The Top Posts of 2016!

I trust you have had a good and profitable 2016. Here are the top 5 posts from my blog for this past year. Thank you for helping to make this blog a success. I hope your leadership was strengthened this past year–and may you excel still more in 2017!

Delegation vs Empowerment

To delegate means to choose or elect a person to act as a representative for another. To empower someone means to give power or authority to someone else. Do you hear the difference?

A Leader’s Prayer-Psalm 25

King David penned Psalm 25.  We are not sure when he wrote this psalm.  Therefore, we are uncertain about the circumstances of Psalm 25.  David speaks of his enemies in verse 2 and verse 19.  But David had many enemies and they were a consistent part of his life and leadership.  What most intrigues me about this psalm or this prayer from David lies in verses 4 and 5.  David the leader asks to be led.

Two Types of Courage

Merriam-Webster defines courage as the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous. Real leadership deals in the currency of courage on a daily basis. Yet there are different kinds of courage. Some forms are more valuable than others.

3 Marks of Leadership Maturity

One aspect of leadership I have been pondering is how Christ-centered leadership matures. As I have looked back over my own leadership life it is clear that there have been seasons marked by immature leadership–leadership that was more focused on self than on Christ and others.

The Principle of Focus

There are many things to which you can give your leadership energy.  The tendency is to fall prey to the urgent, which as Mr. Covey reminds us does not always include the most important priorities.

The Leader’s Pitfalls: What Disqualifies Leaders? (Part 2)

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Henry and Rochard Blackaby have been outstanding spokesmen for leadership and the Chrisitan faith for many years. Many have benefitted from Henry’s work on Experiencing God. That was a foundational workbook for my wife and I when we were “young” seminarians.

I have had the privilege of meeting and working with Richard Blackaby while I served with Cru in Western Europe. He addressed one of our emerging leader forums for Western European leaders during an intensive in Latvia. He is a humble servant leader who taught our participants well.

Several years ago they combined their efforts to write Spiritual Leadership, a landmark work for God’s servants. They revised and expanded this volume in 2011–and it is as relevant today as ever.

One chapter that a friend and colleague brought to my attention again was a chapter on “The Leader’s Pitfalls.”

I reviewed the first 5 pitfalls in a previous post. Here are the second 5 for your consideration. Pay careful attention to the application.

The Pitfall of Oversensitivity

“People who cannot handle criticism need not apply for leadership positions.  Being criticized, second-guessed, and having one’s motives questioned are unpleasant but inevitable aspects of leadership.”

“True leaders are more interested in doing the right thing than they are in their popularity.”

“True spiritual leaders fear God far more than they fear people.”

The Pitfall of Spiritual Lethargy

“Spiritual leaders are not haphazard people. They are intentional. Just as they plan thoroughly for important meetings in their work, they also plan carefully to allow substantial time for listening to their Creator.”

The Pitfall of Dometic Neglect

“Wise leaders strive to preserve their families in the midst of the pressures on their professional lives.”

“Conscientious leaders take their God-given responsibilities for their families seriously.”

“God is the family’s greatest advocate –leaders who seek God’s help will readily receive it.”

The Pitfall of Administrative Carelessness

“Ultimately it is the leader’s task to ensure that the organization is healthy.”

“Leaders must become adept in two areas, or their organizations will collapse within: conflict resolution and communication.”

“effective leaders are known for their aggressive problem solving.”

“Leaders need to develop the reputation for dealing with important issues promptly and thoroughly.”

The Pitfall of Prolonged Position Holding

“Wise leaders know when the time has come to exit graciously and allow a new leader to step in.”

“Leaders with integrity recognize when they have made their most worthwhile contributions. They graciously hand over the reigns of leadership to the next generation.”

“Older leaders tend to have difficulty giving their blessing to the emerging generation of leaders.”

Application

First, developing a healthy awareness of the pitfalls is the first step to avoiding them.

Second, putting safeguards in place will provide protection in times of indecision or temptation.

Third, leaders should have before them the continual reminder that:

  • their organization is more about people than it is productivity
  • they are not indispensable
  • the most effective, efficient thing they can do for their organization is to maintain a close, vibrant relationship with God

 

Create & Redeem: Two Purposes for Every Leader

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Uzi Yachin on Flickr

There are many themes when it comes to the biblical storyline. Two themes stand out in my estimation: creation and redemption.

