Tips for conflict resolution in the workplace. Ways leaders can help create a healthy organizational culture.
We all value great relationships. When we disagree, things don’t feel so great. But conflict is to be expected. It’s a normal part of relationships and organizations. Here are some guidelines that can help us resolve conflict in a constructive way . . . and ultimately create a healthy organizational culture.
CONFLICT RESOLUTION: PREVENT CONFLICT BEFORE IT BEGINS
Keep short accounts: Each time we interact with another person we either make a deposit or a withdrawal from our relational account with them. Deposits come from caring or helping someone. Withdrawals happen when there are betrayals, dishonesty or uncaring actions. Keeping short accounts mean that we are aware of where we stand with others . . . and commit to keeping a positive balance in our relational accounts with them. Further, we agree (mutually, in advance) that when concerns arise, we will share those concerns directly with the other person. This creates a safe place for people to solve problems. It fosters mutual respect and prevents offenses from piling up.
Set up systems for ongoing communication: Many times conflict comes from a lack of communication . . . because there is no regular forum to go over things. Set up regular times to meet with your teammates. Discuss future happenings, review current plans and possible challenges. Having a system increases communication and greatly reduces the chances of relational problems.
CONFLICT RESOLUTION: HOW TO HANDLE CONFLICT WHEN IT HAPPENS
First, go directly to the person in private. Say that you have a concern and ask for their permission to discuss it. Calmly and directly dialog about the issue and how it affects you and the organization. Separate the problem from the person. Review the facts first to ensure you both understand what has happened. Brainstorm solutions and agree on one that works for everybody. It takes courage to have these conversations. However, being direct is what solves most problems. More than anything this is what “keeps the air clear”.
If the direct approach fails, it’s time to involve another person. Talk things over with your supervisor or a trusted senior leader. Remember, the organization can’t help you solve a problem if it doesn’t know the problem exists.
CONFLICT RESOLUTION: WHAT NOT TO DO – AVOID THESE RELATIONSHIP BREAKERS
Don’t approach someone in anger. Give yourself a few hours to calm down and collect your thoughts.
Don’t ignore conflict. Trouble only intensifies when it is ignored. Resolve problems on the same day that they happen, if possible.
Don’t “triangulate” by asking another person to solve your problem before you try. As mentioned before, go directly to the individual with which you have the challenge. On the flip-side . . . If someone asks you to solve their problem, first ask if they have gone directly to the individual with whom there is a problem. If they have not, send them to that individual before getting involved yourself.
Don’t “forum shop”. Avoid bringing your problem to several people hoping one will give you an easy way out.
Don’t air your concern in social media.
Don’t collect offenses. With time, an unresolved conflict becomes a grudge. With still more time, the details of that grudge become forgotten and only the ill will remains. At that point it is very difficult to reconcile a relationship.
As leaders, we are to encourage a culture where people fight for relationship. One of the best ways to encourage relationship among your team is to promote healthy conflict resolution. It’s worth the effort!
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CONFLICT RESOLUTION TIPS ON VIDEO
This is a great teaching that I use as part of our staff training:
Stories make us lean in. Stories activate more of the brain than facts & figures. – Elizabeth West
What you do today, in obedience to God, will determine the extent He will empower you for future success. – @CLALeader
Change doesn’t happen because of more money. Change happens because of what happens in the heart. – @peterkgreer
When you are full of Grace you will do more than any job description. – @TimElmore
Your job enables you to be a consumer. But it is your work that enables you to contribute to something beyond you. – @TimElmore
Time & time again, God uses ordinary people for His extraordinary purpose. – @DougNuenke
People go to the web to solve a problem or answer a question. What questions are you answering? – @CLALeader
We are Christ’s ambassadors. – @RichStearns
Technology should follow corporate strategy – @CLALeader
God has called us not to build an institution, but create a revolution. – @RichStearns
God’s love does not change – on good days and bad days! – @ohfamily
We don’t ‘engage culture’, we are already in the culture. How do we shine light while we’re here? – @greg_thornbury
What is the best way to do mission? Don’t fall in love with what you do now. – @TimElmore
Leading well today means inviting chaos. – @TimElmore
Lord, help us to keep our eye on the hole, and not the drill bit. – @TimElmore
If I were to build a church, I would have desks, not pews. – @greg_thornbury
Click here for more information on the Christian Leadership Alliance annual Outcomes Conference.
