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Sunday
Sep182016

Your view and use of "Time" reveals a lot about your leadership!

How you view and invest the “Time” you have been given reveals a lot about your leadership!

The hourglass of time is running.

You can't stop it, reverse it or demand a replay.  What you can do is wisely invest what you have.  Your skill at making the most of your limited supply of time can make the difference between being a winner or a loser in the Christian life as it pertains to being the best you can be for the Lord.

 I have some good news for you!  Being skillful in wisely using your time is something that can be learned. Do you ever find yourself coming late to meetings or commitments? Do you experience that you are often in a hurry…eating, driving, talking fast...honking at your own tail-light in the traffic of life as it were?  

I was once in a jewelry shop and saw a sign on the counter that said: "Don't rush me, the hurrier I go the behinder I get."  If you can identify with any of the above, perhaps you need to take a long and prayerful look at your “Philosophy of Time.”

Do you ever say, "Oh, if I only had more time” or "I'd like to, but I just don't have the time?"    There are two facts we need to know:  l) We all have the same amount of time; and, 2) We have all the time we need to do what God wants us to do. 

When we make excuses about not having enough time, it means we are either doing the wrong things or we are doing the right things in the wrong way. Lack of time is (probably) never the problem, but the wise investment of our time is; values and priorities is what’s at stake.

From Psalm 90:l2 we learn that the proper use of time can be learned, that we should be conscious of time, and that each day is important. Ephesians 5:15‑18 further teaches us that there is a relationship between our use of time and understanding and doing the will of God. It is pointed out in Ecclesiastes 9:11 that what makes the significant difference is taking advantage of the time and opportunities we are afforded.

Being punctual is one aspect of how we view time. Punctuality in getting things done in a timely manner and showing up in a timely manner to appointments or meetings reveals a lot about your leadership and about your love for other people with whom you work.

When it comes to being punctual, there are four types of leaders:

1.  Those who show up or get things done early and enjoy the peace that comes from staying ahead of things and not being in catch-up mode most/all of the time.

2.  Those who show up and get things done in the nick of time or at the last minute, praying that things will somehow work out.

3.  Those who generally show up late and are a bit late in getting most everything done, at times missing important deadlines and then place the blame elsewhere.

4.  Those who don’t know what time it is or don’t remember when things were to be done!

Be brutally honest with yourself now! Which one of these four do you tend to be and what kind of price might those you work with be paying for your lack of consideration or organization?

Saturday
Sep172016

Five mistakes newer leaders are prone to make

Mistakes are expected in leadership. Some are more dangerous than others. I wrote a book on this, "Mistakes Leaders Make." You can order it on this blog site under the tab Hand-Krafted Books.

Certain kinds of mistakes are more common for younger leaders just starting out on their leadership journey.

Dan Rockwell shares five mistakes new leaders are prone to make.

Originally posted by Dan Rockwell

Inexperience is opportunity. Learning from mistakes promotes growth and develops confidence. But making unnecessary mistakes is foolish.

Don’t learn everything from personal experience.

You grow the most at the beginning. Wise leaders learn from the experience of others.

The Five Biggest Mistakes New Leaders Make:

#1. Leading an unprioritized life. Leaders with too many priorities fail at everything they do. The top three priorities for all leaders:

  1. Priority #1: Personal development and well-being.  
  2. Priority #2: Family.
  3. Priority #3: People development and relationships.

You’ll spend most of your time working in and on your business. Just don’t neglect your priorities.

#2. Working too hard. A bias to action – something most leaders possess – leads to low performance as time passes, unless you learn how to prioritize and rest. Learn to trust the people around you.

You can’t bring your best when you’re lost in the business.

#3. Chasing too many opportunities. Limit the sphere of your activities to the things you do well. Your first question is, “What needs to be done?” Drucker said the second question is, ““Of those things that would make a difference, which are right for me?”

#4. Neglecting feedback, both giving and receiving. Ask teammates:

  1. Based on my use of time, what are my priorities from your point of view?
  2. Based on my interactions, how am I making others feel about themselves?
  3. Based on my strengths, when am I at my best?

#5. Having all the answers. Tap into your ignorance. The practice of “not-knowing” elevates leaders more than having all the answers. 

  1. Lead with confidence while staying curious.
  2. Ask, “What else?”
  3. Ask, “What do you think?”

Bonus mistakes new leaders make:

  1. Promoting new people too soon.
  2. Micromanaging.
  3. Under-communicating mission and vision.
  4. Assuming others know what you want.
  5. Assuming you understand people’s motivations.

What mistakes do new leaders make?

How might new leaders avoid common “new leader” mistakes?

 

 

 

 

Friday
Sep162016

As a leader, you need to regularly ask yourself this question!


What Is The Most Important Thing I Should Be Working On Right Now?