Genesis 1:1 reads, In the beginning, God created . . . 

Revelation 10:6 states, (he) who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it . . . 

Exodus 6:6 reads, Say therefore to the people of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment.

Hebrews 9:12 declares, he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.

From the beginning of the Bible to the end of the Bible there is the  witness of creation and redemption.

God’s leaders are able to emulate God himself according to these themes. We stand as co-creators with God and we are able to act in redemptive ways when it comes to lost causes and people in need of deliverance.

Noah built an ark. This stands as both a creative act and ultimately a redemptive act. Noah’s creative leadership preserved a family on the face of the earth.

Abraham built an altar to sacrifice his son. He did so at the command of God. Yet, this too was a creative act and a redemptive act. Abraham was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, but God provided an alternative sacrifice that Isaac might become the child of promise.

David and his son Solomon built the temple. This too was both a creative act and a redemptive act. The temple served as the resting place for the very presence of God. The temple marked the people of Israel as God’s chosen people.

Nehemiah empowered many of his countrymen to construct a wall for the protection of Jerusalem. This was in concert with a rebuilt temple and a rebuilt people. A wall meant protection. A wall defined a city in the ancient Near East. This was a creative act and a redemptive act.

The Romans created the cross as a form of execution for known criminals. Unknowingly, it became a redemptive act as our Savior hung upon it for the sins of the world.

I think it is fair to say that all creative acts should have a redemptive purpose. That is the essence of servant leadership. Leaders should never create unto themselves. They should create in response to problems, deficiencies, injustices, and wrongs. Leaders are at their best when they are acting as problem solvers. The necessity of leadership implies the necessity for change. Leaders look out and discern what is broken and what requires correction. Then they create solutions–redemptive solutions that provide deliverance, that set people free.

Consider–what if every leader awoke tomorrow and pondered what needs fixing. What problem solved, if truly solved, would liberate people to take the next step towards being all that they were meant to be? What redemptive leadership step would allow more people to move towards their intended created purpose?

Try it on. Ask yourself,

How can my leadership actions towards creating redemptive solutions serve the world tomorrow?

How can I act with God as a co-creator to bring deliverance?

How can I right a wrong?

How can I bring greater flourishing?

How can I serve others in such a way that they move closer to their created purpose? 

This is leadership with purpose.

What will your leadership create and redeem?

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Nes Celeste on Flickr

Passion and Compassion

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knitsteel on Flickr

Passion is defined as a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something.

Compassion is defined as a feeling of wanting to help someone. It is a conscious sense of another’s distress and a desire to alleviate it. 

A leader can be a person who possesses either one of these traits. A leader can demonstrate influence through either one of these traits. But may I suggest that a true servant leader must possess compassion.

Leaders can be excited and enthused over many causes and from a variety of motives. A leader can be enthusiastic about the next hill to climb or objective to be reached. A leader can also be motivated by the excitement of a new title or position. A leader can become enthused by the very nature of power. Therefore, passion requires a strong governing center.

Compassion is other-centered. Its focus is on the wellbeing of another. True compassion has little chance of being about the leader.

Passion only requires an outside stimulus. Something that taps into what already lies within–positively or negatively. 

Compassion requires focused observation. Compassion requires deep listening. Compassion by definition is aware of need in someone else.

It is stated in the Bible that there were seven instances in which Jesus felt compassion. Certainly these were not the only occasions where Jesus felt this sensation. But these are the ones recorded for us to study and understand. The compassion of Jesus was a feeling always expressed towards the crowd or an individual. The action of alleviation was varied. In one instance Jesus fed the crowd. In another, he requested prayer for the crowd. On another occasion, Jesus healed the sick that were part of a gathered crowd. Once, the corresponding action Jesus took was to teach the crowd. On one incredible occasion, Jesus raises the dead son of a grieving widow, because he felt compassion for her.

Twice, Jesus tells a story of compassion to make a teaching point for his hearers. Both stories are quite familiar to us. One is the story of the Good Samaritan. The other is the account of the Prodigal Son. One story teaches us that our compassion should lead us to meet the needs of anyone who comes across our path, the one in need. The other teaches us about the gracious and lavish love of a father–literally God, our Father.

The common Greek word for “passion” in our Bibles is almost always negative in its connotation. The Apostle Paul in Colossians 3:5 tells us to “put to death that which is earthly in you . . . (including our) passion.”

