ILM #026: Watch Out for the Careless Worker

 

Today in our Inspired Leadership Minute I want us to look at Proverbs 18:9: One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.”           

This proverb is pretty straightforward. Here Solomon is saying a person whose work is careless or sloppy is as bad as someone who intentionally destroys what has been built.

What does this mean for us as leaders today?

Solomon’s equating the person who does sloppy work with someone who intentionally destroys as harsh, but think about it.

We don’t tolerate people in our organizations who purposely destroy what we are working to build because they impede the progress of the organization.

What about the person or is careless or sloppy in their work? Their work has to be corrected or completely redone. You expend precious additional resources to make up for their sloppy work.

Everybody makes mistakes. Goodness knows I’ve made gazillions of them over the course of my career. So let’s be gracious as leaders and help people correct mistakes they make and learn from them.

But when the need arises, and someone is habitually careless or sloppy in their work, it is best to find other work that suits them better, or even help them find a new career.

That’s it for this week’s Inspired Leadership Minute. My prayer is that together we will be the powerful, inspired leaders God intends us to be!

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

#201: Key Learning from My After-Action Review

There is a Chinese proverb that loosely translates, “You must look to where you have been to see where you are going.” The proverb is about a man seated in a rowboat who looks where he has been to row the boat to where he wants to go.

After-Action Review

I love this image of looking where you’ve been as a guide where you are going.

The military calls a review of the past an “After-Action Review” (AAR). The purpose of an AAR is to analyze what happened, why it happened, and how it can be done better.

As the year ends, I began the After-Action Review for my 2016 goals.

Here are my original 6-goals for 2016

  1. Achieve weight goal of 200 lbs. by 6/30/16. OK, so I got close on this one. I finally settled in bouncing between 205 and 208-lbs for the last 6-months. I made it through Halloween’s candy fest, Thanksgiving, and Christmas without gaining weight, so that is a major win for me. Considering my exercise routine, I’m surprised more weight hasn’t come off, but my clothes all fit better, so I’m happy about that. My diet during the day is very clean and well-balanced. What kills me is the evening primetime “snacking hours.”
  2. Take one long and two mini-vacations by 12/31/16. Man, I really missed on this one! My plan was to convince my bride to take a spring and fall vacation, but I’m not as good a salesman as I thought. She and I got away for just one vacation, and that wasn’t until fall. I did manage to take time off work when my family came to visit on and off for about three weeks, but my real goal of getting away wasn’t met.
  3. Read through the Bible by 12/31/16. This was a no-brainer. I read through the Bible as I edited and expanded my Bible Study notes from last year. I completed the project by May, and my notes ended up at 908 pages. Can you call 908 pages “notes”? If you want to see what 908 pages of Bible study notes looks like visit my other website, http://biblestudydaily.org/ .
  4. Read ten books by 12/31/16. I killed this one! I finished reading 21 books through the course of the year, and I am so glad I did! I am convinced reading helps keep my mind sharp, it helps me be a better writer, and I got a ton of ideas for my blog topics.
  5. Attend 1-Day Business Breakthrough (Schedule TBD). This goal had to be modified. I never did hear about this conference being scheduled, so I opted for two other conferences. They were both outstanding! I attended the Willow Creek Leadership Summit in August, and the Faith@Work Summit in October. I’ll attend both of them again if at all possible.
  6. Develop Inspired Leadership Minute Video by 06/30/16. I nailed this one! My plan was to release one 2-3-minute video each week focused on a single Proverb from the Bible and how it relates to us as leaders. I batch produced these 13 at a time and hired an editor to produce the videos for me. They were released weekly during the July – September quarter. I did the same thing in September for the October-December quarter. I believe in the power of video, but I am not convinced I have found the right formula. I will take the first three months of 2017 off to evaluate and possibly develop a new format.

During the year, I made the decision to add one goal to my list:

  1. Create a Genesis – Revelation Chronological Bible Study by 12/31/16. This goal is a multi-part effort. I had to rearrange all 908 pages of my Bible Study notes into chronological order. Each day’s reading needed to be posted onto the http://biblestudydaily.org/ website and scheduled for release throughout the year. All the notes were rearranged in chronological order by July and uploaded to the website in December.

