Leadership Nuggets

Leadership

I recently read through & discussed James Kouzes & Barry Posner’s book called The Truth About Leadership with a group of guys.  Here are some of my nuggets I took away from the book:

    • Before you can lead others, you have to lead yourself and believe that you can have a positive impact on others.
    • Before anyone is going to willingly follow you-or any other leader-he or she wants to know that you are honest, forward-thinking, inspiring and competent.
    • If you don’t believe in the messenger, you won’t believe the message.
    • You cannot fully commit to something that isn’t important to you-no one can.
    • People won’t follow you, or even pay much attention to you, if you don’t have any strong beliefs.
    • Spend more time in the future. You have to carve out more time each week to peering into the distance and imagining what might be out there.
    • Looking backward can actually enable you to see farther than if you stare straight ahead.
    • The best leaders take actions that make people strong and capable. They make people feel that they can do more than they thought they could.
    • Often, people just lack a little courage and confidence. They blossom when they have a leader who believes in them and gives them support and encouragement
    • Tremendous energy is unleashed when constituents trust you!
    • To be a leader you need to make something happen. You need to feel a strong sense of commitment, believing that you can find something in whatever you are doing that is interesting, important, or worthwhile.
    • You can’t lose focus when there are lots of distractions all around. You can’t hop from one thing to the next without completing what you started. It’s called grit!
    • People are always watching you.
    • Learning agility…is the ability to reflect on experience and then engage in new behaviors based on those reflections.
    • If you want to be the best leader you can be, you will have to attend to your weaknesses.
    • Love enlarges lives. Love creates the desire to serve others and to see them grow and become their best.

I hope you can also learn from some of these quotes.  It may be a reminder or a new challenge.  We are all leaders to some degree whether at home with our families, at work, at church or in your community.  I’ve heard this many times and I believe it that everything rises and falls on leadership.  Lead On!

Twenty “I Cans” of Success

Twenty “I Cans” of Success

  1. Why should I say I can’t when the Bible says I can do all things though Christ who gives me strength (Phil. 4:13)?
  2. Why should I lack when I know that God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19)?
  3. What should I fear when the Bible says God has not given me a spirit of fear but of power, love and sound mind (2 Tim 1:7)?
  4. What should I lack faith to fulfill my calling knowing that God has allotted to me a measure of faith (Rom. 12:3)?
  5. Why should I be weak when the Bible says that the Lord is the strength of my life and that I will display strength and take action because I know God (Psa.27:1; Dan. 11:32)?
  6. Why should I allow Satan supremacy over my life when He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4)?
  7. Why should I accept defeat when the Bible says that God always leads me in triumph (2 Cor. 2:14)?
  8. Why should I lack wisdom when Christ became wisdom to me from God and God gives wisdom to me generously when I ask Him for it (1 Cor. 1:30; Jas. 1:5)?
  9. Why should I be depressed when I recall to mind God’s loving kindness, compassion and faithfulness and have hope (Lam.3:21-23)?
  10. Why should I worry and fret when I can cast all my anxiety on Christ who cares for me (1 Pet. 5:7)?
  11. Why should I ever be in bondage knowing that there is liberty when the Spirit of the Lord is with me (Gal. 5:1)?
  12. Why should I feel condemned when the Bible says I am not condemned because I am in Christ (rom. 8:1)?
  13. Why should I feel alone when Jesus said He is with me always and He will never leave me nor forsake me (Matt. 28:20; Heb.13:5)?
  14. Why should I feel accursed of that I am the victim of bad luck when the Bible says that Christ redeemed me from the curse of the law that I might receive His Spirit (Gal. 3:13, 14)?
  15. Why should I be discontented when I, like Paul, can learn to be content in all my circumstances (Phil 4:11)?
  16. Why should I feel worthless when Christ became sin on my behalf that I might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21)
  1. Why should I have a persecution complex knowing that nobody can be against me when God is for me (Rom 8:31)?
  2. Why should I be confused when God is the author of peace and He gives me knowledge through His indwelling Spirit (1 Cor. 14:33: 2:12)?
  3. Why should I feel like a failure when I am a conqueror in all things though Christ (Rom. 8:37)?
  4. Why should I let the pressure of life bother me when I can take courage knowing that Jesus has overcome the world and its tribulations (John 16:33