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Top leadership quotes from the book Do Over by Jon Cuff.
ORANGE BLOG WEEK NOTE: I met Jon Acuff through The Orange Conference. Each year thousands of senior pastors, youth leaders and children’s ministers gather in Atlanta to hear great speakers like Jon. The conference is about information, inspiration, connection and fun. Sign up this week by clicking here . . . and I will see you there.
Seth Godin calls it the best career book ever written. I call it one of the top 10 most useful books ever.
Do Over by Jon Acuff offers wise advice for navigating life and the workplace. If you dream of a better job, this book will help you get there. I recommend it for those about to graduate and anyone who works. Jon’s timeless wisdom and wonderful sense of humor make this a book to be both kept and shared.
Below are the top quotes from Do Over.
TOP 10 LEADERSHIP QUOTES FROM DO OVER
#10. Relationships get you the first gig, skills get you the second.
#9. Learning a new skill can reveal a new dream.
#8. Employees who add value end up being invaluable.
#7. The words “easy” and “adventure” very rarely travel together.
#6. Difficult moments clear the herd.
5. I can’t predict the future, but I can change the present.
#4. Skills get sharp slowly and dull quickly.
#3. Generosity breeds loyalty.
#2. Great lives are very rarely created in great comfort.
#1. People who can’t be questioned often end up doing questionable things.
BONUS LEADERSHIP QUOTES
Your character and what you did with it will determine more than anything else in your life.
Busyness is not the same thing as hustle.
The distance between comfortable and comatose is surprisingly short.
As a culture we collectively bought into the lie that work has to be miserable.
We live for the weekends because we’ve accepted that the weekdays are where dreams go to die.
We are (incorrectly) taught to work jobs, not build careers.
Fear is not a dragon to be slain once, it is an ocean to be swum daily.
A better job begins with building a better you.
Misery loves company, but company often multiplies your misery.
Careers are only difficult because they are constantly changing and we are not.
Don’t listen to feelings. Make choices.
It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and your drift in that direction. – Warren Buffett
We can’t help but use our imaginations in a negative way when we start with a negative question.
There are a million ways to get stuck in a career, but every version shares one thing: a suspension of creativity.
We like foes for one simple reason: they confirm the fears we have inside.
Sometimes, people who hate on your dream aren’t really mad about your dream. They’re mad because you’re making them jealous.
Do you know what every bad boss is really saying? “I dare you to get a better job!” Take them up on the dare.
If we ever investigated the lives of anyone successful we’d realize they never accomplished what they have all alone.
Want your friendships to grow a little stronger? Increase the frequency of your interactions.
It’s one of my theories that when people give you advice, they are really just talking to themselves in the past. – Steve Garguilo
Great people surround themselves with greater people who challenge and stretch them.
It is seldom that one parts on good terms, because if one were on good terms one would not part. – Marcel Proust
Your industry is smaller than you think. Treat everyone you work with (or for) like you will work with them again someday.
Leave jobs with one finger raised high: your thumb.
Few things draw real friends like a crisis.
Easy times don’t test the strength of a relationship any more then calm seas test the strength of a boat.
Everybody wants to be somebody: nobody wants to grow. – Van Goethe
Future results are enjoyable to talk about. Present efforts are not.
There are plenty of important skills hidden inside our fears. Great passions usually come with great fears.
Most ideas are elusive. They don’t walk into our heads and announce themselves; we have to capture them.
Show up on time. It is the basis of everything. – Anthony Bourdain
When you have a bad attitude it flavors every part of your performance.
We, not our company, are responsible for our attitudes.
Attitude is a skill. It can be changed.
Jon Acuff at The Orange Conference.
If you want a better job, start with a better attitude. If you want a new job, start with a new attitude.
Get obsessed about the quality of your work, not the quality of your title.
Passion is often found in the crucible of work. Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty before you can know what your passion is.
