5 for Leadership-August 1st


Here is a new 5 for Leadership for this first day of August. As you finish up your vacation season and prepare for the fall take some time to refresh your leadership for the fall. There are topics on leadership influence, leadership lessons, toxic leadership, an infographic on the change process, and a top 30 list of great posts from this past month. There is something here for you.

Sketch Note: How To Influence Without Authority

Jesse Lyn Stoner is one of my favorite leadership bloggers and her post “How to Influence Without Authority” offers useful guidance on the what she calls as “8 Portals of Influence”. It is also one of the most loved posts on her blog! Whether you lead backed by a formal authority or you lead without a title, these ideas should help you build influence. Here is a sketch note version encapsulating some ideas from her post. Read the full post here.” This was posted on Tanmay Vora’s site. Check out some of his other posts–it will be well worth it.

Sketch Note: 6 Leadership Lessons from Dr. A.P. J. Abdul Kalam

I decided to give you a second post from Tanmay Vora. He is a new thought leader for me and I want to introduce him to you. It is great to gain insight from different ethnic perspective and through a different medium like Sketch Note. This may be one you will want to copy and display near your desk to be reminded every day. Enjoy.

Top 30 Must-Read Posts on Leadership for July 

So here’s my top 30 curated leadership tweets you might have missed in July 2015.” Paul Sohn–take a look–there is a treasure trove here.

Communication Framework for Change Agents-Infographic  

“While organizations thrive on change, people often don’t. We don’t all embrace change at the same rate or pace (and a few even reject it outright). How new ideas are communicated can hinder or accelerate adoption. If you’re an innovator, it’s tempting to think that conveying your enthusiasm and excitement will accelerate others’ acceptance—it turns out, that won’t work most of the time. Effectively communicating the need or reason to change is an important skill for change agents and a big factor in innovation velocity.” This comes via the StrategyDriven site.

The Toxic Leader Score

“Your Toxic Leader Score* (TLS) is the level of unnecessary irritation you cause others. If you occasionally irritate colleagues by arriving late, you’re a 3 on a range from 1 to 10. If you frequently irritate colleagues, but don’t realize it, your TLS is 9. The worst leaders don’t know they’re toxic.” Find out more about where you stand–from Dan Rockwell.

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Distractions & Unfulfilled Promises


I recently returned from a trip to Las Vegas. I was there with my son for a high school basketball tournament. It was my first time since I was 12 years old when I was on a family vacation. Needless to say a lot has changed. The famous Las Vegas strip has expanded greatly. The strip now includes escalators, over street walkways, and a monorail. There are shows galore and a slot machine in every available space. Yet the setting strikes me as a productive leadership metaphor as well.

Las Vegas is all about entertainment. At the heart of the definition for entertainment is a sense of “amusement” or “diversion.” It is not uncommon to see people of any age, gender and ethnicity gambling for hours and at all times of the day. Hotels are set up in such a way that you never have to leave. You can dine in a variety of eateries, take in a movie, swim, workout, gamble in an infinite number of venues, get your hair cut, or shop within the world’s elite stores . . . all without leaving your covered space. All for your entertainment . . . for your amusement and diversion. When you stop to reflect it is a bit unsettling. It is an artificial world. It plays on our perceived need to be distracted and amused. And ultimately it does not fulfill. Sure, the shows can highlight a variety of great performances. And it is possible that the gambling can make you instantly rich. But there would be no Las Vegas and no gambling, nor show industry, if people were not desiring entertainment . . . a desire for amusement and diversion. Most walk away with less money and a fleeting memory of a great show. They are distracted for a moment . . . and left often with unfulfilled promises. Sometimes they come and they go as a train wreck.

Leaders can fall out on either side of this equation. Leaders can be the ones who are distracting and offering false promises . . . or the ones being distracted and chasing false promises.

Leaders can offer a great show or the promise of something for nothing . . . an image without substance . . . think of Bernie Madoff, Jim Jones or Hugo Chavez. The primary problem is one of a lack of true character. They were always more concerned about self than those they were suppose to serve. Their true idol was power or control or fame . . . greatness. They leave unfulfilled followers in their wake. Remember the gambling axiom? The house never loses. Do you always have to win? Then maybe you are a leader who leads by way of distractions and unfulfilled promises.

