5 for Leadership (3/9/12)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LQW: What are the causes, dangers, and implications of fear based leadership?

A few weeks ago I posted a Leadership Question of the Week on courage.  Now I want to discuss the other side.  As I mentioned in that pose, I often see leaders lead in fear.  I see it in contemporary life.  I see it in the Scriptures and I see it in me at times.  So the question has been put in the title:  What are the causes, dangers, and implications of fear based leadership?  I would love to hear from you in the comments section below.

5 for Leadership (1/24/12)

After a brief hiatus due to travel-here are a fresh five.

Why Vision Is More Important Than Strategy-This is another gem from Michael Hyatt.  Michael reflects on his time of taking over the top spot in Thomas Nelson Publishing.  Through his own journey you will see some very practical ways to gain vision and the importance of keeping that vision in front of those you lead.

7 Ways To Lead With A  Limp-Ron Edmondson offers up seven principles for leaders who feel like less than a leader today.  As leaders we all fail and make mistakes-how do you allow those moments to refine you and help you lead?  See what Ron has to say.

The Current State of Leadership-Research Findings-This is a post back from August of this past year.  It comes from The Practice of Leadership blog.  It is a fascinating glimpse into a major research study that was done this past year on effective leadership.  You will definitely be interested in some of the findings.

Caring For The Commons-This is a guest post on the Great Leadership blog.  This post takes a look at the moral decisions that all leaders make on a daily basis-those types of decisions that actually impact the well being of those you lead.  Kiel and Lennick talk about “moral intelligence” as vastly more important than cognitive intelligence.  Take a look.

Lonely Leadership-This post comes from a women’s leadership blog called Gifted for Leadership.  This is a Christian blog and Esther Feng writes this post on the need for true community and what it takes to get there.  This is worth reading no matter your gender-because we can all end up in isolation and experiencing lonely leadership.

There are the 5 for this week.  Lead well!

Leading Up & Leading Down

small__160211602A while back, I was helping to guide an emerging leader initiative for a group of Western Europeans. During a Q&A time, one of the leaders asked an insightful question about how to lead up in an organization. It was an honest question and an issue that most leaders do not handle very well. In this post I am offering two critical components in both directions, leading up or leading down, for any leader seeking to properly lead.

Leading Up 

To lead up means to raise issues and concerns with those in authority over you. To do so in an effective way you must pursue your superiors communicating trust and with an attitude of seeking greater understanding. It is easy to think you see a problem clearly and go rant in a corner. Or worse still, rant to your fellow team mates in a way that actually disparages the leaders over you. You must first discern if your concern is worthy of seeking a point of discussion with those above you. But if you feel the concern is big enough, then you must go in communicating your belief in the leaders above you as God’s ordained authority in your life. They have a different perspective than you about the whole of the mission. So communicate your belief in them. This will create space for your concerns to be heard.

You must also go in communicating understanding.

This means you enter humbly, realizing that you don’t see the whole picture.

Go in prepared as best you can.

Understand the problem and the issues that are behind the problem.

Offer possible solutions, but ask for a different perspective that you might see things more clearly.

All of this will help to create space, validation, and the opportunity for creative solutions.

Leading Down 

In leading down, as the leader, you have the responsibility to frame problems and opportunities for your team. Then you must allow them to speak into the “how” of solving these issues.

Be sure that you have chosen the most critical issues for team involvement.  

Be sure you actually let your team speak into the issues and offer solutions.

Act on their advice.

This will create ownership and empowerment, and will lead to better solutions.


Create space to be heard from those above you.  

Create ownership and empowerment for those below you.

What are your thoughts on this important topic? The ability to lead up well, and to lead down well, can have a great impact on your leadership legacy and your ability to impact your world.

(photo credit)

3 Leadership Derailers

What ultimately can cause a leader to fail?  What causes a leader to make bad decisions, personally and in the mission?  What most hinders a leader in their relationships with those they lead and with those they seek to influence?  Three aspects come to mind.  These three “leadership derailers” can show themselves in very obvious ways or in subtle ways.  But over time they will severely negate a leader’s influence.

1. Fear. I have talked before how I think this is one of the greatest threats to any leader’s life.  A leader who leads from a base of fear will make many bad decisions.  Usually fear is not tied to a leader’s circumstances as much as it is to the threat of their sense of significance.  When a leader feels threatened in their leadership they become afraid.  But the very presence of fear reveals something about the leader. It reveals that the foundation that they have built their leadership upon is the wrong one.  This aspect of a leader’s life speaks more to who a person is as a leader.  It speaks to why they lead.  What foundation are you building upon?

2. Anger. A leader who regularly exhibits anger does so because of blocked goals.  When ever any of us experience a blocked goal there is the opportunity for anger.  We want what we want.  Often this expresses some aspect of relational failure in the life of a leader.  We see a person behind a blocked goal.  It could be animosity towards someone on the team or towards someone we seek to influence.  But the person may not really be the problem. Over the years I have tried to maintain a perspective that “there are no problem people, only people with problems.”  The real question may be whose goals are you seeking to reach?  Are other people really the enemy or are they a part of the goal equation for development and blessing?

3. Discouragement. A leader who is discouraged is usually in this state because of the results.  It is difficult to throw yourself into something and not see the desired outcome.  Results are sometimes deceiving though because they could reflect the wrong measurements or the wrong timing.  Results are simply a measurement and are most helpful towards learning, not always toward leadership assessment.  But when a leader leads from a base of discouragement it will be very difficult for those around him or her to sense hope, clear direction, and energy toward the vision.  Discouragement is as contagious as courage.  Do you have the right measurements?  Are you learning or are you wrongly internalizing?

The wrong leadership foundation can lead to fear.  The wrong goals related to people can lead to anger.  The wrong measurements or use of results can lead to discouragement.

For the spiritual or secular leader-only the gospel can cure our brokenness and bent towards functional saviors that cannot provide what we need to lead well.