5 for Leadership (3/28/15)


In 5 for Leadership this week there are posts on the cost of profanity, the biggest issue in the church, servant leadership and virtual teams, how to plan your next big meeting, and the one necessary bias for every leader. Each topic packs some power. Find one that interests you.

Why Leaders Who Hold THIS Bias Are The Most Effective Leaders  “You probably have something exciting that you’ve been thinking about doing for a long time. Every leader has dreams, goals and hopes. The challenge is you haven’t done anything about it…yet. And as a result, so few leaders end up with a track record of accomplishment. Why? Because almost all of us struggle with something the most effective leaders in their field don’t struggle with. What is it? It’s a bias so few leaders have. But the great ones all possess.” This is Carey Nieuwhof at his best.

How Much Business Is Your Profanity Costing You?  “follow a lot of speakers, bloggers, and podcasters who swear on stage, on screen, and at the microphone. I’m no fan of profanity, but I’ll wade through it if there’s a payoff.” This is a topic I have addressed several times myself. I am a strong proponent of “every word matters.” Michael Hyatt does a great job of speaking to this important topic.

Minimum Viable Spiritual Growth Plan  “Leadership Network recently surveyed over 1,600 ministry leaders of large (1000+) churches. The most frequently cited issue facing churches today is ‘discipleship.'” This comes from my friend Eric Swanson, who is an excellent thought leader and practitioner. Take a look.

How Can A Leader Of A Virtual Team Express Servant Leadership?  “As my workday begins, I pop into our Facebook group, my team’s virtual water cooler, to say good morning. I often add the request: Let me know how I can serve you today. As I do it, it feels, at times, like an empty offer.” This comes from Becky Robinson on the Lead Change Group blog.

A Checklist For Planning Your Next Big Meeting  “In theory, everyone understands that preparation can make or break an important meeting. The more work you do before you walk into the room, the more productive and efficient you’ll be. But who has the time to properly prepare? Our checklist makes meeting prep quick and easy—be sure to print it out or save it for later.” This is a very practical post from the HBR Blog.

There are the 5 for the final week in March. Lead well.

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5 for Leadership (3/21/15)

1024356696_d0e9d5590bThis version of 5 for Leadership is long on variety. There are posts on learning from mistakes, keys to followership, the necessity of the next meeting–or not, leadership reminders, and uncovering insecure leaders. There is something here for you.

The Naked Truth: How To Uncover An Insecure Leader  “If you’ve ever worked with an insecure leader, you understand the problem of insecurity–and the damage it can do. The trick is to discover and intercept the warning signs of insecurity within yourself. It’s a necessary effort because, no matter how you think you are perceived on the outside, insecurity always shows.” Lolly Daskal on INC.

6 Foundations of Followership “As military members, we are commonly told our most marketable skill after retirement is leadership. Yet, as you progress through the ranks and attend various military colleges, we always seem to be looking to civilian authors and courses for lessons on leadership. What is the magic dust that makes military leaders great? The answer is simple…followership.” Chris R. Strickilin on the General Leadership blog

Do You Really Need To Hold That Meeting?  “Although scheduling a meeting can be the right solution in many instances, it’s not always the best answer. I’ve come up with a decision tree to help you quickly determine if a meeting makes the most sense.” Elizabeth Grace Saunders on the HBR Blog

Some Gentle #Leadership Reminders  Tanmay Vora gives us 19 quality leadership principles in a bitesize, memorable way. These will help you recalibrate and refresh your leadership.

Mea Culpa  “Coming out of seminary, Kyle McClellan was considered a “five-talent minister.” In comprehending that term, think of a five-tool baseball star who hits for a high average, flashes plenty of home run power, runs fast on the bases, plays great defense, and throws with a cannon arm. If you’re old school, think Willie Mays. If you’re new school, think Mike Trout. When these players are young, observers often say they “can’t miss” becoming a hall-of-famer.” This post is a good summary of a book by Kyle McClellan on lessons learned from mistakes in pastoral ministry.

There are the 5 for this week. Enjoy.

