Leadership Lessons from the Bible

The Law of Process

This post is part of a series of posts designed for interaction following a teaching series I did for a small group at my home church, Stillmeadow Church of the Nazarene in York, PA.  Please feel free to join the comments below as I am encouraging discussion on this topic…

The Law of Process states that “Leaders develop daily, not in a day.”  This is one of Dr. John Maxwell’s laws found in his book entitled The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.  The basic concept of the law is that we grow in our leadership capacity through a process that takes time.  We cannot simply wake up one day, attend a seminar, and begin leading at a different level.  Rather, leadership development is a day-by-day, life-long process.

As a part of the conversation surrounding our spiritual growth, I also introduced the concept of Kaizen, a Japanese term for continual improvement.  We each need to focus on daily, incremental, continuous improvements in our businesses, our families, and our personal lives.

As we apply the law of process and the principal of Kaizen to our spiritual growth, we discover that Peter has already given us instructions in 2 Peter 1:5-11 on how to grow spiritually that is very similar to those two concepts.  Beginning with “faith” as the foundation, Peter lists 8 items that we are encouraged to develop in our lives in ever increasing measure.  As we apply those things to our lives, we find ourselves growing deeper in our relationship with Jesus Christ.  Below is the list of 8 Characteristics found in 2 Peter 1:5-11.

Discussion:  To get our discussion on this topic started, please share with us one or two things that you are implementing in your life to live out the law of process.  Your comments can focus on your spiritual relationship with God, or some other aspect of your life.  So, let’s get the discussion started…

The Importance of Leadership Development In Your Organization

7 Reasons Why EVERY Organization Should Focus On Developing Leaders

As I interact with potential clients, I have discovered a recurring need to explain why leadership development is important to their organization.  Those of us in the leadership field easily understand the impact that it can have on the individual and the organization.  Take Bob, for example.  Bob is not his real name, but this is his story.

After beginning a leadership training program, Bob began to notice things in his organization were getting a bit, well, strange!  Bob leads an organization that is primarily volunteer based.  In other words, Bob implemented the mission of his organization through leading volunteers and casting the vision of the organization.  Previously, Bob had to approach people to get them involved in projects.  Now, people were coming to him and asking him how they could help him.  Bob didn’t understand what was happening.  No one had ever come up before and asked what they could do.  In fact, at times, projects were not completed because there weren’t enough volunteers to start or complete all the things that needed done in the organization.

Bob came to one of my Mastermind groups and explained his dilemma.  I explained to him that what he was experiencing was the result of his developing as a leader.  It was what John Maxwell describes as The Law of Magnetism – “who you are is who you get.”  Bob was becoming a leader and people were being drawn to him because leaders attract leaders.  His organization grew by 25% in a 6-month period and Bob was presented with a prestigious award in his field later that year.

Why did that happen?

Because Bob decided that leadership development was going to be an important part of his life and the life of his organization.

Recently, I read an article in CareerMinds entitled “The Importance of Leadership Development:  7 Facts HR Needs To Know” by Ramond Lee.  I am summarizing the main points of the article here.  I would recommend taking some time today to read the entire article.  It is well-written and clearly explains why leadership development should be a priority of every organization.

  • Having a culture of leadership development provides a positive long-term impact on an organization.
  • Leadership has been the second-most important reason givien for employee satisfaction at work.
  • With 56% of employees disengaged at work, a leadership development program engages teams and employees, making the bottom line more profitable.
  • In a recent study, leadership development has been shown to make a bigger impact on the success of an organization than even a “culture of innovation.”
  • With the importance of leadership development coming to the forefront of research, organizations are developing leaders at ALL levels in the organization instead of just the senior leadership level.
  • Another recent study found that the more a company focuses on internal leadership development, the better it performs at meeting is objectives.
  • Effective leaders within an organization are able to address BOTH efficiency AND human needs, thereby creating a better and more effective environment within the organization.

For more information on the importance of leadership development and links to the studies referenced above, refer to Raymond Lee’s article.

So, what is keeping you from developing the leaders in your organization?

The benefits are real and the success stories are numerous.  If you are interested in developing leaders within your organization, or if you are simply interested in developing yourself as a leader, contact me.  I’d love to have a conversation!

