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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.

5 for Leadership-February 27th

5-for-Leadership

Anna Levinzon on Flickr

5 for Leadership is a collection of leadership posts from this past week. The topics this week cover the power of delegation, the necessity of listening leadership, the critical trait of self-awareness, a brief biography on Jackie Robinson, and a key infographic on readiness to lead. Take a look at one or more.

Infographic: Most New Managers Are Not Ready To Lead

“A new infographic from The Ken Blanchard Companies looks at the challenges individual contributors face when they step into their first leadership assignments.”

Five Things That Go Up When Leaders Listen

“Ears expand influence. Leaders spend too much time thinking about talking and too little working on listening.” From Dan Rockwell.

The Power of Self-Awareness

This is a very insightful podcast from GiANT Worldwide that touches on these three topics of self-awareness: Know Yourself to Lead Yourself, The Boomerang Effect, and Inhibition vs Prohibition.

Jackie Robinson: The Fearless and Determined Hero

I love biographies and learning the inside story of those who have had an outsized influence. Any leader can learn from the life story of another. This is a nice summary of a legendary life–by Jackson Krase.

5 Step Delegation Process for Leadership Success

“Delegation is a key skill every leader must master in order to be fully effective. From my observations it’s a skill that takes years to develop beyond being a simple means of shifting tasks from oneself to another. I’d offer that truly effective delegation – the kind that results in growth in employees and achievement of organizational goals – is an art.” From the General Leadership blog.

Top 10 Posts for 2014

medium_96228072Here are the 10 posts that you made the most popular during 2014. Thank you for helping to make this past year such a success for me and The Leadership Crossing blog. Lead purposefully and effectively into 2015.

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?”

Winston Churchill on Leadership  “Winston Churchill was certainly one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century. But it was not without trial nor failure. His leadership character was forged in the crucible of suffering and fatigue.”

3 Types of Leadership Decisions  “This is the 2nd post on the topic of leadership decisions. In the first one I discussed the nature of leadership decisions and offered some diagnostic questions to help you in thinking through every leadership decision you make. In this post we will look at three types of leadership decisions.”

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.”

4 Critical Questions for Strategic Planning  ““Strategic planning” has become buzz terminology in the past ten plus years. There are several varieties of strategic planning approaches. All are designed to help teams and organizations focus on the most critical aspects of reaching a desirable future.”

Monty’s List of 7 Necessary Leadership Qualities  “Taken from his Memoirs, here is a list of what Monty believed to be seven necessary qualities for a military leader. I would suggest they would stand well for any leader, and certainly spiritual leaders who realize they are ultimately in a spiritual battle.”

A Leader’s Prayer-Judges 5  “The period of the Judges in the Bible was a tumultuous one. During this time, Israel as a nation entered into cycles of sin that constantly required a deliverer  in the form of a judge.”

Courage and the Next Leader  “In this case Joshua is succeeding an icon in the man Moses. Yet it was Joshua’s task to take this million plus people  across the Jordan River and into Canaan. Four times in eighteen verses Joshua is exhorted to be courageous. You would need a healthy dose of courage too if you were leading over a million people into a hostile land.”

Finishing Well  “Recently, I was part of an energizing time of leader development with all of the staff of our church here in Austin. While I was upfront making a brief presentation on the framework that we would be using for development, a critical question was asked by one of the participants. I had made the comment that I think it is difficult to finish well as a spiritual leader. The question was asked, “How does one finish well?”’

The Principle of Focus  The key to complexity is not simplicity, but focus. “I have often made that statement about leadership and stand by it.  I usually preface that statement with the idea that if you are not dealing with some level of complexity then you are not really leading anything of significance.”

5 for Leadership (6/14/14)

small_101655312Here is new 5 for this week in June. We have posts on helping your team focus, healthy delegation, effective leadership, leadership reading–and a post focused on Farther’s Day. Enjoy!

7 Daily Rituals of Highly Effective Leaders  “You can learn everything you need to learn in order to achieve anything, but you can never change your leadership until you change your rituals.” See what Lolly Daskal has to say regarding these important suggested rituals. 

The Top 20 Leadership Books for a New Manager   Eric Jacobson provides us with a great list of books for any leader, new or seasoned.

5 Necessary Ingredients for Healthy Delegation  My most popular post since the inception of my blog has been on the topic of delegation. This is a critical topic for getting work done and for raising up more leaders. Ron Edmondson adds to the conversation with this insightful post.

Helping Your Team Prioritize When Everything Is important  “Prioritizing and balancing competing priorities are essential elements of the leadership dance. Knowing what to move to the top of the list when, and how to keep the other plates spinning at the same time takes practice. Help your team recognize the common traps that are sabotaging their ability to prioritize well.” Karin Hurt gives us some creative categories for team members and how to help them.