 

Our Identity

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This past Sunday our Lead Pastor Dwight Mason shared a great message about our identity as believers and followers of Jesus Christ.  We are Also Known As Saints – You can watch the full message here – NewPointe Community Church

When you confess with your mouth that Jesus in Lord and you believe in him and put your trust in him you are changed, and become new person spiritually.  At that point God sees you as a Saint.  In part of that message Dwight shared some very helpful info on the fruit of the Spirit.  As we mature into our identity these things should become more evident in our lives.

Be filled by the Spirit:

Love

Definition – To serve a person for their good and intrinsic value, not for what the person brings you.

Opposite – Fear: self-protection and abusing people.

Counterfeit – Selfish affection. Rescuing someone but really rescuing self. Attracted not to a person, but to how this person’s love makes you feel about yourself.

Joy

Definition – Delight in God and his salvation

Opposite – Hopelessness, despair.

Counterfeit – Happiness that come because of the gift, not the giver. Mood swings based on circumstances.

– Peace

Definition – Confidence and rest in the wisdom and sovereignty of God more than your own.

Opposite – Anxiety and worry

Counterfeit – Indifference, apathy, not caring about something. “I don’t care.”

– Patience

Definition – Ability to take trouble (from others or life) without blowing up. To suffer joyfully.

Opposite – Resentment toward God and others.

Counterfeit – Cynicism. Self-righteousness. “This is too small to be bothered about.”

 

– Kindness

Definition – Practical kindness with vulnerability out of deep inner security.

Opposite – Envy. Unable to rejoice other’s joy.

Counterfeit – Manipulative good deeds. “Right hand knowing what left hand is doing.” Self-congratulation and self-righteousness

Goodness. (Integrity)

Definition – Honesty, transparency. Being the same in one situation as another.

Opposite – Phoniness; hypocrisy.

Counterfeit – Truth without love. “Getting it off the chest” for your sake.

Faithfulness.

Definition – Loyalty. Courage. To be principle-driven, committed, utterly reliable. True to one’s word.

Opposite – Opportunist. Fair-weather friend.

Counterfeit – Love without truth. Being loyal when you should be willing to confront or challenge.

gentleness. (humility)

Definition – Self-forgetfulness.

Opposite – Superiority: self-absorbed

Counterfeit – Inferiority: self-absorbed, self-consciousness.

– Self-control

Definition – Ability to choose the important thing over the urgent.

Opposite – A driven, impulsive, uncontrolled person.

Counterfeit – Willpower through pride

God’s Will

What is God’s will for my life?  That’s a question that a lot of people ask including me.  We can question every decision we make and wonder if this is God’s will for my life or not.  Yet as I look at God’s Word this is what I found for God’s will:

  • That none perish but all believe – 1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9
  • That salvation come to the Jews and Gentiles – Ephesians 1:5 & 2:22
  • That we present our bodies to him daily – Romans 12:1-2
  • That we bear much fruit – John 15:8 & Colossians 1:9-12
  • That we pray throughout our lives – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

God’s will is that we believe in Jesus Christ and then He will live in us and work through us.  God is not going to make decisions for us, but he is with us through all the decisions we make, both good and bad.  God is doing the work inside of us, we just need to focus on Jesus Christ, loving him and other people.

Lessons Learned This Past Year

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As we approach the end of another year I can’t help but reflect on this past year.  It was filled with good times, bad times, positive emotions and negative emotions.  I cried and I laughed.  I opened up and I shut down.  I made some good decisions and I made some bad decisions.  I got angry and had a negative attitude and I was filled with joy and had a positive attitude.  I also learned a lot this past year about leadership, my relationship with God and the baggage that I still tend to carry.

If you’re like me this can describe almost every year.  However every year I like to ask myself if I have grown in my faith, character and leadership in this past year.  For me it’s a big yes this year.  Probably more than many other years because of the amount of change I experienced at work.  Here are some of the lessons I learned or went deeper in understanding.

