The 19 Project: An Update

2 great things have happened this week…

Firstly, my book ’19’ will be released on the 27th October. This is a book for leaders of all ages but very much to those beginning on their leadership journey. I was 19 when I was given my first introduction to leadership, becoming the leader of the local church youth group.

Now, 28 years later, I am still leading in local church, and I am passing on what I have learned along the way. Things I know any young leader will need to learn so they can still be leading in 25 years time.

Secondly, the website The 19 Project is live. Very much coming from the premise of the book and my desire to help resource and raise the  next generation of young leaders, my hope is the site will become a hub of useful articles, free resource and eventually offer access to live Q&A’s, training material, connection with other leaders, and much more.

You can join The 19 Project and help to shape it for the future. It’s free. When you do this, you will be able to download a free chapter of the book, pre-order it at a discounted rate and take a quick survey to provide some initial feedback on the site.

Thanks for the support along the way. Not sure what is going to happen with this site but why not come over to The 19 Project now and stay in touch with all that is happening over there. You can find me on Facebook too. Click on the links below…

The 19 Project Website

The 19 Project Facebook

3 Things Leaders Listen For


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?


Today’s Leadership Reminders

Reading feedback today from our first Growth Track session last night and I am reminded of some important leadership principles…

Be willing to listen to other peoples opinions. It can make for uncomfortable reading but by involving others you have the potential to take something which is good and make it so much better. This is why I love that we are doing a ‘pilot run’ of the Growth Track, for such a reason and some of the comments are great.

Be willing to admit when it wasn’t quite right. All the planning in the world doesn’t make up for actually going through something with a bunch of people. The feedback just reminded me of things I had meant to say, they were in my notes but I just forgot.

Be willing to work hard at making necessary changes. Some of these are on me to do and then getting others to help with the rest. It’s no good listening to comments to just ignore them. Leaders execute stuff, they get stuff done and work hard to make things better.

Team is always best. This for me is an example of Team Xcel at it’s very best, collaborating on what we all agree will be a great success and help many people in their journey with God. Team can also help in making the suggestions happen too.

It’s all about helping people move on one step with God. It’s why I am excited about the Growth Track and what it can mean for people and their connection with God, with others, with their purpose and with the church family.

What have your leadership reminders been today?

Leadership Disciplines [3]

Last week I wrote about two priorities for me right now ~ to stop telling others what to do and to stop doing things that others could do just as well.

I stand by them but while I press on with a new found focus to empower I am mindful of some other leadership truths…

Some people prefer to be told what to do

Some people prefer to not do the things that I do

The challenge for me as a leader is to know when to push on these and when to back off. Unfortunately I don’t think there is any guidelines or 3-step plans for learning this either. It’s trial and error. I have done it well and I have done it badly. Maybe it’s more about that elusive leadership intuition, that ability to understand something or in this instance, someone, instinctively, a belief that there is more inside the person that they can see in themselves.

With this in mind here are two more aspects of my leadership which I will continue to be disciplined about…

I won’t stop seeing the ‘more’ in you than you see in yourself

I will keep telling you that you can do the ‘more’ than you think you can do

What leadership disciplines do you have?

[Read the previous posts here: Leadership Disciplines & Leadership Disciplines 2]

Leaders Should Lead

Well that’s obvious. Yet in my experience not something that always happens.

People like the title that leadership affords. They don’t always like the responsibility. However, if we want others to follow then we must first lead, and then model the behaviour, the culture, and the lifestyle we desire to see in others, in our teams, in our business in our church or in our ministries.

Leaders should lead all the time. It’s not something that can be dipped in and out of. You either are a leader or you are not. Leaders don’t get a day off and that can be tough. Leaders lead 24/7 so be ready for what that means.

Leaders should lead with integrity. The Apostle Paul used the phrase ‘above reproach’. It’s a conscious decision to be the same person, living by those high standards, regardless of events. It’s the discipline to be that person which then sets certain leaders apart from others.

Leaders should lead with purpose. Sometimes you just know what’s right, other times it can be a little less clear. Lead with purpose, not for popularity. Clear vision creates purpose which helps in knowing what it is right to do and what is not.

Leaders should lead even though others won’t always like it. If you are willing, then be a leader who leads. It’s easy to be the one who takes the shot, more challenging to be the one who is aimed at. That’s part of leading. Not everyone likes how you lead.

Are you ready for the adventure? Get ready. Get excited. The rewards for being a leader who leads far outweigh the challenges along the way. The only thing you have to choose is to be that kind of leader.

Don’t Take It Personally

One of the biggest things you have to learn as a leader is to not take things personally.

Leadership isn’t easy and it isn’t for everyone, so don’t make it harder by taking stuff that you don’t need to take on. Carrying extra baggage only makes the leadership journey harder than it already is. Here’s some things I’ve had to learn that are just a part of being a leader…

Pop shots at how you lead. The ‘You’re a lovely person but…’ kind of statement.

Questioning what you do. The ‘Why have you come here?’ type stuff. Or the ‘I wouldn’t do it that way’ comments.

Those last-minute changes. The ‘Can we do this now’ which comes from our leaders that can be thrown upon us.

Team challenges. Missing team. Why aren’t they turning up and how we think it’s our fault.

As a leader we have said we will carry it, we will cover it, we will own it, which means all this stuff and more is inevitable. It’s not personal. I have discovered that the only reason I take it personally is because there maybe an element of truth in it and I don’t like the challenge.

Here are the questions I ask myself,,.

What can I learn here and do I need to make any changes? Even if I 100% disagree there is obviously a perception about me coming through so I am wise to take note. Often the reasons we don’t like how we feel is because there some truth in what we hear. We are not being a very good leader. No one enjoys listening to something when it reveals an element of truth. Be honest with yourself and look at how you may need to grow. 

Who are making the challenges or comments? If it’s from those who lead me then sometimes I just have to suck it up and do it. If it’s from the team then perhaps I have to see if I’m leading them well enough. From anywhere else, I can listen but may choose to ignore it after asking myself the first question.

How am I growing myself? Sometimes I haven’t responded well to the challenges of leadership. One thing though has helped over the years ~ always be learning. Read, listen, have some accountability. Whatever works for you but I know that when I’m not doing anything to grow my leadership capacity I become more susceptible to taking things personally.

My final comment is this. Even when it gets personal don’t take it personally. Most of the the time we choose to take it personally when we don’t need to. On rare occasions it will be personal, maybe even downright nasty. Stay calm. Don’t argue. Ask yourself the questions. Move on. Don’t take it with you.

Leadership isn’t easy. It is a challenge. However the rewards are amazing and I wouldn’t change what I get the privilege to do every day.

What would you add to help leaders not take things personally?

My Leadership for 2015

I count it an absolute privilege to get to do what I do. I thank God for entrusting me to a role and allowing me to put to use all that He has gifted me with.

My prayer therefore has to be something like this, ‘Help me Jesus to do this leadership thing right’.

Bearing all this in mind my leadership focus for 2015 is quite simple…

I want to be a leader who serves others better.

I have talked about this before. Too often I can get caught up in the doing and being of leadership. All that stuff is important and needs to be done but not at the expense of others, people, connection, reaching out, helping, caring, listening, opening my world and serving.

What will be your leadership focus for 2015?