Leaders can also become the distracted and those who chase false promises. Sometimes the 2nd type leads to the 1st type. Leaders are prone to chase the shiny and new. They are prone towards the latest and greatest. They forget their calling. They finish unfulfilled.

Laci Loew sites three reasons why leaders fail:

1. Failure to build personal accountability.

2. Poor integrity and lack of trust.

3. The “couldn’t happen to me” syndrome.

Where are you merely being distracted and chasing after false promises as a leader?

Where are you being a distracting leader from the things that really matter? Where are you offering false promises in the name of grandiosity?

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8

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5 for Leadership-July 18th


Here is a fresh lineup of great leadership posts. This 5 for Leadership covers such topics as 10 great theological online resources, accountability in leadership, Phil Jackson on leadership, leadership conversations, and the beauty of networked teams. Take a few minutes and grow your leadership skills and understanding.

Phil Jackson’s 11 Principles of Leadership

“Few people would be more qualified to talk about leadership than Phil Jackson in the sports arena. Jackson is considered one of the greatest coaches in the history of the NBA clenching 11 championship titles as a coach. Phil Jackson shares 11 leadership principles that have propelled him to become a championship leader.” (Paul Sohn)

Providing Accountability (Leadership Practice 9)

“I’m in a series highlighting 9 Effective Servant Leadership Practices. Servant leadership is not just a good idea. It works! The 9 effective leadership practices highlighted in this series capture core leadership dimensions that are correlated with effectiveness in the team context. This week we will take on the final of the 9 practices—Providing Accountability. (Justin Irving on Purpose in Leadership)

3 Conversations of a Leader

“At its core, leadership is about conversations. As a leader, the quality of the conversations that you have with your team, and those in your business circle, determines your outcome as a leader.” (Croft Edwards on General Leadership)

Make Your Team Less Hierarchal

“A company used to be able to dominate the competition if it focused on creating an effective group of verticals. But in today’s world, leaders using the network model can quickly outpace those who remain focused on winning individual battles.” (Chris Fussell in the HBR)

Online Theological Resources

“If you’re an avid online Bible student, you are probably already familiar with the ten resources I’ve listed below. But these are the ones that I find most helpful in my own personal study.” (Nathan Busenitz on Preachers and Preaching)

There are the 5 for this week. Now back to the British Open . . . if we ever get out of a weather delay.

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5 for Leadership-July 11th


I have returned from my overseas trip and here is a new 5 for Leadership. There are posts on leading young leaders, why you are not a leader, privilege and leadership, gut instincts, and signs of troubled team leadership. Take a few minutes and find something just for you.

10 Reasons Why You’re Not A Leader

Paul Sohn just relaunched his blog with a new brand. This is an older post by Paul, but is very insightful. “Do you want to make a difference? Change the culture? Turn the world upside down? Make a dent in the universe? Well, let me tell you that you won’t achieve this without leadership.”

Take a look at Paul’s new site!

How To Know If You Can Trust Your Gut Instinct As a Leader

“You have a gut instinct about almost everything that comes across your radar. Before you even say anything out loud, often you have an intuitive sense of whether you should move ahead or not, whether you should jump in or step back, or whether someone is trustworthy or not. The question is, how do you know if you can trust your gut reaction as a leader?”

Carey Nieuwhof shares 5 helpful tips on knowing whether to trust your gut instinct of not.

Short Conversations on Privilege and Leadership

“Last month, I had the chance to sit down with Tod Bolsinger (Vice President for Formation and Vocation at Fuller Theological Seminary) to discuss the intersections between privilege and leadership.”

This is a series of 9 short videos capturing a conversation with Christena Cleveland. Pick out a few, or listen to all of them . . . you will be challenged and enlightened.

5 Signs Your Leadership Team Is In Trouble

“I once heard John Maxwell say that “team work makes the dream work.” However, as I survey the leadership landscape, I believe the reason a lot of dreams are not working is because a lot of teams are way more dysfunctional than dedicated.”

This is a very practical post from Perry Noble. He first posted this back in March . . . it is worth the read.

7 Ways To Raise Up Young Leaders

talk to pastors and leaders my age and older who want to see a new generation of leaders. They claim to love investing in younger leaders. They recognize the huge need in churches and organizations. Our future depends upon doing so.”

Ron Edmondson writes from experience. These 7 principles will greatly aid you in investing in the next generation.