  1. God opposed the proud but supports the humble – Every time I allow pride to creep into my life I get knocked down a few notches.  This often happens to me when things are going well and I start comparing myself to others.  It can happen when I’m meeting with someone that is going through a hardship and I think I can fix it with three simple steps.  Or when I don’t think a certain strategy or decision is the best and my way is better.  Or if I don’t pay attention to my wife and just do what I want.  I keep learning and understanding more deeply to humble myself and in due time the Lord will lift me up, but it’s his decision not mine.  I need to remain faithful, work hard and focus on doing what is right and good and submit to God and other people.
  2. Value your relationships because life can change in an instant – I was reminded through several tragic events that life is precious and things can change very quickly.  I was reminded to spend time with the people I love and to work on those relationship by practicing forgiveness, communicating clearly and often and by loving well.  The Bible says to love extravagantly and that we are bankrupt without love.  Learning to love or how to express love is one of the best things we can do to improve our lives and value the people around us.
  3. Having the hard conversations is a game changer – Conflict is not fun and many people tend to avoid it.  However if you want to grow, make progress, change for the better or have less stress, then you must deal directly with conflict.  Learning to admit when your wrong and confronting issues quickly when they come up does not allow things to fester and get infected.  I had many hard conversations this past year and most of them ended well and improved the relationship or the situation.  Resolving conflict is hard but it leads to relational, emotional and physical health.
  4. Vulnerability and openness are strengths not weakness – I studied and read a lot about vulnerability, shame and courage this past year.  It takes great courage to be vulnerable and be honest, but when you do it, you experience great freedom, creativity and strength.  I became more vulnerable in some of my relationships and took some risks by sharing more of me with others.  I grew in confidence and courage by facing the junk in my life head on and sharing that with some trusted people in my life.  Everyone knows your not perfect so stop trying to be, take off the mask and be real, that’s when things start to change.
  5. Emotional health is one of the most import things a leader can have – Being healthy emotionally allows you to lead at a high level and take on enormous responsibility.  However staying healthy emotionally takes constant work just like staying physically healthy takes constant work.  Caring for your soul and understanding your emotions is a sign of maturity and leadership.  Sometimes you have to go to a professional counselor in order to break through some of the emotional walls that come up in your life.  It’s always worth the time and energy and money to get healthy emotionally.
  6. When you keep God first and submit to Him other things fall into place – My relationship with God has grown and deepened over the years, but this did not just happen, I had to be intentional.  I have found that the more time I spend with God the more I can accomplish, the healthier I am and and the lower my stress tends to be.  Having a spiritual rhythm in life is vital.  What I mean by rhythm is having a thriving prayer life, feeding on God’s word regularly, being silent and being with God and living a life of worship.  That is staying focused on the most important thing in life, your relationship with Jesus Christ.  When that is growing the rest of life tends to be healthier as well.

Keep growing in Faith, Character and Leadership.

Five Leadership Essentials

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I first heard this quote from John Maxwell: “Leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less.”  If you don’t have influence you can’t be a leader.  So if you have influence with anyone, you are a leader.  If you’re married, a parent, have a job, serve on a committee, play on a team or have friends your a leader.  Some people have obvious leadership positions and oversee or lead a large number of people. While others may only have influence with a few people or their immediate family.  No matter how many people you have influence with, there are some essential qualities when it comes to leadership and developing increased influence.  These essentials will help you at work, at home and in the community, wherever you have influence.

