#145: Building Positive Attitudes Builds Results

10 Biblical Principles

Seldom, if ever, will a thing be done by someone who thinks it cannot be. Building your business requires the work of people who believe that a thing can be done.

The evening of October 21, 1931 lights all over the United States were dimmed to honor the passing of Thomas Alva Edison at the request of President Herbert Hoover. Years earlier one of Edison’s lab assistants said they had failed to make a working electric light despite 10,000 tries. Edison replied that they had not failed once, but that by having tried 10,000 times they were just that much closer to having found the answer.

Imagine where we would be today if Edison had replied, “You’re right, let’s quit trying.” Edison believed they could make an electric light work, and he passed that positive attitude on to his young employee.

Here are ten Biblical principles to help you develop and maintain positive attitudes in the workplace:

1. Set positive goals

Everyone knows high achieves regularly set goals for themselves. As you consider goals that are important to you make sure that they are positive goals; goals that will focus on, and achieve that which is important to you.

Paul writes, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13b-14). Paul clearly had a goal in mind, and he wasn’t going to let past difficulties keep him from reaching towards achieving future goals.

2. Develop specific action steps to achieve goals

Goals in and of themselves do not help us very much unless we also develop specific action plans that will help us achieve our goals.  

Moses did precisely this as he instructed the spies going into the Promised Land to determine the strength of their armies. Nehemiah also developed very specific action steps when he went to rebuild Jerusalem. Luke wrote, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28).

3. Review progress toward goals frequently

You can review your progress yourself, but a wise leader will also get feedback from superiors, peers, mentors, and those whose opinions he trusts. Solomon wrote, The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7).

Check progress toward goals and ask for feedback regularly. The longer you wait to assess progress the more likely you will find yourself off-course.

4. Underscore the positive

Develop a habit of reviewing your work to see the positive in what you have done. Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8 NAS). Paul’s admonition is clear; find the positive and dwell on it rather than the negative.

It is important for you as the leader to convey a positive attitude at all times, and to be able to reinforce the positive attitude in others. This is impossible to do if you focus on everything that is wrong, but is easy if you focus on the positive.

5. Associate with positive people

Attitudes are contagious so surround yourself with people who have a positive outlook. Moses understood how contagious negative attitudes are when he said, “And now, is anyone afraid? If you are, go home before you frighten the rest of us!” (Deuteronomy 20:8 LB). Moses was giving instructions to the military commanders about who should be allowed into the army. He didn’t want anyone who wasn’t fully committed that might have a negative attitude because he knew that their attitude would affect others.

Gideon provides another example as God reduces the size of his army from 32,000 to the 300 bravest men and Gideon then defeats the Midianite army that “could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore” (Judges 7:12).

6. Turn negatives into opportunities

View negative situations as opportunities. No work environment is perfect so there will be times when things go wrong. If you approach these difficult times as opportunities for growth you will maintain and spread a positive attitude in your organization. James writes, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever your face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:23). Every difficult or negative situation is an opportunity for you to stand apart from the crowd by being positive. Endeavor always to turn negatives into opportunities!

7. Maintain good physical, emotional, and spiritual health

Your good mental and physical health shapes your attitudes. Maintaining your health is an important part maintaining a positive attitude. “Being cheerful keeps you healthy. It is like slow death to be gloomy all the time” (Proverbs 17:22 GN). Making time for exercise, rest, you family, and God will go a long way toward keeping a positive attitude.

8. Believe in yourself

You have overcome difficult situations before, and the difficulty you face today is probably no worse than other situations you’ve faced. Believe that you have the skills to overcome a negative situation by maintaining a positive outlook. “If the axe is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success” (Ecclesiastes 10:10). Know that God will give you the strength and skill to face every challenge if you look to Him.

9. Serve others

Consider donating time to the service of others. The opportunities for service are endless; churches and para-church organizations always need volunteers, so do hospitals, schools, etc. Find a worthy organization and give them a few hours a month. You’ll be amazed at how this simple act of service will change the perspective you have on the rest of your life.

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul exhorts them to “Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ. So, then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Gal 6:2,10 NAS).