What are the most important things I should be working on…

  • This day
  • This week
  • This month

Not what is…

  • The easiest thing
  • The urgent thing
  • The most fun thing
  • The coolest thing
  • The what-I-most-feel-like-doing thing
  • The keep-people-off-my-back thing
  • The keeps-nipping-at-my-heels thing
  • The what-will-make-me-popular thing

But what is... The Most Important Thing?

The most important thing as it relates to your mission, your purpose, your vision, your gifts, your calling, your capacity, your job description and your deadlines.

It was Peter Drucker who said, “Efficiency is doing things right, but effectiveness is doing the right things.” As a leader you want to be more about “effective” than “efficient.” You can be extremely efficient at things that really don’t matter in the long run. Many leaders are proactive rather than strategic in how they make their decisions and use their time.

  • Ask yourself at the beginning of a week: What are the 5-10 most important things that you need to accomplish this week?
  • Ask yourself at the beginning of a day: What are the 3-5 most important things that you need to accomplish this day?

Then, stick to those identified items. Don’t distract yourself with things of lesser value and importance, and don’t allow others to pull you off mission, unless what they are asking is truly of greater value than what you had originally planned to do.

This is one of the most helpful, practical things I have learned in my 45 years of pastoral ministry.

Don’t let the winds of other people’s demands and your own inner compulsions drive you onto a reef of frustration. Paraphrased from: "Tyranny Of The Urgent" by Charles E. Hummel.

Do all of this in total dependence on Jesus as you seek to be led by him, empowered by him and honor him.

Wednesday
Sep142016

Making the most of an "Administrative Assistant" 

Most leaders I have worked with or coached have been overwhelmed and over committed; trying to do too much and moving too fast. One thing that would be a big help would be to bring on an Executive Assistant (paid or volunteer).

Another problem I have observed is that those that have an executive Assistant under utilize them and/or flat out don’t know what to give them to do. Here is Michael Hyatt with some of the mistakes leader’s make with their assistants. It is eye-opening to say the least!

Originally posted by Michael Hyatt

“The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make with Executive Assistants”

I’ve worked with several executive assistants over the years, and I have found it is a make-or-break relationship when it comes to my success.

Think about it: None of us can do it all on our own. We need to bring others into our work to help us succeed in it. And the bigger the dream, the more help we usually need.

In my corporate days, I had some very effective executive assistants, and I couldn’t imagine doing the work without them. The same has been true since going on my own again in 2011, though at first I thought I could just operate as a one-man show. I was wrong. I couldn’t.

Have you considered hiring a virtual assistant? If so, let me encourage you to contact eaHELP and request a quote. I have used them for three years now and am thoroughly satisfied. They are the top-rated virtual assistant company in the U.S.

It wasn’t long before I was completely buried in email, speaking requests, travel details, calendar complications, expense reports, and more. I knew I needed help. Fortunately, I found a virtual executive assistant who enabled me to dig out of my pile, offload the stuff I hated, and get back to the essentials.

I now have two virtual EAs working on my team, and I can’t imagine it functioning without them. But that doesn’t mean an EA is a silver bullet for all our big hairy problems. An EA is only as good as the working relationship.

There are a lot of ways to blow it with your EA, and after talking with Bryan Miles of eaHELP.com I have identified the top-ten mistakes leaders make with their executive assistants, regardless of whether they’re virtual or sitting right outside your office. If we can avoid these, we can amplify our chances for success:

  1. We undervalue our true worth. How valuable is your time? Most of us don’t know, which is why we keep wasting so much of it on activities that don’t really matter. Without a doubt this is the No. 1 mistake people make with their EAs.

Take your total compensation and divide it across your available work hours. Now ask yourself: Is mailing that package, scheduling that meeting, or processing those invoices really worth that much? I bet not. If we really understood how much we’re worth, we’d hand off far more to our EAs.

  1. We undervalue our EAs’ true worth. Some of us don’t appreciate the competence, talents, and skills of our EAs. We don’t trust them enough to delegate the important but time-consuming tasks that take us off mission. It’s like we’re stuck in an old­-school “secretary” paradigm. The truth is that an EA is really a full partner in achieving our goals.
  2. We don’t communicate enough. Communication is key to working with an EA, and yet I constantly see EA relationships that suffer because leaders fail to provide necessary details about their work and even their private lives. If an EA is a partner in achieving our goals, they will only be as effective as they are dialed into what’s happening. Keeping them in the dark only hurts our ability to succeed.
  3. We don’t give the why behind the what. No. 4 is related to No. 3. A good ­EA can fill ­in­ the blanks of tasks and projects if they know the rationale behind a task or project. When we don’t communicate adequate background and reasoning, we’re hampering our EAs’ ability to help us win.
  4. We just don’t know how to delegate. If there’s a magic sauce to leadership, it’s delegation. Nothing will sink a leader faster than the inability to assign priorities and responsibilities.

But many of us don’t properly delegate to the one person working closest to us, our EAs. That’s a recipe for disaster. One EA was straightforward about the problem: “If you don’t ask for something to be done and then explain how you’d like it accomplished, I’m no good to you!”