5 for Leadership (3/14/15)

402570696_4c0d253605Here is a fresh 5 for Leadership with topics covering leadership effectiveness, Albert Einstein, mentoring leadership, leadership mistakes, and the top 30 leadership posts for February. There is a wealth of leadership perspective here for anyone.

10 Mistakes Leaders Make  “Mistakes are a facet of life. We all make mistakes and we all learn to move on from those mistakes. However, if we can be warned of common mistakes we might make in advance, it’s wise to look over them and prepare yourself in case these mistakes pop up in your life or leadership.” This comes from Joseph Lalonde on his blog.

3 Critical Skills of Effective Leaders   “Great leaders translate vision into decisive action — a skill that’s especially vital in tough times. But what are those skills? Do you have a blind spot? Should you be doing more?” Rich Gee offers three clear and practical skills for every leader–with resources. See what you think.

What Albert Einstein said on his deathbed sheds light on his incredible work ethic  This is a very insightful article by James Clear on Business Insider web site. It was actually published back in February. There are some excellent leadership principles here. Read it for the 1st time if you missed it–or read it again.

My Mentor, Bill Bright  “I had the amazing privilege for many years of working closely with Bill Bright. Needless to say, his thinking, his faith, his ideas have made an indelible impression on me.  Of course, Bill Bright and I did not agree on everything, and I was grateful that he would listen to my ideas.  And sometimes agree and even change.” This post comes from Judy Douglass who is a writer, speaker, and director of Women’s Resources at Cru. Take some time to read more of Judy’s writings on her blog–it will be worth it.

Top 30 Must-Read Posts on Leadership  Paul Sohn posted this recently as he looked back at February. There are some outstanding articles here. Also take a look at Paul’s other posts for great leadership insight. You wont be disappointed.

There are the 5 for this week.

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5 for Leadership (2/28/15)


Here is a fresh 5 for this final day in February. The topics include forgotten women leaders in history, how to collaborate, leadership legacy, questioning leadership and ways you might be sabotaging your leadership. Be challenged.

50 Years After I’m Gone  Just this past week I had the privilege of hearing D.A.Horton speak. He is fiery, grounded, biblical leader and communicator. I also was able to meet him personally and interact briefly. I was also struck by his humility and sensitivity. I think he is a rising leader worth getting to know. This post is from his blog and written back in December. It provides a good window into his heart on leadership and what he hopes to accomplish.

3 Lessons on How to Promote Successful Collaborations  “One of the benefits I garner through my work are opportunities to collaborate with different groups and individuals. Through these collaborations, I not only get the chance to learn and understand different perspectives, but to discover new ways to work with people who have different approaches to guide things forward.” Tanveer Nasser, whom I have highlighted several times before, provides some great insight to collaborative work. This is essential in the 21st century for every leader.

The Most Amazing Female Leaders That History Books Forgot  This is a really cool infographic from the Linked2Leadership blog. There are 10 women portrayed who have had great influence–that you might not know about.

5 Questions Leaders Should Ask Themselves  “Leadership isn’t without pitfalls. We can easily find ourselves in compromising situations or making bad decisions. This happens when we stop asking ourselves vital questions. Questions that look deep into our motives and propel us in the proper direction. When leaders ask questions of themselves, they’re able to look within. And every leader could use a little more of this introspection.” These 5 questions give us a good daily diagnostic on our leadership lives–from Joseph Lalonde.

10 Belief Triggers That Sabotage Success  “Some of our inner beliefs can trigger failure before it happens. They sabotage change by cancelling its possibility! Discover how to recognize these sabotaging beliefs and learn what you can do about them.” This coms from Marshall Goldsmith on his personal blog.

There are the 5 for this final week of February. Here’s to hoping that we are about done with snow and cold weather. May March bring the colors of spring.

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5 for Leadership (2/21/15)


In this installment of 5 for Leadership there are posts on leadership and money, the “Don’ts” of success, developing young leaders, life management, and an every day, real life character test. There is something here for you. Take a look at one or more of these fresh posts.

8 Things Successful People DO NOT DO Every Day  “If you get decent value from making to-do lists, you’ll get huge returns — in productivity, in improved relationships, and in personal well-being — from adding these items to your not to-do list.” I recently highlighted Jeff Haden and believe that this is another practical and helpful post.