10. Focus on God

It is difficult to maintain a positive attitude when things are going well most of the time, and near impossible to do when chaos erupts all around us.

The key to keeping your head when all around you are losing theirs is to keep your focus on God. As Luke points out, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to one, and despite the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16:13 NAS). To keep your focus on God join a church, consider a good bible study, read your bible every day, and spend time in prayer.

One Final Thought

There are a number of people who expound the “power of positive thinking”. They say that your power to think positively leads you to positive results.

This is where the Christian leader must separate themselves; the ability to maintain a positive focus is driven by our faith in God. Consider the prophet Jeremiah’s warning to Judah, “But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when the heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8).

Keep your focus on God and you will not only have a more positive attitude yourself, but you will help those who work with you to keep a positive attitude as well.

Bonus Whitepaper

If you would like a broader discussion on this topic, download the free 6-page whitepaper, Building Positive Attitudes Builds ResultsIt includes:

  • the 4 origins of attitudes
  • the affect of attitude on self-image
  • 6 ways an employee’s perceptions inform their attitudes at work

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. How does your attitude effect your work? How does it impact how you feel throughout the day?

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Category: Personal Development | Character

#144: The Five Essentials to Adding Value to Others

As leaders, we know to be successful in the business world we need to be adding value to our consumers if we expect them to beat a path to our door. More enlightened leaders recognize the importance of adding value to employees. But exactly how does a leader accomplish this goal of adding value to employees?

Adding Value Father Son

In his recent book, Intentional Living—Choosing a Life That Matters, author John Maxwell provides five essentials to adding value to others. Maxwell’s focus is general; how we can add value to others, but I want to borrow his 5 essentials framework and apply the principles to leaders and employees.

To add value to employees I MUST:

1) Value Myself. As Maxwell says it is impossible to consistently value others if I do not value myself. In other words, my image of self controls my daily behavior. My self-image should be formed by how God views me, and He views me very highly.

  • Psalm 139:13-16 says God knitted us together in our mother’s womb, and that we a fearfully and wonderfully made. God loves us and cares for us as His children more than we can possibly imagine.

2) Value Others. People need to know that they matter to others. Much of people’s self-image is informed by the environment they live in. If they do not feel valued they will not act valued. What would happen if I demonstrate I value others the way God values them?

  • Philippians 2:13 says in humility we should value others above ourselves.

3) Value what others have done for me. If I am thankful for what others have done for me, that attitude of thankfulness will be apparent to others. Have you ever met a “negative Nancy”? Think of Eor, the donkey in Winnie the Pooh. Eor was eternally negative and pessimistic. That kind of negative attitude wears on people. If I am thankful for the many blessings I’ve gained from other people in my life it’s an easy step to express that to others.

  • Ephesians 5:20 says we should give thanks always and in everything to God in Jesus’ name.

4) Know and Relate to what others value. People naturally respond to people who show interest in them or take the time to get to know them. If I know what is important to someone (their faith, their family, their career, etc.) they know I care. If they know I know and care, they’ll feel valued.

  • Matthew 7:12 Jesus says we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us (aka Golden Rule).

5) Make myself more valuable. I cannot add value to someone else unless and until I have something of value to give them. I need to keep growing in order to keep adding value to other people.

  • Proverbs 1:5 says wise men listen and add to their learning and the discerning obtain guidance.

So that’s it; five essentials for leaders to add value to employees. It starts with us, we need to understand and accept how much God loves and values us. We need to let employees know how much we value them. We need to be thankful for all that others have done for us. We need to know and relate to what others value. And finally, we need to keep learning and growing so we can continue to add value to others.

I highly recommend John Maxwell’s new book Intentional Living—Choosing a Life That Matters. For everyone who is a leader and for everyone who wants to be a leader, this is a must read. If you purchase it on Amazon though this link you’ll pay the same price, but I will receive a small affiliate commission from Amazon. To purchase or learn more click here.

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. What do you think is essential to add value to others? Do you struggle with any of these?

 

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Category: Relationships | Servant Leadership

#130: The Higher You Climb the Harder You Fall

Remember the saying “The higher you climb, the harder you fall?” When I was younger I always thought the author of this quote got it wrong.

Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar

I’ve fallen out of a tree and off a ladder once or twice and believe me it wasn’t hard to fall. The falling part was easy! The landing part, now that was hard!

Now though I think I finally understand what the author meant (I’m slow sometimes). In the context of your career, your position in life, falling from the heights of power is indeed hard.

Just ask billionaire investment financier Bernie Madoff who was convicted of the largest investment fraud in U.S. history. Bernie is currently serving a 150-year prison term.

Or Jeffrey Skilling the former CEO of Enron who was convicted 35 counts of fraud and insider trading. Jeffrey served 14 years of a 24-year prison sentence.

Falling from the heights of executive power to the depths of a prison cell was hard!

Someone who fell even further and harder than Madoff and Skilling was Nebuchadnezzar. His story is a lesson for anyone who is climbing the ladder, and especially for those that have reached the top of the ladder.

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#118: Whatever You Did for the Least of these Employees, You Did for Me

Employees come in all shapes and sizes. Employees are different. Employees have different expectations. And most importantly, employees have different needs.

Stressed Employees

Some of the managers I met over the course of my career didn’t seem to have a clue that everyone didn’t think and act the way they did. They were oblivious to the needs of the employees who worked for them.

Sadly, I was one of those kinds of managers early on in my career before I became a Christian. I was focused on what worked for me and didn’t really think too much about the employees who worked for me, or how their needs might be different than my own.

Then I ran into this passage in Matthew 25 where Jesus is teaching the disciples about what will happen in the end times. The Lord will divide nations into two groups that He referred to as goats and sheep. The sheep are referred to as righteous because they cared for the people in different ways (feeding them, giving them something to drink, clothing them, providing hospitality, caring for the sick, and even visiting those in prison (vv. 35-36)). This care for others, Jesus said, is like caring for Him, because these people are part of His family.

Some of you may be thinking, “OK, but what does this have to do with being a leader in the business world?” To that, I say, “Everything!” “Our employees ARE these people.” Yes, Jesus was teaching the disciples about ministry, but that Word today is for all of us who call ourselves children of God. If we claim to believers in Jesus Christ, then we must follow His teaching in all aspects of our lives. There is no secular life separate from our life of service to Christ.

So if you have been given the privilege of leading others, you bear a greater responsibility to also care for them.

Mark 1:31 describes a scene in which Jesus left the synagogue and journeyed to Simon’s house. Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed. Jesus went to her, took her by the hand, and helped her up. In this case, Jesus cared, not for one of his followers, but for someone that was important to one of his followers, his mother-in-law.

Jesus didn’t ignore her as though he was too busy and had other things to do. He stopped and helped. Jesus didn’t instruct someone else to help her, he got personally involved by going to her and helping her up.

Jesus modeled how we, as leaders, should respond to and care for our employees.

Be Sensitive to the Need

Jesus didn’t presume to be too busy or too important to help. He was a sensitive leader whose heart recognized someone who needed help.

Be a Role Model

Jesus didn’t delegate this task. He was a role model to the disciples showing them how to care for someone in need.

Be Personally Involved

Jesus personally went to the woman and took her by the hand to help her.

Be Willing to Meet the Need

Jesus was willing to meet the woman’s need. She needed healing and that is what He provided. Jesus didn’t offer her a coat, or some food, but met the need she had.

This last semester, I had a student who was engaging and bright. All of a sudden her countenance was downcast, her work lacked the polish it had previously. After class, I asked her about it, and she confessed to being in the midst of a great personal family trial. I told her to focus on doing what she could to help her family. I also offered to give her more time to redo an assignment and provide some due date grace on others.

She struggled with her family issue for a time, but knowing that I cared about her and her family gave her a peace of mind and a renewed spirit.

Sometimes all we need to do is listen and be the vehicle that provides God’s grace and reassurance. Sometimes the need is simple, sometimes it is not. Regardless, God has called us, as leaders, to care for his children, our employees.

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. Have you had a need met by an employer? As a leader, have you had an opportunity to minister to an employee? What was the result?