  1. We refuse to surrender our email and calendars. Some of us actually like managing our inboxes and schedules; others are just control freaks. Either way, it sucks up tons of time. Leaders who don’t delegate these two functions are killing their productivity.
  2. We don’t open up. Some of us don’t share our lives enough with our EAs, but we could delegate so much more if we were more transparent about both our work and home life.

A good EA will see where they can plug in and take things off our plates we’re not even aware of—but that only happens if we give them access. How many unnecessary tasks and low-payoff activities could you offload if you only gave your EA permission?

  1. We don’t play fair. EAs get used to extraordinary requests; it’s sometimes part of the job. But if we are hypocritical about things, we can really undermine respect. For instance, to demand that your EA be hyper responsive and then sit on a request ruins your credibility. We have to work toward the same standard we expect from our teammates.
  2. We’re lousy about feedback. It’s easy to get caught up in the grind and miss opportunities to give our EAs insight into how they’re doing or what they could do to improve. Not only does this hurt our working relationship, but it’s also like shooting ourselves in the foot. Who benefits if our EA improves? Who suffers if they don’t? Regular feedback is a must.
  3. We expect too much access. As leaders, most of us are always on. We’re thinking about our business all the time—probably too much, actually. And we assume that everyone on the team should be on as well. The result is that we assume 24/7 service from our EAs is reasonable. It’s not. Especially if you’re working with a virtual EA who is giving a set number of hours, going beyond that strains the working relationship. In the end, the EA will be less effective, not more.

Our work it too important to go it alone. It’s also too important to undermine the very people responsible for helping us reach our goals. Having an effective working relationship with your executive assistant will enable you to achieve your core objectives while minimizing the clutter and distractions that sets you back.

To explore the possibility of hiring your own virtual EA, I recommend you contact Bryan Miles’ company, eaHELP, and request a quote. It’s been one of the best business decisions I’ve ever made.

 

 

Monday
Sep122016

How to keep your team motivated and inspired. Some great ideas!

I agree with the statement that leadership is influence.  But if you carry this too far, everybody is a leader because everybody influences people simply by being alive.

I don’t believe everybody is a leader any more than I believe everybody is an administrator, teacher or counselor. Leadership is a gift and some are gifted to lead and some are gifted to serve in other ways in order for the body of Christ to grow and mature. Romans 12:6-8 and Ephesians 4:11-13 speak to this.

I do believe that someone with the gift of leadership can’t help but influence others. They are intentionally, proactively and passionately trying to influence others to something better, for the over-all good of the mission, the growth of the local body of Christ and the advancement of the Gospel.

A leader who truly “gets it” will have the greatest influence with the team that is on mission with him/her and that means paying attention to these team members and investing quality time in them.

Here are some practical ideas on how to have greater influence with your close- in team--whether you call this your dream team, strategic leadership team or core team.  You need a close-in team with 5-7 members--not 20 direct reports.

1.  Treat the people on your team with dignity and respect

Lead them with a baton--not a baseball bat. A pat on the back generally goes much further than a kick in the pants. Motivate, don’t manipulate, your team. Don’t berate them and belittle them in front of each other.

2.  Give team members freedom and liberty to experiment, 

and even fail, as they try new and different approaches and methods. Let them dream and spread their wings and fly a bit. The entire team will be richer for it. Don’t demand perfection, but expect progress.

3.  Reward your team verbally and publically. 

I am amazed how few supervisors take the time to publically acknowledge excellent work by people on their team. Lack of encouragement, affirmation and reward can be a bigger problem than lack of skill. Celebrate often as a team and recognize individual effort and accomplishment. I’ve never met anybody who felt they were encouraged too much!

4.  Be available to your team.

 I have come to the conclusion that the whole world is moving at warp speed and that we have let most relationships go by the wayside in order to get more done. Results have become more important than relationships! 

Building relationships with team members is the most important thing you can do. Schedule yourself in such a way so as to spend quality time with your key team members. Let them get to know you and you them. Be vulnerable and open with them.

I have recently been impressed with Matthew 5:16 in The Message, “Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” (Underlining is mine.)

Don’t hide in your office, behind your paperwork due to your “I’m so busy” mind set/attitude

5.  Be dependable and consistent with your team. 

In survey after survey, the thing that followers expect from their leaders is genuine consistency. Can they depend on your word, your promises and your character?  Will you be the fair-minded and considerate boss today, tomorrow, next week, next month, or will your team think that they have a different boss every other day? Let biblical principles, not your emotions, determine how you lead. Be boringly consistent and predictable. This creates confidence in your leadership.

6.  Let team members know you are their biggest fan. 

Tell them often that you believe in them, trust them and want them to succeed.  Remind them that you didn’t bring them on to see them fail and be removed. They that encouragement over and over, just as your spouse does, if you are married.

Put these simple ideas into practice and watch your team grow and make a solid contribution to God’s purposes and for His glory.