Angel Investors: How Religion Changes Our Perspective on Money in Surprising Ways  “I had never met a leper before. But here I was surrounded by several of them at Nirmal Hriday, or “Home of the Pure Heart.” It’s also known as Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying & Destitute in Kolkata, India. Established in 1952, it is a small hospice for thousands of poor people who are found languishing in the streets. Someone dies there almost every day.” Kabir Sehgal provides us with a fascinating view of religion and money. This will help shape your leadership philosophy.

How A Young Leader Develops As A Leader  “I am a young leader. The kind that desires to not only improve my own leadership capacity, but one day grow into a great leader in a great position. I recognize that I have a long way to go in developing my own leadership skills, and I recognize that I have plenty to learn about leadership in general.” This is a guest post by Tyler Crosson on Ron Edmondson’s blog. Tyler’s 7 questions of learning are worth the read.

Turning Time Management Into Life Management  “The concept of time management is outdated. You can’t manage time. You can manage life. Often, the ambitiousness of our plans does not result in equally laudable accomplishments.” This is a very insightful post from the Lead Change Group blog. I love the perspective that Vasiliy Smetanin provides in discerning the difference between these two styles of stewardship.

9 Little Character Tests That Tell You Way Too Much About Yourself  “Sometimes progress in life can be tough to measure. You might feel stuck right now. Or just the opposite—you might feel like you’re making incredible progress. But are you?  How would you know?” This is insightful and you will be challenged–from Carey Nieuwhof on his blog.

There are the 5 for this week. Be inspired.

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Leadership Is About Removing Obstacles


Last week was a rich time of learning as I participated in a Doctor of Ministry intensive. One or our professors for the week was Dr. Jason Carthen (check out his web site). He introduced us to the Path-Goal Theory of Leadership.This theory was popularized by R. J. House and T. R. Mitchell. This is not a new concept, but it was new to me. As he described the role of the leader according to this theory I came to realize another aspect of servant leadership that is critical.

While the Path-Goal Theory is not exact, it often includes three basic steps: determine the employee and environmental characteristics, select a leadership style, and focus on motivational factors that will help the employee succeed.

One practical application of the Path-Goal Theory is the removal of obstacles by the leader that might stand in the way of any follower. This is a crucial role for any leader to play. If a leader truly sees that one of his or her primary functions is to raise up more leaders, then this aspect of the Path-Goal Theory should be a daily mandate.

But how does one practically go about removing the obstacles of followers, and thus empowering them to become potentially great leaders. I think there are three specific steps each leader can take.

1. Through Greater Personal Development  As a leader we can first seek to remove obstacles by providing great personal development. This usually begins with a 360 review process that will lead to a personal development plan. Every emerging leader needs this type of feedback rich environment to ensure their ongoing development. The personal development plan needs to be specific, largely focused on a a person’s strengths, and with specific measurable goals. It should also be accompanied by some monetary investment towards outside training programs that will add to the emerging leader’s skill development.

2. Through Providing Adequate Resources  Another key way to remove obstacles from your emerging leader’s path is by providing adequate resources in fulfilling their assigned responsibilities. A leader is in the unique position of steward. A leader needs to constantly think about what their followers need to get the job done. Those resources might include funding, tools or more people for their teams. Don’t ever forget that the most important resource you may provide on a daily basis is hope. Emerging leaders need a variety of resources to succeed and grow. Be sure that they have them.

3. Through Acting As A Sponsor For Those You Lead  A final way in which a leader can help remove obstacles from the path of an emerging leader is by providing sponsorship. Every emerging leader will one day need a good word provided on their behalf. This may be a word to a senior leader. This may be a word to a potential partner. This may be even a word on behalf of the emerging leader to that leader’s team. Sponsorship is an asset and a blessing that every established leader can gift to an up and coming leader. I guarantee you had someone act on your behalf somewhere along the way.

The Path-Goal Theory is about helping those that follow you, and have the potential to be good leaders themselves, by removing the obstacles that stand in their way from becoming truly great leaders.

