ILM #013: A Wise Leader is Always on the Lookout for Liars and Gossips

Today in our Inspired Leadership Minute I want us to look at Proverbs 16:28: “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.”

In this proverb, Solomon is warning about two dangerous kinds of people. The first is the dishonest person who, through lies, creates conflict. The second dangerous person is the gossip who seeks to create division between people. So one person creates conflict through their lies, and the second person uses gossip to pit one person against another.

What is the lesson for us as leaders today?

Is it any wonder why Solomon warned about these two dangerous kinds of people? We are still surrounded by them today!

A wise leader will be on the lookout for someone who spins the truth or tells outright lies to create trouble in an organization.

The second person the wise leader needs to be on the lookout for is the gossip who seeks to spread cruel and hateful information for the purpose of causing division.

Both the dishonest man who creates trouble and the gossip can bring leaders and organizations down. Watch out for them!

Please leave me a comment and let me know how this week’s Inspired Leadership Minute inspired you!

#188: Your Values Aren’t Your Values Unless They Cost You Something

Your values aren’t your values unless they cost you something.

Values

Consider this list of company values: Communication, Respect, Integrity, Excellence. Sounds pretty lofty, right? Any decent company would like to have these values. These “values” were listed in the Enron annual report from 2000. Based on their behavior, their stated values weren’t their real values at all.

By contrast, in a letter to shareholders, Larry Merlo, CVS Caremark CEO, said, “CVS Caremark is committed to reinventing pharmacy to help people on their path to better health.” Their tagline is “Health is Everything.”

CVS put their money where their values were by suspending the sale of all tobacco products in 2014. That decision cost them an estimated $2B in tobacco product sales. Following the announcement, the public rewarded them by driving their stock price to a 34-year high.

CVS’s decision to suspend tobacco sales was costly but the decision supported their stated values and it resonated with consumers. Their stated values were aligned with their behavior. On the other hand, how would it look if they said they valued better health for their customer when they still sold tobacco products?

In the best companies, a company’s values reflect the core values of the leaders and employees in the company.

King David’s 11 Core Values

King David was described as a man “after God’s own heart” in Acts 13. David, like most of us, certainly had his shortcomings as a leader, but David wanted to be a man who honored God. At one point, he wondered what kind of values would a person have who would be allowed to worship the Lord in His sanctuary. His answer is recorded in Psalm 15:

1  LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?
2  He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart
3  and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman,
4  who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the LORD, who keeps his oath even when it hurts,
5  who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.
Psalm 15:1-5 (NIV)

 

David begins by describing two general values (v. 2):

  • His walk is blameless. He is a man of integrity.
  • He does what is righteous. He has a clear conscience because he lives a righteous life.

David then details an additional nine values (vv. 3-5):

  • He speaks the truth. He speaks the truth in love from his heart.
  • He does not slander others. He does not tell lies or gossip about others.
  • He treats his neighbors well. He cares for, helps, and encourages his neighbor.
  • He does not speak ill of others. He does not say mean or spiteful things about others.
  • He despises evil men. He does not condone evil but stands up against evil men.
  • He honors those who fear God. He gives honor to those who are part of God’s kingdom.
  • He always keeps his word. He is trustworthy. He will keep his word even if it costs him.
  • He lends money fairly. He does not take advantage of those he lends money to.
  • He does not accept bribes. He is a just man who will not take a bribe.

The result of these values, says David, is the man who lives this way will never be shaken!

When David refers to the person’s “walk” he is referring to a pattern of behavior over time. A leader’s effectiveness is directly related to their ability to demonstrate their core values over time.

It’s easy to say you espouse certain values but unless they are demonstrated by the way you live they are meaningless words

As leaders, we are called to be salt and light to the world. We are to live in such a way that our example draws others to Christ. We can only do that if we are living out our core values every day—despite the cost.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. What Are Your Core Values? Has maintaining your core values cost you economically or relationally?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

 

Category: Personal Development | Values

ILM #012: Wise Men Heed Instruction, but a Fool Rejects Correction

Today in our Inspired Leadership Minute I want us to look at Proverbs 16:22:Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly.”

This proverb contrasts a person with good sense versus a foolish person.

Good sense is also translated “understanding” or “insight.” In today’s vernacular it might be termed wisdom. Here, Solomon is saying good sense is a fountain that refreshes and sustains us throughout our lives. Good sense, understanding, insight bring wisdom that instructs and guides our life.

By contrast, fools will not listen. They will not heed instruction or correction. In fact, says Solomon, it is a waste of time to even try to instruct a foolish person because will not listen.

What is the lesson for us as leaders today?