There are the 5 for this week. I hope you take some time to reflect and consider how you can be a better leader.

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3 Observations on Leadership, and a Continent Away

Uganda-leadershipI am on a short term trip with a group of 10 other Americans in Uganda. We are being hosted by African Renewal Ministries. Over the course of our time we will get some opportunities to serve this wonderful mission with some encouragement, a little bit of teaching, and some leadership development content. But make no mistake, we are the ones who are being blessed and will be changed as a result of being here.

I have traveled many times to various parts of the world on similar trips. I love the personal learning and I love taking others with me to expose them to the unique and awesome work God is doing around the globe. Today was a day of thoroughly acquainting ourselves with the various efforts of ARM. Their vision of ARM is “Generations of Transformational Christian Leaders.” They are convinced that Uganda cannot address all of it’s systemic needs apart from a core of Ugandan leadership being raised up with godly character and quality leader skills.

Already I am deeply impressed by three clear aspects of their effort.

1. Indigenous Leadership.

Every leader and worker we met today was Ugandan. Yet ARM is only 25 years old. If you know anything about NGO’s like this you know how important this is and yet how challenging it can be. This speaks powerfully to the founder’s desire and approach. From day one indigenous leadership was obviously a high priority. Every leader we encountered today was sharp, eloquent, tied to the vision and mission, and saw their contribution as critical.

2. Holistic Approach.

ARM goes after their vision through a very connected and holistic approach. They have early childhood development programs, childhood development programs, transformational leadership training, next generation leadership program, and a impactful orphanage effort. These efforts include a elementary school, a secondary school, and a university. The orphanage includes vocational development in sustainable farming, animal husbandry, and hydroponics. While this ministry welcomes and needs resources from the U.S., Uganda, and other nations, it is also committed to doing as much as possible to be self-sustaining too. Leadership development is a strong emphasis throughout the process of every ARM initiative. You can become a child sponsor and take part in this worthy vision.

3. A Commitment to Change.

These Ugandans want to see their nation changed. They believe God will bring this change about one life at a time through the transforming power of Christ and concerted efforts. to produce transformational leaders. They are committed to it.

It strikes me that we can take few lessons from ARM. Whatever we are leading we need some of the same emphases. We need to always aim for indigenous leadership . . . giving power away and raising up those who can leader from the inside out. We need to think in holistic ways that can feed the mind, body, soul and spirit. We need to be committed to the change we say we are structuring for. Leaders create and sustain change.

Take a look at their web site and get to know ARM.

Leading From The Middle


What does it look like to lead effectively in your late 40’s, into your 50’s, and beyond?

How do you remain focused on your passions?

How do you stay true to what you were made for?

I am still learning what it means to lead during the mid-adult years.

When one is younger, there is an infinite amount of passion, energy, and enthusiasm for trying new things.

There is conquering mentality about new horizons.

In your 20’s and 30’s you should try out many leadership arenas and learn from all of them.

When you arrive at your 40’s you should know more about yourself. You should better understand your unique strengths and abilities. And you should better understand your limitations. A leadership life that is centered upon power and control through titles should begin to morph into one of influence through wisdom and blessing.

Gordon T. Smith, in his book entitled Courage & Calling, highlights three principles that are critical during this phase of leadership. All three of the following admonitions are important for living out your vocational calling, that which you were created to do regardless of your occupation.

1. The capacity to be a continuous learner.

The vitality that we will maintain lies in direct proportion to our ability to remain continuous learners. The moment a leader quits learning is the moment that their leadership platform begins to erode. Learning helps us to embrace change . . . both the change that we choose and the change that befalls us. Without a posture of continuous learning we will ultimately fail in our vocation and in our relationships. We can always learn something new or better. We can learn to improve that which we already do well and we can learn new skills and abilities. Continuous learning simply requires never ending curiosity about ourselves and the world around us.

2. The capacity to bounce back and learn from failure.

As one gets older failure can more poignantly prove to be a friend or a haunting ghost.  At its foundation failure is the falling short of performing one’s duty or expected action. How we handle failure will depend on our theology of pain and suffering. We all blow it. We all have life happen to us. If pain is purposeful then we can move forward in hope. Forgiveness towards ourselves and others is crucial. This has everything to do with whether we can truly offer wisdom and blessing to others. Our response to failure and difficulty in the latter half of life will determine if we will have a positive and healthy leadership influence.