Learning something new always leads somewhere new.
We work best when as much of what we are doing can be delegated to the unconscious mind as possible. – Heidi Grant
The world is moving quickly, but so can we. Put some skills on autopilot and some skills on fighter pilot.
The father of every good work is discontent, and it’s mother is diligence. – Lajos Kassak
I can’t tell you if in 10 years I will have written five more books. But I can tell you that this year I will write one.
A talent is formed in stillness, a character in the world’s torrent. – Von Goethe
Everything is personal, especially work. The more we believe it’s just business, the easier it gets to do some fairly dastardly things.
Character traits are contagious. Character goes viral.
The future is purchased by the present. – Dr. Samuel Johnson
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. – Old saying
We tend to remember the knives in our back easier than the pats on our back.
The weeds we see in others are often the weeds we’ve been ignoring in our own lives.
Service is renewing. When we serve, the work itself will sustain us. – Rachel Remen
Grit is stubbornness in the face of fear.
More character leads to more friends.
Generosity is always cheaper then greed.
There are a few things in the world that will change someone’s opinion of you as quickly as your generosity.
Your willingness to be open handed with people in the course of your career will pay you dividends for years and years and years.
When you hope to do business with someone again, leave a little on the table. – Roy Williams
Make your definition of generosity bigger by being generous with your skills and time, not just your money.
It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others. – John Holmes
Empathy = Understanding someone else’s needs and acting on them.
In the context of career, empathy opens a thousand doors because it allows you to work with just about anyone.
Care about what the people you care about care about.
If you really work to get ahead, there are three things you need to manage – your phone, your computer and your meetings.
The Internet is only going to get bigger and more interesting with more things to do that don’t move us forward in our careers.
Music is in the piano only when it is played. – Jack Gilbert
The best thing to give a foe is distance. We should ignore most foes.
Making sure you enjoy work isn’t your company’s job. It’s your job.
You need character the most when you decide to chase a dream.
Grit is a choice, not a feeling.
The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. – Stephen Pressfield
The only thing more exhausting than chasing a dream is running away from one.
Instead of saying, “I don’t have what it takes,” say, “I have what it takes to try.”
The fear of missing out is one of the deadliest lies we listen to.
The picture of having your entire life changed in the course of one unexpected, outrageous experience sure beats actually working hard.
Be aware of the temptation to apply the once–in–a–lifetime label to every opportunity you face.
Regret has a much longer shelf life then fear. Will you face the fear of today or the regret of forever?
Lean on your relationships. Some of the worst decisions are made alone.
Every bad decision I’ve ever made has one thing in common: I thought it was a good decision at the time.
Give yourself permission to make the wrong decision, because guess what? You’re going to.
Fear and frustration are coming. They are a consequence of actually doing something meaningful with your career.
In order to do more of what you are capable of you will have to do less of what you have been doing.
Life is dreamed in big leaps and revealed in small steps.
You’ve got a one hundred percent success rate of failing if you don’t try.
We love to idealize our past when our present doesn’t meet our expectations.
Postponing fun is a bad plan.
Fun for fun’s sake is one of the best ways to prevent yourself from getting stuck.
Business travel is only fun if you’ve never done it.
Let no one be deluded that a knowledge of the path can substitute for putting one foot in front of the other. – Mary Richards
The sad truth about decisions: not making one is often the biggest decision you can make.
The beauty of hustle is that it helps you turn a small opportunity into a slightly bigger opportunity.
If we want our jobs to change, we have to change first.
Reinventing your work isn’t an event, it’s a lifestyle.
Leadership quotes from Brad Lomenick’s H3 Leadership.
What are the three most important questions a leader should ask? According to leadership expert Brad Lomenick, they are:
Who am I? (Humble)
Where do I want to go? (Hungry)
How will I get there? (Hustle)
These are the three areas Brad explores in his new book H3 Leadership – Humble, Hungry, Hustle. H3 contains a lot of great leadership wisdom culled from Brad’s decade as president of Catalyst (an influential organization that provides leadership training for young adults).
Here are some of the top tips from H3 Leadership:
#10. The best ideas come out of the kiln of disagreement and discernment.
