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Saturday
Jun232018

They say this every single Sunday at the church my daughter and her family attend

My daughter Anna, her husband Joel and their four children are part of a church plant in San Clemente (about 20 minutes south of where we live). Every Sunday at their church the preacher of the morning holds up the Bible and they all say together the following:

“This is my Bible…it’s God speaking to me.

I am who it says I am

I can do what it says I can do

I can have what it says I can have

So I open my heart today

To hear God speak a word

That will change my life…forever!”

I love this.  It’s simple, true, inspiring and filled with hope.  It encourages me to spend regular time in my Bible and to ask God for grace to believe, accept and embrace what the Bible is telling me about who God is and about  who I am in Jesus.

One question that is good to ask ourselves is:

“Do I truly believe the God that I believe in?”

Before you accuse me of double talk, the question is: Do I believe what God says…not just believe in him? Do I believe God’s character, his promises, his love, etc.?  It’s one thing to say I believe in God, but quite another to believe God.  I think many Christians believe in God, but don’t really believe what he says in the Bible.

A few weeks ago in our community group, the question was asked: “If we are indeed set free, why don’t we live like we are free?”  One answer is that we really don’t believe we have been set free. As I have been reflecting on:   

 


  • I am who the Bible says I am
  • I can do what the Bible says I can do
  • I can have what the Bible says I can have

I added a few more along the same lines:

  • I can obey what it says I can obey
  • I can experience what it says I can experience
  • I can have victory, as it says the victory is won
  • I am loved as it says I am loved
  • I am forgiven as it says I am forgiven
  • I am saved as it says I am saved

Samuel Johnson said, “People need to be reminded more than they need to be taught.”

By God’s grace, I have reminded you of a simple truth.

In his Word, God says things that he wants you/us to believe, embrace and act on because, as they say: “That will change my life, FOREVER!”

 

Thursday
Jun212018

How are you really doing as a leader? Some probing questions for you to consider

I just finished a book by Peter Stark and Jane Flaherty titled, "The only leadership book you'll ever need." It was indeed a solid book with lots of very helpful content, though not good enough that I would never read another book on leadership.

On page 72 of this book (Book Note at davekraft.org)  there is a list of question you may well consider asking yourself that would help you ascertain what kind of leader you actually are.

Here are those questions for you to think about and search your heart and soul. If you are secure in Jesus and really want to grow as a leader have those on your team answer these same questions.

1.  As a leader I have a positive and compelling vision

2.  Our team has goals to turn the vision into reality

3.  Our goals are a challenge to achieve

4.  Our team has a plan to turn the goals and vision into reality

5.  Each member on our team is clear on the goals for his or her position/job

6.  Team members would say I consistently communicate the company’s plans

7.  Team members would say I consistently communicate the information they need to do their jobs

8.  Team members would say I want them to solve problems

9.  Team members would say I promote innovation and improving products, procedures, systems or services

10.  Each member of the team makes a contribution to the team’s success

11.  Our team works well together

12.  Our team works well with other departments/teams in the organization

13.  On our team performance problems are resolved in a timely manner

14.  Our team meets (weekly, bi-weekly) on a regular basis

15.  We communicate results and our progress toward goals on a consistent, regular schedule

16.  Our team produces and achieves outstanding results

17.  Our team consistently requires team and individual success

18.  Our team knows how to celebrate success

 

Monday
Jun182018

Four ways leaders can be tone-deaf!

Maybe it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. If you are going to be effective as a leader, you need to be sensitive and aware of what’s going on in your team and in your most important relationships. Here Eric Geiger shares four ways leaders can be “Tone-Deaf.”

Originally posted by Eric Geiger

When it comes to singing, I am likely tone-deaf (I say likely because I don’t fully understand the official definition, so just hang with me for the illustration). Now I can sing the right words; I just sing them the wrong way.

While the Lord assures me He enjoys joyful noise, my apparent tone-deafness has drawn smirks and sympathetic nods of approval from others. The comical auditions for American Idol reveal I am not alone. The same is true in leadership.

