Leadership Lessons I learned from Jesus

Effective Leadership Starts on the Inside – Before I can lead anyone else effectively I need to be able to lead myself. That means I need to know myself and who I am. Jesus talked about what is inside of us comes out of us. What is in the heart, will eventually come out. If we have darkness, hurts, and lies in our heart that will come out in our leadership and relationships. As a leader, it’s vital to know our wounds, and make sure we are allowing God to bring healing to those inner areas of our life. Understanding what our core fears are and what lies we might be believing is essential to becoming a healthy leader. This awareness brings the right perspective and helps us to be humble and allow God to do a transforming work inside of us.

Effective Leadership Builds a Culture of Trust – Without trust, no relationship can last. Without trust, no leader can last. Jesus spent the first three years of his ministry building trust with those closest to him. He did this by investing deeply into their lives. Jesus was vulnerable, caring and committed to those around him. Jesus was loving and truthful, he did not shy away from conflict, and was always teaching lessons and telling stories that built trust. Trust is built one brick at a time and is difficult to re-establish once it’s been broken. Trust is built one conversation at a time, it grows when we do what we say we will do. It builds when we admit our mistakes and own our failures. It multiplies when we extend trust to others, by allowing them to lead and then get out of the way.

Effective Leadership Comes from a Heart to Serve Others – Selfishness will eventually destroy most relationships, and will take out most leaders. Jesus came to serve and give himself to others. He was always focused on how he could add value to the people around him. The greatest leaders are the ones that find ways to serve the people they lead. Great leaders provide the right environments and resources that allow people to thrive, grow and make a difference. It takes a mix of humility and self-confidence to be a servant leader. That only comes from a place of understand who you are, and whose you are.

Effective Leadership has a Compelling Vision – Nothing can grow without a vision. No relationship, organization, or person can grow without a vision for where they want to go. Having a purpose in life, for the organization or even our families is vital for health and growth. Jesus had a very clear purpose, and his vision was clear. All his work, actions and plans came from that purpose and vision. A compelling vision tells people who they are, where they are going, and what will guide their journey. Vision gets us through the difficult times, and gives us the grit to do the hard things. A clear vision helps us make difficult decisions, and to establish the right priorities.

Effective Leadership Understands the Power of Generosity – People love to be around generous people. Jesus was one of the most generous people ever to live. He gave his time, energy, resources and his life to the world. Leaders that are generous with their time, resources, skills and abilities add tremendous value to the world around them. Generosity is contagious, and also brings a sense of joy and fulfillment. Finding ways to be generous is a game-changing leadership principle that can transform and organization, family or person. Start giving, it’s better than receiving, and it frees us from selfishness.

Effective Leadership Establishes Great Habits – Jesus was disciplined, and developed some key habits that became a part of his day to day leadership. He made time for things like solitude, prayer, knowledge and application of Scripture, accepting and responding to God’s unconditional love, maintaining accountability relationships. These spiritual habits or disciplines, shaped Jesus into the greatest leader of all time. His example shows us the right way to lead ourselves, build a culture of trust, serve others, cast a compelling vision, and be generous.

There are so many more great leadership and life principles we can learn from Jesus. That’s why I love growing in my relationship with Jesus. There is always more to learn and apply. If you want to be a better leader, spouse, neighbor, or friend start reading and learning about Jesus and Lead On!

Trust God to Lead You Out of Tough Circumstances

Trust God to Lead You Out of Tough Circumstances!

Some circumstances in your life – such as financial problems, marital difficulties or serious illness – might leave you feeling trapped. But no matter how hopeless your situation might seem, God can and will lead you out of it if you trust Him.

Remember that nothing is impossible for God. He even parted the waters of the Red Sea so the Israelites trapped between the sea and a crowd of hostile Egyptians could emerge victorious from tough circumstances.