#9. One of the most difficult lessons for leaders to learn is how to let go.
#8. You can’t expect to pass on what you don’t have. Your team will mirror you. If there something you don’t like, you probably created it.
#7. Leaders are readers.
#6. You don’t always get to do what you love; sometimes you have to force yourself to love what you do.
#5. The best way to shore up your legacy is to effectively hand it off to your successors.
#4. It doesn’t matter how much of a race you run if you don’t cross the finish line. Similarly, unfinished projects might as well never of been started.
#3. The quality of work we do is not just about bragging rights. It’s about stewardship.
#2. Leaders who don’t communicate their vision are no better off than leaders who have no vision to communicate.
#1. People would rather follow a leader who is always real versus a leader who is always right.
BONUS LEADERSHIP QUOTES FROM H3
Leadership is more than hard work; it is habitual work.
When you rise in the morning, nearly half of your day will be determined by the patterns and we created for passively allowed.
The path to being a better leader is paved with the asphalt of habits.
The patterns we cultivate shape the person we become.
Life is about decisions. If you want to change, make a decision.
Your sense of identity will help determine your scale of influence. Ignore it at your own.
Self discovery is not a practice you complete, but a posture you cultivate.
Lone Ranger leaders are destined for trouble. Even the actual cowboy character had Tonto.
Relational depth often emerges from intentional dialogue.
The organization’s mission should always be more important than the individual’s personal ambition.
The best leaders protect and treasure their reputations, their consciences, and their values.
Lack of character is a fast acting venom for which there is often no antidote. Safeguard with deep convictions.
Many leaders assume they know what their most closely held convictions are, a false assumption that keeps them from naming them.
Faith is less like your arm and more like your heart. It is not supplementary to who we are but integral.
The more one succeeds, the busier one gets. And the busier one gets, the harder it is to nurture spiritual vitality.
Developing a healthy habitat of ambition is one of the most important tasks of every leader.
As a leader’s career surges, his or her curiosity often sinks.
If you’re not learning, you’re not leading to your full potential.
The key to innovation is intentionality.
Innovation in part has nothing to do with you; rather, it is determined by those you have around you.
Creativity can be exhausting because it is not an act, but a process.
If you’re not investing in innovation, then it is not a priority.
People need to be motivated, and casting a vision that propels them forward is one of the first and central tasks of a leader.
When a vision statement is flexible it will be liberating instead of limiting.
Sometimes the best way to cure fear is to stare it squarely in the face.
Those who’ve failed much don’t fear failure like those who’ve only tasted success.
Unbending discipline is often lead to self-loathing, but flexible discipline will lead to self control.
Many leaders procrastinate before beginning, stall out once they’ve started, or give up before they are finished. (Execute.)
Some of us need to put down the megaphone and just grab a shovel. Little less talk, and a lot more action.
You’ll often realize that an idea should be killed while you’re still attempting to execute. When this becomes clear, murder it and move on.
When you prioritize your team, your team will prioritize you.
If you combine a positive work environment with regular delightful experiences, you’ll take a giant step towards raising up a dream team.
Think about the most revolutionary items you interact with any given day. Chances are, everything at the top of your list was the product of partnerships.
The more margin in your life, the more room you have to let your rhythms run.
If you don’t control your cadence, your cadence will control you.
Generosity is more than how one spends money; it’s a holistic posture that should animate everything a leader does.
Most of your team wants to work for and with a serial giver rather than a serial taker.
You have no chance of being a generous leader if you’re in insulated leader.
Practice bringing calm to chaos, clarity to the unknown, and confidence to uncertain circumstances.
I appreciate Brad’s smarts and heart to grow young leaders. He is the reason I wholeheartedly recommend Catalyst as one of my favorite resources. H3 Leadership is a great way to absorb a lot of Catalyst wisdom in pithy and highly-readable book.