3 Leadership Mistakes of the NFL This Past Weekend

This past weekend many players throughout the National Football League decided to respond to President Donald Trump’s tweet regarding his opinion of NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem at NFL games.  This post is not a political statement, nor is it to be considered an approval or disapproval of our President’s tweet, or the response of the NFL.  Rather, it is simply a look at the response from the NFL players and leaders, viewed from a leadership perspective.  My desire is that everyone will take a moment to reflect on their own leadership style and learn how to really lead during times of conflict instead of reacting in like manner to those who have hurt us.

Their Response Did Not Address the Source of the Conflict

As I understand it, the problem was a criticism directed at the NFL owners and players by President Trump.  One leadership principle that we would do well to remember is that we need to address the problem directly in order to bring about a resolution.  The taking of a knee during the national anthem does nothing to address the source of the problem – President Trump’s comment.  As leaders, our response should always be in proportion to the problem.  If the NFL players, team owners, and league representatives felt attacked by the comments, they should address President Trump directly.  Instead, they chose to make the issue a bigger problem, which leads to the second mistake…

Their Response Brought Others Into the Conflict

Had the NFL responded appropriately to the President’s comments by talking with him directly regarding their concerns about what he said, others would not have been brought into this controversy and our nation and social media would not be in an uproar today.  The protests of the President’s comment brought the entire nation into the controversy which should have remained between the parties concerned.  Instead, the NFL’s response attacked our nation’s flag and all those who have served and/or given their lives to protect the freedom that we enjoy today.

Their Response Attacked Others Not Involved in the Conflict

The new phenomenon of NFL players and others taking a knee does not serve to protest a point.  Rather, it attacks a portion of our nation’s citizens who were never involved in the original conflict to begin with.  In essence, the taking of a knee really does nothing more than attack an innocent party in the original conflict.  It serves to continue the hurting of others in our nation.  This is a great time to be reminded of the quote “Hurting people hurt people!”  Instead of attacking innocent parties in the conflict, why not express leadership and address the problem head on?

The truth of the matter is that every day conflicts occur in our lives.  People say things, or post things on social media they would never say to the person’s face.  That serves no other purpose than to bring hurt and condemnation on others.  The pain is real and real emotions rise to the surface.  It is at those times that real leaders show their true strength!  So, how should we respond when others hurt us?  In my favorite book, Jesus gives us quite a few instructions for what to do when others hurt us.  Here are a few of them:

  • Look past the pain to see the real problem at hand (turn the other cheek).  Insults cannot hurt us unless we allow them to, and hurting others back is not the answer.  Real leaders need to learn to look past the conflict and discern the real issue at hand.  What an example that could have been set to the younger generation if they saw their NFL idols overlook the comments and not retaliate, rather than continue to add gas to the fire of the conflict.
  • Forgive others who hurt us.  Taking a knee only continues to remind others that we have been hurt and we’re upset about it.  Forgiving others shows that love can overcome even the deepest hurts in our lives.  What an example could be shown to all those who have been hurt in life if they had seen that forgiveness is more important than “rights.”
  • Talk to the person who hurt you first.  Do your best to work things out without bringing others into the conflict.
  • If you cannot work it out between you, then bring a neutral party along to help mediate the conflict.
  • If no resolution is possible, agree to disagree and move on beyond the conflict.  Refer again to the second point above – forgive!  Then, move past it.

I’ve always wondered what could happen if we didn’t give an audience to our problems.  How long would they go on?  Would the person causing the conflict just give up because no one would be listening to them?  In Charlottesville, VA, would violence have erupted if there we no anti-protesters or any media coverage?  Would the tweets continue if we just ignored them instead of making them the headline news each day?  Would you move past your problems quicker and without as much damage if we followed the principles listed above?

I am constantly reminding myself and others that the choices I make today will determine the results that I get tomorrow.  When I choose to follow the principles of leadership today, my tomorrow is so much brighter.  So, the next time you find yourself in a conflict choose how you will respond – but, CHOOSE WISELY!

Registration is now open for my October Mastermind

 

Announcing a 4-Week Virtual Mastermind course on personal growth.  If you are interested in personal growth, you will want to check this out.  Each Thursday evening in October, from 8-9pm, I’ll be on a phone call teaching on one of The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John C. Maxwell.  The cost to participate in this group is only $47.  You’ll need a quiet place to focus on the call, a phone or VOIP connection, and something to take notes with.  You WILL experience personal and professional growth as a part of your involvement in this group.  I am limiting this group to only 12 participants, so join now by clicking this LINK.  I look forward to adding value to you on these calls!