A wise person has good sense. They are teachable. They will heed discipline. They are capable of learning and growing in their understanding.

By contrast, the foolish person is not teachable. They will not heed discipline. They are rebellious.

A wise leader will surround themselves with people of good sense who are teachable while avoiding the rebellious foolish person.

Please leave me a comment and let me know how this week’s Inspired Leadership Minute inspired you!

#187: The Principled Patriot Who Refused to Kneel

Leadership Lessons from the Lesser Known

There are times in life when a matter of principle is at stake. You have to decide; will I stand, or will I kneel?

Patriot, Kneel, Principles

Standing up for our principles requires us to muster our courage and set aside our fear of retribution or disapproval.  It requires that we stand up for what is right against what is wrong even when it is not convenient—especially when it is not convenient!

Joshua and Caleb stood up for their principles against the majority when they encouraged the Israelites to believe God’s promise and to push on into the Promised Land (Numbers 14).

Elijah courageously stood up for his principles against 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah (1 Kings 18). Elijah stood alone against 850 men but secured victory because of his faith in God’s promise.

Daniel refused to obey the law forbidding worship of any entity other than the king (Daniel 3). Daniel stood up for his principles. He continued to openly worship God despite knowing it could cost him his life.

Peter and John preached about Jesus and were jailed by the Temple leaders (Acts 4). They stood up for their principles. Refusing to be silenced, they said, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20).

Mordecai, the Principled Patriot

Mordecai is another example of a man who stood up for his principles. His story is usually overshadowed by the story of Esther, his adopted daughter, and cousin.

Mordecai was a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin living in Suza under the rule of King Xerxes. Xerxes was the most powerful man in the world at that time. Mordecai had probably achieved a position of rank in the Persian court because he was allowed to sit at the King’s Gate (Esther 2:21). Mordecai overheard a plot to assassinate Xerxes. He was able to warn the King by passing a message through Queen Esther.

After this, Xerxes appointed a man named Haman to a high position in the royal court and ordered that everyone must bow down to Haman. Haman was an Amalekite.

The Amalekites had stood against the nation of Israel during their exodus from Egypt. God had cursed the Amalekites and told Moses that He would utterly blot them out. Years later (1 Samuel 5), God ordered Saul to wipe out the Amalekites but Saul spared the Amalekite king and for that, Saul, who was also a Benjamite, lost his kingship.

There had been enmity between the Amalekites and the Israelites for hundreds of years. Mordecai viewed Haman as a representative of the nation who had stood against and opposed God’s people so he refused to bow down and pay honor to a man of the people whom God had cursed.

Mordecai stood up for his principles knowing it might cost him his life if word got back to Haman or Xerxes. Sure enough, that is exactly what happened. Haman was told of Mordecai’s refusal to bow to him and he hatched his plot to destroy all the Jews living throughout the empire.

We know the end of the story. Queen Esther, Mordecai’s cousin, set a trap for Haman with King Xerxes. Haman fell for the trap. Xerxes discovered Haman’s treachery and Xerxes had Haman hanged on the very gallows Haman had just built where he had planned to hang Mordecai.

God had miraculously protected the entire nation of Israel through the wisdom of Queen Esther, and Mordecai who refused to bow down to a man opposed to God’s people.

God honored Joshua and Caleb. God gave the victory to Elijah. God protected Daniel. God saved Peter and John. And God saved Mordecai. Each one stood up for their principles to honor God and His commands.

As leaders today, do we honor God by standing up for our principles in every sphere of our lives? Do we stand against those who stand against God and His principles, or do we acquiesce and kneel to popular opinion?

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Are there times when you have had to take a stand, perhaps against popular opinion, to maintain your principles?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

 

Category: Personal Development | Values

 

 

ILM #011: Pleasant Words Nourish the Soul and Soothe the Body

Today in our Inspired Leadership Minute I want us to look at Proverbs 16:24:Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”

In this simile, Solomon is saying gracious, pleasant words are like honey that nourishes the soul and soothes the body. In Solomon’s day, honey was not only used as a natural sweetener for all kinds of food but raw honey was also used as an antibiotic to heal wounds and soothe burns.

What is the lesson for us as leaders today?

Words have a tremendous impact, especially when they come from a leader.  What you say and how you say it has the power to build up or to tear down not only individuals but whole organizations. Gracious words and pleasant speech will build people up and bring healing to the broken.

Do what you can, even in the midst of challenging situations, to make your words gracious so that they are received openly and contribute to the well-being of those the Lord has given you the responsibility to lead.

Please leave me a comment and let me know how this week’s Inspired Leadership Minute inspired you!

