Leading Well Throughout 2017

I wonder where we need to lead better in 2017. If you’re like me and can be honest enough too, then there’s probably a decent list. 

Let me suggest 3 areas to start. In fact these are not mine really, I’ve stolen them from Jesus. 

Jesus talked about the greatest commandments being as follows…

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. [Matthew 27:37-39 ESV]

So a good place to start when it comes to leading well in life throughout 2017, in whatever sphere of life could be in these 3 areas which will help fulfill these commands…

Leading myself well – keeping a healthy soul

Leading others well – watching how I think and speak about others

Leading with God – keeping a strong walk with God

Do you agree? Where would you say you need to lead well in 2017?

Advertisements

Kickstarter Project Launched

book-header

The dream of seeing the book released takes another step today with the launch of my Kickstarter project. You can have a look here: my leadership book published

After a casual conversation with a friend about being a leader, 19 is the book where I am sharing the leadership lessons I have learned over 25+ years as a leader to my younger 19 year old self.

Why 19? That was when I got given my first leadership opportunity. A great couple asked me to take the lead. They saw something in me which I definitely didn’t see in myself. I had a lot to learn.

So this is very much my story. I have tried to be as honest as I can while keeping it a practical resource, with reflective questions at the end of each chapter to get the reader thinking about their own leadership journey. Plus some guest authored chapters too.

Every pledge is a pre-order so if you would like a copy then I hope you help to make this happen. When successful then the manuscript will be sent to the publishers with the aim of having all completed by May 2017.

Thanks for having a look and I will keep you updated along the way. If you choose to support the project then a MASSIVE THANK YOU!!

 

10 Days….

When there were 80 days left of 2016 I wrote a blog outlining some of the things I wanted to get done by the end of the year…here’s an update.

New site…not quite there yet. But the behind the scenes I have been working on the content.

The Walking With God 45-day devotional is complete and going out to a few for editorial suggestions.

The leadership book ’19’ is done. [See image] book-header

Guest chapters are back, editorial suggestions are in and final amendments are being made. I will be launching a ‘Kickstarter’ project at the end of the month. Publishers are ready for the manuscript in February with a hopeful date for release being May 2017.

Thanks for all the support and encouragement. Maybe you set off to ‘get some stuff done’ towards the end of this year. How has it gone? I haven’t overcome the procrastination completely but I am glad to have got over these few hurdles. One thing I have managed to do is convince myself that ‘I can’. I am excited for 2017 and all that God has in store for me.

5 Things Leaders Think About

blogs-001-001

A leaders view is usually different to everyone else. They have already seen where they want to take people. The vision is very clear. Just like standing on the mountain top on a clear day, seeing for miles in full colour, all around, a great panoramic view. The challenges lay more in how to take everyone on the journey, to help them to see the future and to want to make progress towards it.

Leaders maybe look out from the summit and wonder how shall we do this? They think about the difficult questions, the balance different aspects and facets of leadership and decision making like others on the journey with them may not.

From my limited experience here are 5 possible areas of thought (potential areas of disagreement)

Big picture  vs  Small details

Making decisions individually  vs  Making decisions collaboratively

Listening to the right opinion  vs  Ignoring the wrong opinion

Staying inside the lines  vs  Thinking outside the box

Honouring the past  vs  Living for today  vs  Building for the future

6 Reasons Why Leaders Should Pray

pray-002-001

My leadership is influenced by my Christian faith. The ‘how’ of my leadership has to reflect the ‘who’ I live for, and that is Jesus. If I lived for myself and my own ambition then my leadership would reflect that. This is why prayer has become such a non-negotiable in my life as a leader.

Prayer keeps me humble. I realise this may almost be contradictory as a statement but asking God for help reminds me that without Him working in me and through me, I am limited. It keeps my leadership from becoming all about me.

Prayer is the one thing I can do for all of those on my team. I cannot always meet all their specific needs but I can pray to my God who can.

Prayer invites God into all that I am doing. To ask for wisdom, insight, clarity, ideas. It creates space for me to hear Gods voice and that is just an essential for any Christian leader.

Jesus prayed. Enough said. He spent time with His heaven Father to know what He was saying and was asking Him to do.

Prayer relieves stress. The very fact we Jesus encourages us to cast our cares on Him is so freeing. In doing this we will learn how to walk and work with Jesus and His wonderful, unforced rhythms of grace.

Prayer exercises my faith. There should never be a time, whether a leader or not, when we are not believing in faith for something. Pray for that project, the event, the people, the outcome, for God to move, to see lives transformed. Prayer puts my faith in God to work when I ask Him to do something that I cannot make happen myself.

What other reasons would you give for why prayer as a leader is important?

4 Ways to Be Present as a Leader

be-present-001-001

Leadership is not really about being in charge, there is way more to it than that.