  1.   Trust – This is first on my list because without trust you have very little influence.  Being a trustworthy person is required to lead well.  When trust is broken it takes a long time and a lot of hard work to restore it.  When people trust you they will follow you, even when they don’t understand everything.  To build trust you must be honest, open and vulnerable with people.  If you keep secrets from people close to you or you are not honest about what is going on, people begin to lose trust.  In every encounter with people you are either building trust or losing trust.
  2. Humility – This is second for me because this helps develop trust.  When you are humble you acknowledge that you don’t know everything and that you have weaknesses.  You give credit to people that deserve the credit and you are willing to serve the people around you instead of being served.  Humble leaders know they need help from others in order to achieve the vision, whether in a business, church or family.  Humility helps you to have the right perspective, while pride can blind you from potential problems.
  3. Love – This may sound strange for an essential of leadership, but it is vital to love other people if you want to have influence.  As a leader love is the key ingredient to gain influence.  When people know that you care about them as a person they will follow you and go above and beyond for you.  People can quickly tell if you care about them or not.  The Bible describes love this way: “Love is patient and kind, never jealous, boastful, proud or rude. Love isn’t selfish or quick tempered. It doesn’t keep record of wrongs that others do. Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. Love never fails.”  When you genuinely love the people you lead your influence skyrockets.
  4. Clarity – The reason this is an essential is because if you are not clear in your communication it leads to misunderstandings and conflict.  The ability to clearly communicate expectations, goals, problems to be solved and issues to address is vital to good leadership.  People trust and follow leaders that are clear and direct while doing so in a loving, kind way.  It is also important to ask questions and try to understand where the other person is coming from or what they are trying to say.  So part of clarity is the ability to listen to understand.  When you do that you can respond in the right way and avoid unnecessary conflict.
  5. Empathy – This is the last essential that I am listing but it’s equally important in building influence as a leader.  The ability to see things from the other person’s viewpoint is essential in order to lead and influence them.  To empathize with someone you must slow down, listen well and not jump to conclusions or judgement.   It is basically putting yourself in their shoes.  Empathy will help you to be more compassionate when you need to be and resolve conflict much quicker.  This also helps to build your connection with the people around you because they know you are always willing to hear them out and be there for them when they are going through a struggle.

I could include many other things but these five essential qualities give any leader the foundation needed to increase their influence and therefore their leadership.  For me I need to ask God for help in all of these areas.  Everyone can improve in these essentials and when you do you become a better person and a better leader.

Lead On!

How to Communicate with Your Spouse Part 1

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When it comes to communicating with your spouse or anyone you are close with, the five love languages are a great place to start.  If your spouse feels loved then communication tends to be better and easier.  If they do not feel loved, communication will breakdown.

So let’s take a look at the five love languages.  You can read more about these in Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages

  1. Words of Affirmation

A compliment speaks a Thousand Words! – It’s nice to get compliments from your co-workers, your boss, your friends, your parents or your children, but nothing compares to a compliment from your spouse.

  • This love language helps encourage and give courage to your spouse.
  • If it’s their main love language a simple compliment or word of encouragement can fill a tank for days.

Control that Biting Tongue – Words can kill, damage and destroy.

  • Proverbs 12:18 Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
  • Proverbs 12:25 An Anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.
  • Proverbs 15:4 The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
  • Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
  • James 3:8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. Read that whole chapter!

Dispel Dominance – Real love makes requests, not demands.

  • When you tell your spouse what needs to be accomplished and do so by lashing out over-assertive words, even if you mean well, you will make your spouse feel Stupid and your words seem to belittle their know-how.
  • But if you make a humble request to your spouse, you are affirming their worth and abilities.
  1. Quality Time
    • Being close does not mean being together.
      1. Togetherness involves more of a connection than just being in the same room or the same house.
      2. Togetherness is when you are paying attention to each other while your together. Your giving your full focus, your fully present and engaged and listening.
  • It doesn’t mean you have to always be talking, it could be having a conversation and then going on a walk together, or watching a favorite TV show together or wash the dishes together or prepare food together.

Talk less, listen more

  • Ask questions and make sure you are paying attention. For men, don’t try to fix things, just listen repeat back some of the things she is saying and ask some questions if needed.
  • A great way to allow for this to happen is to ask your spouse how their day was and then shut up and listen.
  • Your spouse needs to be able to talk to you about what’s going on in their world – at work, at home with the kids, with family or friends.
  • Just 5-10 minutes of this can change the entire evening and atmosphere of the home.
  1. Receiving Gifts

Gifts: a Remembrance, a Symbol of love

  • Gifts can make a spouse feel important, cherished and sweetly remembered.
  • If this is a primary love language this will make his/her day and make them feel special, loved and secure.
  • It’s not as much how much you spend, it’s the fact that you thought about them and took the time to get them something.
  • It’s knowing your spouse well enough to know what they really like