#186: What Do You Say When Someone Asks, “What Do You Do?”

“What do you do?” You’ve probably been asked and answered this question dozens of times. It’s a standard icebreaker question at parties, networking events, conferences, meetings, and more.

Seed, Farmer

For many years, my answer would be along the lines of, “I am a sales manager.” Later in my career, the answer might have been “I am a marketing manager.”

More recently, after I retired for three months, the answer was “I am a student in seminary.” Then it was, “I am a minister.” By the way, saying I was a minister seemed to end conversations and scare off the most people!

These days, when asked, I will usually say, “I am an author. I write two blogs; one about leadership and the other a Bible study.”

A few weeks ago, I had an epiphany, a head slap moment, when I realized that’s only part of the answer. The real answer to the question of what I do is, “I am a farmer, I plant seeds.”

And here’s the thing. If you are a Christian, so are you! You’re a farmer. You plant seeds. Or at least you should if you are following Jesus’ command to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

I plant the seeds of the Word of God. Sometimes I get to water the seed, sometimes someone else does. Regardless of who plants or who waters, it is up to God to make the seed grow (1 Corinthians 3:6).

These days we tend to think the job of the Christian farmer to plant the seeds of the Word of God and water them is best left to the “professionals.” The folks in full-time ministry; our pastors.

Farming is Not Just for the Professionals!

In my experience, people who believe planting and watering are best left to professionals believe one of two things:

1) Jesus gave the Great Commission to the disciples so it doesn’t apply to us, ordinary people. Wrongo! Jesus said when you receive the Holy Spirit, you will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

2) Only those who have “the gift of evangelism” are obligated to be witnesses. Baloney! Jesus never said only certain people should be witnesses. Returning to Acts 1:8, Jesus said everyone who believes will be a witness.

4 Reasons You Should Be a Farmer

1) The command to witness was given to all believers (Acts 1:8). Paul, writing to the Corinthians said we are all ambassadors for Christ (1 Corinthians 5:18-20).

2) In the early church, ordinary believers were witnesses. When Saul was persecuting the church, Luke notes that as the new believers scattered they went preaching the Good News (Acts 8:4).

3) We all have a stewardship responsibility. We have been given the gift of salvation through faith in Christ. Jesus specifically told us not to hide our light under a basket but to let it shine before men (Matthew 5:15-16).

4) Farming is part of the “work” of the ministry. Paul, writing to the Ephesians (4:12), said the spiritual gifts were given to equip the saints for ministry and in this list of gifts Paul included the gift of evangelism.

Not Every Planted Seed Will Grow

By now I hope you are willing to say, “I am a farmer” because you plant the seeds of the Word of God.

Our responsibility is to plant the seed. As Jesus said, while teaching the disciples, the seed will be sown on four kinds of soil (Matthew 13:18-23):

  • The path. Satan took away the seed sown on the path.
  • Rocky soil. The hearer hears and receives the Word but has no root and dies from pressure or persecution.
  • Among the thorns. The hearer hears but is worried about the cares of the world and the Word is choked out.
  • Good soil. The hearer hears and bears fruit yielding an increase over what was sown.

Note that most of the seed that is sown bears no fruit. There is nothing wrong with the seed. The issue is with the soil it is sown in.

Leaders Lead by Example

There is no Biblical exclusion that releases leaders in the workplace from the responsibility of being responsible stewards of God’s Word.

Leaders lead by example. Therefore, let your light shine before men! And the next time someone asks, “What do you do?” you may say to yourself, “I am a farmer and I plant the seeds of the Word of God.”

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Do you see yourself as a farmer responsible for planting and watering the seed of the Good News? Do you let your light shine before men so others see it and are drawn to Christ?

I’d love your help. If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends. Just press one of the share buttons below.

 

Category: Personal Development | Obedience to God

ILM #010: Watch Out for Those Who Plot Evil and Spread Lies

Today in our Inspired Leadership Minute I want us to look at Proverbs 16:27:A worthless man plots evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire.”

In this proverb, Solomon is warning the wise leader to watch out for the worthless man who plots evil. The word translated “worthless,” means “a man of Belial” which is a name for Satan. The word translated “plots” is also translated “digs up.” So this worthless person digs up or plots trouble on purpose.

Second, this worthless person tries to destroy others with his fiery, slanderous speech. Ultimately, this worthless person will plot evil against you and spread all kinds of lies about you in an attempt to take you down.

What is the lesson for us as leaders today?