Here are some principles to keep in mind when you feel trapped:

  • “Realize that God means for you to be where you are.” Either God led you into your current circumstances, or He allowed them to occur as the result of some choices you made. Remember that His goal is a good one – to build your faith. Also remember that He promises to always be right beside you, no matter what your circumstances.
  • “Be more concerned for God’s glory than for your relief.” When you’re overwhelmed, stop asking how you can get out of your situation. Instead, ask how God can be glorified in it. This will change your perspective so you can see the potential in the situation. Consider what you can do in the midst of your particular situation to bring glory to God, in ways such as thanking Him for ways He has answered your prayers in the past, and praising Him for His character. Understand that God’s plan for how He will deliver you from tough circumstances may be different from what you expect, but that He will do so in the best way.
  • “Acknowledge your enemy, but keep your eyes on the Lord.” Be aware that you will often have to contend with evil spiritual forces who would like to see you trapped forever, but that you can always overcome them by God’s power. Focus on God rather than worrying about evil. Choose to obey God in even the smallest decisions in your life, striving to be honest and faithful, rather than giving into deceitful temptations that will ultimately make things worse, not better.
  • “Pray!” Pray frequently and specifically about your circumstances, and expect God to answer your prayers.
  • “Stay calm and confident, and give God time to work.” Rather than wasting time and energy trying to solve a problem by yourself, be patient, and trust God to act in His timing. Know that He has a good reason for waiting whenever He chooses to do so.
  • “When unsure, just take the next logical step by faith.” Know that God often guides moment by moment, giving you just enough information to take only the next step forward. Then He often waits to see whether you will take that step before revealing more of what He wants you to do. So show God that you take His guidance seriously by acting on what you already know He wants you to do.
  • “Envision God’s enveloping presence.” Take comfort in the fact that God can transform your past, present, and future. He uses your past failures to help you grow, loves you in the present, and guides you wisely into the future. Visualize God with you right now, and remind yourself that He was with you yesterday and He’ll be with you tomorrow.
  • “Trust God to deliver in His own unique way.” Know that God will choose the best way to deliver you from your current circumstances. Expect Him to act powerfully, working as He often does through ordinary people and events, or even through a supernatural miracle.
  • “View your current crisis as a faith builder for the future.” Choose to believe that God will actually do what He has promised.  Ask God to use your current experiences to build a more mature faith in you, that will serve you well in the future.
  • “Don’t forget to praise Him.” Thank God for what He has already done for you, and demonstrate confidence that He will continue to act in love and wisdom.

The L-factor in Leadership

It’s difficult to have influence or get much done if people don’t like you. You might be able to push people, or bully people into doing things, but if they want to do it, the quality and excellence levels go way up. People will do more for someone they like than someone they don’t like. They will do extra, go farther and stay longer.

As a leader, the more approachable and likeable you are makes a difference in your level of influence, and ability to move a vision forward.

Likeability is the ability to create positive attitudes in other people. It is bringing a sense of joy, happiness, relaxation or rejuvenation to the people around you.  It’s bringing relief from depression, anxiety or boredom. You gain more success if people like being around you. If you are all business, and all bottom line, it can drag the rest of the team down over time.

This does not mean you never disappoint people, or make tough decisions that might upset or hurt people. Leaders must make difficult decisions that can have negative impacts on people. However, if you have this quality you can ease some of the pain because people know your motives and intent is for the best, and that you genuinely care about them.

Elements of being Likeable and approachable:

  • Friendliness – Communicating welcome, expressing a generally positive feeling – I’m happy to see you, I enjoy your company, I want to hear what you have to say, you’re important.
    • Do you increase the stress level in people when you enter a room or decrease the stress level in the room?
    • Traits of friendly people:
      • Upbeat positive personality
      • Smiling
      • Really liking most people
      • General happiness
  • Relevance – You are relevant to someone when you connect to someone’s sweet spot, that area of their hearts and minds in which they are passionate or what they truly care about.
    • Can you help someone make progress or complete a task
    • Mutual interests
    • Sharing your life experience in connection with something they are going thru
    • Connecting with peoples wants and needs is they key
    • Genuine interest in what they care about
  • Empathy – the ability to perceive another person’s internal frame of reference with accuracy. Understanding another persons situation, feelings and motives
    • People feel validated and less alone when you empathize with them
    • Builds on relevance by going beyond interest in them to understanding them
    • This builds incredible trust with people
    • It also can lead to helping a person change
    • An empathetic leader makes people feel special, know they are valuable
  • Realness – someone who is genuine, true, and authentic – sincere
    • Honesty
    • Consistent in how you treat people at work at home in a restaurant
    • Being clear, frank in addressing issues – candor.