When Father’s Day Hurts  This final post is not so much about leadership directly–or is it? Heather Nelson takes on a personal journey in dealing with this all important influence in all of our lives. Fathers matter and they shape our influence. Since the day we celebrate our dads is this Sunday, it seemed appropriate to offer this well written post.

There are the 5 for this week. Lead well–and if you are a dad, celebrate well!

Top Posts for March

imagesHere are the five most popular posts from my blog for the month of March. Thanks for reading and contributing. My hope is that you become a stronger leader in the process.

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?” This is the most popular post in the history of my blog.

Four Critical Questions for Strategic Planning  “My aim to help everyone engage is to keep the process simple. To do this I think there are four main questions that every strategic planning process must answer.” Maybe this will be of help the next time you need to lead a team through the planning process.

Close: Leading Well Across Distance and Cultures  This is a book review of Ken Cochrum’s new book. He addresses the growing reality that all leaders face, and he does so in an insightful and practical way. This is a great book for any leader. Take a look at the review and learn more about Close.

Innovation & Faith  “A leader is not always recognized for his or her innovation immediately. Somethings are more important than recognition.” Here is a six and half minute video that will give you some fresh perspective.

Ken Blanchard on Collaboration  “I have admired Ken Blanchard for many years. I have never had the privilege of actually meeting him, but I have at least come to know much of his thoughts on leadership through his wonderful writing. Here is a 16 minute video that was a TEDx presentation in San Diego in 2012. The topic is collaboration.”

The Benefits of Delegation & Empowerment

Moses-Jethro-delegation-empowerment

Exodus 18 is a well known passage about delegation. Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, observes that there is a great inefficiency in how the people are receiving justice. Moses is acting as the lone judge, with every daily dispute being brought before him from morning until evening. No matter how big or how small, the cases came to Moses alone. Moses alone was the keeper of the Law and he alone settled every dispute. In verse 17 Jethro declares, “What you are doing is not good.” Jethro has enough foresight to see that both Moses and the people will become exhausted by this judicial process. Jethro has some prescriptions to set things right.

First, Jethro encourages Moses to educate the whole of Israel as a people concerning the Law of God. 

Second, Jethro tells Moses to find able men. These are to be men who truly fear God, who are trustworthy, and who hate a bribe. 

Third, Jethro exhorts Moses to take such men and place them as chiefs over groups of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. The title “chief” can carry a broad range of leadership meanings. But all of these titles require delegated authority and power. These men are to judge those allotted to them on any small matter at any time. Only the large matters will come to Moses. The expression of their delegated power is that they are able to vindicate or punish those who have been brought before them.

In verses 22 and 23 Jethro lays out two clear benefits in light of this form of delegation and empowerment. These benefits are worthy of our attention as well. When we educate, delegate, and empower others we will experience the same benefits.

1. The “For” and “With” Principle

Jethro states the first benefit this way, “So it will be easier for you. And they will bear the burden with you.” When leaders delegate clear responsibilities to others and empower them in decision making, their load becomes lighter because others are getting under the rock with them. 

2. The Peace and Prosperity Principle

Jethro goes on to say, “If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.” The follow through on this advice promises God’s direction, most likely because Moses will no longer be so distracted and in a better position to hear from God. The follow through also promises endurance for Moses and peace for the all of the people. What leader does not need staying power? Part of the answer is in shared leadership. The ultimate benefit is the shalom of the people, which not only means the cessation of anxiety, but the prevalence of prosperity.

Everyone is blessed when a leader wisely delegates and empowers others. And every now and then a father in law may have some really wise advice.

(photo credit)

Top Posts for February

imagesHere are the top five posts from my blog for the month of February. I hope you will enjoy them again.

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?” This is always a favorite.

Lincoln on Leadership  “Richard Brookhiser wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal entitled What Would Lincoln Do? In his article, Brookhiser highlights five leadership lessons that he believes the 16th President exhibited that are worthy of reflection. Take a look and see what you think.”

The Distracted Leader  As a leader, how do you deal with anxiety and spiritual attack? I believe that 1Peter 5 reveals these two elements as primary enemies for any good leader.

The Strange Path of Leadership  “I am in my latter 50′s and I wonder what the rest of my leadership life holds. My strong desire is to finish well. I want to remain a learner to the end. I long to be viable, usable, and effective till the last day. Yet, the path of leadership in this phase of life will be different than when I was in my 20′s.” The path of Joseph toward leadership in the Bible was not linear. Is yours?

The Dangers of Isolation  “In the winter issue of Leadership Journal there is a fascinating article entitled The Friendless Pastor. Mark Brouwer, pastor at Jacob’s Well Church Community in Evergreen Park, Illinois, does a great job of bringing clarity to a common problem among all spiritual leaders.”

Top Posts for January

imagesHere are the five most popular posts from my blog for this past month. Take a 1st look, or a 2nd! Thanks for visiting and entering into the conversation.

Delegation vs Empowerment  Month in and month out this is my most popular post. It was true again in January.

