Learning How to Learn

I was recently reading a short book entitled “Managing Organizational Change” and came across a great quote that is very applicable to pastors:

Today, it is more important for workers [or pastors] not to know a particular set of skills; but to understand how to learn. To be successful, people today have to master how to learn a wide range of new skills quickly. They have to be open to changing old ways of doing things in order to learn new tasks and adapt on new skills. Most can’t stay narrowly specialized, they must become generalists.

Outcome-Based Leadership

Tony Morgan had a great post today on how we lead others.  Here’s a short excerpt:

I was talking with a friend about a familiar passage of the Bible. It’s called the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). Jesus told this story. He told lots of stories. Read it.

I’ve probably read that passage a hundred times, but this new learning jumped out yesterday. Consider the “master” in the story. His reaction to all three servants is very interesting. When the servant with five talents doubled his money, the master said, “well done.” When the servant with two talents doubled his money, the master said “well done.” The master didn’t hold the servant accountable for how the money was invested. The master held the servants accountable for the results.

But the master’s response was different for the servant with one talent. That servant just buried the money. In this instance, not only did the master acknowledge the poor outcome, the master also recommended an alternative plan. “You should have put my money on deposit with the bankers.” It was only after identifying a poor outcome that the master was concerned with the execution.

You can read the rest of the post here.

In what ways does this affect how you lead?

Excelling on Your Team

Most of us, if not all of us, serve on a team/staff of some sort. Whether it’s in our workplace, at church, or in a community organization, we serve alongside others and answer to a leader/direct report. As the member of a team our goal should always be, “How can I excel in the role I am serving?” With that goal in mind, here are a few thoughts on excelling as a team/staff member:

  • Do what is expected. We often look to do the extra things, but an excellent staff member does what’s expected first. You’d be surprised how encouraging (and rare) it is for a leader when their staff simply does what is expected.
  • Think ahead. Get a feel for how your leader works and try to think ahead. Your leader shouldn’t need to constantly be reminding you and keeping you on task. That doesn’t mean you necessarily work ahead – you want to make sure you’re working on the tasks/projects your overseer desires, while thinking ahead to what might be next.
  • Do what you do with excellence. Don’t just accomplish tasks, but do them well. Look for opportunities to accomplish tasks/projects in a way that sets them above.

Question.

Question…What happens when a pastor has no vision?

Question…Does this really result in no vision at all?

Question…Can a group of people ever gather together without vision?

Question…If the pastor has no vision, then what vision are people following?

Question…What vision are your people following?

or a better Question…Who’s vision are your people following?

Remaining a Positive Leader

I read a great post on the ‘Leadership Now’ blog.  One of the things I always strive for in my own leadership is remaining positive.  I think it can often be the key between success and failure.  Here’s a great quote they referenced in the post mentioned above:

Positive leaders are unusual in that they choose to emphasize the uplifting and flourishing side of organizational life, even in the face of difficulty. It is not that they ignore the negative or adopt a Pollyannaish perspective, but they counter the tendency toward negativity with an abundance of positivity. In the absence of such emphasis, negative inclinations overwhelmed the positive and a negative climate is the default option.  (Kim Cameron in Positive Leadership)

Being a Good Steward of Influence

One of the greatest tools a leader has isn’t money, but influence.  With that said, there are a lot of similarities between money and influence:

  • Managing the influence we have can often lead to greater influence.
  • Influence can be given, but it’s most effective when it’s earned.
  • As with money, the more influence you have the more complicated things become.
  • Influence can be invested and when done right, growth is exponential.
  • We are not promised more influence then we already have.  We must be good stewards of the influence we are given.
  • Influence doesn’t grow on trees…use it wisely.

Any you would add?

The Zoom Button

Just about any digital camera made today has a zoom function. It allows you to zoom in on a specific detail or zoom out to see the big picture. I wish it was just as simple to do the same thing in leadership. To be honest, one thing I am personally striving to work on is my ability to zoom in and zoom out as a leader.

This is a vital skill for any leader to develop. There are moments when you have to be zoomed in to see the detail of a situation or event. But you have to just as quickly be able to zoom out and see where that detail fits into the whole. The more responsibility you have as a leader, the more it will be necessary to zoom out. This is often where the leader/pastor of a smaller organization/church can get stuck. They allow themselves to be so involved in every operational detail that they lose the ability to zoom out and see the big picture.

Vision is a necessity for the growth of any organization and progressive vision is not possible when you’re zoomed in. When you’re zoomed in you become so overwhelmed by the detail that you can’t even comprehend exerting enough energy to progress. It is crucial for every leader to zoom out periodically and see the panoramic view of their organization. This allows them to see where they’ve come from and where they see their organization going.

How about you – how’s your zoom button?

Leadership Flows From Within

Here’s a question:  When a leader goes on vacation, do they stop leading?

I would say no.  Sure they are not (or should not) be going full-steam ahead, but I think a true leader just leads naturally.  It’s not something they work up or force, it’s almost as natural as breathing or eating.  Why is that?  Because I believe when Jesus said, “Go and make disciples…” he was saying you all have the potential to lead others as you allow me to lead you.

What that means is we will lead most effectively as we are allowing Christ to lead us.  In practical terms, the more time you spend in the presence of God, the better the leader you will be.  Now, there are leadership principles and practices that you need to learn to be an effective leader.  But I would say the difference between a good leader and a dynamic leader is knowing who is leading you.

Remember – you have potential to lead.  Don’t write yourself off, but allow God to lead you as you lead others.

Confidence As a Leader

I have read a number of writings explaining how many leaders lack vision.  I would definitely agree, but I believe a secondary hindrance to growing an organization is not necessarily a lack of vision but a lack of confidence in the vision.

Something I’ve learned is that I will be most passionate and assertive with those things I am most confident in. For example, when in high school I experienced some resistance by our school administration in establishing a Bible Club.  I had just done a lot of research for a paper and new the law in this area inside and out.  My confidence on the topic was great therefore my ability to defend it was great.  Without that confidence I would have been apprehensive at best.

Too many leaders aren’t necessarily lacking vision, they’re lacking confidence in their vision.  How does that confidence come?  It comes when we own the vision personally. When it’s something flowing out of our very being!  If we can own the vision personally, we will share it with passion and be able to defend it with a unique intangible called confidence.

What’s the vision for your organization?  Are you confident in that vision?

Relational Leadership

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet with the new student body president at Central Bible College and we were discussing different styles of leadership.  There are those that strong-arm their power onto others and then there are those that lead through relationship.  I tend to do the second and I think it’s actually more effective.  Now there are situations where you need to switch between these, but for the majority of situations, I think leading through relationship is most effective.  Here are some thoughts on this approach to leadership:

  • A leader that builds relationships with those they lead is depositing into a relational account that one day will reap exponential benefits.
  • Building relationships as a leader doesn’t mean you spend hours with everyone you lead – it simply means you present yourself as approachable and relational.
  • The leader that leads simply out of position or title will see those they lead accomplish no more than what is asked of them.  The leader that leads through genuine relationship will see those they lead consistently exceed expectations and go the extra mile.
  • Leadership is biblical.  Leadership is God-inspired. Therefore leadership should reflect the character of God – to be effective, leadership should flow through relationship with genuine love and concern for those you are leading.

Do you see the benefit of leading relationally rather than positionally?

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