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Saturday
May062017

Four leadership "Idols" that can really hurt you!

No leader sets out to be an idolater, but it happens anyway, and will seriously hurt your leadership effectiveness. Eric Geiger share four idols to be aware of.

Originally posted by Eric Geiger

The fruit of a leader must be another leader as leaders are ultimately the ones responsible for the development of other leaders. From a Christian vantage point, the kingdom of God has multiplied as Christian leaders have developed and deployed others to make disciples and raise up new leaders.

Leaders have been given the holy responsibility of developing and equipping others. Just as in other areas of our lives, our idolatry, our longing for something other than God, keeps us from obeying Him with glad hearts. A leader’s idolatry will prevent a leader from the holy task of developing other leaders.

Tim Keller, David Powlison, and others have thought more deeply and written more eloquently about the idolatry that plagues our hearts. They have identified four common idols beneath the surface, idols that drive sinful and destructive behavior:

Power: a longing for influence or recognition

  •  Control: a longing to have everything go according to my plan
  •  Comfort: a longing for pleasure
  •  Approval:  longing to be accepted or desired

 How do these idols prohibit leadership development? What does a leader with these idols likely think or say about the responsibility to develop others? Below are the four idols with accompanying thoughts or phrases leaders have muttered:

Control

  • I just want to ensure this gets done the right way.
  • I don’t trust another to do it as I can do it.

 If you have thought or said either of the above, your struggle with control is hampering your development of others. A leader with control issues is a leader who fails at a chief leadership task: developing others. A leader who struggles with handing significant responsibility to others fails to provide necessary experiences that aid in development.

Approval

  •  The people need me to be the one who does this.
  •  If someone else does this, people will flock to that person instead of me.

If you have thought or said either of the above, your longing for approval is hurting you and the people you lead. A leader who needs affection and approval from others is reluctant to develop and deploy other leaders because the leader fears the affection and approval could be divided.

Power

  • If someone else does this, I won’t be needed any longer.
  • If someone else does this, people will think I am not doing my job.

 If you have thought or said either of these, you likely love to be a leader so you can be seen as a leader. You love your title (leader) more than your task (developing others). Augustine wrote, “No one can be a good bishop who loves his title and not his task.” A leader whose chief desire is to be perceived as a powerful leader will ignore the greater and more important work of developing others.

Comfort

  •  It would take too much time from other things for me to develop leaders.
  • I would have to adjust my leadership approach to include others.

If you have said or thought either of these about developing others, your desire for comfort or the status quo is keeping you from doing the difficult, messy, and painstakingly slow work of investing in future leaders. A longing for comfort will keep a leader focused on the short-term, the temporary, and the easy. Leadership development is none of these as it takes time, has eternal ramifications, and is hard work.

Are any of these idols stopping you or your team from developing others? We are wise to heed the apostle John’s encouragement: “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” If we don’t, we will neglect one of our chief roles as a leader.

 

 

 

 

Friday
May052017

“King David’s Other Sin.”

Everyone knows about David's sin with Bathsheba, but most don't know about David's other sin that may have had wider consequences than his adultery!

The first sin:

King David committed adultery and then murder

“David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’” 

~2 Samuel 12:13a

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.”

~Psalm 51:1-4a (ESV)

Psalm 51 has been of huge encouragement to countless people regarding sin in their lives.

This first sin (committing adultery with Bathsheba and then having her husband Uriah murdered) is well-known and has been preached on and taught for several thousand years. In most evangelical circles committing adultery and/or murder would have serious consequences and would, in most cases, disqualify someone for leadership for a long time, if not forever.

Most everyone has heard this story and most everyone would agree that the sin was grievous in God’s sight.  We know that it carried a huge price tag for David in his personal and family life.

The average Bible-preaching, Jesus-honoring, gospel-centered church today would come down heavy on the sin of adultery. Sexual sin among leaders usually results in swift action.

But there is another sin David committed that is hardly ever mentioned. It is more prominent and widespread than adultery, but is, for the most part, overlooked, with scant attention paid to it.

The other sin:

King David took a census numbering the people of Israel

“But David’s heart struck him after he had numbered the people. And David said to the Lord, ‘I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O Lord, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have done very foolishly.’”   (Emphasis mine.)

 ~2 Samuel 24:10 (ESV)

The story is problematic in that it appears that the Lord suggested David count the people. (2 Samuel 24:1) Perhaps the sin lies in David’s heart and motivation in the counting. At any rate, 70,000 people lost their lives as a result of David’s second sin, whereas two people(husband Uriah and the baby) lost their lives as a result of David’s first sin.  So by sheer body count, the other sin was more costly. 