How to Discover Your Passion

Recently, I wrote a post entitled “Follow Your Passion,” in which I outlined my journey in leaving pastoral ministry to full-time leadership development.  It was a long, heart-searching process that I went through to come to the place that I am at today.  So, I thought it would be beneficial to follow up that post with a simple list of 10 questions for you to work through in discovering your passion and purpose in life.

These 10 questions come from John Maxwell’s book The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, a topic that I enjoy teaching on.  More specifically, they fall under his chapter on The Law of Awareness, which states “You must know yourself to grow yourself.”  I am assuming that if you read my blog on a regular basis, your desire is to grow as a person and as a leader.  But, how do we do that?  One of the steps is in this area of self-awareness.  Do you really know who you are?  Have you taken the time to sit down and discover the unique individual that you are as God created you?  If not, then set aside 15 minutes of your time to work through the answers to these 10 questions.  It will be time well spent and you will have a greater understanding of who you are and what your passion in life really is!

  1. Do you like what you are doing now?
  2. What would you like to do?
  3. Can you do what you would like to do?
  4. Do you know why you want to do what you would like to do?
  5. Do you know what to do so you can do what you want to do?
  6. Do you know people who do what you’d like to do?
  7. Should you do what you’d like to do with them?
  8. Will you pay the price to do what you want to do?
  9. When can you start doing what you’d like to do?
  10. What will it be like when you get to do what you’d like to do?

If you would like to learn more about growing as a person, I highly recommend The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John C. Maxwell.  I will be starting a 4-week virtual mastermind soon.  What my blog for an announcement concerning the details.  It should post in the next 24 hours.  I’d love to have you join me.  All you need is a phone and a quiet location.

Enjoy your journey of self-discovery!

New Online Community for Pastors and Church Leaders just launched!

I’m so excited to share with you the release of my new project:  Pastors and Church Leaders Online Community!  It’s a subscription-based site focused on developing leaders in churches through weekly leadership videos, interaction with other church leaders, and monthly LIVE Q&A calls!  Check out the details HERE and register for your $1 Trial Week today.

 

Two Sides of the Leadership Coin

I remember doing a math project in high school on the probability of a coin landing heads or tails.  The hypothesis was that if the same coin was flipped enough times, it should land heads 50% of the time and tails 50% of the time.  So, the project was simple.  Flip a coin 100 times and bring the results back to class the next day.  Not a single person in the class had 50/50 results.  Instead, everyone had either heads or tails as the outcome more often.  There was never a balance between the two.  I have since learned that the heads side of a coin weighs slightly more and skews the probability of a 50/50 result.  So, no matter how often we tossed the coin, one side always was higher than the other.  (I wonder if my teacher knew that?!?)

I believe that leadership is a lot like that coin.  There are two sides to the leadership coin.  Left to chance, one side will always be developed and used more than the other side.  Without being intentional about a balance between the two sides of leadership, we will naturally default one way or the other.  Our organizations will suffer and our lives will not be what they could be without utilizing BOTH sides of the leadership coin.

So, you are probably wondering what the two sides of the leadership coin actually are.  The answer is rather simple.  They are…leading ourselves and leading others.  All of leadership development can be broken down into these two areas of self-leadership and others-leadership.

SELF-LEADERSHIP is the place we should begin, but it is also the area most overlooked.

Let’s face it.  We’re busy and our schedules are full.  We want and need quick results in our organizations.  So, we assume that the best path to quick results is to develop the people in our organizations.  So we put what little time and effort we can afford into teaching others at the expense of developing ourselves as leaders.  The problems with this type of approach are numerous.  Let’s touch briefly on just two.

  • We cannot effectively teach what we do not value ourselves – the people in our organizations learn from our example.  If they do not see us living out the values that we attempt to teach them, they will not adopt those values themselves.
  • Our organization could outgrow us – if the people we are attempting to develop are able to learn and apply the principles they are taught, then the organization will outgrow it’s leader.  The Law of the Lid* reminds us that when the individual working for you is a more effective leader than you are, problems develop.  They either leave the organization or naturally attempt to assume a higher leadership role than the position that they hold.