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Category: Relationships | Servant Leadership

#112: A Warning of Judgement from God for all Wannabe Leaders

I recall a Forbes article from a few years ago listing the top 10 most corrupt leaders of all time. Big surprise, all 10 were politicians—presidents of their respective countries.

Judgement Jeremiah

While no U.S. presidents made the list, it was easy to find a list of the top 10 most corrupt business leaders in America. More than a few were involved in politics in some way. Their corruption generally centered on fraudulent accounting and reporting activities while they enjoyed lifestyles of the rich and famous. The result of their corruption was failed companies, and unemployed workers left without their retirement funds.

God holds leaders responsible for their actions in a very special way. When God was getting ready to judge the nation of Israel for their sin He commanded Jeremiah to prophesy to them (Jeremiah 25:30-38). God used some very graphic language describing Himself, and what was going to happen to the nations of the world including the Israelites. Five of the six graphic images of God’s judgement are directed to the people in general. But God calls out leaders in particular in the sixth illustration of His wrath:

Judgement for doomed leaders would be like being chased by wild lions with nowhere to hide.

Leaders, in God’s economy, bear a special heightened level of responsibility and accountability for their leadership.

It seems today, as in Jeremiah’s time, many men want to become leaders for the power and prestige that comes with the mantle of leadership without much regard to the responsibility and accountability that goes with such a position.

Listen now to God’s words directed to the bad leaders of Jeremiah’s time:

“Weep and wail, you shepherds; roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock. For your time to be slaughtered has come; you will fall and be shattered like fine pottery. The shepherds will have nowhere to flee, the leaders of the flock no place to escape. Hear the cry of the shepherds, the wailing of the leaders of the flock, for the LORD is destroying their pasture. The peaceful meadows will be laid waste because of the fierce anger of the LORD. Like a lion he will leave his lair, and their land will become desolate because of the sword of the oppressor and because of the LORD’s fierce anger.” Jeremiah 25:34-38 (NIV)

These leaders could weep and mourn all they wanted, but God’s judgement was coming. They would be slaughtered with nowhere to flee to safety. Even their possessions were to be destroyed.

Why did God single out leaders? Because these leaders had led God’s people away from God. They were priests, rulers, judges, and prophets who all played a part in pushing God out of people’s lives to the point that they had rejected God and begun to worship false gods.

You and I may not be priests, ruler, judges, or prophets (although some of you may be), but regardless, if God has given you the privilege of leading then along with that privilege comes the added responsibility and accountability to God for the care of his people.

Make no mistake, God is jealous for His people. Jesus, teaching the disciples gave this warning,

“But whoever causes the downfall of one of these little ones who believe in Me—it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea!” Matthew 18:6 (HCSB)

So take care leaders. Whether you are leading little children in the family or in a classroom, or leading great companies, or even nations God expects us to take great care to lead in such a way that we care for His children.

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. Do you know of leaders who have led God’s people astray. Does knowing how God feels about the responsibility of leadership give you pause?

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: Relationships | Exhortation

 

#111: 4 Types of Leaders Who Rejected God and Failed

The world is a mess. Sorry to be so blunt, but look around.

Bible Leaders Jeremiah

Religious leaders are more concerned with their popularity than rightly dividing the Word of God. Business leaders are getting caught in their lies on a regular basis. Lawyers and judges are making a mockery of our system of jurisprudence. And politicians! Don’t even get me started on the politicians. Regardless of which side of the political aisle you prefer, they all seem to be more worried about building their power base than in governing well!

And what really bugs me is this is nothing new! This has been going for centuries and we the people have to pay the price!

Two weeks ago we learned about God’s call on Jeremiah to prophesy to the people of Israel (#109: Will you answer God when He calls you to lead?). Jeremiah was a bit reluctant to take on the task, but God convinced him it was the right thing to do for the sake of the people.

God goes on to tell Jeremiah why his prophecies were needed, and in the midst of that God described four groups of leaders who had utterly failed the people:

The priests quit asking, “Where is the LORD?” The experts in the law no longer knew Me, and the rulers rebelled against Me. The prophets prophesied by Baal and followed useless idols. Jeremiah 2:8 (HCSB)

The Priests

The priesthood was established specifically to mediate between God and man. They were to be God’s representatives to the people. These priests did not seek God’s counsel in teaching or leading the people.