The Most Important Key Learning

Part of my frustration from 2015 was I set too many goals that required far too much time. I just couldn’t do it all. Plus, I don’t like saying “no,” and that caused me to say “yes” to a couple of projects that distracted me from my main goals.

Overall, I feel much better about the goals I achieved this year. I didn’t say “yes” to any new outside projects. I also had a much shorter list of goals in 2016. These two factors allowed me to be far more focused on the goals I did establish.

The final, and perhaps most important, piece of key learning this year is to understand the “why” of each goal. I answered the question, “Why is this goal important to me?” I found the closer I was connected to the “why” of a particular goal the more passionate I was in seeing it through to completion.

From this admission, you can probably ascertain that I was far less passionate about losing the last few pounds of weight than my other goals. I still want to work on losing more weight next year but it’s clear to be successful I will need to be more focused on my “why”!

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Do you set annual goals for yourself? If so, how do you think about evaluating your progress?

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 | Priorities

ILM #025: Beware the Smooth-Talker and the Lying Leader

Today in our Inspired Leadership Minute I want us to look at Proverbs 17:7: Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool– how much worse lying lips to a ruler!”

There is a lot to unpack in this proverb!

The phrase “arrogant lips” literally means “lips of excess” referring to someone who talks too much. The Hebrew word for “fool” means someone who lacks spiritual perception or understanding.

So the first half of this proverb, “arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool” refers to someone who talks too much and doesn’t know what they are talking about.

The second half of the proverb, “how much worse lying lips to a ruler” warns of the ruler or leader who lies. In this case, Solomon says a lying leader is even worse than the fool who talks too much!

What does this mean for us as leaders today?

Christian leaders, be wary of men who talk a lot but clearly lack spiritual perception. These men are especially dangerous because often they are eloquent, persuasive speakers.

Also, be wary of any leader or official who lies. A leader should be a man or woman of integrity, honest, and trustworthy. A leader who lies does not have integrity and does not deserve our trust!

That’s it for this week’s Inspired Leadership Minute. My prayer is that together we will be the powerful, inspired leaders God intends us to be!

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

#200: For unto Us a Child Is Born

I love that the Christmas season kicks off right after Thanksgiving because it gives me an excuse to listen to Christmas music for a whole month. Right at the top of my preferred Christmas music list are hymns with lyrics taken from portions of scripture.

Child Jesus

One of the hymns that I learned as a young lad was “For unto Us a Child Is Born.” I didn’t know it at the time, but the music was written by George Frederick Handel in 1741, and the lyrics were taken from Isaiah 9:6:

For unto us a Child is born
Unto us a Son is given
And the government
Shall be upon His shoulder
And his name shall be called
Wonderful
Counselor
The Mighty God
The Everlasting Father
The Prince of Peace.

Digging into Isaiah 9:6 we see it is rich with meaning as it refers to the Second Advent; the second coming of Jesus Christ:

“For unto us a child is born” speaks to the humanity of the Messiah.

“Unto us a Son is given” speaks to the deity of the Messiah given to the nation of Israel.

“And the government will be upon His shoulder” refers to the Second Advent; the second coming of Jesus Christ when he will reign as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

“And his name shall be called” begins a list of four attributes of Messiah’s character.

“Wonderful Counselor” The word “Wonderful” is a noun, not an adjective. “Wonderful” is His name. “Counselor,” Messiah will exhibit wisdom in His government and is the ultimate counselor to mankind.

“The Mighty God” This speaks to Messiah’s omnipotence as the supreme Ruler of the universe.

“The Everlasting Father” He is the creator, eternal, and a loving Father, He confers everlasting life on those who believe in Him.

“The Prince of Peace” The Messiah will bring peace into the world.

When we understand and appreciate the depth of meaning in this one verse, it is easy to see why Handel selected it to be part of the Messiah oratorio.

Watch the video below if you would like to listen to an incredible performance of Handel’s Messiah, “For unto As a Child Is Born” conducted by Sir Colin Davis, with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. What is your favorite Christmas hymn? What does it mean to you?