Thank you for reading Rob Cizek – Practical Leadership. If you would like to know when new posts are available, simply enter your email address below:
Leadership Insights From “Brain Savvy Leaders”, Charles Stone’s New Book
Brain Savvy Leaders offers practical insights into how we should lead. Humans are wired in certain ways; if leaders understand the wiring, they can do a better job running their organizations . . . and have better relationships with those they lead. Here are the top insights from Charles Stone’s book:
Encourage community in your organization using these brain-friendly tools:
• Provide regular relationship-building experiences for your teams to deepen their chemistry and friendships. Foster the sense that nobody is an outsider.
• Create physical gathering places in the workplace that encourage socialization.
• Regularly remind your team to see other team members’ perspectives. Walk in each other’s shoes.
• Help team members share goals.
• Build an attitude of gratitude amongst your team.
• Use appropriate humor. People endear themselves to those with a good sense of humor.
• Build trust. As trust increases, oxytocin increases, which strengthens cooperativeness and empathy.
Influence your team using the science of mirror neurons:
• If someone is in emotional pain, genuinely empathize with them. Mirror their pain through your facial expressions.
• Pay attention to the facial expressions and body language of others. Don’t ramrod ideas without considering a team member’s demeanor.
• Look for subtle clues that indicate more explanation or discussion may be needed.
• Stay aware of your own demeanor.
• When communicating key changes, maximize face-to-face communication.
• When in a meeting with someone whose anger is rising to an unhealthy level, guard against mirroring back a similar angry scowl. Mirror back calmness.
• Smile a lot. Show your sense of humor around your team.
Leading change – the brain and how it handles personal/organizational change:
• Change is hard for the brain.
• People naturally assume the worst. Our brain is wired to pick up threats and negative possibilities more then positive.
• People naturally fill their knowledge gaps with fear.
• Undoing a wrong impression is harder than creating a good one.
• People underestimate their ability to ride out difficult future events.
• The brain can only handle so much change at once (too much, too quickly, triggers fear).
• Change becomes more difficult the older we get. Recognize this dynamic and never quit learning.
• When change is far away, the positives usually outweigh the negatives. The closer the change, the more fearful we are.
• As change gets closer, uninformed optimism gives way to informed pessimism. Manage this dynamic.)
• What we say we will do, we often don’t do. What we say we won’t do, we often do.
• When we imagine accomplishing something, we activate the same brain circuits as if we actually performed the task.
• Build in hopeful expectations. When we expect something good we get a dopamine boost.
• Give people the opportunity to give input into how change will look.
• The more familiar something is, the less threatening it is. Familiarize your team about change before implementing it.
• The more motivated we feel, the more readily we embrace change. Celebrating small wins gains buy-in.
• Our commitment to a choice, once made, increases. Feeling follows action.
• Some people need answers about the HOW of change. Others need answers about the WHY.
• When sharing vision, give a clear WHY and allow your team to create the HOW.
• Leaders often skip the evaluation step. It’s easier to move to a new project than to reflect on the previous one. Don’t skip evaluation.
• Set specific dates on which you will report progress. Tell your team you will evaluate progress and report on it.
• Tell stories of people who are navigating change well.
• Stay connected to critics. Cutting them off will intensify their opposition.
Tips for handling negative emotions:
• Change your circumstances. Select a different situation.
• Shift your attention away from what’s bothering you (short term fix)
• Re-frame the situation through reappraisal. Know that others would feel the same way, it’s not as devastating as you first thought.
• Identify (label) your emotion rather than suppress it.
• Take a third-person view of an emotional situation (see yourself as a fly on the wall).
Tips for best using our mental capacity: Prioritize (put first things first), exercise, sleep, simplify the complex, group similar tasks together and do them at the same time, make repetitive tasks into habits (so you don’t use much brain power on them), and celebrate small wins (even checking something off your list is encouraging). Our brains are easily distracted. There is a precious sweet-spot where our brains work best. It’s between low stress (boredom) and high stress (anxiety). To work in that sweet spot: Increase interest (time flies when you’re interested in your work), take brain breaks (our brains can only focus so long), and don’t multitask (this significantly cuts mental ability).
Build high-performing teams with these brain savvy leadership techniques:
• Golden Rule: Treat people like you would like to be treated. Be fair.