There are a plethora of tone-deaf leaders who are out of sync and rhythm with people and their context. They seem deaf to the people and context around them. Let me introduce you to four ways tone-deafness is displayed in leadership.

1.  Tone-deaf in relationships

Because leadership means leading real, actual people and not just formulating ideas and strategy on paper, so much of leadership is relational. A tone-deaf relational leader is often emotionally aloof or unengaged and is thus unaware of the hopes and pains of people. No one knows if the leader is really unconcerned and insensitive or just perceived as so. But what is known are the ramifications of relational tone-deafness, including a team that feels under-valued and a direction that disregards people.

2.  Tone-deaf in communication

A leader who is tone deaf in communication often says the right words, but says them the wrong way—typically in a demeaning fashion or laced with continual anger or unnecessary brashness. A tone-deaf communicator may have, what Aristotle called, logos (logic) and pathos (passion), but lacks ethos (credibility and likability). Thus the words are often not really heard because of the tone. The sting of the leader’s words overwhelms the substance.

3.  Tone-deaf to context

Effective leadership is always contextualized, meaning effective leaders adjust their leadership to the needs and opportunities of their immediate context. Many leaders have made the mistake of simply attempting to implement something from their past or something they have seen elsewhere without first understanding their current context. A leader who is tone-deaf to the context is out of sync with the current reality. It often feels like the leader is really leading somewhere else, some other people.

4.  Tone-deaf to approach

Great leaders view themselves as servants of those they lead. Their servant-posture causes them to adjust their leadership approach to each person they are leading. Because each person on the team is different, each person should be led differently. A leader who is tone-deaf in approach foolishly treats every person the same. The devastating result is that people are stifled in their personal growth, as they are not led where they are in their own development.

Watching the comical auditions for American Idol always revealed that many people fail to recognize their own shortcomings. Ironically, tone-deaf leaders could read this and think it has nothing to do with them. Thus it’s always good to evaluate our leadership and seek feedback from people we trust and respect so we can continually repent of any deafness in our leadership.

 

 

 

Sunday
Jun172018

What makes a leader safe or unsafe?

Usually, I don't like meetings. They score at the top of the list of "time-wasters" for leaders with a bias for action. But one meeting stands out in my mind. I am still feeling the impact of what I learned.

A number of years ago, a presentation was given by Jan Hettinga, Senior Pastor of Northshore Baptist church in Bothell and author of Follow Me. Jan's material was good; but when we got to the "interactive learning" section of our time, we took a quantum leap as far as interest and liveliness was concerned. Jan raised the issue of what makes a leader safe and unsafe to followers and to Kingdom effectiveness.

We generated a list of what constitutes UNSAFE LEADERS. From that came a list with SAFE LEADER characteristics. Here are some of the safe and unsafe traits of a leader that we discussed.

What Makes a Leader Unsafe?

We can also think of this as dangerous. What makes a leader dangerous or harmful to followers and to Biblical fruitfulness and effectiveness? I am reminded of the person who prayed: "Lord, save me from your followers." Could we not also pray, Lord, save me from some of your unsafe leaders?

  1. Insecure
  2. Won't give or share credit with others
  3. Can't receive correction
  4. Intentionally unaccountable
  5. Always has to be right

When we finished discussing each of them a bit, Jan looked at us with his steely eyes and said, "Gentlemen, this is us." I could be this type of leader except for the grace of God. I felt like I was sitting at the Last Supper and asking myself, "Lord, is it I?"

A number of years ago a friend shared a list of qualifications for future missionaries for his organization. He asked me what I thought. One item was missing from his list. I told him that the missing item was slowly but surely climbing to the top of my list of essential ingredients for an effective leader -- having a TEACHABLE SPIRIT.

Much of what you see on the above list stems from not being teachable. In Proverbs 5:12,13 NLT we read, "And you will say, how I hated discipline! If only I had not demanded my own way! Oh, why didn't I listen to my teachers? Why didn't I pay attention to those who gave me instruction?"