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 | Character

ILM #024: Loving Others Brings Peace — Most of the Time

Today in our Inspired Leadership Minute I want us to look at Proverbs 16:7: “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”

Like many proverbs, this one is generally true but there are exceptions. When you fulfill the command to love your enemies you will be able to make peace with many, but there will be those that reject you and the peace of the Lord.

Certainly, when you behave in ways that please the Lord, He will care for you in this world or the next, or both.

What does that mean for us as leaders today?

Jesus said in John 15:18 the world hated Him and they will also hate us as believers because they love the world more than the Lord.

Christian leaders, remember that it is our job to please the Lord. It is the Lord’s job to convict the unbeliever. We must please the Lord by demonstrating the love of God to our enemies. Whatever happens in our life and the life of the unbeliever, be at peace, knowing that God is in control!

That’s it for this week’s Inspired Leadership Minute. My prayer is that together we will be the powerful, inspired leaders God intends us to be!

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

#199: Can Tremendous Results Stem from Small Acts of Faith and Prayer?

Leadership Lessons from the Lesser Known

Can tremendous results stem from small acts of faith? Do the little things we do in faith really make a difference?

Eliezer and Rebekah Faith

The Bible includes countless examples of men and women who relied on God’s promises and stepped out in faith in a big way. But what about those little acts of faith? Can they have big consequences as well?

One of my favorite Bible stories of small acts of faith having enormous consequences is the story of Abraham and his chief servant, Eliezer (Genesis 15:2).

Thanks to Barbara P. for suggesting this month’s character for “Leadership Lessons from the Lesser Known!”

The scene opens in Genesis 24. Abraham is 140-years old and has been blessed materially by the Lord. However, his son, Isaac, still does not have a wife to carry on the family name as God had promised (Genesis 15:18-21).

Abraham believed God’s promise to make his descendants into a great nation, so he called for Eliezer. He had Eliezer swear an oath by God that he would not take a wife for Isaac from the local Canaanites but from Abraham’s extended family.

The trouble is, Abraham’s relatives lived 500 miles away, and the journey was treacherous. Abraham promised Eliezer that one of God’s angels would accompany him on the trip. So Eliezer packed up ten camels with presents to pay a bride price for Issacs’s bride and set off.

In the second scene, Eliezer had made it all the way to where Nahor, Abraham’s brother, lived. Eliezer arrived outside the town by the water well in the evening. He prayed that God would grant him success in finding a bride for Isaac. He also asked God for a confirming sign that he had found the right young woman.

Before Eliezer had even finished praying, Rebekah, granddaughter of Nahor, arrived at the well. Her actions confirmed the sign Eliezer had asked of the Lord, proving she was the woman the Lord had sent. When he realized his journey was a success, Eliezer bowed down and worshiped the Lord, thanking God for His kindness to his master Abraham.

In the third and final scene, Eliezer met Rebekah’s family, recounted how the Lord had protected him on the journey, his meeting with Rebekah, and Abraham’s desire for a wife for his son Isaac.

Rebekah’s family gave her permission to leave and marry Isaac. Immediately Eliezer bowed down and worshiped God. He gave gifts to Rebekah and her family, and they arranged to leave to return to Abraham’s land.

Rebekah married Isaac and bore him children. Abraham’s descendants became a great nation just as the Lord had promised, tracing all the way to the birth of Jesus (Matthew 1).

Small acts of faith and prayer had eternal consequences!

It began with Abraham’s faith in God’s promise. I doubt Eliezer had any sense of the role he played in the unfolding of God’s plan.

  • Believed. Abraham believed God’s promise to make him into a mighty nation and acted on that belief. Eliezer demonstrated his faith by loading ten camels with presents, assuming the Lord would bring him success.
  • Obeyed. Eliezer swore and oath to the Lord and obeyed his master, Abraham in faith.
  • Prayed. Eliezer prayed for God to give him success in his duties and even prayed for a sign of confirmation to be sure he was speaking to the right woman.
  • Worshiped. As soon as Eliezer realized God had granted him success and Rebekah was the right woman, he bowed down and worshiped the Lord. When all the arrangements were made, Eliezer bowed down and worshiped God again.

What could we accomplish as leaders in God’s kingdom if we believed and held onto God’s promises? If we obeyed Him in faith. If we prayed to the Lord for success and direction? And if we worshiped the Lord thanking Him for His grace in our lives?!