• Reduce ambiguity: The brains loves certainty and predictability. Be clear on expectations, over-communicate, turn ambiguities into probabilities (by creating times, milestones and potential solutions), set regular goals and carry yourself consistently. Don’t leave people wondering what mood they will find you in each day.
• Allow freedom in the workplace. Give your team members choices in how they perform their role. Guard against micromanaging. Monitor your team’s stress level. Find what intrinsically motivates team members and give them assignments in those areas.
• Promote personal value among staff and volunteers. Regularly tell your team members that you value them. Help them make progress in their work. Making progress towards a goal is extremely satisfying. Teach your team what healthy comparison looks like (compare against your personal best, not others).
• Develop a thorough orientation process for new team members.
• Value the insight and input from your team. Allow people to express their views.
ADDITIONAL INSIGHTS ON BRAIN SAVVY LEADERSHIP
Lasting change requires individuals to change first before an organization will change.
Studies show gratefulness is good for brain and body health.
Being treated unfairly can make people sick. If an employee is out a lot, find out if they feel unfairly treated.
Studies indicate that if you feel drowsy, chewing gum may make you more alert.
A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind (stay focused, stay happy).
Our brains process and remember bad events more thoroughly than good ones (be aware of our thoughts, guard against negativity).
Research shows boredom shrinks your brain. The next time you’re bored, find something to interest you.
Studies show that smiling, even with a fake smile, can make you feel happier (facial feedback theory).
If you’re feeling down, pet a dog (petting an animal raises good neurotransmitters and reduces negative ones).
Our brains process 70,000 thoughts a day, contain 100,000 miles of nerve fibers and have 100 billion cells.
Brain-Savvy Leaders is an excellent resource for those leading change. It gives insights into why people react the way that they do. I recommend it to anyone who wants to successfully take their organization through a major shift
The top leadership quotes from #OC15, the Orange Conference Atlanta.
Every April 6,000 leaders meet in Atlanta for the Orange Conference. Click here to see a brief video about the conference. The conference has tracks for senior church leadership, children’s ministry and student ministry. Here are the top quotes, gathered from the main sessions, breakouts and the senior leadership track:
TOP 10 QUOTES FROM FRIDAY
10. Stories get stuck unless leaders get brave. – @JonAcuff via @CCchanginglives
9. Show me a business that failed, I’ll show you a leader that was isolated. – @JonAcuff via @OrangeLeaders
8. The problem in the church is when we go from annointing to pedigree. – @perrynoble
7. The sooner you get students involved in ministry the stronger their faith becomes. – @perrynoble
6. The next generation is the greatest untapped missions field. – @perrynoble
5. We won’t reach the next gerenation. We will raise up the next generation to reach the next generation.- @perrynoble
4. It’s impossible to get stuck somewhere old if you keep learning the new. – @JonAcuff
3. Our teens don’t need our protection. They need our permission (to slay giants.) – @perrynoble
2. Leaders who can’t be questioned do questionable things. – @JonAcuff
1. Bravery is a choice, not a feeling. – @JonAcufff
TOP 10 LEADERSHIP QUOTES FROM THURSDAY
Jon Acuff at Orange Atlanta 2015.
10. Leaders become ineffective when they fail to grow both their character & their competency. – @cnieuwhof
9. Don’t tell it like it is. Tell it like it could be. – @DougFields via @JoshShipp
8. Irrelevance happens when the speed of change outside an organization is greater than inside an organization. – @RickWarren via @cnieuwhof
7. There is a huge difference between your target audience and your actual audience. – @ryanleak via @jcisonline
6. Honest evaluation will only come one way: by invitation only. – @ryanleak via @PlayMakersMin
5. Needy people will always demand and clamor for our attention. Healthy people have to be invited in. – @cnieuwhof via @PlayMakersMin
4. Bravery-being stubborn in the face of fear” @JonAcuff via @donnatdavis
3. Organizations that don’t change becomes museums to another era. – @cnieuwhof
2. Extraordinary leadership is often not recognizable in the moment, but rather in hindsight. ~ @JenniCatron via @_TimParsons
1. Blame is simply a change avoidance strategy. -@AndyStanley via @PlayMakersMin
BONUS QUOTES FROM THURSDAY
Andy Stanley at Orange Atlanta 2015.
