7 BIGGEST BLUNDERS OF EXPERIENCED LEADERS

Dan Rockwell is a daily source of great teaching on leadership.  Here is the best of his blog posts this past week – STEVE

#1. Forgetting who serves who. Leaders serve others so others can serve others. It’s easy to begin thinking the people around you are there to serve you.

Repeat to yourself, “I’m here to bring out the best in others.”

#2. Blaming rather than taking ownership. The first question real leaders ask when someone under-performs is, “What will I do to maximize their performance next time?”

#3. Thinking that self-perception is accurate. I’ve read that only about a third of us see ourselves the way others see us. You think you’re nice. Others think you’re a jerk. You see yourself as open to feedback and suggestions. Others see you as closed and rigid.

Hire a coach to perform a narrative 360 review. This process goes beyond filling out questionnaires. All participants are interviewed. To be effective, make this a forward-facing activity, not simply a backward-facing witch hunt.

READ MORE ….

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5 WAYS TO MINIMIZE MINISTRY SILOS

Charles Stone of Stonewell Ministries has one of the most useful leadership blogs available, especially for pastors in churches.  This blog post speaks to a great challenge for any leader seeking to get people to work from the “big picture.” – Steve

5 WAYS TO MINIMIZE MINISTRY SILOS

by Charles Stone

Patrick Lencioni brought the concept of silos into the leadership conversation with this great book, Silos, Politics, and Turf WarsSilos occur in organizations and churches when leaders act like their ministry or team is the only one that matters. A silo attitude results in that leader or team only supporting, giving, or attending functions that pertain to them. It can be kill a ministry and result in many problems. In this post I suggest ways to minimize ministry silos.

First, what problems do ministry silos cause? Here are a few.

  • Unhealthy competition
  • Jealousy
  • Hurt feelings
  • Pride
  • Lack of trust
  • Fighting over limited resources
  • Foot dragging
  • Politics

So how can a leader minimize ministry silos? Below I suggest a key foundation and then 5 pillars to build on that foundation to rid your ministry of silos.

If you want to change your culture to minimize and remove silos, build from the bottom up. Build a solid foundation on the Biblical concept of unity. Teach and train your leaders often about unity remembering that unity does not mean uniformity. God gives each of us unique gifts and abilities which creates a healthy church. Keep these and other Scriptures in front of your leaders.

  • Psa. 133.1 (NIV) How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!
  • Rom. 15.5 (NIV) May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus,
  • Eph. 4.3 (NIV) Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
  • 1Cor. 1.10 (NLT) I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.

READ MORE

THE BURDEN BEARING LEADER

From Michael Hyatt’s excellent blog FORWARD PROGRESS comes this evaluative insight.

BY MICHAEL HYATT

Leadership, whether of an organization or of a Bible study or of a family, is a burden. A joyful burden much of the time, but a burden nonetheless. Oswald Sanders said it like this: “The world is run by tired men. Mediocrity is the result of never getting tired. Fatigue is the price of leadership.” In other words, leading is the willingness to pick up the burden. But most of the time, we think of that burden in “strategic” terms.

If you do a cursory search on “leadership” you’ll find all kinds of resources, most of which have numbers associated with them. You can 5 Ways or 7 Methods or 14 Theories. The vast majority of these resources deal in strategy, and they should. That is one burden of leadership; you are responsible for the overall vision and perspective of the people under your care. But it can’t really stop there. As a leader, whether in the home or in the church, we bear the burden for what we are leading, but we also must bear the burdens of whom we are leading.

In pastoral ministry, for example, the burden you bear cannot be exclusively in terms of the vision of the church. The burden must take on a more personal nature. Same thing is true in a family, or even in a small group or Bible study. The burden is not only the crafting of and guarding of a clear vision; the “burden” has faces. Problems. Sicknesses. Pain. The burden-bearing leader is one who is not isolated from those he or she leads, but instead is checked into the real issues the people under their care are walking through.

It’s this kind of burden-bearing Paul described in Galatians 6:1-2:

“Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you also won’t be tempted. Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

This passage is about more than stewarding a compelling vision for an organization or a family; it’s about people, and the willingness to come alongside those people in the day-to-day lifting. It seems to me that this is not just a single moment, but instead a lifestyle of investment. To that end, here are three characteristics of the burden-bearing leader:

1. The burden-bearing leader is available.

Time is a commodity like most other things. As a commodity, it is in limited supply. And the greater the leadership responsibility, the greater demand on the time. It’s tempting, then, to want to have a very insulated leadership kind of style – to focus on the big picture and to not come into the details. Unfortunately, it’s those details that are the most representative of people. The burden-bearing leader must, then, be available. This availability is also a responsibility, and it must have limits. But the leader who is available is the one who is going to err on the side of making accommodation to their time or their schedule if they can.

