#049: Our Most Important Role as Christians in a Secular Marketplace

As leaders, we have a number of roles we fulfill in our businesses. We establish vision and mission, make strategic decisions, hire and fire, train and develop, coach, and so on. But there is one role that is more important for us as Christian leaders in a secular marketplace, and that is as ambassadors!

Reconcile

The Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians, said:

God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:19-20).

What exactly does it mean to be an ambassador? In our modern political world, we hear in the news about ambassadors to foreign countries. These political ambassadors are official envoys, diplomats, whose role is to represent the country where they reside to the country they are assigned.

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#048: Ten Tips for Building an Empowered Organization

Is turnover in your organization higher than it should be? Is morale low? Do people feel like their efforts are not appreciated? If so, you’re in a sub-optimized organization that cannot compete in today’s marketplace. You need to turn things around, pronto!

Empower Next Exit

You need to develop an organization where every employee is empowered to excel. There is a catch. If developing an empowered high-performance organization was easy, everyone would be doing it. The fact is, this is hard work and requires constant attention on the part of every leader. However, if you want to set your organization apart, creating an environment where every employee feels empowered is a must.

Here are 10 tips to help you build an empowered organization:

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#047: Successful Executives Empower Employees

No executive would tell you they want a sub-optimized organization complete with poor morale, absentee employees, high turnover, and lousy quality control. If executives don’t want a sub-optimized organization, why do we seem to have so many of them? Clearly the leadership approach of many executives is lacking in several key aspects.

Empowerment

If you are an otherwise solid leader, employee empowerment might just be your ticket to creating an overachieving organization that will differentiate you from all others. There are three levels of employee empowerment and each one will bring you closer to the goal of having an overachieving, high-performance organization!

Good

A lot of high achievers start their careers thinking “if it is to be it is up to me.” They want to do everything on their own and think most of the rest of the workforce is simply not up to their standard. Most good executives realize early on those employees working in groups accomplish more than each as individuals. There is a synergistic effect to strong employee work groups. Good executives provide opportunities for employees to work together as teams to advance the business.

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor (Ecclesiastes 4:9).

Better

Better executives understand that leveraging the ideas and skills of others is an important element contributing to their success. They recognize that God has created each of us unique, with specific skills and talents that enable us to contribute to the success of the organization.  Better executives work to place people in their areas of greatest strength, where their passion for the work is the greatest.

As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God (1 Peter 4:10).

Best

The best executives, the most successful executives, take employee empowerment to the next level. This is where true high-performance empowerment is achieved. The most successful executives are those who empower their employees to make decisions on their own. You cannot have a truly empowered organization even if you hire smart people and train them well, but then shackle their creativity and productivity by not allowing them to make even simple decisions.

Jesus, speaking to the apostles, commissioned them for the work, gave them authority and sent them out on their own to proclaim the Gospel.

And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing (Luke 9:1-2).

Shortly after, Jesus commissioned 70 disciples, sending them out with authority to proclaim the Gospel.

Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come (Luke 10:10).

Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you (Luke 10:19).

Jesus does not tell them exactly how they are to do the work. He does not give them a script to follow. Knowing they have already been trained, He simply says “you have the authority to do this, now go!”

Application

If you want your organization to be an overachieving, high-performance organization you need to empower people to do their best work, and then get out of the way!

Begin by realizing that you cannot do everything yourself. There are smart people in your organization who can do things better than you. Good executives bring these people together to work as teams.

Next, realize that everyone in your organization has a unique set of skills and talents and to sub-optimize their work by putting them in roles that they are not suited for results in a sub-optimized organization. Better executives break down role barriers and move people into roles where they can exercise their talents to the benefit of the organization!

Finally, real empowerment occurs when you give authority to employees to exercise their skills and talents. The best executives give employees the authority to solve problems and exercise their creativity without constant interference that damages morale and degrades performance.

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome! Have you worked for organizations where you felt limited, restrained? What was the impact on your work? Have you worked for organizations where you truly felt empowered? What difference did that make?

