5 for Leadership (3/22/12)

Here is this week’s 5! This week I have linked something old and something new. I love going back to trusted thought leaders, but also like finding fresh perspective. Hope you find something that challenges or refreshes you.

7 Most Powerful Lessons From Life & Leadership I saw the link for this post on Twitter and really liked the brief, yet significant lessons, that Chery Gegelman portrayed on the Lead Change Group blog. What are you learning so far in your life and leadership?

6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers This is an article out of Inc Magazine and written by Paul Shoemaker. Paul makes the statement, ” . . . adaptive strategic leaders . . . do six things well.” That should lure you into his insights. I really like the clarity and conciseness of this article-take a look.

5 Steps To Becoming More Interesting-and A Better Leader This is from Mike Myatt. I have referenced Mike a few times before and I always gain from his perspective. In this post, Mike offers up solid principles to being a leader who truly attracts followers.

Work Life Lead: Cross Generational Respect More and more I am working with leaders that are younger than me. Obviously, one reason is that I am getting older-but another reason is that more and more Millennials are taking on leadership roles. This is a good post on engaging in cross generational leadership. This comes from Dr. Ed Brenegar and I found it on the Weekly Leader.

10 Good Reasons to Get A Mentor This post is from Rajesh Setty-who is new to me. I like the practicality of this list. It makes sense and is motivating towards seeking out someone a step or two ahead on the journey. See what you think of his list.

Is Jesus Enough Here is is bonus from Tim Stevens on his blog Leading Smart. This is a very brief, but compelling post. Leaders often get caught up in finding other centers for the core of their identity. Tim highlights some thoughts from Brian Bloye on whether Jesus is enough-regardless of what happens in your leadership life. This is worth some reflection.

There are the five for this week. Thanks for taking a look.

Leadership Development for Young Professionals

I ran across an article online today that I thought would be good fodder for further thought.  This comes from Bob Wheeler at Formula4Leadership.com.  Bob highlights two cultural factors in organizational leadership:  structures are clearly getting flatter; and young professionals are gravitating toward smaller firms-or at least into smaller units within larger firms.  When you combine this with some of the uniquenesses of the Millennial generation, there is an interesting dynamic at work.  Often, younger leaders have to quickly take on team leader roles.  Many times they have to lead people that are older than themselves.  There can be some unique pressures and some unique training needs.

Here are Bob’s suggestions of critical leadership development areas for today’s young professionals.  I would love to get some feedback on this-leave a comment below.

  • Teamwork
  • Assertiveness
  • Communication skills (including receiving feedback)
  • Leadership styles
  • A basic understanding of organizational culture and procedures

Here is a link to Bob’s blog.

The Posture of a Spiritual Leader

medium_15120904702Recently I was reading John 8 and was struck by some of the sayings of Jesus.  If we count Jesus as a preeminent leader and we are to emulate Him in all facets of life, then these sayings bear on our leadership lives.

Jesus was speaking to a mixed crowd of devoted followers and religious zealots. As he is being questioned about his identity and purpose, he makes three very curious statements. The first of these is found in v.28, which reads, “So Jesus said to them,’When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.'” Jesus identifies himself as Messiah with the title Son of Man. This comes from Daniel 7:13. But remarkably he also clearly states that his authority is a derived authority. He tells these religious leaders that his authority comes from the Father alone. There is no claim of any authority that stems from his own works, title or efforts.

The second saying is found in v.42. As the crowd questions Jesus link to God the Father he says, “I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.” Not only did Jesus not claim personal authority but he also claimed that his will was totally submitted to that of the Father. He was a “sent one.” In obedience, he did the will of his Father regardless of any human emotions he was experiencing. This attitude of submission shows up in the Garden of Gethsemane as well–right before Jesus heads to the cross. As the God man, Jesus shows us what humble submission looks like, lest we think that we show up anywhere and do anything by our own will and power.

The third saying is found in v.49-50. The Jews around him are still confused as to his true identity. They somehow believed that Jesus was a Samaritan and had a demon. Jesus responds, “I do not have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge.” Jesus clearly states that when it comes to his identity he does not seek his own glory, but the glory of the one who sent him.

Do you see the three points worth emulating? These three principles form the foundation for the right posture of a true spiritual leader. And I would question any spiritual leader who does not embrace these three principles. Here they are in plain language:

1. I do nothing on my own authority.  All authority is derived authority. As a spiritual leader, I have nothing except that which God has granted to me.