Leadership Titles You Never Want To Hear  This post looks at four leadership titles that are floating around the media that you would never want attributed to you. But if you are not careful someone just might.

Leadership Development-How Is It Done?  This is actually a 2010 post that was recently revised. It was well read this past month and shows the importance of this critical topic.

Virtuous Leadership  This post looks at three crucial aspects of leadership according to 1 Peter 5 in the Bible. Values are not enough, we must also know why we lead.

Leading New  Most leaders arrive at a new role or location and are eager to make a difference. In this post I give you four important first year priorities that will slow you down and help you lay a good foundation.

There are the 5 most read posts for this past month. I hope you are off to a great start to your 2014. Lead well!

Top 10 for 2013

small_2482826832013 has been a good year. It has been a year of learning and growth. This season of life has been a challenge to adapt to some new styles of leadership. I am grateful for all those who have walked beside me in this season and have shown patience. I am hopeful for 2014 and the opportunity to keep growing as a leader. I trust you are motivated to keep learning too.

Here are my ten most popular posts from 2013. Thanks so much for your contributions to this blog and adding so well to the leadership conversation.

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?”

3 Types of Leadership Decisions  “Sometimes leaders look at decision making like a game of rock, paper, scissors. We use the same approach in every situation and we leave it up to chance. But there is a way to think through the type of decision that should be made for the best possible result.”

Howard Hendricks on Leadership  We lost a great Christian statesman this past year. Here are just a few of his thoughts on the art and science of leadership.

21st Century Leadership: 7 Questions for Evaluation  “Here are seven sets of questions to help you in determining if you are adapting to 21st century leadership.”

Creating a Leadership Culture on Purpose  “I often hear organizational leaders talk about the need “to create a leadership culture.” That statement always strikes me as a curious one. Every organization has a leadership culture. The question is not whether you have one, it is what type of leadership culture do you have?”

Keeping a Leadership Journal  “Whenever I can, I encourage leaders to maintain a leadership journal.  While I lived and led in Italy, I served as director of leadership development for our organization. One of my first budgetary actions was to buy a leather journal for every leader within our organization. I exhorted them to keep it near them so that they could record leadership gems whenever they came upon them.”

9 Questions to Help You in Leading Yourself  “We have to pay attention to ourselves to be better leaders. This exercise is only meant to get you started-but don’t wait, begin!”

3 Marks of Leadership of Maturity  “What does mature leadership look like? How is it experienced? What are it’s marks? There are three aspects which demonstrate a move from immature to mature leadership.”

Self Evaluation in Leadership  “Self leadership is a critical component for all leaders. True leadership greatness in the Kingdom of God is a journey towards humility. This requires some key disciplines to know how we are doing on the journey and where we can make progress.”

Practical Tips on Delegation & Empowerment  “Quality empowerment results in the making of a leader. See my prior post for some of the particulars in discerning between the these two leadership functions. For this post I want to focus on practical ideas in actually delegating to or empowering someone.”

Here’s to a blessed and profitable 2014. Lead well.

(photo credit)

5 for Leadership (12/7/13)

images-2Here is a fresh 5! This week we lost a great leader in Nelson Mandela. He was not perfect, but he helped to change the world. We have two posts about Mandela, a post on delegation, one on leading difficult people, and a profound post from a 14 year old. Take a look!

The Top 10 Nelson Mandela Quotes of All Time  “Today, on December 5th, Nelson Mandela, the peaceful liberator, died at 95 of a lung infection connected to the tuberculosis he contracted while serving 27 years as a political prisoner. He has became the most prized national figure, anti-apartheid icon world-wide. To celebrate his extraordinary life, here is a pinnable collection of some of his most uplifting, profound words.” This post is from Paul Sohn, who is new to me. Check out other parts of his blog-well worth the time.

Nelson Mandela Dies Today at 95  Don’t let this title fool you. It is not a news post. This comes from LeadingBlog and is strong post about 8 leadership lessons from the life of Nelson Mandela. This is worth a look.

What Tasks Should You Delegate First?  “To be an effective leader, you have to become good at delegating. The problem is that what made you successful doesn’t usually scale.” This is an important post for all leaders as it gives focus to helping a leader do what he or she does best.

7 of the Hardest People to Lead  “Someone asked me recently, ‘Who has been the most difficult person you’ve had to lead?’ That’s a great question. As a leader for over a quarter of a century (wow, that sounds old), I’ve experienced just about everything you can imagine in leading people.” This is from Ron Edmondson–and it will resonate with you.

A Teenager’s 4 Lessons On How We Can Face Any Challenge  “Life, as we know it, is full of challenges. Finding the right job, making enough money to pay the bills, building and maintaining relationships, and accomplishing our goals is not always easy, and yet they make our lives feel successful and happy.” This post is special-it comes from Tanveer Naseer’s 14 year old daughter.

Bonus Post: Here is Pentatonix, an A Capella group, singing Little Drummer Boy–for the season!

There are the 5 for this week!