Who do you have your sites set upon? What obstacles can you identify that are standing in their way of success? What are you going to do about it?

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5 for Leadership (2/14/15)

3915604902_f66d2bf6e1Here is a fresh 5 for your Valentine’s Day. We have posts on Tim Tebow, leadership inquiry, leadership truths, leadership trust, and happy habits. Take some time and become more informed as a leader.

Trust & Leadership  “The key to a leader’s success is the relationship they develop with their constituents. This relationship is always based on trust. Without a deep sense of trust, a leader cannot have any relationship with constituents.” This comes from Will Lukang on the Lead Change Group blog.

7 Inquiry Methods You Must Master  “For most adults, inquiry is a route to information. For teenagers, questions are a rhetorical way to emphasize their point. For toddlers, questions serve to drive their parents batty. There’s also a more nuanced role for questions.” This provides an interesting paradigm for influence–from David Fields. Take a look.

Did You Learn These 9 Critical Leadership Truths?  “As I was visiting my children’s school*, I was struck by 9 critical leadership truths that were being promoted. What impacted me was the fact that as a leadership coach and consultant, I am often talking about these very same qualities and skills with my ‘adult’ clients.” This comes from Andrew Bryant and was found on Linkedin Pulse.

7 Essential Habits of Happier People (How Many Do You Possess?)  “Happiness: everyone wants it, yet relatively few seem to get enough of it, especially those in their early forties. (That’s about the time many of us start thinking, ‘Is this all there is’)” Jeff Haden offers some worthy reflection–this too coming from Linkedin Pulse.

Out of the NFL, Tebow Builds His Lasting Legacy  “The incredible fourth quarter finale to this year’s Super Bowl, complete with a bobbling catch and unlikely interception, made me wonder what’s become of a Christian brother with a knack for fourth quarter heroics: Tim Tebow.” Here is a leader who continues to make a difference in the lives of others.

There are the 5 for this week. Read more than one of these posts and consider.

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5 for Leadership (2/7/15)

4337593410_634b07caf2This week, 5 for Leadership covers some broad ground concerning leadership topics. We have posts on hidden leaders, the topic of trust in leadership, questioning leadership, pastoral leadership, and the topic of racism. Take a few minutes and consider!

4 Keys to Finding Hidden Leaders in Your Organization  “. . . ‘hidden leaders are those people in your organization who share the belief that what they do matters.’ And they are all around us.” There are four key indentifiers to discovering your hidden leaders. Take a look at this timely post on the Leading Blog.

How Do You Answer These “Open Leadership” Questions?  “Open Leadership author Charlene Li reminds leaders to periodically ask themselves these ‘open leadership skills assessment’ questions.” Here are seven questions that must be asked and answered regularly.

To Trust Means To Be Careless  “There are numerous resources stating what trust is and what trust isn’t. There are countless articles, illustrations and books with all kinds of defintions. So I decided to embark on my own search for the meaning of the word trust.” Lolly Daskal writes a great piece on the very nature of trust in leadership.

7 Suggestions for Pastors and Pastor Spouses to Find True Friends  Ron Edmondson shares  seven very practical insights for all those who lead in the ministry in facing the challenge of finding and staying in community. You will want to take a look at this post if you lead in the ministry space.

The Biblical Root of Racism  There are times as leaders when we need to challenge our own perspectives on a variety of topics. This post by my friend Dirke Johnson will do just. “Racist! Few labels are hurled in today’s rhetoric that packs such a combative punch. The knee-jerk reaction to the charge of racism is immediate denial. No one wants to admit to racism. It has become viewed as one of society’s most evil sins. And for this reason I have found it counterproductive to ever use the word as a label, even if it might be true.”

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3 Valuable Results for the Self-Aware Leader

medium_8557948783Self-awareness is critical to self-leadership.

And self-leadership only becomes more important the longer you lead.

Awareness is the knowledge that something exists within you and around you.

Your leadership presence carries weight wherever you go.

But are you knowledgable of what is inside of you and of how what is inside of you affects all who are around you? This applied knowledge is self-awareness.

Leaders who are rightly self-aware can expect three valuable results.