2. I came not of my own accord.  As a spiritual leader, I do nothing of my own accord. I daily submit my will to the will of the one who sent me. When I show up to lead, I show up as a servant of the one who sent me.

3. I do not seek my own glory.  As a spiritual leader, I always seek to glorify the one who sent me. To live for my own glory is counterintuitive to my very nature as a spiritual leader.

If these are the principles that Jesus lived out and put on display for us, then they are worth our emulation and practice.

Only by the grace of the gospel are we able to reflect these well.

Lead in the posture of our Savior.

(photo credit)

Saint Patrick-The Person Behind The Day

Saint Patrick’s Day is one of those strange holidays we mark without truly understanding the meaning behind it.  Culture largely celebrates with alcohol and green.  But there is a story of a man that God used greatly to draw a people to Himself.  It is a story of inhumanity being turned toward salvation.  It is a story of courage to face your fears.  It is a story of obedience to calling.  It is a story of leadership.  It is a story we need to contemplate today.

I don’t usually do this-but for this post I will link to another web site for telling this story (biography.com).  I will get you started.  Follow the link and finish the story.  You will be encouraged.

St Patrick was a Christian missionary. Two authentic letters from him survive, the only universally accepted details of his life. When he was 16, he was captured in Britain by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland. He escaped, returned home and became a bishop. He later returned to Ireland, but little else is known. By the seventh century, he was credited as the patron saint of Ireland.

Here is the link for the rest of the story.

5 for Leadership (3/15/12)

Here is “5 for Leadership” for the 3rd week in March. I hope you will be informed and encouraged.

One Thing Every Young Leader Needs To Hear This is a post from Ben Reed and was found on Millenialleader.com. This is a web site aimed directly at the Millennial generation of leaders and quite insightful. Ben is a pastor in Tennessee and offers some good thoughts for young leaders-and one phrase of encouragement they must hear. By the way, Ben’s web site is worth a look too and the link is at the bottom of the post.

Why I am Leaving Goldman Sachs This is an oped piece from the NY Times. The author is Greg Smith who has been an Executive Director with Goldman-until today. This is worth the read and has been trending on Facebook and Twitter. I love how it speaks to leadership culture and integrity.

6 Characteristics of Spiritual Leaders I often highlight what Michael Hyatt writes. If you missed this post this week-here’s a second chance. Hyatt distinguishes between spiritual leadership and other forms of organizational leadership and then offers six functions or traits of a true spiritual leader.

Good Churchmanship This comes from Tim Challies, who is well known in reformed circles. I really enjoy his blog and is one of the few to which I subscribe. Tim is a thoughtful writer and I really like this post that compares sportsmanship with churchmanship-and what has been lost with both concepts. This is a good read for the leader and follower.

The Empire of Entitlement This final post is from Pete Wilson who is the pastor at Cross Point Church in Nashville. Pete writes a great exhortation about the dangers of our culture of entitlement-and how it can really threaten our leadership. He highlights Deuteronomy 8 and reminds us well that there is one God-and it is not us.

There are 5 for this week-lead well!

5 for Leadership (3/9/12)

Here is “5 for Leadership” for the 2nd week in March.

Does Your Leadership Style Need To Change When Leading Internationally?  This post is from Andy Phillips on the A Slice of Leadership blog.  Andy suggest six questions you should ask whenever you are leading cross culturally.  He has great experience in this arena and this is a very helpful read on what must be considered to lead well in another country.

First Look: Leadership Books for March 2012  Here is a very quick read on five leadership books that are being released this month.  There is good variety here and there might be a gem among them.  It is always good to stay abreast of what reading material is fresh from publication.

Eisenhower, Kennedy, and The Power of Vision  Like the last post, this one is found on the Leading Blog web site.  It comes from James Strock and is quite interesting as a contrast between two effective styles.  Take a look and see what you think.

A Declaration of Extreme Leadership  This is a unique post.  It comes from Steve Farber and is in the form of a petition.  You can actually read the declaration and sign it-declaring yourself to be an extreme leader.  Here is a tangible commitment to lead.

Women: Leadership Lessons from Rosa Parks  This last post comes from Debbe Kennedy on the blog Women in the Lead.  Debbe provides a good, concise post that sums up the contribution of Rosa Parks in forging a new path that had huge social implications.  Debbe highlights three key principles for you and I to doing the same.