Small acts of faith and prayer will have eternal consequences in our lives as well. We may never know what difference a small act of faith and obedience will make this side of heaven. But let us be faithful in the small things so one day we will be rewarded with much!

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you seen the results of small acts of faith play out in your life or the lives of others?

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 | Obedience to God

ILM #023: Your Example as a Leader Reflects Your Faith

Today in our Inspired Leadership Minute I want us to look at Proverbs 19:16: “He who obeys instructions guards his life, but he who is contemptuous of his ways will die.”

The instruction in this proverb seems pretty clear; the person who obeys instructions preserves his life while the person who refuses to obey instructions will die.

The question is, whose instructions is Solomon referring to? He could certainly be referring to his own instructions. Since he was king he had the power of life and death over his subjects.

But I think it is far more likely that Solomon is referring to obeying God’s instructions. Thus, he is saying if a man obeys God’s instructions, he guards his life but the man who rejects God’s instructions will die.

What does this mean for us as leaders today?

Christian leaders, we are called to be salt and light to the world. We are called to set an example for non-believers that honors God in such a way that others will be drawn to Him.

To set that God-honoring example, we must obey God’s instructions, and to obey God’s instructions we need to know and apply His Word to every aspect of our lives, every day

That’s it for this week’s Inspired Leadership Minute. My prayer is that together we will be the powerful, inspired leaders God intends us to be!

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

#198: Build Performance by Learning How to Use Leadership Styles Effectively

Plus a Bonus Whitepaper

There are dozens of books about leadership and developing your leadership style. Authors have compared leadership styles to animals (lions, tigers, bear, beavers), and military generals (Napoleon, Attila, Sun Tzu, Alexander) all to help managers sort through the tough task of understanding what a good leader is.

Leadership

Business View

Most of us have been trained that the function of a manager is “Getting work done through others.” The more work, the better, preferably at the lowest possible cost. Inherent in this school of thought is the idea to use power to “control” others.

An example of this “controlling” style of leadership is portrayed in Matthew, “You know the rulers of the gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them” (Matthew 20:25).

Jesus is not condemning a leadership style that seeks to control. Rather, He is showing that it is inappropriate for the relationship between the disciples and Israelites.

Biblical View

Over 40-years ago in his book Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices Peter Drucker noted,

“to make the worker ‘achieve’ demands that managers look upon labor as a resource rather than as a problem, a cost, or an enemy to be cowed. It demands that managers accept responsibility for making human strengths effective.”

Drucker’s point is that as managers we must change our focus from managing personnel to leading people.

One can summarize this philosophy as “Getting work done with others.” The idea is to use power to serve others; to enable them to do their work more effectively.

Jesus explains this requirement for leadership; “Not so with you. Instead whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mat 20:26-28).

To the disciples, the “Gentiles” that Jesus referred to, were quite likely Roman leaders or soldiers. Imagine how revolutionary this concept must have seemed to the disciples; give leadership responsibilities to servants and slaves! From this single passage, we see the definition of a participative leadership style that emphasized the importance of relationships.

Styles Defined

There are four styles of leadership prominent in business today; Dictator, Authoritarian, Consultant, and Participative. Here are profiles of “pure” examples of each style:

Dictator. The dictator answers all the questions of who, what, when, where, and how work should be done himself. Opinions contrary to that of the dictator are not allowed.  The dictator’s biggest weakness is that he could care less about the people around him or the consequences of his actions on others. The dictator’s biggest strength is his ability to quickly summarize a situation, determine a strategy, and to act.

Authoritarian. The authoritarian usually answers most of the who, what, when, where, and how questions himself because he holds his own opinions in high regard. An authoritarian’s biggest weakness is his lack of regard for the skills of the people around him; either in using these people effectively or in recognizing the work they have done. The biggest strength of an authoritarian is their ability to gather information, decide, and act quickly.

Consultant. The consultative leader usually seeks input from others to answer the who, what, when, where, why, and how questions. But make no mistake, he usually makes the decision himself. The biggest weakness of the consultative leader is that their decision-making process is slowed by searching out and evaluating opinions from others. The biggest strength of the consultant is that their people are very loyal and perform at or near peak levels.