2. The burden-bearing leader is long-suffering.

One of the tendencies we have in leadership is to desire quick fixes to problems. We want to have the meeting, send the email, or have the drop in conversation and resolve the issue quickly and succinctly. And while that might work in some instances, it rarely does when you consider the people involved. Instead, the burden-bearing leader makes the choice to be long-suffering. They are willing to not just a conversation once, but to actually engage in that conversation and to have it again and again. It’s this kind of long-suffering investment that will mark someone who recognizes they are doing more than leading a nameless and faceless entity, but instead stewarding some part of the lives of those whom God has seen fit to put under their care.

3. The burden-bearing leader is listening.

Nothing makes a person feel less like a person than when someone gives only cursory notice to their issue. Conversely, nothing is quite as uplifting as when you know you have the absolute and undivided attention of the person you are speaking to. For a leader, there are lots of voices, and each one needs to be heard. The tendency for us whether in the home, the workplace, or the church is to try and have as many conversations as possible in a span of time. But many times, less is actually more. The burden-bearing leader does the simplest thing that can make the most difference – they actually listen. They look and concentrate. They are fully engaged in the conversation they are having. And in so doing, they are recognizing the creature before them is created in the image of God.

Leadership is a burden. And many times, it’s a heavy one. But as leaders we can cultivate the kind of habits that will not only make us bearers of the burden of what we are leading, but of whom we are leading.

GREAT LEADERS GIVE MORE THAN THEY TAKE

Reblogged from THE LEADERSHIP FREAK….

You’re a black hole, if all you think about is what you need from others.

Great leaders give more than they take.

great leaders give more than they take

4 things that drain people:

  1. Expectation without appreciation. You aren’t thankful for behaviors you expect. “We don’t thank people for doing their job.”
  2. Direction without respect. “I don’t care what you have to do, just get it done.”
  3. Nit-picking without honoring hard work.
  4. Showing up when there are problems but not celebrating successes. “Seagull managers fly in, make a lot of noise, dump on everyone, then fly out.” Ken Blanchard.

Energizing goes beyond paychecks and plaques.

7 ways to put in more than you take out:

  1. Make a list of ways you can pour into your teammates. Engage in at least one act of free generosity every day.
  2. Agree on what matters today, tomorrow, and next week. People want to do what matters. In order to succeed at what matters, you must first know what matters.
  3. Learn from others. “What do you think?”
  4. Hold yourself and others to high standards with tenacity and kindness. Define and reach for high standards together.
  5. Lead with heart. Connect results to purpose. Explain how they’re making things better in view of organizational purpose. “When you open a door for a customer, you take us where we want to go,” for example.
  6. Focus on solutions more than problems. Examine problems long enough to understand them, but focus on making things better. When things go wrong, ask:
    • What are we learning?
    • What do we need to stop doing?
    • What will you do differently next time?
  7. Make people feel important. If you don’t know what makes people feel important, ask, “What makes you feel important?”

Bonus: Forgive sincere failure. Confront negligence. Give second chances.

WHY STAFF REVIEWS ARE IMPORTANT

Tom Spivey has shared some important insights on staff reviews and their part in transformational leadership – STEVE

By Tim Spivey

It’s staff review time at New Vintage Church. To some, the idea of “reviewing” staff sounds a bit corporate. It certainly can be. However, it doesn’t have to be depersonalized and cold. It can be a time of the year staff actually looks forward to. In my next post, I’ll share with you how we do ours at NVC. Before that, however, I’d like to encourage you to do it. Over the years, I’ve found them a vital ministry tool. Here’s why:

It keeps communication flowing. It’s amazing to me how many churches either don’t do reviews at all, or make them a monologue from “employer” to “employee.” No one likes an annual beating or reminder of where they are on the proverbial totem pole. However, most ministers I know welcome the opportunity to hear how you think they’re doing, and have an open dialogue about they’re area of ministry over a few hours. Staff reviews are important if for no other reason than this: you and the staff get to practice speaking to one another constructively about awkward subjects. It’s going to be easier to talk about “job performance” or delicate ministry issues throughout the year when you do it more regularly.

It’s a chance to say “Thank you.” All staff have done some praiseworthy things. They deserve to know what those things are. It only blesses people to hear, “Well done.” Do it as often as you can.