There are the “Five for Leadership” for this week.  Have a great weekend!

A Contrast of Two Leaders


Alan Levine on Flickr

In 3 John 9-12 we find a contrast between two leaders in a fledgling community of Christ followers. Diotrephes is the negative example and Demetrius is the positive one. 3 John 9 says, “I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority.” The verb translated “to put himself first” is used only here in the New Testament and literally means “a love for having the highest rank or position.” Because Diotrephes held this attitude he could not acknowledge John’s apostolic authority, nor probably anyone else’s.

If you love to be first, it is going to be really difficult to acknowledge anyone else as a valid authority in your life.

There is a severe consequence to this kind of attitude.

You cannot give away power and you ultimately cannot multiply your own leadership.

I believe that the first job of every leader is to raise up more leaders. But you cannot do that without empowering others. John goes on to note that Diotrephes also did not welcome the brothers, and even tried to prevent others within the body from doing so. Most likely these “brothers” were traveling teachers, fellow laborers who circulated through the early church, helping to build up the body of believers. This too was probably a threat to Diotrephes’ desire to be first.

Another consequence of the attitude of preeminence is that you are unable to partner.

If you cannot recognize the contribution of others then you cannot partner with them for the greater cause of Christ. Diotrephes could not recognize the authority of others. Nor could he welcome the worthy contributions of others.

In contrast, John says that Demetrius “has a good reputation from everyone, and from the truth itself.” Demetrius seems to be held up as an example of a good leader to imitate. But who is this Demetrius? The only other reference we have in the New Testament of a man with this name is in Acts 19. The Demetrius described in the book of Acts was a silver smith who started a riot over the preaching of Paul in Ephesus. He did so because Paul threatened his business of idol making with his preaching of Jesus. We don’t know for sure if this is the same man. But John is most likely addressing this letter to the same general region geographically. If this is the same Demetrius then we have a picture of a radical transformation. The one who opposed Paul and caused a riot was now seen as a Christian leader with an outstanding reputation–one worthy of imitation.

Who do you want to be?

This is the only mention of Diotrephes in the Bible. This is not a legacy you should long for. We must realize that all authority is derived authority and submit our leadership to the lordship of Christ. That is the starting point. That position is what will allow us to honor and welcome others within the body of Christ. It is this attitude that will allow us to empower others and partner well.

C. H. Spurgeon and Leadership

imagesNot to long ago I read a book called C.H. Spurgeon on Spiritual Leadership by Steve Miller. I enjoy biographies and I enjoy selective biographies that focus on a particular topic like leadership.

Spurgeon was a British pastor in the 19th century and was known as the “Prince of Preachers.” He pastored the New Park Street Chapel in London for 38 years. It is estimated that Spurgeon preached to over 10 million people in his lifetime. Here is an outtake from the book on the role of prayer in Spurgeon’s life.

As a busy minister, Charles Haddon Spurgeon cherished the rare opportunities that allowed him time to visit with close friends. On one such occasion, when Dr. Theodore Cuyler of Brooklyn came to England, Spurgeon invited him for a walk through the woods-another pastime Spurgeon loved yet seldom had time for. During the walk, Spurgeon surprised his guest with a rather unexpected comment. Their conversation must have been lighthearted and even mirthful, for suddenly Spurgeon stopped and said, “Come, Theodore, let us thank God for laughter.” Later, when Dr. Cuyler spoke of this particular visit, he said, “That was how he lived. From jest to a prayer meant with him the breadth of a straw.” That incident is but one of many that demonstrates Spurgeon’s spontaneity when it came to prayer. What stood out above all in Spurgeon’s life as a minister-even more than his extraordinary giftedness for preaching-was his diligence in prayer. Not only was he faithful in the practice of prayer, he also bathed all of life in prayer. In the introduction to C.H. Spurgeon’s Prayers, Dinsdale T. Young observes that ‘”prayer was the instinct of his soul, and the atmosphere of his life.”

Leadership and the role of prayer-here is a life worth emulating and considering. You too might enjoy this book.

Here are some other quotes by Spurgeon related to leadership (outside of the work by Miller):

The true shepherd spirit is an amalgam of many precious graces. He is hot with zeal, but he is not fiery with passion. He is gentle, and yet he rules his class. He is loving, but he does not wink at sin. He has power over the lambs, but he is not domineering or sharp. He has cheerfulness, but not levity; freedom, but not license; solemnity, but not gloom.