Those Who Handle the Law

Moses established judges (see Exodus 18:21-22) for the nation of Israel. These men were to be able men, who feared God, loved truth, and hated covetousness. These judges don’t have a relationship with God, let alone fear God, love truth, and hate covetousness.

Rulers

The rulers of the day (kings and other politicians) had turned away from God. They made conscious decisions to live lives their way; wicked lives of disobedience and rebellion against God.

Prophets

The prophets were men, and occasionally women, who God called on to speak His Word directly to specific people. These prophets, instead of giving the people God’s Word were leading people astray by prophesying about the false god Baal.

The Resulting Judgement

The result of these four groups of people ignoring their responsibilities to lead the way God expected was that the entire nation had come to reject God. With the people’s rejection of God, came God’s judgement upon the people. God’s judgement included the nation of Israel being conquered, and the people sent into exile until they repented and came back to God.

Parallel to Today’s Leaders

Certainly some of our leaders are doing a good job of following God by representing Him faithfully and truthfully. I don’t want to suggest that all our leaders are corrupting influences on society.

But look around, do you see the parallel between the days of Jeremiah and our world today?

We have religious leaders who are cutting out whole sections of God’s Word because it doesn’t fit their narrative. I saw an article just this morning about a pastor who doesn’t believe in God! He is not the first and I am sure will not be the last, but really, “How can we survive as a people of God, when our pastors reject God?”

Judges and lawyers, the people who administer our legal system seem to be fighting harder to keep God and His presence as far away from the courtroom as they possibly can. Not only do we not have to swear on the Bible to tell the truth when we provide testimony, we have judges who want to make up their own moral systems based on their own humanistic values.

Our rulers, politicians if you will, at city, county, state, and federal levels are trying to push God out of our schools, our hospitals, and even out of the military.

We don’t see or hear about many prophets of God today, but there are certainly false prophets abounding throughout our society. They tell lies and while leading people away from the One True God, they cause people to worship false gods.

The Good News

All is not lost. I’ve read to the end of the book and I know who wins. In the meantime, it behooves us as believers, to listen to the Holy Spirit, God’s voice to us today. We need to do everything we can to be the kind of example to non-believers that will draw people back to God. We need to do what we can to install leaders who respect and faithfully follow God.

The consequence of not doing so, for the sake of future generations, is too frightening to contemplate.

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. What is your take on these various types of leaders around the world today? What do you think needs to happen?

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: Relationships | Exhortation

#108: What One Thing are 99.2% of Leaders Doing to Hurt Results?

It’s hard to believe, but a study by the Management Research Group concluded that a whopping 99.23% of leaders are not able to effectively balance the need for achievement and caring in their organizations.

Being focused on results without regard for people may have worked in the past, but more and more data suggests this leadership style does not work with millennials. A Forbes article points out with the percentage of millennials in the workforce growing every year, approaching 40% by 2020, this is an issue.

  • 64% of millennials say it’s a priority to make the world a better place.
  • 79% say they want a boss that acts like a coach or mentor.
  • 88% say they prefer a collaborative work environment.
  • 88% say they want work-life integration.

Don’t get me wrong, every business needs to drive results that generate profits to exist. The issue here is, “How can we manage our organizations so that we deliver the profit we need while meeting the needs of our employees?”

A study by the Society for Human Resource Management noting the top five influences of employee job satisfaction provides some clues:

  • 63% are satisfied with opportunities to use their skills/abilities
  • 61% are satisfied with their job security
  • 60% are satisfied with the compensation
  • 57% are satisfied with communication between employees and management
  • 54% are satisfied with their relationship with their immediate supervisor

Summarizing the Surveys

Millennials want a collaborative work environment where, ideally, their work and their life are integrated in a way that benefits society. Their preferred relationship with management is less dictator and more mentor/coach.

There is a large portion of the workforce that are clearly not satisfied in their jobs: 47% feel they don’t have an opportunity to use their skills, 39% feel their jobs are not secure, 40% have issues with compensation, 43% feel improved communication between employees and management is needed, and 46% feel their relationship with their immediate manager is not as good as it could be.

