapt it, and model it. But going forward you must praise the work of your team. Instead of suffering in silence you can create a culture of praising in public. It’s been said what you tolerate you promote. But I also believe  that what you praise you perpetuate. Lift up the positives of respect, honor, civility, and diversity. These are the strengths of your company and the virtues that make it great.”

As you:

  • Are wise in how your invest your time
  • Motivate and manage people well
  • Create an organizational culture of civility and respect,

You can have a great leadership year in 2015! 

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