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?

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Power and Authority

power-001-001When it comes to leading well in life we must use our power and authority in the best and most appropriate ways. It is wrong to think that to be a leader is to be someone who can yield power and authority however we want.

Being a leader is more than being in charge. It is knowing when to do and say the right thing at the right time.

The right use of power and authority can change our world and the world of those around us.

The story of the Centurion in Luke 7 demonstrates this…

The Centurion never actually met Jesus. People loved him so much they spoke to Jesus on his behalf. He didn’t ask them to so why do this for him? Possibly because he treated them well as friends, he led himself and others in the right way. He had a powerful position but he did not use this to his advantage.

This was a more about who he was rather than what he was.

He understood authority and power and how when people with both use them well then those things you desire to be done, will be done.

This recognition of how power and authority work were a enough for him. Just say the word. It was a sign of great faith. He never sees Jesus. He just knows that Jesus has power and authority which used in the right way is enough to bring the change that he desires.

My prayer is that I would have the same faith-filled confidence in Jesus. To know without doubt that all it takes is a power-filled word from Jesus to change my world and to know this same power and authority is now in me, enabling me to bring change to others on Jesus’ behalf.

How do you feel about that?

5 Things Leaders Think About

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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

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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

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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

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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 Ways a Leader Should Focus

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Focus is important. The ability to be focused and maintain our focus could be considered one of those distinguishing features of a leader. Some just seem to have it. Some need to work a little harder on developing it, the focus toward a purpose or the achievement of something in particular. It’s not about being bossy but instead is about bringing a sense of clarity, of clear vision, of knowing what is needed at a certain time.

The opposite is therefore true. A lack of focus can create unease, an awareness that the leader doesn’t seem to know what to do or where to go. Teams are looking to be led which means as the leader there has to be a willingness to spend time giving focus to the right things at the right time.

3 ways a leader should focus…

In what we SEE. What our eyes see. What we pay attention to. What we look at. Yes, it is about the detail, to ensure what needs to be done is being done but it’s also about the people working on our behalf. When you really see your team you see their needs. and great leaders serve the needs of their team. Focus on what you see and respond.

What we HEAR. An ability to listen. To know what’s being said. The good and the bad, with a willingness to ask the difficult questions. Leadership is about hearing, not just about being doing all the talking because we are in charge. Great listeners learn what will influence the culture in a positive way. Think about what Pastor Andy Stanley says ‘Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say’. Focus on what you hear and respond.

What we FEEL. Getting to the heart of the matter. Developing the gifts within us. Discernment. Wisdom. Intuition. Instinct. Gut. Being led by the Holy Spirit. Too many times I have ‘felt’ that I should do or say something to a person, not acted and then heard later about an outcome which, who knows, may not have happened if I had been obedient to that feeling. Focus on what you feel and respond.

What do you think about this simple but powerful thought?

 

How Can I Help You Best?

You read my blog, some of you even know me personally, so I am asking you a question, one that could just help me shape the pages of this blog for the future.

Allowing for how well you know me or what you have read here – what do I know? If you were coming to me for something, what would it be? What problems would you come to me to for help? If you had a question, what would it be about?

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How Can I Help You Best?

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