Course of Action to Improve Results

Imagine if we created a work environment that was collaborative, where employees felt that their work mattered, that they were contributing to a greater good, and where their boss was an encourager, a mentor, a coach that helped enable them to be the best they could be?

Do you think that kind of environment would raise the numbers of employees who had high levels of job satisfaction? Do you think productivity would improve? Would turnover decrease?

My bet is that in the right kind of work environment, where people love what they do and feel valued, productivity would skyrocket, avoidable turnover would drop to nothing, and profits would climb!

The Platinum Rule of Leading

Jesus, teaching the disciples said, Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). Actually, I think this is just the starting point for how we should treat those in our organizations.

We should strive to treat God’s children, the way God would treat them if He were standing in our place. Jesus said, A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).

What kind of breakthrough might be in store for us if we began leading the way we would want to be led?  And then, what change might we see in this world if we indeed we managed to love one another in a way that reflected Christ’s love for us?

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome! What stands out about these two surveys to you? In your experience, how well do you think leaders are doing at leading in a way that maximizes employee job satisfaction? Do you think job satisfaction would increase if more leaders reflected Christ’s love for His children?

 

Category: Relationships | Power and Influence

#102: What I Learned on a Playground that Actually Helped Me as a Leader

Do you remember your grade school report cards? There were grades of “outstanding, satisfactory, and unsatisfactory.” And rather than just subjects, there were grades given for social skills and work habits. One of these skills was “works and plays well with others.”

Playground

I never thought much about being graded on “social skills” until I started working. Early in my career, I realized why it was so important that I know how to “work and play well with others,” this skill forms the basis for all corporate personal interactions! Who would have thought that a skill developed on the playground when I was six would be so important to my career development?

Of course in the business world, we do not refer to it as “working and playing well with others.” No, we created a whole field of study called “organizational development.” Organizational development tries to explain how people interact in the workforce, and how those behaviors affect corporate profits.

Interestingly, most of our formal education centers around knowledge, not on developing our ability to work and play well with others. While I was graded on this skill in first grade I don’t recall any teaching on the subject. Because of my business focus in college I did get some classes on organizational design and development, but mostly it was finance, marketing, and other such stuff. In my 36-year corporate career, I had a couple of seminars on diversity. But that’s about it.

Sad to say, but true, most of our ability to work and play well with others was developed on the playground when we were six or seven. Fortunately, the Bible provides a wealth of information on the subject. It provides guidelines for personal behavior, our interactions with others, and importantly, has a lot to say about employer – employee relationships.

Leadership Lessons from the Playground

If you want to get a grade of “exceptional” rather than “needs improvement” in working and playing well with others you need to know how build esprit de corps in your organization. The military describes esprit de corps as, “the common spirit existing in the members of a group and inspiring enthusiasm, devotion, and a strong regard for the honor of the group.” Developing high group morale, or esprit de corps is not an easy task. Here are eight steps you can take to build esprit de corps from Dr. Alan McGinnis’ book Bringing Out The Best In People.

1) Place a premium on collaboration.

There’s a saying, “Two minds are better than one.” Encourage people to work together rather than separately. Reward those who succeed through collaborative efforts.

2) The need to belong.

Employees want to belong. They want to feel needed, appreciated, and accepted by the group. Make it easy for people to gain acceptance in your group.

3) Quality Control.

Peer pressure can be a wonderful thing for a leader. Peers will often hold each other to higher standards than the boss will. Don’t assume responsibility for quality control on every little thing, it is far better for the group to hold its own members accountable for high performance.

4) All for one and one for all.

Remember the call of the Musketeers? It was “All for one and one for all!” Leaders should be in it with the troops and every member of the group should understand that their performance is a reflection on the group. Army generals Patton and MacArthur, despite their shortcomings, earned the undying loyalty of their troops because they were devoted to the welfare of their men.

5) Promises.

Nothing destroys morale as fast as the broken promises of a leader. Don’t make promises you cannot keep, and be honest with employees on the day that you have to explain why the raises you promised won’t be forthcoming after all. A reputation for integrity can take a lifetime to make, and only seconds to lose so guard this characteristic with all your might.