I suspect we have all encountered this kind of person at some time or another in our lives. In today’s internet driven, social media world it is even easier for the evil person to purposely make trouble for a leader with their slanderous speech. They can even do it anonymously which makes it even harder to deal with.

There’s not much you can do about evil people that are outside your organization, but certainly the wise leader can and should do everything they can to avoid association or even contact with people you know to be evil, slanderous trouble makers.

If they are inside your organization do what you can to get rid of them They reflect poorly on you and your organization!

Please leave me a comment and let me know how this week’s Inspired Leadership Minute inspired you!

#185: What Supervision Skills do You Need to be Successful?

First of all, let’s understand that people are promoted from the ranks to the first level of management for one of several reasons; they demonstrate the ability to lead others, they do their current jobs very well, they demonstrate an ability to carry out the responsibilities of the supervisor’s job, they are the most senior person in the office, or they are the CEO’s nephew.

Supervision

Regardless of how they got there, the issue is, “What supervision skills do you need to be successful?” The answers to this question are as varied as people themselves. Yet develop them you must if you expect to succeed.

The role of a supervisor is generally broken down into five areas: planning, staffing, organizing, directing, and controlling. Developing skills in each of these areas will provide well-balanced supervisors who add value to your organization.

Nehemiah, the Supervisor with Super-Vision

Nehemiah provides a Biblical model of an excellent supervisor. He had risen from the ranks of the captives to the king’s cup-bearer. As such, Nehemiah was frequently in the king’s presence and was a very influential man in the Persian empire.

In November 446 B.C., Nehemiah’s brother came to him to describe the situation in Jerusalem; the city walls and gates were broken down, and marauding tribes were plundering the city and assaulting the people. During all this, the leaders of the city did nothing.

Ezra had led a remnant back to Jerusalem in 458 B.C. They had begun the work of rebuilding the city but were stopped by King Artaxerxes. Under Nehemiah’s supervision, the same people were able to accomplish the work that had not been accomplished in the prior 12-years and they did it in only 52 days.

Why was Nehemiah successful when others had failed? The answer, his skills as a supervisor.

Planning

More work can be accomplished by accident by a group with a plan, than a group without a plan can accomplish on purpose.

When Nehemiah approached the king he had a complete plan prepared for what he needed from the king and the length of time it would take to complete the work. He knew that he would need timber from the king’s forest, letters for safe conduct, and soldiers from the king’s army.

After Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem he did not go immediately to the city leaders and call them on the carpet. Instead, he quietly spent three days surveying the city and laying out specific plans.

When he had completed his planning he got all the leaders together to explain the situation and the need for the work that he had planned, “You see the trouble we are in; Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace” (Neh. 2:17).

Note, Nehemiah did not say, “You go build this wall.” He said, “Come let us.” The people’s response to him was, “Let us start rebuilding” (Neh. 2:18).

In today’s parlance, he had a vision for what he wanted to do and he got “buy-in” to the vision from the leaders of the city.

Staffing/Organizing

Once plans for the work have been outlined the supervisor must staff the organization. In many cases, the workers are already employed but they need to be assigned their responsibilities.

Nehemiah wisely involved all of the people of Jerusalem in the rebuilding project. He had goldsmiths, priests, perfume-makers, guards, and merchants among the people working on the walls and gates. Women worked next to men. Community leaders worked next to servants.

Perhaps the most interesting strategic decision he made was to have each individual repair the area in front of their own home. These people were not experts at wall-building or gate-hanging but when faced with the work to be done in front of their own homes and businesses they took extra care and pride in completing the work quickly and with precision.

Directing

The job of directing involves much more than simply giving directions to employees. But even if this is all there was to it the plain fact is most performance related problems stem from the poor direction of the supervisor to the employee.

When Sanballat and Tobiah saw that the work on the wall was proceeding quickly they developed a plan to disrupt the work by attacking the workers.

Nehemiah heard about the plan and immediately took action; he had half of the workers standing guard and the other half working, he had each man armed, he had the man who sounded the trumpet with him at all times, he had all the people of the city stay inside the city at night, and he had guards posted day and night.

Controlling

Part of a supervisor’s job is the need to administer discipline. Nehemiah had no tolerance for those who did not share the work of rebuilding the city. Nehemiah wasted no time in taking disciplinary action. He did not wait until the wall was half-done to kick Sanballat, Geshem, and Tobiah out of the city.

You do not read about Nehemiah assigning jobs and then retreating to the palace. On the contrary, Nehemiah had the man who sounded the trumpet with him at all times so he must have been outside on the wall, watching the workers. He was a very early example of MBWA, “Management by Walking Around.”