3. A healthy routine of rest and sabbath renewal.

Smith notes, “Order brings freedom . . . through order, a gracious routine and rhythm to our days and weeks, we live with strength and freedom.” The irony with maturity is that one actually needs more reflection time. There is more to consider. There is a deeper well from which to draw. A ritual of routine and rest will aid us with far greater clarity about what it most important. Smith strongly nudges us towards solitude and community as anchors for the soul.

A strong understanding of creation and redemption will undergird our pursuit of these three principles. We must know that we are created uniquely for a purpose. We must embrace redemption to reinvent. These are fulfilled in a relationship with God through his son Jesus Christ. This is leading from the middle.

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5 for Leadership-June 20th


[dropcap]Here[/dropcap] is a brand new 5 for Leadership, This week there are posts on leadership prayers by famous Christian leaders, how to have a less stress-filled life, the birth of Linked 2 Leadership, leading experts, and how to better navigate difficult conversations. There is some rich content this week. Take advantage.

A 4-Step, Simple Strategy To Have a Less Stress-Filled Life  “Are you ever stressed? Silly question, right?We can never remove all the issues of our life that bring us stress. We have to somehow learn to navigate our lives through stress. I have some easy suggestions. I have shared this strategy so many times. I hope you find it helpful.” This is from Ron Edmondson, who always provides something practical.

On Leadership, Authenticity and the Birth of Linked 2 Leadership  “Studies have shown that it takes about 10,000 hours to be an expert in something. Our studies show it only takes 10 minutes to read one of our expert interviews, where you learn from the experts!” This is a very interesting post about the beginnings of linked2leadership, which I have highlighted many times. You will gain even greater respect for Tom Shulte.

Leading People When They Know More Than You Do  How do you change leadership styles from being a specialist to being a generalist? There will come a day when you will lead people with more experience than you and more knowledgeable than you. Will you be ready? This is good post from the HBR.

Communication Mistakes To Avoid in A Difficult Conversation  “Some time or another everyone faces a time when a difficult conversation is necessary. It’s in those moments that your true leadership is tested.” Lolly Daskal gives us 5 solid principles for tackling this tough scenario.

7 Surprising Prayers by Famous Christian Leaders  Paul Sohn is on a blogging sabbatical, but this is a guest post on his blog from back in May that is worth reading. These prayers will challenge, comfort, and inspire you.

There are the 5 for this week. Summer truly begins tomorrow. Enjoy.

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5 for Leadership-June 13th


[dropcap]This[/dropcap] week in 5 for Leadership we have lists. In particular we have three sets of seven . . . 7 paradoxes, 7 tips, and 7 powerful people-tasks. We also have four types of questions and ten secrets. You can beat these lists. Take a look at more than one.

4 Types of Questions To Ask Your Mentor  “Have conversations with your mentor gotten a bit repetitive lately? Perhaps you approached someone you admire, and bravely asked that person to become your mentor. And they said “yes!” But a year into the relationship, those monthly mentoring conversations don’t seem to invigorate you like they used to, and aren’t quite as energizing for them, either.” Jo Miller shares some very practical insights on the types of questions you can ask to unlock your mentoring relationship.

7 Paradoxes of Nurturing Leadership  “Leadership is about connecting. Connecting is about supporting. Supporting is about being brave enough as a leader to flex your nurturing muscle.” Jane Perdue writes on the Lead Change Group blog. This post shows the healthy tensions leaders must navigate to provide good leadership.

7 Tips for Hiring the Right Person for the Church Staff  “We must make good staff hires in the church.  That’s seems common sense to me , but there’s a definite reason. In most churches it is often difficult to remove someone once they are added. (That’s somewhat of a pet peeve of mine after spending much of my years in business, but that’s another blog post.) Regardless of the industry, however, adding to a team is a critical decision — perhaps one of the most important a leader makes. New team members change the dynamics of a team. That will either be positively or negatively.” Ron Edmondson offers some great hiring advice.

7 Powerful People-Tasks You Can Do Today  “Great people accomplish great things. The question is, how to develop and maximize greatness in others.” The Leadership Freak gives us a collection of really powerful principles to better develop people.