It’s a chance to offer correction or “tweaks” if necessary. Even the greatest ministers I’ve ever worked with have things they can improve on. In a healthy staff culture, it will be understood everyone is trying to get better all the time. It will be considered a part of the job to self-assess and welcome others’ assessment for the common good. Having said this, it’s also a time to make people aware of significant or growing problems.

It’s a built-in chance to deal with staff issues you may have been avoiding. To be clear, staff reviews are not the grease trap for all the things you’ve been wanting to say but haven’t had the courage to. It’s a better time to check-in on things you’ve mentioned already. It’s a great danger to let it all build up, only to unleash it on an unsuspecting minister at a vulnerable time like a staff review. If, for instance, you’ve mentioned consistent lateness to meetings, this is a natural time to bring it up again or thank the minister for making strides. One rule of quality staff reviews: NO SURPRISES. No Pearl Harbors. One reason reviews can be non-anxious for people on staff at NVC is they know there will be no surprises. If they are to be confronted about something, they know it’s coming. I’ve committed to them they will know of anything needing attention in advance of that occasion. As a result, they can come in knowing the landscape already.

It’s a chance to strengthen the relational tissue of your team. Talking plainly to one another about important personal things builds chemistry. It deepens your relationships.

It’s a great chance to get a feel for staff’s “job satisfaction.” I like to ask what I can do to make their ministry thrive, or alleviate suffering where it may exist. I also like to ask how I can be a better partner in ministry to them. I have learned some GREAT things about how staff members perceive me or what they need from me during this time.

Lastly, it’s a chance to reward people. I like to come bearing gifts, when possible. If they are married, I like to do something that will bless the whole family. In lean years, it might only be a gift card. Other years, it might be a pay raise. But, I don’t want anyone on staff walking away with only a “well done” in words. I want to demonstrate that in a way that staff member receives affirmation best.

I highly recommend staff reviews for the reasons cited above. In my next post, I’ll give you a step-by-step guide to how we do it at NVC.

Tim Spivey is lead planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, CA. Tim is also an adjunct professor of religion at Pepperdine University and purveyor of New Vintage Leadership, a blog offering cutting-edge insights on leadership and theology. He is the author of numerous articles and the book “Jesus, the Powerful Servant.”

10 QUESTIONS STAFF MEMBERS SHOULD BE ASKING

10 Questions Staff Members Should Be Asking

 

#1 – Do I trust the leadership of this church?  (If the answer is “no” then there are going to be problems because you will be unable to fulfill what God commands in Hebrews 13:17.)

#2 – Do I find myself attacking other people whom I perceive may be more skilled than me?  (If so then you have insecurity issues!)

#3 – Is there anything happening privately in my life that, if it became public, would disqualify me from ministry?  (“Your life” is NOT “your life!”)

#4 – Do I value my calling to serve Jesus and His church over my perceived gifting?  (If the answer is yes then you will do anything at any time to move His church forward.  If the answer is “no” then you will develop a deep sense of entitlement that will cause you to believe that the church should completely be sensitive to your wants and needs above the call to preach the Gospel and reach the world for Christ!)

#5 – Would I attend this church if I were not on staff?  (If the answer is no then you need to do yourself, the church and God a favor and resign right now!  You cannot serve a church that you do not love—period!)

#6 – Do I always have to be the expert OR am I willing to have others step into my particular area of ministry and point out my blindspots and shortcomings?

#7 – Am I always telling others how tired I am?  (If so…SHUT UP!  You are IN THE MINISTRY!  It’s HARD!  Make sure you are taking a day off to rest and relax and then GET ON WITH IT!)

#8 – Do I get angry when I do not receive the recognition and praise that I deserve?  (If so…repeat this phrase, “It’s not about me!”)

#9 – Am I honestly giving my best effort?  (See II Timothy 2:15!)

#10 – Would the people who are closest to me at work say that I am a walking example of Philippians 1:27?

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE FOR EVERYDAY LEADERSHIP

Emotional Intelligence for Everyday Leadership
by Christine A. Scheller

via HIGHER CALLING

Two Theories; One Goal

Some leaders seem to instinctively understand people: what motivates them, what frustrates them, what inspires them. Other leaders don’t. They are blind to the emotional landscape around them. These leaders lack what is commonly known as “emotional intelligence.” EI can be defined as “the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions.” The concept has a long history, but was popularized in the 1990s by psychologists Peter Salovey, John D. Mayer, and Daniel Goleman.

