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.


A Wise Woman

I’ve grown up with wise spiritual women in my life. Both of my grandmothers were faithful believers and prayed faithfully for their family. My mother Susie is also a strong wise woman that faithfully prays, serves and leads in her church. She prays for me and my two brothers and our families every day.

My wife Vikki is such an inspiration with the way she faithfully serves others. I see her serving our neighbors, our friends, in our church at multiple campuses, and of course serving me. She is dependable, reliable and gets things done.

I also had a strong woman that came into my life and helped me in ministry.  Wilma learned quickly, grew spiritually and became a leader and wise woman to many people.  She helped build a large team of mentors at our church, that’s still going strong today.  Many of the women she poured into are now leading ministries and other people.

During my five plus years at NewPointe Millersburg, while I was Campus Pastor, I had several women that consistently prayed for me, encouraged me and listened to me.  Linda, Elaine and Beth have been such a blessing to me and many others.  There are many other women that I’ve served with, worked with and been around that are wise spiritual leaders.  I’m so grateful for how God has placed these women into my life at just the right times.

The Bible is filled with many amazing women that we read about, like Mary,Sarah, Ruth, Esther & Abigail.  But I want to share a story about an unnamed wise woman that saved a city.  We don’t know her name but she was an amazing woman.

The story is found in 2 Samuel 20.  Let me set up the story for you.  This is during the time of King David.  Davids own son Absalom, had rebelled against him and they go to battle and his son is killed in battle.  David is devastated and mourning the loss of his son.  Another man sees an opportunity to rebel against the King.  His name is Sheba, and he stirs up a group of people that want to over throw King David.  King David finds out about this plan and he send his military leader Joab after Sheba, they chase him and his followers to a city called Abel.  We pick up the story in verse 15:

Joab and his troops came and surrounded Abel, so that no one could go in or come out. They made a dirt ramp up to the town wall and then started to use a battering ram to knock the wall down.

A wise woman shouted from the top of the wall, “Listen to me! Listen to me! I have to talk to Joab! Tell him to come here!” 17 When he came, the woman said, “Are you Joab?”

“Yes, I am,” he answered.

She said, “Please, listen to what I have to say.”

“All right,” he said. “I’ll listen.”

18 She said, “Long ago people used to say, ‘If you want good advice, go to the town of Abel to get it.’ The answers they got here were all that was needed to settle any problem. 19 We are Israelites, and we want peace! You can trust us. Why are you trying to destroy a town that’s like a mother in Israel? Why do you want to wipe out the Lord’s people?”

20 Joab answered, “No, no! I’m not trying to wipe you out or destroy your town! 21 That’s not it at all. There’s a man in your town from the hill country of Ephraim. His name is Sheba, and he is the leader of a rebellion against King David. Turn him over to me, and we will leave your town alone.”

The woman told Joab, “We will throw his head over the wall.”

22 She went to the people of the town and talked them into doing it. They cut off Sheba’s head and threw it to Joab.

Joab blew a signal on his trumpet, and the soldiers returned to their homes. Joab went back to David in Jerusalem.”

Here are my takeaways from this amazing story:

  • God uses wise women leaders to bring peace and solve problems.  It can be very helpful to have a woman’s perspective when trying to solve problems and make peace.
  • This wise woman was more concerned about the people around her than herself.  Wise women are selfless and have a heart for the people they serve. They willingly sacrifice of themselves and put themselves in danger in order to help those around them.
    • I have seen countless women loving, leading and serving their families , friends, extended family and still running businesses, households and church ministries.
  • This women had influence and was able to lead the entire community to make a hard decision.  Wise women can mobilize people to get things done, and make a difference.
  • She was decisive and moved quickly once she knew what had to be done.  A wise women does not procrastinate, she has too many things to get done.
  • This wise women did what she said she would do.  She was confident and knew what steps were needed to solve the problem.  She was a woman of solid character.
  • She was direct and to the point.  She went straight to the leader found out what the problem was and then put a plan together and made it happen quickly.  I love that!

So to all the women, this is a message of encouragement to be bold and lead.  Seek God with all your heart, get healthy spiritually & emotionally and see how God will use you to make a difference.  Lead right where you are, in your family, your workplace, your community, your city and your church.

To all the men, appreciate the gifts God has given to the women around you.  If you don’t have some strong, wise women in your life ask God to bring them around you.  They will make your family, ministry, organization and community a better place.  If you have wise women in your life be sure to thank them and appreciate them.

Lead On!

Searching for Donkey’s

There is a story in the Bible where a young man named Saul is asked by his father to go and search for his donkey’s that wondered off and are now gone.  Saul takes one of the hired hands and some supplies and heads out to find the donkey’s.  They search all over the area and keep going for three days searching every place they can think of, but they cannot find the donkey’s.

After three days they think it might be wise to head home as his father is probably getting worried about them.  No cell phones in those days.  The hired hand says, wait I heard about this man of God that can prophesy or tell the future and he may be able to tell us where to go next to find these donkey’s.

So they find this man that is a prophet from God.  His name is Samuel.  When they meet Samuel he seems to be expecting them and invites them to go with him to a special meal he is having with some important people in town.  He gives Saul a choice seat and a choice meal.  Saul eats the meal and has a great time and they talk after the meal and get to know each other.  Samuel also tells Saul that the donkey’s have been found and they can return home the next day.

The next morning Saul is getting ready to leave and Samuel joins him and walks with him to the edge of town.  Saul is probably wondering why Samuel was so interested in him and why he is walking with him to the edge of town.

When they get to the edge of town, Samuel stops, takes a vial of olive oil and pours it on Saul’s head, anointing him, and then kissed him.  Whoa, what just happened?

Samuel then tells Saul that God has made him the ruler over his people, the people of Israel.  He just anointed Saul King of Israel.  He then goes on to tell him what is going to happen next as they travel home, who they will meet, and what he should do each step along the way.  As Saul turns to leave God does a work in his heart and fills him with the power of God and everything Samuel said would happen did happened.  Saul did just what Samuel told him to do and he became the King of Israel.

So maybe you have been out searching for lost donkey’s and you do not know where to go next to look for them.  In other words searching for your purpose in life. Here are some things to think about from this story:

  1. Don’t be discouraged because God often works that way.  He sends us off looking for donkey’s and we end up finding God in unexpected ways.
  2. When the timing is right God reveals to us what we need to know for the next leg of our journey.
  3. Sometimes you need to walk through an unexpected door to end up finding the right door.
  4. Sometimes we need to go to a godly person for advice on what to do next.  God most often speaks through people like He did with Samuel.
  5. Sometimes God has an unexpected blessing, message or purpose He wants to give us, but only after searching for missing donkey’s.
  6. Listen carefully and be sure to pray and ask God for wisdom and discernment to know what is from Him and what is not.
  7. Then have the courage to take those next steps that have been laid out for you.