10 Communication Secrets of Great Leaders  “No one ever became a great leader without first becoming a great communicator. Great leaders connect with people on an emotional level every time they speak. Their words inspire others to achieve more than they ever thought possible. Great communicators are intentional about it, and there are 10 secrets they rely on to deliver a powerful message. Put these secrets to work in your communication and watch your influence soar.” This comes from Travis Bradberry on Inc.

There are the 5 for this week.

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5 for Leadership-June 6th


[dropcap]Here[/dropcap] is fresh 5 for June 6th. There are offerings on leaders seizing on cultural crises, how to take a great vacation, how to expand your leadership, the habits of athletes and how they can enhance the workplace, and the myths of creativity. There is some very practical leadership lessons this week . . . take advantage of the knowledge of others.

15 Surprising Ways To Expand Leadership  “Leadership expands when you learn and contracts when you know. ‘If you stop learning, you might as well lie down and let them throw the dirt on you.’ (Ken Blanchard). Humility learns. Arrogance knows.”‘ This is another great post from Dan Rockwell.

How To Take A Productive Yet Refreshing Vacation  “Some people will bristle at the seemingly oxymoronic notion of a “productive vacation.” But as an entrepreneur for the past decade, if I’m going to take a vacation at all, it needs to be productive — otherwise, without the safety net of paid vacation days and coworkers to cover for me, I might as well keep working.” This comes by way of Dorie Clark on the HBR blog.

5 Habits Of Top Athletes We Can Take To The Workplace  “The same techniques that athletes use to perform under pressure allow business leaders to excel in the workplace. Here are five top practices that will improve your health and performance both at the office.” This is practical post on the Leading Blog by Dr. Greg Wells.

David Burkus: The Myths of Creativity  This link will take you to a YouTube video of David Burkus, the author of The Myths of Creativity. This is about a 40-45 minute lecture, followed by some Q&A, on the premise of his book. Burkus speaks directly to leaders and the power of the stories they tell. I think you will find it quite good and helpful.

3 Current Cultural Crises That Provide Great Opportunities for Leaders (If You Seize Them)  “As a leader you likely seize opportunities many others miss. But in this particular moment in history, there are opportunities before us that few are seizing well. Our culture is undergoing radical transformation.” This is another thought provoking post by Carey Nieuwhof . . . and worth your time.

There are the 5 for this 1st week in June. I hope you official summer is off to a great start! Lead well.

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5 for Leadership-May 30th


5 for Leadership for this final week of May includes posts on hurtful and helpful leadership beliefs, Lincoln on leadership, leaders vs Millennials, special ops leadership, and the important topic of pastors and porn. Take a look at more than one of these great posts.

Lincoln’s Leadership  This comes from a friend of mine named Jay Lorenzen. He is an avid Civil War historian, a good leader, and a student of leadership. You will want to read through and incorporate his 5 principles of leadership from the life of Abraham Lincoln.

Leaders vs Millennials-Who’s Changing Who?  “Attitudes toward work are changing. Younger people entering the workplace want different things than people did a generation ago. They expect different opportunities from their employers, and they want to work differently than their employers want them to. As leaders, we have to ask ourselves, will we change or will they?” This comes from Joanie Connell on the Lead Change Group blog and she does a good job at looking towards both sides of the issue.

13 Beliefs That Hold You Back  “If feelings were always right . . . failure would be extinct.” This is Dan Rockwell at his best again. He provides us with two categories of beliefs . . . those that will hold us back and those that will life us high . . . in 300 words or less.

Why Special Ops Stopped Relying So Much On Top-Down Leadership  “To succeed in this environment, today’s leaders must focus on using persuasion rather than direction to lead their own networks toward a common goal.” Chris Fussell does a great job of taking a look both at historical leadership and current day tactical leadership to make a case for the power of persuasion. This is a great read.

15 Ways That Pastors Ignore Their Porn Problem  “Most pastors struggle with porn. I was part of the first wave of men who got sideswiped by porn when the internet made that world instantly accessible. I still wig out a bit when I hear that dial-up tone from my old AOL days. I hit rock bottom in 1998 and still have the scars to prove it.” Matt Adair writes a very heartfelt and necessary post towards a critical need. This comes from his blog and web site called Gridiron. This post is for any leader.

There are the 5 for this week. I hope you are staying dry where you are . . . because it wont stop raining in Texas.

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