We pay a lot of attention to the sin of adultery today, but what attention do we give to “counting.” What is the sin in this?

It was Albert Einstein who said, “A lot of what can be counted doesn’t count, and a lot of what counts can’t be counted.”

Allow me to add to that by saying that what really doesn’t count is easy to count and what really counts is hard to count.

 I’m not 100% sure of what David had going on in his heart and values, but find it interesting that he says, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done.” Not just sinned, but “sinned greatly.” He also goes on to say, “I have done very foolishly.”

 Not just foolishly but “very foolishly.” So, he discerns in his heart that he has “sinned greatly” and done “very foolishly.”  As to why he actually did what he did is open to speculation, but one thing is clear and that is that he was convicted that he had sinned greatly and acted foolishly.

So let’s talk about numbering/counting, as it goes on incessantly today in Christian circles. Now, let me be clear in saying that numbering or counting is not wrong in and of itself, but what we count and why we count is where the sin may lie.

I love 1 Corinthians 4:7 in The Message, “Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what’s the point of all this comparing and competing?”

Having an unhealthy and unbiblical interest in knowing how much/many of anything I have as a leader and looking to that for significance can be sinful:

  1. Number of people in my ministry
  2. Number of dollars in the bank
  3. Number of hits on the website
  4. Number of followers on Twitter
  5. Number of  friends on Facebook
  6. Number of attendees at conferences
  7. Number of subscribers to my blog site
  8. Number of books sold

Any of these things can become idols and replace love for/of Jesus in my heart and affections, which can lead to being driven (rather than led) to want more and more in every category mentioned above.

John D. Rockefeller was asked how much money it takes to make a man happy? His response: “Just a little bit more.” How much more do we need of the above eight mentioned items (and perhaps you can think of others) to keep us satisfied? Just a little bit more?

So fellow leader, hopefully you have not, or are not, falling into David’s first sin; and, even if you have, there is total forgiveness and restoration available to you. (Psalm51).

But where are you on “The Other Sin?” Are you attempting to get your sense of value, worth and identity by counting—and, thereby, competing and comparing with your fellow leaders? 

1.  Is it time for you to rethink your definition of success, from God’s vantage point?

2.  In your heart have you rewritten, “Well done good and faithful servant”  to read, well done good and successful, famous, better, most popular, fruitful servant?

3.  Is the grace of God and the sovereignty of God your source of stability and security or have you been looking elsewhere?

 

 

Thursday
May042017

How to daily increase your energy!

Lots of leaders are always tired and living on empty. Is there a way to increase your energy level without becoming addictive to energy drinks or talking some pill? Dan Rockwell shares ten ways to find more energy every day.

Originally posted by Dan Rockwell

10 Ways to Find More Energy Today

#1. Reject the need to be right all the time. The person who needs to be right, ends up drained by fools.

#2. Say yes to activities where you make the most difference. Shoot to spend at least 70% of your time in meaningful activities. Do the stuff you hate early in the day.

#3. Make fewer commitments. Regret drains energy. Learn to say no, kindly and without defensiveness. The bad feeling you have when you don’t fulfill a commitment weakens your soul.

#4. Stop trying to change people. Accept your team and organization as they are. Acceptance isn’t approval or agreement.  People change themselves.

Frustration over battles you can’t win drains energy. Help people improve, when they want to improve. The frustration you feel about them, drains their energy too.

#5. Surround yourself with people who aspire to be better. Look for people who know enough to know that they don’t know. Be one, too.

#6. Look forward to something. Anticipation is energy. Tap into the “I just want to get this done” energy. But, be sure there’s something positive on the other side of “just getting things done.”

#7. Don’t depend on people who are undependable.

#8. Notice small acts of kindness. Appreciate people who hold the door open, for example.

#9. Work within the framework of established authority. Only buck the system when you can make it better.

#10. Look up and breathe deep. Stop looking at the ground so much. People who look down are down. Looking up doesn’t solve problems, it improves outlook.

Bonus: Deal with negative emotion, even if you can’t solve negative issues. The way you feel about a thing change you, not the thing.

Where might leaders find energy today?

Which of these 10 ways to find energy today are most useful to you?

 

 

Tuesday
May022017

I am so tired of hearing this, because it’s an outright lie!

Let’s cut straight to the chase on this.

“I’d love to ________ (fill in the blank) but I just don’t have the time.”

This often comes in response to asking someone to commit to something; or challenging them to spend consistent time with God in scripture and prayer; or serve in some capacity where there’s a need that they could address.