Many a man can bear affliction, but few men can endure prosperity; and I have 
marked it, and you must have marked it too, that the most perilous thing in all the 
world is to step suddenly from obscurity to power. 

Here is a good searching question for a man to ask himself as he reviews his past 
life:—Have I written in the snow? Will my life-work endure the lapse of years and the 
fret of change? Has there been anything immortal in it, which will survive the 
speedy wreck of all sublunary things? The boys inscribe their names in capitals in the 
snow, and in the morning’s thaw the writing disappears; will it be so with my work, 
or will the characters which I have carved outlast the brazen tablets of history? 
Have I written in the snow?

Whatever a man depends upon, whatever rules his mind, whatever governs his 
affections, whatever is the chief object of his delight, is his god.

Other Resources on Spurgeon:

The Life and Ministry of Charles Spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon’s Life Changing Prayers


5 for Leadership (3/2/12)

Here are a fresh five for the first week in March.

Patrick Henry on Servant Leadership  I found this post through a Linkedin group on leadership.  It comes from a man named Monty Rainey.  I like Monty’s emphasis on a virtuous life as a foundation for servant leadership.  Take a look and see what you think.

Note to Self via the Puritans  This is for your soul.  Sometimes as leaders we do not stop long enough to reflect and think more deeply about what well we are leading from.  This short post is from my friend Andrea Buczynski who also serves with Cru.  Andrea references one of my favorite books in this post, The Valley of Vision.  She also includes a video to a worship song from her church in Orlando.  Slow down and take some time to read this post and listen to the song-and reflect on the words.

What If A Leader Refuses To Be Held Accountable?  I had the privilege of spending some time at the Verge 12 Conference this week in Austin.  We heard from some incredible people who are on the cutting edge of church leadership.  Two of them were Mike Breen and Jo Saxton.  This post is from Mike’s blog-but is actually a short video of Jo sharing some insight on the answer to this very important question. Enjoy her British accent!

What Is Church?  I will throw another one at you from a speaker at Verge 12.  This comes from Neil Cole’s blog called Cole-Slaw.  I actually think this is the question of our day. I can’t remember a time when the concept of “church” has been more open for debate.  Neil will stir you up-and I think that is good.  Beliefs need to be challenged and reassessed from time to time.

12 Great Leadership Questions  The final one is from Ron Edmondson, whom I have highlighted before.  This is a quick, but really practical read.  Ron offers up 12 questions that are great for any team leader at any level.

There are the five for this week.  Thanks for taking a look and add your comments.

Opportunity & Opposition

In 1 Corinthians 16 Paul is wrapping up his first of probably four letters to the Corinthian church.  He exhorts them about giving to the needs of the saints, he passes on various greetings and final instructions, and he outlines a few of his travel plans.  But in verses 8 and 9 he makes a very curious statement.  He states, “But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”

Paul combines two things that we rarely tend to link together–opportunity and opposition.  We know historically that Paul spent more time in the city of Ephesus than any other city he visited (except possibly his jail term in Rome).  We know from Luke’s account in Acts 19 that Paul certainly was effective in his work for the Kingdom of God in Ephesus.  And we know from that same account that it was actually his effective work that brought on some daunting adversaries.

We typically tend to see effective work, and therefore it’s resulting success, as void of any conflict.

Success is supposed to be all hype and celebration.  Success is not supposed to include difficult times or riotous opposition.

But when you lead for the cause of Christ and towards the Kingdom of God you should expect stout opposition.  Kingdom work, by its very nature, implies that you are representing the King and extending His domain.  Never forget that there is another king who vehemently opposes any such efforts.  It should never surprise us that opposition would arise from this alternative and false kingdom.

It actually should surprise us when we don’t tangibly see some form of opposition.

In Paul’s case he was immediately confronted by hawkers of a pagan deity because he had ruined their business by pointing people to the one true King. Notice that Paul still had faith to believe and see that this is a wide open door from God for effective work.  He simply went in with both eyes open and a keen sense of spiritual insight. He knew that what he advanced in faith would be faithfully opposed. Paul is not daunted by this forecast because he has a clear sense of calling and direction from God.  He understood opposition well because he use to be the opposition before Jesus changed his life.

If we are leading on mission we should expect opposition.

But we must still walk through the wide open doors of effective work for His Kingdom and His glory, knowing that He is the greater King.

Lead well!