Category: Skills | Leadership Development

I don’t even think about a retirement program because I’m working for the Lord, for the Almighty. And even though the Lord’s pay isn’t very high, his retirement program is, you might say, out of this world. ~ George Foreman

#046: Five Lessons on Handling a Crisis from Governor Chris Christie

Regardless of your opinion of Governor Chris Christie, the recent crisis surrounding what is being called “Bridgegate” by some in the media provides insight into how an executive should react when managing through a crisis.

Chris Christie

As background, the mayor of Fort Lee, NJ did not endorse Christie’s recent run for governor. In what was seemingly a politically motivated punishment, some senior staffers conspired to shut down several traffic lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge, which connects NJ to New York, for four days claiming that the closure was to conduct a traffic study.

Christie said today when the news of the closures first reached him he assembled his senior staff and told them they had one hour to bring forth any information they might have about the closure to either his chief of staff or chief counsel. All the staff denied having any knowledge or role in the closures. Based on these interviews, Governor Christie conducted a press conference last fall saying that no one on his staff knew anything about the closure nor were they involved.

Yesterday (January 8) a news story broke in a local paper containing emails that indicated that the governor’s staff had indeed ordered the shut-down of the lanes. This morning Christie conducted a press conference to apologize, detail what he had learned, and describe the actions he had taken.

From his press conference I gleaned five lessons leaders should take when dealing with a crisis:

1)      Seek the truth. Before it even became a crisis, Christie took action by assembling his staff to seek the truth. Relying on that information he conducted a press conference saying his staff was not involved, but that his office would cooperate with the two investigations that were underway.

2)      Take immediate decisive corrective action. When the truth came out, and Christie saw the actual emails yesterday that implicated his deputy chief of staff, he confronted her and terminated her immediately because she lied to him. He also announced that his former campaign manager had been callous in his remarks, showing a lack of judgment. As a result, Christie told him to not place his name in the running for the nomination to state party chairman and to withdraw as a consultant to the Republican Governor’s Association.

3)      Apologize. Christie’s apology was directed to the people who had been inconvenienced by the lane closure, the mayor of Fort Lee, the legislature, and the people of New Jersey. His press release apology was direct, without the conditions that so many so-called “apologies” contain. For example, we often hear, “I am sorry if this offended anyone.” That’s not an apology for your actions, it’s an apology the other person was offended, as though the person was at fault for being offended! Christie took his apology a step further announcing that he was traveling to Fort Lee this afternoon to apologize to the mayor and the people directly and in-person, because he said, “they deserve it.”

4)      Take responsibility. Several times during today’s press conference Christie took responsibility for the actions of his staff. At one point he said even though there are 65,000 people reporting to him as governor, and he doesn’t know what they are all doing every minute of the day, he is still responsible for them.

5)      Make a promise. In his closing remarks, Christie said no government is perfect because it is made up of people who make mistakes. But he promised when a mistake is made he will be honest about it, deal with it head on, and take corrective actions to prevent similar issues in the future.

It will be interesting to see how this story unfolds, and what if any, further action is needed or taken. Seldom is all the truth known all at once when a crisis occurs, which makes it important that leaders continue to stay on top of the crisis, and continue to manage it carefully.

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. How have you handled a crisis in your organization? did you do something different that worked well?

Category: Relationships | Healthy Alliances

 

#045: Do You Need Encouragement? Be An Encourager!

Are you feeling lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut? Do you need someone to lift you out of that funk? Get up and go look in the mirror, because the solution to your need for encouragement is looking right back at you! That’s right, if you need encouragement the answer just might be for you to be an encourager.

Encouragement

I found this to be true in my own life. There have been times when my usually sunny disposition was blocked by dark clouds of discouragement. But, when I’ve made the effort to encourage someone else I feel better. In fact, the more I encourage others, the better I feel. The dark clouds of discouragement begin to part, allowing my sunny disposition to reappear.

It turns out I am not the first one to experience the benefit of being an encourager. The apostle Paul did as well! Paul had spent 3-1/2 years establishing and building the church in Ephesus. During that time a wealthy man named Philemon heard Paul, and became a disciple of Christ. Philemon returned home to Colossae and in time, a church was established there meeting in Philemon’s house. Onesimus, one of Philemon’s slaves, ran away to Rome. Onesimus ended up meeting Paul and becoming a Christian himself. He no doubt told Paul about the church that met in his master Philemon’s home, because in his letter back to Philemon Paul says:

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