The Gift of Self

  • Sometimes you need to give the gift of yourself by being fully present for your family.
  1. Acts of Service

In Everything you do, do it for Love

  • A husband helping with household chores like laundry, doing dishes, cleaning the house, taking care of the children etc or a wife fixing a leaking pipe, mowing the yard, fixing an appliance.
  • These need to be things that are not you normal household duties that you have agreed on.
  • Again it is when you notice something that needs done and do it without being told.
  • It sends a message that you are important to me, our home is important to me, our children are important to me.
  1. Physical Touch

Hold her when she cries

  • This can be hard for most men as they don’t know what to do when she is upset.
  • A loving husband will not turn and leave, go smoke, get a drink or give a lecture – he will hold her in a tight embrace, run his fingers thru her hair, maybe kiss her head, stroke her hand and make her feel safe in the power of his arms.
  • A physical touch can make or break a relationship – It can communicate love or hate

Touch as if it’s always the first time

  • Touch gives an emotional boost
  • It keeps the fire ablaze – is soothing and healing
  • For men physical touch includes sex but more than just the act of sex it’s the touching by both along the way.
  • Slow down and enjoy each other.
  • Just like a child needs physical touch in order to develop, adults need touch to stay emotionally and mentally healthy.

Talk to your spouse about what their love language is and what yours is

Tell your spouse what is most meaningful to you – don’t make them try to figure it out – (Women)

All of these are important even if it’s not a primary language

Start today, tonight before you go to bed.

 

Leadership Nuggets

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Here are some things I’ve learned about leading people:

  • When people feel like you listen to them they work harder and perform better
  • It’s important to admit when you made a mistake or handled something wrong – be open about it and say it outloud
  • It’s good to change your mind if there is a better idea proposed
  • Ask for feedback and give people permission to be critical of you, the strategies and the ideas
  • Only ask for input from your team if your willing to change what your asking about, if you have already made up your mind it demotivates people to give input and then you just do what you want anyway.
  • Explain the why of your decisions and your strategies
  • It’s OK to have a bad day – if your always happy and positive you don’t comes across as genuine and real.
  • You have to be flexible; with your strategies, your work schedule, your timelines, your budget
  • People follow leaders that are humble yet persistent
  • If you think you know it all you’re not a leader your a dictator
  • Most people want to grow and get better – believe the best about the people you lead
  • Never stop developing yourself, read, learn from others, take risks and learn from failure
  • Write down your goals and share them with your team ask the people you lead to do the same
  • Keep reminding the people you lead what the main targets are and celebrate the wins
  • Be real and vulnerable with your team
  • Empower people and let them do their job
  • Stay connected to your team, meet with them on a regular basis to listen, coach, encourage and re-direct if needed
  • Communicate a lot – when you get information think about who needs to know this and tell them right away
  • Be direct and honest
  • Don’t lead everyone the same way, each person is unique and you need to know what motivates them and what encourages them and what deflates them
  • Love the people you lead – you don’t have to be best friends but you do need to care about them
  • Give feedback as quickly as possible don’t wait for the annual review to talk about things to improve
  • Take personal responsibility and don’t blame others
  • Hire people with good character, people skills and a desire to grow
  • Fire people that can’t get along with people and think they know it all
  • Make decisions and don’t be wishy washy – once you have the input you need make the call
  • Always be thinking about what obstacles might be ahead and how to avoid them
  • Share information quickly and often
  • Be yourself, don’t pretend
  • Pray a lot

My Life Focus

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At some point in everyone’s life they ask themselves the question “Why am I here?  What’s the purpose for my life?”  Those are great questions and we should all wrestle with those to discover the answers.  As I’ve worked through those very questions I keep coming back to these three things:  Faith – Character – Leadership

My Life Focus: Sincere Faith, Humble Character & Servant Leadership

The first area of focus or purpose in my life is my faith.  We all have faith in something.  I have chosen to put my faith in Jesus Christ.  He is the most important relationship that I have in my life.  Because of my faith, my perspective on life, the world around me and the people around me is much different.  I believe that everyone is more spiritual that physical.  Our spirit is who we really are and it lives in a temporary body.  I also believe that our spirit will live forever, so even after our body stops working our spirit goes on.  We will live forever somewhere, either in the presence of God or separated from him.  That is why I put my faith in Jesus Christ, because he paid my debt, forgave all my sins and stands in my place before God.  Because I have a relationship with Christ I know where I am going to spend forever.

