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3 Things Leaders Listen For

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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?

 

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?

 

Why Should People Follow You? [Friday Leaders Post]

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I have learned the hard way that leadership is about more than title, it’s about more than being in a role for a long time, it’s even about more than being the oldest person in the room.

Maybe we are in a leadership role or we have a desire to be a leader in the future. Wherever we find ourselves on the leadership journey it is important that we are willing to reflect on our progress.

I have made a quick list of things that I think every leader should reflect upon., especially would-be leaders.  They may not be worded brilliantly but I hope you get the sentiment behind them. This is the kind of self-awareness I would rather discover for myself, while praying and seeking God, than have some random person come up and tell me.

Take some time to think about which side of the sentence you fall on?

You want to be a leader who others will follow but are not willing to be the follower of your own leader.

You talk about being an example but are not an example. 

You talk about giving but don’t give. 

You are happy telling others what needs to be done but not happy to do anything yourself. 

You consider your own image and reputation to be more important than that of your team. 

You say it’s all about Jesus but when people see you their opinion would be that it’s all about you. 

You talk about being teachable but are unwilling to listen to others and learn. 

You talk about a need for grace but are unforgiving towards others. 

You talk about being a leader but don’t actually lead. 

You want to be judged by your intentions while judging others based on their actions. 

You are quick to complain about others but not quick to receive the same complaints made about you. 

You see the speck as a problem in another’s eye but avoid the honking great tree in your own.

You pay attention to the level of good character and integrity in other leaders while not paying enough attention to your own character and integrity as a leader.

Leadership isn’t easy, not should it be. Like anything we want to be successful at, it takes hard work, determination, perseverance, a lot of honesty and a willingness to learn and to change.

What might you add to the list?

Leaders Are Show Ups, Not Show Offs

Leadership is a funny thing. I have learned many things during the past twenty-odd years in various leadership roles, some of which have been much simpler than others  to grasp but no less important. This would be one of them: leaders show up.

Think about it, in all different arenas of life, from politics, to business, to the local community, to the church and in sport, we look for the leaders. We celebrate those individuals who dare to make a decision, those who will lead, those who will grab the game by the scruff of its neck, those who instill some passion in others, or who bring clarity to proceedings. They remind us about the cause, that it is possible and show us how we can get there.

People are looking for a leader who will show up, and not just at the end when the plaudits are out. This kind of leader displays a characteristic often taken forgranted by those who ‘have made it’ and who begin to forget to show up.

Be the kind of leader who will show up, not just show off.

Show up to get stuff done.
Show up to work alongside your team.
Show up to say thanks to that team.
Show up in good times.
Show up in a crisis.
Show up all the time.
Show up when it’s convenient.
Show up when it’s inconvenient.
Show up when there is no one else to see you show up.
Show up and become credible.
Show up on time.
Show up and be the best leader you can possible be.

Leaders Needs Some Self-Control

Reading Ben Franklin’s autobiography has challenged me in my leadership. His ability to come up with a plan for how to do life at the age of 20 is astounding. I’m 45 and still trying to figure some of that out.

He possibly birthed the idea of self-discipline and how such an attitude helps in producing a successful life. Let’s be honest, he did alright on that philosophy. My leadership and therefore my influence is poor in comparison, but I am inspired.

Here are the 13 virtues that he determined to improve and in so doing believed he would see an improvement in how life turned out…

Temperance: eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation. In other words don’t overindulge in food or drink. In keeping this he felt that others would easier to follow.

Silence: speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation. This is first to gain knowledge, which you do better by listening rather than always talking. Second it was about stopping the silliness, the prattling & joking as he put it which is the lowest form of conversation.

Order: let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time. Order is about making progress, having time for the right and beneficial things. It requires self-discipline to keep all aspects of business within its allotted time.

Resolution: resolve perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve. If you say what you’re going to do it, then do it.

Frugality: make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; waste nothing. This is not about being stingy but about being purposeful with what you have.

Industry: lose no time; be always employed in something; cut off all unnecessary actions.  Laziness is not a virtue to be celebrated. A willingness toward hard work, contributing and adding value is essential. You want success as a leader and a person then frugality and industry are extremely worthwhile partners.