The director of Seattle Pacific University’s Brain Center for Applied Learning Research, John Medina, Ph.D., prefers a more scientifically verifiable concept called Theory of Mind. He describes ToM as a gadget in the brain that allows a person to do two things: 1) peer inside someone else’s psychological interiors and understand the rewards and punishment systems inside those interiors; and 2) understand that the rewards and punishments that motivate that person are not same as the rewards and punishments that motivate oneself.

Medina says that having “terrific” ToM is what people mean when they talk about emotional intelligence. “If you’ve got really good Theory of Mind, you can make a terrific manager, because you can understand your emotional landscape all around you very, very quickly. If you have very poor Theory of Mind, you’re an emotional blunt instrument. You just bang around inside people’s hearts and make them mad and make them happy and inadvertently you do both and you have no idea how you do it, because it’s random, because you don’t see anything, because you’re an emotional idiot,” he said. (Note: This kind of forthright talk typifies the Medina Grump Factor, which is how Dr. Medina and others describe his commitment to rigorous scientific methodology.)

Whatever one calls the intuitive ability to read and respond well to others, nurturing this characteristic can help leaders create and foster cohesive, productive teams. After all what leader wants to be an “emotional idiot”?
Learning to Rightly Construe Emotions

“Emotional intelligence is about rightly construing what I’m doing emotionally, as well as rightly understanding and construing what you’re doing emotionally,” said therapist and author Terry Hargrave, Ph.D.

“What happens many times, because we come from a human resource perspective, is that we always have to be focused on behavioral objectives, and that would be fine if we were all just behavioral beings, but unfortunately we’re also communal and spiritual and emotional beings also,” said Hargrave. “Our identity and safety needs play out in our everyday lives, whether that’s a work life, whether that’s a family life, or whether it’s the most intimate relationship that we have.”

He says it is “absolutely essential” for leaders to understand their own motivational needs and hot buttons because employees are “just as capable of hitting the boss’ buttons as the boss is of hitting theirs.” And leaders who feel disrespected or excluded because of employee behavior often become critical, withdrawing, over-controlling, or conflict-avoiding without ever acknowledging their feelings of having been disrespected or excluded. If they learn to assess their emotional landscape better, they can become less reactive and more proactive.

Hargrave advises leaders to be more aware of what they think other people are feeling. “Sometimes we get so connected to what we’re feeling about what they are doing that we lose track of having any empathetic or compassionate response to others,” he said.

“The secret to becoming more emotionally intelligent is to have a high degree of insight into yourself, which means you get your frontal lobe of your cerebral cortex functioning on understanding what’s happening with your emotions. In the psychological world, we call that mindfulness,” said Hargrave.

Unregulated emotions are much more powerful than cognition, he explained, but we can raise the level of our cognition to become more aware of emotions so that we can channel them in a positive direction.

The Apostle Paul talks about this concept throughout the New Testament, he said. Romans 12:2, for example, instructs us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds and Ephesians 4:22-24 tells us to take off the old self and put on the new by the renewing of the spirit of our minds.

“Neuropsychology tells us that it takes a lot of work to become aware and self-regulate yourself. If you just leave yourself to your own devices, you’re liable to be as emotionally reactive and uninsightful as ever,” he said.
A Deeper Understanding of the Golden Rule

The Rev. David Danielson, senior pastor of Impact Christian Fellowship in Kerrville, Texas, has been administering the DISC Personality Test to foster better relationships in churches and small groups since 1996. He says many organizations get big and then disappear because they treat people like commodities, whereas successful organizations create an environment in which people are valued for who they are, not just for what they can do or how they fit into the mechanisms of the organization.

He suggests starting from a place of understanding that “different is not wrong; different is just different” as a way to build relationship and trust within organizations. Eventually we may agree that not all perspectives are equally valid or useful, but thinking the best of others is a good place to start.

“It comes down to a deeper understanding of the golden rule,” he said. Treating others how we want to be treated works if they’re like us, but most people aren’t like us. In Danielson’s opinion, Jesus was teaching his disciples to “be aware enough of who you’re dealing with to discern as quickly as possible how they want to be treated: Do they need information in advance? Do they like spontaneity? Do they need their space? Are they resistant to change?”

Likewise, he says that while self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, most people don’t know who their self is, so when they try to move in self-control, they end up trying to control things other than the self.

“We have to have a better awareness of our self, what makes us tick, our strengths, our weaknesses, our likes and dislikes,” said Danielson. Because none of us lives in a bubble, we also need to be aware of how the people around us are affected by our likes and dislikes, as well as by their own likes and dislikes.

“Once you experience being esteemed and respected and cared for for who you are, valued for who you are, I think that that’s the freedom that God created us to know and to experience,” he said.