Our life in Christ is the governing center that allows our compassion to well up and be expressed in the most generous way. Compassionate leadership serves because He served.

Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.     Henri Nouwen

We live in a passion saturated world.

Not every passion is bad.

But we could certainly use more compassionate leaders today!

5 for Leadership-January 30th

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Joanna Poe on Flickr

5 for Leadership is a weekly offering of five quality posts from this past week on the topic of leadership. This week there are posts on leader accountability, life purpose and work, and interview with the grandson of Nate Saint, a perspective on introverts, and the most important question a leader can ask.

Always, Always Entangle Purpose with Life Work

“Have you ever picked up a book because of a few quick social clips you see? I have, and the latest one resonated within the prairies of my mind. When Breath Becomes Air is the story of a neurosurgeon who often thought about what career would deliver the most meaning with his life. Although he became a physician, he wasn’t certain. Being a writer was also calling him, as he felt the impact of literature on his life. As his story unfolds, it is disrupted by lung cancer. Now, the physician becomes the patient, and the person struggles with the question of what to do with his remaining time.” John Mertz brings a very interesting perspective on life and work–take a look.

Quit Focusing on Accountability and Follow These 5 Steps Instead

“I don’t like the word accountability. It’s always rubbed me the wrong way for some reason. I think it’s because it assumes the worst about people. When we talk about accountability, it always seems the assumption is a person is incapable of, or unlikely to, follow through on his/her commitments. So we spend a lot of time and energy creating systems, processes, or consequences to make the sure the person is held accountable.” Randy Conley offers these 5 principles to counter the accountability trap.

The Legacy of Nate Saint

I love reading biographical posts of great leaders. Nate Saint qualifies. Here is an interview with the grandson of Nate Saint–you won’t be disappointed.

4 Lies About Introverts

“I’m an introvert. Most people who don’t know me well wouldn’t guess this about me, but it’s true. On a practical level, being an introvert means I’m generally more energized by time alone than by time with people, and I have a preference for a less externally stimulating environment. I feel very alive in a quiet, empty room.” Aime Patrick writes a sensitive and very informative post . . . be sure and read the final point on leadership.

The Most Powerful Question a Leader Can Ask

“Yesterday, my 8-year-old son, Nolan, asked me a question about World War II. As I was explaining certain battles and what happened, he cut me off. “Dad, I know what happened, I want to know WHY they did it.” He had many questions and all of them dealt with why generals and leaders made the choice they did. That opened up a discussion about how to make hard choices and what he would do if he faced a hard decision.” This is a great guest post by Chris Turnley on Bob Tiede’s blog.

There are the 5 for this week as we close out the month of January.

 

 

5 for Leadership-January 23rd

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Matty Ring on Flickr

This week in 5 for Leadership we have posts covering a leader’s need for support that leads to courage, counting the cost of leadership, living for your resume or your eulogy, leadership promises for the rest of the year, and one woman leader in history you need to get to know. Take a few minutes and be inspired.

Why You Must Count The Cost of Leadership or Risk The Well-Being of Others!

“Do all of us count the cost when we accept the mantle of leadership? I mean do we really count the cost when weighed against the conflict, misunderstandings and ultimately the potential persecution from those we have a charge to “lead-well” while in our care. I believe many of us do not and move into a place of leadership ill-prepared and armed only with information from Universities, books, certifications and maybe even an internship or two.” Jason Carthen hits at the essence of leadership in this post and why counting the cost matters.

The Power of Asking for Support: Courage is Contagious

“Good leaders know that in order to spark and sustain change, support is a must have. Yet our society ironically holds “doing it on our own” in high esteem, even when it comes to leading and managing. We revere the strength it conveys to accomplish things alone, despite the often miserable journey. Why?” This is a guest post by Mala Grewal on Bob Tiede’s blog. While you are on Bob’s site . . . check some of his other posts. You will not be disappointed.

Should You Live For Your Resume . . . or Your Eulogy

This brief message from David Brooks reminds us that depth of character is more important than accomplishments.

52 Leadership Promises for Every Week of the Year

“A new year means a new beginning, and here’s a promise a week for 2016. Following them through will end up changing your leadership and your life.” Lolly Daskal provides us with a commitment roadmap.