The second area of focus for my life is humble character.  To me character is about the qualities that a person is known for.  When someone says your name what are the things that come to their mind?  These qualities can be both good and bad.  When you think about what people will talk about at your funeral, that is a good indication of what kind of character you have.  For me, I want those things to reflect these qualities: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control.  Our character is always under construction because no one is perfect.  In my life I make mistakes, fail, sin, have bad thoughts and do or say things I regret.  I sometimes have a bad attitude or respond to stressful situations in inappropriate ways.  What I try to do though is learn from those setbacks and bad moments.  Developing our character takes work, pain and struggle but it is totally worth it in the long run.

The last area of focus in my life is servant leadership.  Leadership has been a hot topic for a long time, yet servant leadership is not nearly as popular.  Most leaders would agree with the idea of serving the people around them, yet most people prefer to be served instead of serve others.  As a leader my main focus needs to be on setting the people around me up to win.  Creating space for them to learn and grow by allowing them to do what they are good at and coaching them on what they are not good at.  Servant leadership is about doing what is best for the organization, family or church rather than what is best for me.  Again this is easy to say and hard to do because we all have selfishness in us.  Our tendency is to look out for ourselves, make sure our needs and wants are met before we think about meeting the needs and wants of other people.  Changing that mindset takes work, focus and failure.  The question I try to ask myself is what would the people around me say if they were asked is Chad a servant leader?

My hope is that these three things will inspire you to pursue your life purpose and focus.  Never stop growing.

Lead On

Insights on Leadership

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Here are some great insights about leadership from one of the best books ever written about leadership:  The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes & Posner

  • Ten Commitments of Leadership
    • Clarify your values by finding your voice and affirming shared ideas.
    • Set the example by aligning actions with shared values.
    • Envision the future by imagining exciting an ennobling possibilities
    • Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations
    • Search for opportunities by seizing the initiative and by looking outward for innovative ways to improve
    • Experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from experience.
    • Foster collaboration by building trust and building relationships.
    • Strengthen others by increasing self-determination and developing competence.
    • Recognize contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence.
    • Celebrate the values and victories by creating a spirit of community.

Leaders:

  • must “clarify values”.
  • are supposed to stand up for their beliefs, so they had better have some beliefs to stand up for.
  • inspire a shared vision.
  • live their lives backward, They see the results before the project begins.
  • clear image of the future pulls them forward.
  • cannot command commitment, only inspire it.
  • have to enlist others to a common vision.
  • challenge the process.
  • search for opportunities to innovate, grow, and improve.
  • must pay attention to the capacity of their constituents.
  • have to enable others to act.
  • must create a culture of celebrating values and victories.
  • have the ability to envision the future.
  • have to communicate the vision in ways that encourage people to sign on for the duration and excite them about the cause.
  • must inspire optimal performance fueled by positive emotions.
  • take strong stands
  • must keep promises
  • personify shared values
  • teach others to model the values
  • are able to envision the future
  • need to bring the vision to life
  • need a sense of ongoing learning
  • must be able to trust their team
  • must be trusted
  • often must relinquish control
  • actively seek out ways to increase choice

To promote trust, be the first to:

  • Disclose information about who you are and what you believe.
  • Admit mistakes
  • Acknowledge the need for personal improvement
  • Ask for feedback—positive or negative
  • Listen attentively to what others are saying
  • Invite interested parties to important meetings
  • Share information that is useful to others
  • Openly acknowledge the contribution of others
  • Show that you are willing to change your mind when someone else comes up with a good idea.
  • Avoid taking negatively about others
  • Say, “We can trust them”, and mean it

Lead On