If you are having to wave around your ‘title‘ or keep reminding people that ‘you should be allowed to do what you want because you are the boss’ thenI want to suggest your leadership may be in need of a review.

The best leaders are the leaders who have a presence. Not in a ‘big brother’, or ‘the boss is watching’ kind of way. It comes through in how people behave, the culture, the communication, the atmosphere. It is hard to define, you could say it’s more ‘felt than telt’.

It’s not about being ‘the boss’ either, ‘telling people’ or even about giving directions all the time on how things ‘must’ be done. It’s not about rocking up and just complaining, correcting and finding fault. You will have a presence but it will not be a healthy one. Anyone can do that.

Instead, it’s about how you show up, how you make others feel, and how effectively you communicate both verbally and non-verbally.  It’s lending a hand. It’s giving a word of encouragement. It’s about seeing your team and acknowledging the effort. It’s about asking the right questions, hearing them and seeing what they need to make them even more effective.

I am always working hard on my leadership and the way I come across by focussing on the following 4 things…

Demonstrate a confidence in your team. Think about it, they are not trying to get it wrong. No one wants to crash. A little bit of belief makes a massive difference. Focus on the wins, give them the thumbs up, be part of the ‘we can do it’ mentality. Confidence breeds confidence.

Praise publicly and criticise in private. Too easy to find fault and go straight what’s not working or not done. I have made that mistake and it was an uncomfortable lesson to learn. When things are not quite right, they usually already know it. Save the comments and review for a more appropriate time.

Watch the non-verbals too. The face struggles to lie. Whether it be disapproval, the rolling of the eyes, or just not seeing people doing things well, the non-verbals are often more powerful than the words we speak. Smile more. Help them out if needed.

Talk with them rather than to them. Ask questions. Learn about their world. Be genuinely interested. As a leader we know what we want and we are trying to make sure others understand that.  It can seem counter-intuitive to slow things down but by being there for the team, serving them, getting involved in their lives and knowing what’s going on will eventually see a lift in productivity and progress happens.

What would you add to this thought? Do you agree or disagree? What’s your experience of a leader with great ‘presence’?

5 Ways to Help Leaders Think

thinking-001-001

Here are 5 quick things I have learned when it comes to the thinking aspect of being a leader. I recognise this may not come easy to everyone but I have discovered the importance of the thinking the process, and how much it is an essential aspect of leadership which every leader must embrace.

To not think things through could be seen as ignorant, maybe lazy, perhaps a little dangerous.

Create Space. For me I have to be deliberate and block out time, even to the point of putting it in the diary as an appointment sometimes.

Learn they way which works for you. I like a clear desk and a pile of clean sheets of paper and then I am ready to go on the journey of thinking, noting down thoughts, questions, ideas which I can come back to later. To an observer it may seem like a curious process but I have learned over the years what works for me.

Honest Reflection. We have to be willing to ask the more difficult questions. It’s not about what I think is right for me but rather what is right for what or who I am leading, to which there is a subtle difference.

Good sounding boards. My personality is more introvert and therefore I naturally lean to sitting on my own to work things through. However, that is not the best kind of leadership. Getting the right people around me can help take my own good thoughts and make them even better. Plus it is good to be able to ask someone else who you trust and who shares the same vision, values and heart as you, ‘what do you think?’

Time with God. I can have great thoughts but what I really want are Gods thoughts. All of the above are only as useful as it is to make time to hear from God, what does He think, how is He wanting to lead and direct me. One of my favourite scriptures is from Proverbs 16:9 ‘A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps’.

There are benefits to thinking things through properly, none so more powerful than just not looking like you haven’t really thought about it. People are not always keen to follow a leader who doesn’t seem to care or give them confidence of any thought or preparation.

Thinking things through builds trust. It creates a greater sense of team, if we involve them too in the thinking process. It shares responsibility too. It reveals how much you actually care about who or what it is you are leading.

Why not take some time this week and create your own thinking plan. Think about how you will make time to think. I guarantee it will be worth it, for you and for your teams.

Any other suggestions in regard to this idea of leadership and thinking?

3 Things Leaders Listen For

listen-in-002-001

Leaders need to learn listen in.

Listen for what is being said. Be present in the conversation, acknowledge what is being said. Don’t be so busy preparing your next sentence you aren’t really aware of what they are saying.

Listen for what is not being said. The cry of the heart is harder to hear. The unspoken words are harder to hear. Yet we are surrounded by people who have so much going on, most of the time life is not about hearing the actually words being spoken but how they are being said. Then we become leaders who start making a real difference.

Listen for what God is saying. God has something to say. Let’s be leaders who make time and pay attention for the whisper of God. I would rather get Gods thoughts on something than just my own but I am only going to get them if I set time aside to listen.

If we have the desire to hear more clearly we will be willing to remove some distractions and pay better attention. It’s possibly about talking less. Be more focused as a leader on the right things.

How’s your listening and what would you say we could do to help improve our listening?