A Women’s Ministry Pioneer You Need To Know

“There’s been a huge surge of interest in women discipling women in recent years. Books, conferences, blogs, and podcasts urge us to pray, study, organize, read, and counsel one another. For some, this seems like a new development. After all, wasn’t women’s ministry in the past just jam-making and missionary teas? Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. Aside from the many godly women who discipled younger women, there were those who trained and organized them, transforming whole areas by God’s grace. Ellen Ranyard was one of them.” You will enjoy and be inspired from this brief biography . . . from the Gospel Coalition web site.

There are the 5 for this week. Stay warm.

 

5 for Leadership-January 16th

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Maëlick on Flickr

This week we take a closer look at spiritual leadership for both men and women. There are topics related to the all important task of leading teams, dealing with fear, worrisome leadership profiles, and leadership discouragement. And you will be introduced to some new leadership blogs . . . take a strong look.

7 Questions That Measure Team Culture

“Do you know whether or not your team culture is healthy? Many churches don’t, and this eventually always comes at a great price. It’s pretty common for organizations to make plans for a new year without first gaining clarity and insight about the team that will actually be executing the vision. Churches can’t reach their full potential until they can positively answer the following questions . . .” See what else Jason Vernon has to say on the Tony Morgan Live web site.

5 Ways To Build Diverse, Inclusive Leadership Teams

“There is an increasing body of evidence that diverse teams of varying racial and ethnic makeup produce better results. They perform better financially, gain a competitive edge when recruiting top talent, experience less employee turnover, and offer greater benefits for those they serve. This is true in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, but is particularly important for nonprofits that serve communities of color, which is overwhelmingly the case in the education sector.” Molly Brennan gives us five practical ways to build diverse teams . . . and why it matters.

Stepping Out Of Your Fear Into Calling

“The non-denominational church I started wasn’t even a year old when a successful church-planter declared: ‘Your church will never make it!’ ‘Why do you say that?’ I asked, feeling instantly wounded.’Because you’re way too insecure!’ He thoughtlessly replied. Ouch. All these years later, I still feel the sting from his words.” Linda Wurzbacher describes a critical element of leadership through the lens of her own experience.

8 Questions Discouraged Leaders Need To Ask

“As leaders, we all face times when things are not going as well as we would like.  In those seasons, it’s important to remember that before we can ever re-energize the church we lead, we have to first be energized ourselves. ” Brandon Conner addresses this common leadership malaise head on.

15 Leaders Who Worry Me

“None of us is a perfect leader. I’m certainly not. For that reason, I’m always hesitant to critique leaders. Nevertheless, leadership is so important that I want to list fifteen types of leaders who worry me.” Chuck Lawless hits 15 leadership profiles to be aware of . . . may none of them be you.

There are the 5 for this week. Take some time to read more than one.

 

5 for Leadership-January 9th

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Sarah Joy on Flickr

Here is a fresh 5 for Leadership. The new year is still young and this is a great season to set some personal leadership development goals. Some of these topics may be just the thing to jump-start 2016.

God’s Cleaning His House . . . The Church

“God is cleaning house in the American Church. Through current events dealing with ethnicity, race, and systemic oppression, He is exposing our dirty laundry (the systemic segregation in our churches, interpersonal networks, and theological formation) because He loves us.” This comes from D.A. Horton . . . and is worth the read. He also includes a great reading list as a resource.

16 Keys To Creating The Year You Want

The title speaks for itself. See what Dan Rockwell shares about getting your year off to the right start.

How To Tell Who You Can Truly Trust in Leadership

“So who can you trust… mean truly trust in leadership? You’ve trusted people you thought you could trust, only to be disappointed or get burned (sometimes badly). You’ve decided not to trust someone, only to realize you were wrong and he or she was completely trustworthy, and you missed a great opportunity to grow your team. Trusting people in leadership can be a disheartening and confusing proposition.” Take a look at Carey Nieuwhof’s three principles for trusting leaders.

Best of Leadership Network Today-January

“Here’s a collection of interesting, thought-provoking articles from around the web from recent weeks.” There are a wealth of resources in this post . . . as Leadership Network always does.

The 25 Essential Books for Every Entrepreneur’s Library

“No matter what stage you’re at in the entrepreneur journey, whether you just launched your first startup or have started several successful businesses, you can always use the advice of people who have “been there, done that.’’ What better way to get advice than from the pages of a book?”