SELF-LEADERSHIP naturally drips down throughout the organization.

In working with a group of pastors recently, one of the leaders shared that people had been coming to him over the past couple of months and volunteering to help him in specific areas within the church.  He noted that it started happening when he began working in our Leadership Training group, but didn’t understand WHAT was happening.  I shared with him that what he noticed, what others noticed, and what none of them could explain, was a natural byproduct of self-leadership.  He was changing.  He was learning how to lead and the people were unconsciously noticing a change – a change that they wanted to be a part of.  So, they began coming around him as a leader.  You see, when you focus on Self-Leadership, others naturally gravitate toward you.  It was the Law of Respect* and the Law of Magnetism* coming together as people were naturally drawn to a leader they had a growing respect for and a leader than was stronger than they were.  Self-leadership naturally drips down through the organization.

SELF-LEADERSHIP is the beginning point, but OTHERS-LEADERSHIP is the other side of the coin.

While I believe that self-leadership is where you begin in the leadership development process within your organization, it is not enough to effectively change your organization.  You MUST develop the leadership potential of others.  Those within your organization must grow as leaders and it is the leader’s responsibility to chart the course for this to happen.  If you do not develop others, you will find yourself becoming increasingly frustrated and eventually leave your organization because you are effectively outgrowing the people within your organization.  That’s the second side to the coin.  It is a BOTH/AND not an either/or scenario.

Here is a simple plan to develop both sides of the leadership coin within your organization:

  • Develop yourself as a leader.  Set a plan right now for growing as a leader.  Develop your own personal growth plan.  For one example of how to do this, check out my post called “Growth is NOT Automatic.”
  • Choose people in your organization to develop as leaders.  They should be the people whom you believe have the best potential to develop as leaders and who can best help your organization accomplish it vision and goals.
  • Finally, teach them what you have learned.  That’s right.  It’s really that simple.  If you have a plan for personal growth, teach what you are learning to those inside your organization.  That’s a great place to start developing a leadership culture within your organization.  Eventually, you will find the need to hire an outside coach, but you can begin right now by teaching others what you are learning.

Don’t forget that the leadership coin has two sides.  Use them both to effectively lead yourself and your organization!

 

*The three laws referenced are from John Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.  You can order a copy of his book here.

Follow Your Passion

Intentional Living Day 7

August 7, 2017 is the day I decided to follow my passion – here’s my story…

For quite some time, I had been asking myself “why I am I doing what I am doing?”  I had been serving in pastoral ministry for nearly 3 decades and it had been very fulfilling.  I’ve always enjoyed helping people find a relationship with Jesus Christ and watching them grow in that relationship.  I had been a student of church growth and church health and fully enjoyed helping the churches that I served grow and develop, take risks and see rewards, and follow God’s leading into new experiences of what it means to be a church that is relevant to today’s culture.

But, all the while, I had a sense that God was asking something different of me for the future.  Throughout my ministry, I had always been involved in developing leaders within the church – both churches that I pastored, and other churches through teaching, speaking, and training.  For sometime now, I have had a growing sense of the urgency for the development of leaders.  Then, on June 5, 2016, I posted an article on identifying what makes you sing.  In that post, I stated the following…

“What makes me sing is helping someone to live up to their God-given potential – whether it is someone stepping across the line of faith and giving their lives to Christ, or someone who learns a new principle or teaching that opens up the door of potential in their lives. Adding value to others and helping them achieve success in their lives is a very fulfilling experience.”

I, then, applied that statement to four areas of my life:  (1) Martial arts – helping that under-performing student discover and live up to their full potential; (2) Pastor – helping someone discover how God created them for a relationship with Him and for a purpose in this world.  As they discover that purpose in this world, they begin to live up to their full potential; (3) Coach – helping a church and its leaders discover how they can change a few simple things about their organizational systems and get great results in living up to their full potential in God’s Kingdom; and (4) Business – helping a business owner or manager discover a few simple changes that make all the difference in how they relate to their customers and employees.  Then, the business begins to find it full potential in the community.

What I didn’t realize as I wrote that blog post was the dramatic change I would be making in my life in the next year.  A few months after that post, I became an Independent Certified, Coach, Teacher, Trainer and Speaker with The John Maxwell Team.  My original plan was to expand my leadership development training within our church and my other circles of influence.  Then, in March of 2017, following a 3-day training in Orlando, I returned home and my wife and I made a major, life-changing decision.  That decision was to resign as a pastor and go into leadership development full-time.  That meant leaving behind friendships and a church family that we dearly loved.  It meant taking a risk for greater reward.  It meant following my passion.