I ask and then hear something along the lines of, “Dave, that sounds like something I could and should and maybe even want to do, but the fact of the matter is I am so busy just now and really don’t have the time. “

As kindly but truthfully as I can, let me say that this is a flat out lie. Every one of us has the same amount of time as every other person on the planet. We have the same 168 hours a week that we had from the day we were born. Time is almost never the issue. The real issue really is values and priorities.

Let’s take the idea of spending time alone with the Lord in scripture and prayer... taking time (making time) to feed ourselves from the living bread. The percentage of Christians who don’t spend daily time is extremely high; some have said 70-80%. Is it any wonder that so many Christians are weak and anemic? But when challenged even leaders will say, “God understands that I love him and I really would like to consistently spend time sitting at his feet like Mary and not be rushing around like Martha, but I just don’t have the time.” Tell your spouse, “Honey, you know that I love you and care about our relationship, but I’m just too busy and don’t have the time to spend with you.” Really?!

In essence, what we are saying is that spending time with Jesus is really not that important to us or we would make/take the time. Someone might protest that this is not so, but in fact it is so. Be honest with yourself. It somehow sounds easier to say I don’t have the time, rather than telling God that time spent with him is not important, or a high enough value for us. Let’s be done with saying “I don’t have time” and just tell the truth!

The same people who say they don’t have the time would suddenly have all the time in the world if they liked to fish and I invited them to meet me at 5a to head out for some fishing. The one who loved golf would be there with bells on at 6a if invited to join me in a foursome on one of the best courses in the area. “I thought you told me you didn’t have the time and were super busy when I asked you about __________;” well, it’s fishing or golf so I make the time. But you can’t, or won’t, make the time to meet with the God whom you state emphatically that you love. What’s wrong with this picture?  Keith Green (the late Christian singer) had a line in one of his songs: “You prefer the light of your TV you love the word and are ignoring me.”  O, yes, we all have time for our favorite TV programs, but can’t drag our bodies out of bed to spend time with the Creator of the universe who gave everything for us. Be honest. How many hours a week do you spend watching TV (and are then too tired to get up in the morning to hear from God?)

Let me give you a simple plan to use. I call it 5/15/5. Covenant with God to spend 15 minutes a day, five days a week, for 5 weeks and then evaluate what happens. During the 15 minutes (certainly you and those you disciple can spend 15 minutes out of a 24 hour day to sit in the presence of the God the universe to hear from him).

  • Five minutes reading a portion of the Bible: Read
  • Five minutes praying over what you just read: Pray
  • Five minutes writing a few thoughts to capture what you heard from Him: Journal

My fellow Christian leader, please join me in refusing to ever say again. “I’d love to _____, but I just don’t have the time.” Be willing to challenge those you disciple, teach and invest in to stop saying, “I don’t have the time.” Make time for what is truly important for Kingdom living and prioritize those things for his honor and glory!

Sunday
Apr302017

"7" effective ways to get your team super motivated!

One of the primary responsibilities of a team leader is to keep the team members motivated and engaged. But how do you go about doing that on a consistent basis? Peter Economy (seems to be his real name) shares some outstanding thoughts on this.

Originally posted by Peter Economy

Check out these 7 effective ways to get your team super motivated and fully engaged in your next project!

1. Show people you work with how much you value them

Often, we forget to express how grateful we are for the work other people do. Whether we think they're putting in a little or a lot, it's important to thank them. Sometimes, it can even be the push that some members need to work harder.

2. Create a welcoming workspace

When you have a space that feels warm and welcoming, people feel more inclined to contribute to the atmosphere or add their own input. It doesn't take much effort--just a collaborative environment and an open mindset.

3. Encourage collaboration

When people are able to work with others on the team directly, rather than communicating through a leader, it makes it much easier to get more things done, at maximum satisfaction levels.

4. Don't discourage happiness

Small things, like laughter or positive thinking, are crucial to providing your workforce with stability and a sense of fulfillment. The way to engage the most amount of people is surely in creating a work environment filled with joy, so don't discourage that kind of thinking--or worse, prevent it from happening.

5. Offer encouragement in the face of failure

Rather than berating your team for doing something wrong, which will only result in discouragement and a lack of desire to keep working, offer encouragement. Show them that failure is okay, so as long as they learn from their mistakes.

6. Give space for self-management

Micro-management is one of the least effective ways to lead. Rather than hovering over everyone to make sure the smallest things get accomplished, leave people with their own sense of responsibility. Set the goal, then encourage your employees to find their own path to achieving it.

7. Don't waste people's time

Don't ask people to convene for useless reasons, like holding meetings when there's nothing to discuss. People will be irritated and less likely to work when there's actually stuff to do.