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Monday
Jul252011

Seth Godin On Leadership

Some people make a living by taking simple things and making them complicated. Many of them run for public office and work on subcommittees dealing with things like debt reduction or tax reform.

I believe that one of the key functions of a good leader is to make things simple to understand and implement.  Put the cookies on the lower shelf for those you lead by bringing clarity and focus.

One of the writer/speakers I enjoy hearing from and learning from is Seth Godin.

Here is what he wrote regarding leadership:

 

“A definition of a leader...

“Leaders lead. Is that too simple? Writers write. If you want to be a writer, write. And be sure to have people read what you write. And leaders? Leaders lead. If you want to be a leader, go lead.”

 

Pretty simple to understand…agreed?

Here is a simple portion of scripture to go with Seth’s simple definition of leadership. This is the Lord speaking to Moses:

“But now go, lead the people to the place about which I have spoken to you…”

Exodus 32:34

Christian Leadership is all about taking some people from one place to another…that place which God has made clear to you.  You take time…lots of time to listen to God. You pray…lots of prayer for courage and wisdom to lead people to the place He is speaking to you about!

Too Simple?

Think about it!

 

 



Sunday
Jul172011

Questions Leaders Should Be Asking Themselves

Is anger at the root of how I lead people?  Many leaders are fueled by anger. It comes out in the way they treat people

Am I motivating or manipulating the people I lead?

Do I feel I have to have an opinion or position on every issue, or can I, in humility, say I don’t know?

Am I okay with others on my team receiving credit without me being mentioned?

Do I have the courage to disappoint some people by not doing what they are expecting or demanding?

Am I willing to learn from anybody, at any time, on any subject? Am I truly teachable?

Am I secure enough to be wrong and admit it, instead of playing the blame game or making excuses?

Do I give loyalty (as well as demand it) from those I lead?

Am I willing to defer to a better idea or does it always have to be my-way-or-the-highway?

Is my ministry ambition truly godly or is it selfish? Whose kingdom am I building?

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  Psalm 139:23-24, ESV

Sunday
Jul102011

Doers Or Delegators

“It’s better to put ten men to work than to do the work of ten men.”  D. L. Moody

When I read that quote, it etched itself in my memory as being one of those universal leadership truisms that I would want to apply in everything I undertake as a leader.

Ephesians 4:12 makes it clear that various types of leaders are to equip people for ministry…not do all the work of ministry themselves (refer to Exodus 18 for a good example of this.)

After 43 years of vocational Christian ministry, I have come to understand that some leaders are doers and some have graduated to delegators…having learned to equip and empower others to share the ministry with them rather than, possibly, dying a premature death trying to do everything themselves.

A friend of mine who is an outstanding leader, both in his church and in the market place, recently observed that there is a difference between what he called “workhorses” and “leaders.” 

He elaborated by saying, “Some people can produce a great deal of quality product/output (workhorses) , but they don’t seem to do well in leading a team or setting direction (leaders) .” 

If one of a leader’s primary roles is developing other leaders (which I believe it is), then so- called leaders who don’t equip and empower others for significant ministry are perhaps not truly leaders at all but “workhorses” which is a horse of a different color (pun intended).

My friend went on to note that, as a result of this distinction between “workhorses” and “leaders”, his team is re-evaluating to make sure that their best investment is in the people who will soon be leading their own teams.

When I left a ministry a number of years ago, I was asked to find my replacement.  I had to interview a lot of candidates who were essentially workhorses, before I found one who was truly a “Leader” (committed to equipping and an empowering other leaders).

Here are three questions to ask yourself:

 1. Are you a workhorse or a leader? Look at how you spend your time.

 2. If asked, could you supply the names of 2-3 people you are currently pouring your life and time into as you develop them into leaders?

 3. Is it a value in your church, organization or team to hire/recruit delegators (leaders) or doers (workhorses)?

 


 

 

Friday
Jun242011

Crazy with a capital "C"

It has been a while with no weekly bog from me!

Since June 10th (when we made a week-long trip to California to hunt for a home to lease as we make the move from Seattle to Orange County) until this moment it has been a whirl-wind of ceasless activies: Hotels, being hosted by gracious families,  meals out, signing papers both here in Seattle and in Laguna Hills (our destination city), and saying good-bye to lots of friends.

We have signed more papers in the last two weeks than at any other two week period in our lives.  I think they had to cut down one more tree just for the paper work required to get us out of our home in Seattle and into one in California.

We are not finished yet.  We have had a couple of speed bumps in the closing of escrow on our Seattle home with the final "It is done" due as late as Tuesday, June 28th the same day we get the keys to our Laguna Hills home.  With the delays coming at the 11th hour, I am tempted to play the "What if" game.

What if this falls out of escrow? What if we have to make payments on two homes? What if we have to start all over again and find a new buyer?

I choose (empowered by Him) to rest in His sovereignty and His promises to take care of us and provide for our needs (Matthew 6:33, Philippians 4:19).

He has His time-table and desires for us. He is more interested in our character than our comfort or convenience.

In crazy times like this, I am so glad I am the recepient of "Crazy Love" (as Francis Chan calls it). Crazy grace and crazy forgivness helps as well.

I have learned a lot in the last 14 days:

1. God is  still sovereign even when I am most worried and stressed

2. I am still (even after 50 years of walking with Jesus)  a sinner and capable of the worst of sins when under pressure and things are totally crazy

3. Even when I act like a jerk (which I did plenty of times in the last two weeks) Susan allowed His grace to flow through her toward me

4. Sin happens but doesn't define who I am...the Gospel does

 

Monday
Jun062011

What you can and cannot change

Some of you will recall the “Serenity Prayer”

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

It seems to me that there is a lot of wasted energy focusing on things that I  can’t change instead of giving time and attention to the things that, by His grace, I can change. 

The key is to live in the moment…not to get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow, and not anchoring my emotions with regrets regarding what happened yesterday, last week, last year or ten years ago.

Here are a few things I cannot change that are not worth fretting over or worrying about:

The weather. I am rather tired of weather discussions. I thank the Lord my life does not revolve around the weather. It is what it is.

My past.  Mistakes, sin and stupidity are just that…the past. With His help I will repent, ask for forgiveness and move on, leaving the past behind me. I don’t want to play the woulda, shoulda, coulda game. It will hinder my hopes for the future.

Other people’s attitudes and actions.

Not having enough time.  I’m never going to get more time, so need to stop saying I wish I had more time. I have all the time I need to do what God is asking me to do.  Time is never the issue. Priorities/values are.

Harmful words spoken to me.  Let them go and move on. Use the past as a guide post, not a hitching post.

My family of origin.  Using my family as an explanation, not an excuse, for the way I am.  Jesus can transform me.

Here are a few things I can and should change…by His grace and with His help:

My prayer life.  Living a life of humility and dependency on the sovereign lord of the universe and of my life  as reflected in prayer, praise, worship, repentance and confession

My attitude.   Attitude more than aptitude will determine my altitude…think about that!

My perspective.

My responses to other people’s actions.

My words...especially vengeful, hurtful and critical words.

My current priorities
 and values…do they reflect biblical values?

My habits.  What current habits are significantly hurting me, big time?

My weekly commitments.  Am I overloaded and overwhelmed? What do I need to stop doing or do less frequently?