So, on August 7, 2017, we packed up the moving van and relocated to Middletown, PA, just outside of Harrisburg.  My wife is beginning a teaching position at a local school and I am writing from my office in our new home.  I am now following my passion as a leadership development coach, speaker, and trainer.  (Now you understand my lack of posts during this transition time.)  I am excited and challenged by the great need for leadership development both in the lives of individuals and organizations, and in the lives of pastors and churches.  I still have a heart for serving in ministry and I am passionate about serving God and the church in this greater capacity.

That’s MY story.  What’s yours?  You see, we all have something about which we are passionate.  It might not be what we are doing right now.  It might be something totally different and in a different location, but we all have a story.  What are YOU passionate about?  What makes YOU sing?  Once you find it, follow it and give yourself to it.  You might just be surprised by where it leads you! 

 

Growth is NOT Automatic

Everyone needs a plan!

Growth is NOT automatic.  No matter what area of your life you are referring to, growth doesn’t just happen.  Your physical growth is based upon proper nutrition and exercise.  Your intellectual growth is based upon planned learning and ever increasing intellectual challenges.  Your spiritual growth is based upon time spent with your Creator and time in his word.  Your emotional growth is based upon the quantity and quality of your relationships with others.  In other words, growth must be planned.  It must be nurtured and fed.  It must have a design.  For growth to happen in your life, it must be INTENTIONAL!

If growth is not automatic and if growth must be planned, then what is your plan for growth?  Do you HAVE a plan for your personal growth?  Or, are you just living life on autopilot, hoping that growth will happen as you go through the day-to-day moments of life?  Most people go through life without a plan for growth.  But, successful leaders have a plan for growth.

In developing your plan for personal growth, consider the following…

  • Schedule a TIME for growth. Put an appointment on your calendar every day that is set aside for your personal growth development.  It may be 10 minutes, or it may be 30 minutes, or even an hour.  Start small, but place an appointment with yourself every day to work on your personal growth.  Guard that time and don’t let anyone schedule over top of it.
  • Set up a PLACE for growth.  Whether it’s your office, or a room in your home, set up a place to develop your personal growth.  Have all the materials you will need right there (i.e. books, notepad, pens, highlighters, etc.).  Having everything you need in one place at all times will save you valuable time having to go and search for what you need each day.
  • Decide WHAT you are going to do.  Is it a DVD or a book study, or audio files you want to listen to and take notes?  Whatever it is, make sure that it lines up with your goals for your life and vocation.  Since I write a leadership blog, I am a firm believer that your personal growth strategy should be focused on developing your leadership skills.  Growing in the area of leadership will help you improve every other area of your life.

At a recent training event for The John Maxwell Team, our leader, John Maxwell, challenged each of us to develop a personal growth plan based around one of his books entitled “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.”  I want to share that plan with you.  Take the plan, buy a copy of the book here, and make this your strategy for personal growth for the next 12 months.  Or, choose another study and make a plan of your own.  Using your own plan or John’s plan really isn’t the focus.  The focus is MAKE A PLAN – AND WORK THE PLAN!

Here’s John’s plan for The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth…”

  • Week one:  study chapter 1 – The Law of Intentionality
  • Week two:  study chapter 5 – The Law of Consistency
  • Week three:  study chapter 14 – The Law of Expansion
  • Week four:  study chapter 15 – The Law of Contribution
  • Months 2-12:  study one of the remaining chapters each month

Make a plan for personal growth and work the plan.  Your business and/or career will only grow to the extent that you grow.  If you raise your level of leadership ability through developing a personal growth plan, your success will increase exponentially.  So, what are you waiting for?  Get started right now with your personal growth plan.  Then, come back to this post and share in the comments section what you are learning and how your personal growth plan is helping you develop as a leader!

 

February and March have been very busy months preparing for and attending the March 2017 IMC Event in Orlando, FL.  I had the opportunity to learn from some of the very best teachers in the areas of speaking, coaching, and training.

Look for my regular posts to begin again next week!  I look forward to sharing some of the great leadership truths that I’ve learned.