6) Fairness.

Believe it or not, there are bosses who structure contests so that their favorite employees will win. They think no one sees through them. What fools! As a leader, your first job is to create a well-defined set of work principles and expectations that you can enforce with complete fairness across your organization.

7) The preservation of the individual.

While employees want to be members of a group they don’t want to lose their own identities. Make sure people are valued for their unique skills and specific contributions to the group.

8) Fun.

All work and no play mean increased employee turnover. While business is serious and the stakes are often high, make sure that work includes some humor.

One Final Thought

A group whose morale is high is stronger and more productive than any single individual. They can create more and do more, at a lower cost than individuals who are serving their own self-interests.

The writer of Ecclesiastes provides a wonderful view of the strength of a group; “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Eccl. 4:9-12).

The key to strength in numbers is unity of mind and purpose. But the key to morale is job satisfaction and satisfaction from our work comes from a focus on God. He meant us to work and gave us skills to make us successful. But success, no matter how you define it, is hollow outside of a personal relationship with Jesus. If you don’t think so look at the entertainment stars who have everything money can buy but search madly for meaning in life. They search with drugs, alcohol, and special causes but as Solomon said, these are all meaningless without God.

Bonus Whitepaper

What I Learned on the Playground that Actually Helped Me as a Leader is also available in the form of a bonus whitepaper. This 11-page bonus whitepaper includes more in-depth content covering the world-view of organizational behavior, Biblical principles of organizational behavior, 7-elements needed to build organizational morale, some great quotes, a case study, and a key points summary. You can download it here:

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome! Have you worked in an organization where there was low morale, strife, or poor relationships between employees and management? If so, what impact did that have on you as an employee? Have you had to turn around an organization with low morale? If so, how did you do it?

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?

Categories: Relationships | Interpersonal Relationships

#091: What to do when you are stuck cleaning up someone else’s mess!

Sooner or later you will likely be in the position of needing to clean up someone else’s mess.

Cleanup, Mess

If that call hasn’t come yet it could happen anytime. As a leader, cleaning up someone else’s mess can be a particularly difficult and challenging time in your career, but it can also be an extremely rewarding time.

Cleaning up someone else’s mess may require restructuring the organization, changing its direction, or changing processes that have been in place for years. Often, the sense of urgency is intense—clean up the mess, make the needed changes, and do it quick!

Asa, was the third king of Judah, and the great grandson of Solomon. The Bible describes Asa as a good king, a man “who did what was right in the eyes of the Lord” (1 Kings 15:11, 2 Chronicles 14:2). We can learn a lot about leadership and how to clean up a mess from him.

Asa became king of Judah when he was only 18-22 years old after his father, Abijah, died. The people of Judah had lived for 20 years under two bad kings, Asa’s father and grandfather. They allowed the people to build altars to foreign gods and worship them as they forsook the God of their fathers, David and Solomon. Asa inherited quite a mess!

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#057: When A Friend Calls Out of The Blue and Makes Your Day

A friend who I have known for 30 plus years called me out of the blue just recently and taught me a lesson about the importance of friendship. He was calling because he knew I had gone through some difficult situations in the last few weeks, and he just wanted to know how I was doing.

Friend, Friends

We talked for a full hour, 60 minutes. I know the ladies out there are shrugging their shoulders going “so, big deal,” but for most of us men, talking on the phone just for fun and camaraderie is a bit unusual, and for a whole hour is nearly inconceivable. I am lucky. There have been men like this in my life, most of my life, and happily several of us remain quite close even though we are separated by hundreds of miles.

By the time we were saying goodbye I felt better. My friend reaching out to me quite unexpectedly had raised my spirits. By the time we hung up after our marathon call, we had agreed to meet with another friend every few weeks just for coffee or for lunch. We want to be friends following God’s call to love our friends like brothers! And therein lies the lesson, which admittedly is more of a lesson to be learned by men. We need friends in our lives, throughout our lives!

The Bible has quite a few great examples of great friendships upon which we can lean for instruction.

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