Participative. The participative leader seeks input from the balance of the “team” before answering who, what, when, where, why and how questions. The biggest weakness of a participative leader is that they are often incapable of deciding on their own. The greatest strength of a participative leader is that their workers are fiercely loyal, hardworking, and performing at peak capacity.

Which Style Is “Right”?

Some writers would have you believe that only the participative team style is biblically correct. But filtering this notion through the record of Scripture yields a different answer; there is no one style that is always correct, but there is probably one best style for any given situation. Consider how Moses demonstrated each of these leadership styles:

Dictator. Moses exhibited a dictator style in several situations. In Exodus 32 we have the account of the Israelites making the golden calf. Moses immediately has the calf burned, ground into powder and thrown into the water. He then made the Israelites drink the water. Moses showed no hesitation. He took immediate action to stop the blasphemous activity.

Authoritarian. Moses exhibited an authoritarian style in Exodus 18. Here Moses listens to his father in law, Jethro, who explains to Moses that Moses should set up a hierarchy of judges to settle disputes among the people. Moses listened to Jethro and immediately set up a hierarchy of judges within each family so that only the most difficult cases would be brought before him for a decision.

Consultant. Moses exhibited a consultative style in Exodus 35-39. In these chapters, Moses related to the Israelites the preparations needed for the building of the tabernacle. Moses gave specific instructions for the construction of the tabernacle and its implements. He allowed each skilled worker to complete their work. But ultimately Moses inspected their work to see that they had done it correctly (Ex 39:43).

Participative. Moses used the participative style in Numbers 13. Here Moses prepares a group of 12 leaders (one from each tribe) to explore the country of Canaan. He gave the men specific instructions about where they were to go, and a list of eight questions he wanted to be answered. When the men returned from their scouting expedition Moses debriefed them. Ultimately, Moses even let the decision of the scouting party override his own opinion.

One Last Thought

An effective leader is one who can adeptly change his management style to suit a given situation. A dictator when fast, decisive action is required, An authoritarian when fast action is necessary, but there is some latitude in how to accomplish the task at hand. A consultant when working with experienced people on complex problems. Or participative when working with highly trained people on issues that require creative problem-solving.

Regardless of the leadership style you find yourself using, remember, you are a servant to the people you are responsible for leading. It is your responsibility to find out what their workplace needs are and to help fill them. If you do, you will build the performance levels of bosses, subordinates, and peers!

Bonus Whitepaper

This week’s post is excerpted from a 6-page whitepaper entitled, Build Performance by Learning How to Use Leadership Styles Effectively.”

This whitepaper includes a discussion of:

  • A broader description of each of the four styles.
  • When it is appropriate to use each style.
  • Leadership style versus group size.
  • The importance of the servant’s heart demonstrated in all four styles.

You can download the free 8-page whitepaper here: Build Performance by Learning How to Use Leadership Styles Effectively.”

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. Have worked for or with someone who demonstrated only one leadership style? Was it appropriate for the situation? What was the impact on the organization?

 

 

Category: Skills | Leadership Development

ILM #022: Use Words of Encouragement to Build Others Up

Today in our Inspired Leadership Minute I want us to look at Proverbs 18:20: “From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied.”        

This proverb is a little hard to wrap our heads around because most of us are not familiar with these metaphors. In this case, the “fruit of his mouth” is a reference to the words he speaks. The reference to the “harvest from his lips” speaks to the result of his words.

Solomon is saying the words we use have the power to build others up; filling them, satisfying them. Words also have the power to tear down, leaving the hearer empty, starving for affirmation.

What does that mean for us as leaders today?

Has someone ever offered kind words of encouragement to you? Did their words build you up; satisfy you? Did their encouragement make you want to do more?

Or has someone come at you with harsh words, tearing you down? Did you feel discouraged, worthless? Did their verbal attack cause you to want to do more, or did you want to slink away into a dark closet for a good cry?

Christian leaders, we need to realize the powerful impact our words have on those around us. We need to be careful to always use words that that will yield a good harvest!

That’s it for this week’s Inspired Leadership Minute. My prayer is that together we will be the powerful, inspired leaders God intends us to be!

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