So start to work on your L factor to improve your leadership. Start with your family, then at your work. This can be hard for some people because of how they are wired and their personality, but you can improve.

Lead On!

What’s on Your Bucket List?

What’s on your bucket list? A lot of people have a list, either mentally or written down, of things they want to do before they kick the bucket. For most people it’s places to go see, like the Grand Canyon or the Eiffel Tower. Or it’s an experience, like drinking coffee in a cafe in Venice, Italy or skydiving in Hawaii. Or, it might be meeting a famous person like Denzel Washington or LeBron James.

But let me ask you a question. What kind of person do you want to be, or be known for? How important will all those things on your bucket list be at your funeral? What are you doing that will have lasting impact after you are gone? What’s more important, going skydiving or mentoring a 16 year old boy? Talking to LeBron for 5 minutes or serving with Eight Days of Hope after a natural disaster?

Now there is nothing wrong with having a bucket list. We all need to dream about things we’d like to do, see or experience. I just think it’s important to have a second bucket list, for the kind of person you want to be, and the impact you want to have before you die.

Think about what relationships in your life are not where you want them to be. What if you put that relationship on your bucket list and started being intentional about improving it? What ministry, church or non-profit could you get involved with, that is making an important difference in the world around you? What if you put on your bucket list an amount of money you want to give away before you die? What are the character qualities you want to be known for, and to be talked about at your funeral? And finally, how many people do you want to share your faith with before you die?

Everyone can make a difference in the world by simply becoming a better version of you. When we focus more on how we can love and serve the people and world around us, we grow, stretch and are much happier and healthier.

So start working on a new kind of bucket list. Take some time to think about some of the questions I posed and develop a list that will have lasting impact on the people around you. Then go and do it!


Love and Serve

When a natural disaster hits, peoples lives can change in an instant. Hurricanes, tornado’s, floods and winter storms are all fairly common, and it can seem like it’s not that big of deal ,unless your in the middle of it.

I’m part of an incredible organization called Eight Days of Hope,  that helps in these times of disaster, and brings hope into people’s lives when they are feeling hopeless. When you look into the eyes of a person that just lost everything it breaks your heart. Many are still in shock and are overwhelmed with the thought of what do I do now?

Eight Days of Hope started after Hurricane Katrina hit Mississippi and Louisiana. Since that first trip in 2005 they have done 16 major rebuilding events all over the country.

Eight Days of Hope has successfully restored or rebuilt 2,760 homes following natural disasters since 2005. Volunteers from all 50 states and ten countries have worked over 1,067,425 hours during the first fifteen rebuilding events alone. To date, Eight Days of Hope has completed over $44.8 million dollars of work – for free!

Eight Days of Hope comes in after much of the clean up has happened, and works with local churches, government agencies, and non-profits to help people in need. Many people don’t have insurance or enough insurance to rebuild, that is where 8DOH helps.

They also started an emergency response division that goes immediately after a disaster to clean up, and bring immediate hope to a community. This involves cutting up trees and removing debris and even gutting homes. The first trip was in Buffalo NY after a major snow storm. Volunteers went and shoveled snow and dug people out. The Rapid Response team has traveled to 19 different communities and has blessed 1,870 families within three days of the disaster! .

Thousands of people have been impacted by 8DOH. The thing that is most important to know about 8DOH is that they focus on bringing the love of Jesus Christ to the people they serve. There is an emphasis on praying with homeowners and taking the time to listen to their stories and show them love and respect. Many people have come to a relationship with Christ or renewed their commitment to Christ as a result of people loving and serving them.

The people that volunteer with 8DOH are from all over the country and from all kinds of churches. That is the beauty of 8DOH, it’s Christians from all over the country coming together to be the church to people that desperately need some hope.

That is why Eight Days of Hope exists, to show the love of Jesus Christ to people that are feeling hopeless and helpless. To love and to Serve.

You can be a part of 8DOH by volunteering to go on a trip or by making a donation to support the ministry or one of the full-time missionaries.

Watch the year-end summary video to learn more about what 8DOH does.