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Archives For Leadership

Sometimes I think we make leadership more difficult than it has to be. The truth is if you follow some simple rules leadership is easy 90% of the time. The other 10% is where leaders earn their paycheck.

But some find themselves facing leadership problems with their team 90% of the time! That’s when a leader has to stop and look in the mirror. Is the problem the people or is the problem the way you’re leading?

Leading would be a lot easier for us and those we lead if we’d follow a few simple rules.

  • Demonstrate a high confidence in your people. I’ve discovered the higher the confidence I have in people the higher the confidence they have in themselves. When people have a high confidence in themselves they’re more likely to take greater risks and innovate in ways that add great value to the organization.
  • Praise progress not perfection. Imagine the difference it would make if leaders would stop looking for what people are doing wrong and started looking for what people were doing right and praising their progress. Team members would begin to discover and maximize their strengths. And that’s always a win for an organization.
  • Establish shared expectations regarding performance outcomes. If you don’t establish shared expectations you’ll experience shared frustrations. One of the wisest things you can do is talk to your people about what their performance will look like in the future not just what it looked like in the past.
  • Give people the tools and resources they need to do their job well. This will not only help them be successful but also feel successful.  Often times it’s not lack of commitment or competency that creates poor performance, it’s lack of the right tools.
  • Smile, laugh and enjoy what you do.  When you enjoy what you do that joy spreads to the team. A simple smile is an expression that communicates you love being there and you love what you do.   It’s amazing how much smiling and humor can create a work culture people love.
  • Lead from trust rather than leading from suspicion. If you lead from a position of suspicion then you create a tentative team. They will be guarded and operate out of fear.  If you fail to establish a culture of trust you’ve failed to establish a spirit of team.
  • Make it meaningful.  Let’s face it sometimes the work our team does feels very menial.  You and I know it all works together to make the mission move forward.  But it can be easy for them to forget.  So make the work they do meaningful by always pointing them to the big picture vision, celebrating the wins and showing them that their contribution made a difference.

What are some other simple rules of leading well you’d add to this list?

Today I want to challenge you to think about something with your team: What type of leaders do you want? Rarely do we stop and ask that question.

We ask, “How many leaders do we need?”; “where do we need more leaders?” or “how fast can wet get new leaders in place?” But, “what type of leader do we want” isn’t a question you hear too often.

When we only think about “how many”, “where” and “how fast” we’re tempted to minimize the training we provide for our new leaders. Our thinking defaults to quantity rather than quality.

There are three potential consequences to this mentality.

  • The focus becomes placing new leaders rather than developing them. And placing without developing is dangerous.
  • Training focuses on giving information rather than producing transformation. Instead of thinking about how to maximize the new leaders strengths and potential we simply want them to get the job done.
  • Training ends once they step into the new leadership role. If they turn out to be the kind of leader we don’t want, then we look for ways to dismiss them rather than looking for ways to develop them.

But when you answer the question, what type of leaders do we want?  You’ll find yourself saying, “We want men and women who…

  • exhibit a bold faith
  • model godly leadership
  • make wise decisions
  • know how to make people feel loved and encouraged
  • know how to influence others
  • identify and equip new leaders
  • take initiative when they see a problem or something that could be improved
  • cast a compelling vision to their team
  • delegate for development rather than dump responsibility

The list could go on.

When you identify the type of leaders you want you will take greater care in how you develop them. The development of that individual may take longer than you want. But recognize if you want quality leaders then you have to provide quality training.

So, what kind of leaders do you want leading in your organization? What’s your next step to start developing them into that kind of leader?

My greatest leadership deficiency has been taunting me lately. Most of the time its relatively quiet; only an occasional uproar. But recently it’s been loud and obnoxious. It’s reminding me where I’m weak and how much I need its influence. And what makes it worse is I see evidence in my leadership that it’s right. My greatest leadership deficiency can potentially have a crippling effect on the mission God has called me to.

Are you aware of your greatest leadership deficiency? Stupid question. All of us are. It tries to beat us up and discourage us all the time saying, “Without me you’ll surely fail,” “Without me you can’t have leadership credibility” or “Without me you can’t do it.”

But here’s the thing that my biggest leadership deficiency fails to recognize. God wired me with my strengths as well as my deficiencies. And each time it screams out, “You need me,” what I hear is, “I need my team.”

What has your greatest leadership deficiency been telling you lately?  See what Paul has to say in I Corinthians 12:12-26. and it may help quieten that voice.