There are the 5 for this week. I hope your 2016 is off to a great leadership start.

5 for Leadership-January 2nd

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Alan Cleaver-Time Flies-on Flickr

Here is the first 5 for Leadership of 2016! I always appreciate this time of the year to reflect and evaluate . . . and make changes. I hope these recent posts aid you in your preparatin time for leading in 2016.

The Power of Vision, Part 5

“As you look out the future, what is the picture of a preferred future both for you and your organization?” Justin Irving provides some very practical principles and steps to help insure you stay on track in 2016.

3 Box Thinking–Structuring Your Church for Innovation

“As you enter 2016 it is helpful to put everything you do in your church into one of three boxes.” This is a great post from Eric Swanson . . . and will help you immensely in getting off to a great start in 2016 . . . whether you are part of a church staff or not.

How Not To Make New Year’s Resolutions

About 150 million Americans make New Year’s resolutions every year. That’s a lot of disappointed people. A quarter of those people will abandon their resolutions in just a week. Fewer than half will still be on track by summer. Ultimately, only 8 percent will be successful.” See what Michael Hyatt has to say to help you not be part of the 92%.

Personal Disruption–The Force That Will Shape 2016

“Disruption has the power to transform organizations, communities, and well, the world — but it doesn’t start on that macro level. It starts with individuals. Companies and organizations can’t disrupt, if their people don’t.” Whitney Johnson does a great job at disclosing the truth of this concept and helping us understand its benefits.

20 Encouraging Bible Verses For Young Leaders

Leading is never an easy proposition. Add being young to leadership and you can easily feel overwhelmed. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, I know I can turn to the word of God for a bit of encouragement. The good book is full of encouragement for young leaders (and people in general). If you’re not a believer, I strongly believe you can still find the words of the Bible encouraging. Let’s take a look at the 20 verses I believe can encourage young leaders.” Joseph Lalonde points to some thought provoking and practical parts of the Bible that will benefit any leader.

There are the 5 for this week–are you ready for 2016?

5 for Leadership-December 26th

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Lali Masriera on Flcikr

For the week between the holidays, here is a fresh 5 for Leadership. This week there are posts on leadership basics, leadership habits, best leadership reads from 2015, and making the best leadership decisions. There is also one great video presentation on colorblindness and culture consciousness. This is a good week to consider your leadership life . . . some of these links may help.

7 Basic Things Every Great Leader Should Know

“In a recent survey, only 3 percent said they have confidence in corporate executives. The news was equally dismal for others: 3 percent reported having confidence in government officials, 5 percent in reporters and journalists, 8 percent in small business owners, and only 11 percent in ministers and clergy.” I included Lolly Daskal again this week–take a look at these leadership principles as you start a new year

Develop This One Habit in 2016 and You’ll Be The Most Popular Person in the Room

“Decades ago, when a friend of mine and I were both young and ill-educated about the ways of the world, he said, ‘Betty, this is why guys and girls are so different. When guys have a problem, they want to hear solutions. When girls have a problem, all they want to do is have you listen to them on and on and they don’t want to hear solutions.’ He was both right and wrong. Wrong in his overall gender assumptions, but right in one very critical way.” Find out what it is . . . from Betty Liu on Linkedin Pulse.

The 15 Best Business Books I Read in 2015

“I’m pleased to share the fifteen books that I enjoyed the most in 2015 – they made an impression on me, and I think they’re worth reading (or listening as I usually do).” See what Chris Fralic recommends–and grab a few for your personal reading list in the new year.

Adam Edgerly: From Colorblind to Culture Conscious

Adam is a pastor and leadership consultant. We at Cru City have been engaging with Adam for over a year now and he has proven to be invaluable in helping us embrace change. If you have the time, this is an excellent video presentation by Adam at Biola Univeristy on this critical topic.

How To Make Confident Decisions And Stand By Them

“I’ve spent countless nights wide awake, mulling over a leadership decision. Did I do the right thing? Was the choice I made best for the ministry and everyone involved? Even when I feel confident making a decision, I often second-guess myself later.” Kristine Brown uses the narrative of 2 Samuel 6 in the Bible to provide us with some solid principles on decision making . . . found in Leadership Journal.

There are the 5 for this last week in 2015. Take some quality time this week to reflect on your leadership as you prepare for 2016.