Sincerity: use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly. Words matter. How we treat others matters. Personally, I would rather be thought of as sincere than insincere.

Justice: wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty. Be ready and willing to fight for what is right. Don’t knowingly hurt another or knowingly avoid standing on behalf of another either.

Moderation: avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve. 

Cleanliness: tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes or habituation. A leader who cannot look after themselves well is not a leader that others would want to follow.

Tranquility: be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or avoidable. Keep the peace, be at peace, don’t rise to everything.

Chastity: rarely use venery (sexual indulgence) but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation. Enough said really.

Humility: imitate Jesus and Socrates (that’s according to Ben Franklin)

How would you score? I looked at this list, amazed at its simplicity but also at its depth and power in its potential for making me a better leader. So I thought I’d give the plan a go. Franklin kept a record at the end of each day to note if he had failed, the aim being that with the focus on one virtue each week he would begin to see some change over time.

I’ll let you know how it goes. Or if you know me, maybe you will let me know how it goes.

5 Benefits for Knowing ‘Why’ We Are Doing This

Simon Sinek in his book ‘Start with Why’ says that ‘people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it’. WHAT can change but WHY is simple. It’s the discipline to never veer from the cause.

It captures the heart. The vision, the cause, is the why. It can grab someone’s imagination as they begin to see what could be possible.

It’s bigger than what we do. Why isn’t what. What we do can almost be irrelevant when we understand why we are doing it. That kind of belief can help build great success.

It keeps us going when it gets tough. What we do can get boring, inconvenient or tiresome. On those cold, rainy days we can opt out of ‘what’. The why reminds about the difference we are making or the reason for what we are doing.

It encourages people to be creative. If the why is clear then people have a freedom to be creative with the what. Leaders shouldn’t have to come up with all the best ideas, instead, the ‘why’ creates that environment where great ideas can sprout from anywhere.

It brings what you do to life. When those within get the why, then people will see what you believe through what you are doing.

I have not always been great at explaining the why. I know that I still get it wrong.  I can argue it’s not my role as I’m not the lead man, but that’s a cop out. If I lead people then I have to be concerned about the why. If I am part of the organisation then understanding the why is my responsibility. If it’s not clear, I should ask.

Telling people what to do isn’t difficult. To articulate the why though, requires time, thought and care. That a whole lot of effort. It doesn’t always come easy. I have to give more than a ‘just because’, or point to my position.

It has to be important to me because the why is inspiring, it stirs up passion and people are more willing to give their time, talent and treasure to a really good, strong, clear why.

Are you somewhere that has a strong why? As leaders, are we doing all we can to help others grab a hold of that why?

50 Things That Every Leader Should Consider

Here’s a list of things that should concern anyone who wants to be a leader. I might unpack them throughout 2016. They are not in any particular order at the moment.
  1. Knowing the ‘why’?
  2. Understanding success
  3. Learning from failure
  4. Getting out of your comfort zone
  5. Becoming magnificent & not being ordinary
  6. Advanced decision making
  7. Making great decisions
  8. Building the right reputation
  9. Learning to speak well
  10. Having respect
  11. Being truthful
  12. Communicating effectively
  13. Learn how to get your point across
  14. Difference between good and great
  15. Integrity
  16. Setting higher standards
  17. Changing things
  18. Increasing your capacity
  19. Lifting your game
  20. Understanding the relationship matrix
  21. Building the right relationships
  22. Being disciplined
  23. Investing in yourself
  24. Keeping the BIG picture in mind
  25. The power of a goal and doing them right
  26. Better time management
  27. Your attitude
  28. Having a spirit of excellence
  29. Using your initiative
  30. Having some determination
  31. Finishing well
  32. An eye on the detail
  33. Taking responsibility
  34. Taking risks
  35. Pioneering
  36. Listening well
  37. Knowing how to be assertive
  38. Confrontation
  39. Handling the criticism
  40. Knowing your purpose
  41. Developing others
  42. Always serving
  43. Adding Value
  44. Developing your ability to see
  45. Understanding the power of ability
  46. Building a team
  47. Dealing with the overwhelm
  48. Stopping the procrastination
  49. Mentoring and being mentored
  50. Always learning
I would love to hear from you.
Would you add anything else?
What do you think comes first?