1. To Do No Harm.  Self-aware leaders are cognizant of their dark side. Every leader has selfish tendencies. Every leader has the potential to hurt, manipulate, and deceive those they lead. Every leader has elements of insecurity that might show up in the form of blaming, domination, or control. Even leaders who get results sometimes do so at the expense of those they lead. Often, leaders like this cause great destruction and do so blindly. But self-aware leaders have the potential to keep these tendencies in check and tell a different leadership story.

2. To Make Their Best Contribution.  Self-aware leaders know who they are and who they are not. They know their talents, gifts, and abilities. They work hard to see these talents become true strengths that will benefit others. They are also keenly aware of the things they don’t possess. They understand where they need to lean on others. There is no such thing as an omni-competent leader. And by being knowledgable in this way they are able to make their best and most significant contribution. They can focus their leadership towards greatest impact and service.

3. To Rejoice In The Contribution Of Others.  Self-aware leaders understand their limitations in such a profound way that they can value what others bring to the table. They understand that there is no sustainable impact apart from the contribution of others. Leadership by definition is a team sport. One person alone rarely makes a mark. But complimentary pieces, valued equally, and led well, can lead to a greatly leveraged accomplishment. The leader who can see their own worth and the worthy contribution of others will rejoice in what they can do together.

How does one become self-aware? There are two crucial attitudes and one important quest. The attitudes lay the foundation for action. First is an attitude of humility. Second is an attitude of teachability. The humble leader is able to acknowledge that they do not know it all. They don’t think less of themselves, they simply think about themselves less. The teachable leader is able to receive honest feedback. The teachable leader seeks out honest feedback. The humble and teachable leader has a growing ability to see themselves accurately and can live in that knowledge to the service of others. The quest is one of looking backwards to see where your journey to this point has added or subtracted from the leader you are today. We all have various aspects of family, life experiences, loss, and wounds that play into how we lead. We have those who believed in us and those who shamed us. Our leadership life map is an important aid in becoming more self-aware.

True self-awareness requires an inner strength of character, a change of heart. Are you becoming increasingly self-aware? Are you experiencing the results listed above?

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5 for Leadership (1/31/15)

medium_12334085603Here is a fresh 5 for Leadership for the final day in January. The topics include approachable leadership, passive leaders, active leaders, personal leadership vision, best jobs for your personality, and the prayerful leader. Take a few minutes and refresh your leadership.

The Best Jobs for All 16 Myers-Briggs Personality Type in One Infographic  “I’ve always been fascinated by the intersection of personality and career. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test is a widely known tool used in the business arena for helping you find the “right” career.” See what else Paul Sohn has to say.

How To Turn Passive Followers Into Active Leaders  “You aren’t worthy of leadership if fear of giving control controls you. Successful leaders move away from ‘permission mode.’” Dan Rockwell does a great job distinguishing between permission and intention when you lead.

10 Ways To Become An Approachable Leader  “We’ve all been subject to the leader who wasn’t approachable. And that made our jobs miserable. That’s why we’ve got to be aware of what makes a leader approachable. We’ve also got to implement the actions of approachable leaders.” Joseph Lalonde provides some sound wisdom and actionable steps for becoming more approachable.

Guidelines To Create A Compelling Vision  “A compelling vision helps you make choices about where to focus your energy. Without vision, you are in danger of trying to be all things to all people, scattered or adrift.”

Vision is knowing who you are, where you’re going, and what will guide the journey.

“Who you are is your purpose. Where you’re going is your picture of the future. What will guide your journey are your values.” Jesse Lyn Stoner always writes compelling material to grow your leadership.

8 Lessons From The School Of Prayer  Spiritual leaders should also being praying leaders. D. A. Carson speaks poignantly to this necessary dialogue. “Throughout my spiritual pilgrimage, two sources have largely shaped, and continue to shape, my own prayer life: the Scriptures and more mature Christians. The less authoritative of these two has been the advice, wisdom, and example of senior saints. I confess I am not a very good student in the school of prayer. Still, devoting [space] to their advice and values may be worthwhile before I turn to the more important and more authoritative of the two sources that have taught me to pray.”

There are the 5 for this week. Pass it on.