What Makes a Leader Safe?

After we had emotionally recovered a bit from the impact of the first list, up went a second list:

  1. Frequently ask those you lead what they think about an idea, proposal, concept
  2. Affirm others
  3. Place yourself under Biblical and human authority
  4. Give credit easily and readily

Nothing profoundly deep here. You've probably heard it before. But there is a big difference between knowing and doing. Maybe it's time for a little introspection. How are YOU doing? Are people safe or unsafe with your style of leadership? Has anybody you lead been praying, "Lord, save me from my leader?"

Saturday
Jun162018

Things that frustrate me as a leader

It seems to me that every leader gets frustrated from time to time; with the people he or she is leading as well as with things that don’t happen as desired or planned.

Originally posted by Ron Edmondson

Someone once asked me what my “biggest frustration” is as a leader. As I thought about it, I had to be honest – I have lots. That may point to another area of struggle for me personally – and a character flaw – I’m seldom satisfied with me or where we are as a team. In many ways, I am still learning the secret of being content, but I like continual improvement and think there is usually room to get better in all areas of our life. I think it is true in leadership too.

But, the question was my “biggest frustration”, so I opened an Evernote file, titled it “Biggest Frustrations” (since I knew I had more than one) and decided to record some of my actual frustrations over the next few weeks, as they actually occurred. Some of these are mine from observing people directly and some are from the stories my readers share with me each day. When I reached seven, based on my obvious past love of the number seven, I figured it was time to share my findings.

Here are 7 of my biggest frustrations as a leader:

1.  Pettiness

It bothers me in leadership to argue about things which really, in the large scheme of things, just don’t matter. Arguing about things like personal preferences or different ways of acccomplishing the same agreed upon vision only takes time from getting actual work done. I can almost always find issues of bigger significance. 

2.  Selfishness

I get frustrated when people have to have things “their way”. It destroys any hope of a healthy team when people are only thinking of their personal wishes. (Doesn’t sound very Biblical to me either.)

3.  Rudeness

The way you talk to someone always determines the way they respond. To me, there is no place for disrespect in an organization or on a team or in any relationship, for that matter. This should be especially true in churches. And, it applies to how we respond to the world on social media also. Even when we don’t agree with one another, we can address one another in kindness. (Remember, kindness is a fruit of the spirit.)

4.  Narrow-mindedness

When someone can’t think beyond the way it’s always been done, it limits the organization from achieving all it could achieve. There are issues – Biblical, foundational, value-driven issues – where narrow-mindedness is a positive. But, in the mode of operation of the way we get things done, or how we accomplish our God-given vision, I think change is not only good – it’s vital for continued growth.

5.  Stubbornness

Equally frustrating is when people are unwilling to embrace change – simply because they are being stubborn. It wasn’t their idea, or it threatens their power, or they just don’t want to be uncomfortable – so they lock their arms and refuse to participate. When a person ignores what’s best for the good of everyone, and it’s not a Biblical issue, their stubbornness only hurts the organization (and frustrates the leader.)

6.  Unforgiveness

When someone has been injured they have a choice. They can choose to hold a grudge or they can choose to forgive. Holding a grudge keeps the injury alive. Forgiving opens the door for healing. (Doesn’t seem like much of a choice to me.)

7.  Recklessness

It is frustrating to observe people who seemingly have no regard for other people. They make decisions without the consideration of others. They say things without thinking how they hurt. They use their influence to disrupt an organization’s progress – rather than enhance it. They derail progress with a disregard for what’s best in favor of what’s personal to them. It’s frustrating.

There is my list. I feel better just sharing it with  you. I can now get on with my day towards more positive things. But, if I kept the Evernote file open, I might find some more, so I’ll close it for now. 

Here are a few of my own to add to what Ron Edmondson has shared:

 

  • Lack of punctuality
  • Not getting things done as promised
  • Sloppiness and lack of excellence in what is being done
  • A "It's not my job” mentality and not really caring about a person's need, problem or question