One Final Thought

Nehemiah was a man of God. From the moment he heard about the problem in Jerusalem he began praying and seeking God’s direction. When he was faced with difficult situations, he prayed. When faced with trouble from those who wanted to stop his work, he prayed. When the work was finished, he prayed. Importantly, he also led the city back to a commitment to God.

Could it be that the failure of previous leaders to rebuild the city was due to their lack of faith in God to enable them to do the work? Perhaps. But one thing is very clear. Nehemiah accomplished what he accomplished because he kept his focus on God. A man who trusted and relied on God all the time.

When we are in the crush of a deadline it is our natural inclination to exercise our might to accomplish our work, rather than taking a moment to seek God’s counsel. A really good supervisor understands that taking the time to seek God’s will is the most important supervisory skill of all.

Bonus Whitepaper

This week’s post is excerpted from a 6-page whitepaper entitled, What Supervision Skills do You Need to be Successful?

This whitepaper is a broader discussion of the skills you need to be a successful supervisor:

  • Planning.
  • Staffing
  • Organizing.
  • Directing.
  • Controlling.

You can download the free 6-page whitepaper here: What Supervision Skills do You Need to be Successful?

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Is there a supervision skill you think is most important? Why?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

 

Category: Skills | Structure/Organization

 

ILM #009: A Wise Man’s Speech is Judicious and Persuasive

Today in our Inspired Leadership Minute I want us to look at Proverbs 16:23: The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips.

This proverb is very similar to Proverbs 16:21 that we discussed two weeks ago. The repetition of the instruction underscores its importance to us.

A wise man ensures that all his speech is judicious and that makes his speech more persuasive. What does it mean to be judicious? Judicious means to be prudent, wise, sensible, to exercise good judgement. So a man whose speech is judicious will select their words in such a way that they will be more persuasive.

What is the lesson for us as leaders today?

A wise leader knows the importance of controlling their tongue in a discerning manner. They know what to say and more important, they know what to leave unsaid!

What you say is a reflection of your heart. The wise leader speaks from a wise and loving heart. The result is their speech is more persuasive than the fool who cannot control his speech.

Please leave me a comment and let me know how this week’s Inspired Leadership Minute inspired you!

#184: How Do I Trust Thee? Let Me Count the Ways!

Back in the late 70’s mood rings were all the rage. They changed color supposedly indicating the mood of the wearer.

Trust, Mood Ring

I wish there was something like a mood ring to determine if someone was trustworthy or not! The trust ring would turn color based on how trustworthy the wearer was. If you were lying through your teeth to me, it would be red. If I could count on every word you uttered as being the truth, it would be green.

Politician’s rings would be red most of the time. Police would solve crimes faster if they had trust rings to put on suspects. All-in-all, the trust ring is a much better idea than Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth (young people – look it up).

My problem is I tend to trust people quickly and completely. Sometimes that led to great relationships. Sometimes my tendency to trust quickly has been met with bitter disappointment. I trusted salesmen to deliver on their promises. I trusted co-workers to deliver their work on time. I trusted bosses who promised a raise or a promotion.

Yep, in my life there have been lots of times when having a trust ring would have come in very handy!

Slightly older and somewhat wiser, I now look for specific characteristics in people as indicators of trustworthiness. Together, these five characteristics are sort of my own Trust Ring.

1) Trustworthy people don’t gossip.

Trustworthy people do not traffic in gossip and can keep a confidence. When you share a confidence with a trustworthy person you can be sure they won’t repeat what you said around the office water cooler.

“A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret” (Proverbs 11:13).

2) Trustworthy people are encouragers.

Trustworthy people are natural encouragers. They have the ability to make you feel better during even the most trying times.

“Like the coolness of snow at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to those who send him; he refreshes the spirit of his masters” (Proverbs 25:13).

3) Trustworthy people are reliable.

Trustworthy people are consistent and reliable. You can count on them to do what they promise.

“So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches” (Luke 16:11)?

4) Trustworthy people are honest.

Trustworthy people are consistently honest. They are honest all the time, not just when it is convenient.

“At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent” (Daniel 6:4).

5) Trustworthy people are healers.

Trustworthy people are reconcilers. They bring healing to difficult situations. Untrustworthy people are divisive. They make difficult situations worse.

“A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a trustworthy envoy brings healing” (Proverbs 13:17).

These five characteristics are my Trust Ring. Feel free to borrow them and use them yourself, at least until someone makes a real Trust Ring, or Wonder Woman comes along with her Lasso of Truth.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you known and worked with someone who was trustworthy? Someone who was untrustworthy? How did their behavior impact the organization or you personally?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

 

Category: Personal Development | Integrity