Is the work of God you do destroying the work of God in you? – @drjimburns via @hughalan
Sometimes fear pretends to be humility when it’s really cowardice. – @JonAcuff via @bichaelmowman
If you focus on what you don’t have, it will diminish your influence. – @joshgagnon via @cnieuwhof
You have no idea of what or WHO hangs in the balance of your decision to embrace the burden God has put in your heart. – @AndyStanley via @252Basics
There’s an inexorable correlation between leadership and change. – @AndyStanley via @ReggieJoiner
Leaders fix things that are broken, but fixing things require change and change requires conflict. – @AndyStanley via @zachsteiger
The question every leader needs to ask. Who are you? What breaks your heart? – @AndyStanley via @cnieuwhof
The people who abandon you do not get to determine your future. – @reggiejoiner via @cnieuwhof
It’s powerful when people who’ve said no to your church realize your church has still said yes to them. – @JeffHenderson via @_TimParsons_
Don’t pay the dumb tax. Learn from the experiences of others. via @Luke_Saunders
Doubt isn’t toxic to faith, silence is. – @KPowellFYI via @firstlookcurr
What causes most churches to implode? Insider-thinking. – @JeffHenderson via @darren_sullivan
Leaders who see the future are in a better position to seize the future. – @cnieuwhof
You project past failures onto new situations. – @cnieuwhof
The antidote to cynicism is curiosity. – @cnieuwhof
The antidote to self-medication is self-care. – @cnieuwhof
When you’re young, the current cultural dialogue is your native tongue. – @cnieuwhof
Culture never asks permission to change. It just changes. – @cnieuwhof
The antidote to irrelevance is change. – @cnieuwhof
Churches become ineffective when, over a long period of time, leaders begin to love the method more than they love the mission. – @cnieuwhof
Reinvention & renewal are the antidoes to ineffectiveness. – @cnieuwhof
To future-proof, ask ‘What am I not seeing that I should be seeing?’ & ‘Who can help me see what I’m not seeing?’ – @cnieuwhof
TOP 10 LEADERSHIP QUOTES FROM WEDNESDAY
10. Play favorites. Spend 80% of your time with the people who give you 80% of your results. – @cnieuwhof
9. You don’t just manage your time, but your energy. – @JeffHenderson
8. If you are going to have great dreams you are going to have great uncertanty. – @JeffHenderson
7. Don’t compare your everyday self to everyone else’s highlight reel. – @joshgagnon
6. Would you volunteer for you? – @cnieuwhof
5. Don’t be afraid to risk what is for what could be. – @cnieuwhof
4. If you want the impact of a supermarket, you can’t run things like a mom and pop store. – @cnieuwhof
3. The healthiiest parts of my workout are the parts I like the least. (A lot like life and work.) – @cnieuwhof
2. Authentic is more powerful than cool. – @cnieuwhof
1. You can’t follow fear. (Leaders, don’t lead out of fear.) – @cnieuwhof
BONUS LEADERSHIP QUOTES
Carey Nieuwhof at Orange Atlanta.
Leaders who can’t be questioned end up doing questionable things. – @JonAcuff
To grow, we must develop, not just delegate. – @GeoffSurratt
Effective leaders have a bias for action. – @cnieuwhof
You are unwilling to change if the gap between what you say and what you actually do is too large. – @cnieuwhof
People may have great ideas. But if it does not meet the strategy, then it does not fit. – @DougFields
When we was the last time you experienced your program as an insider? – @SueMiller01
Churches stop growing because they bet too much on being cool. – @cnieuwhof
Churches stop growing because you are more in love with the method than you are with the mission. – @cnieuwhof
Churches stop growing because your church’s passion for the past or present is more compelling than your vision for the future. – @cnieuwhof
(Leaders) what you model is what your staff repeats. – @JenniCatron
People with significant leadership gifting respond best to significant challenges. – @cnieuwhof
Strategy begins as divisive, but ultimately aligns an organization. – @cnieuwhof
Micromangement is a sign you don’t trust someone. – @cnieuwhof
Some people will put up with disorganization, but high capacity leaders will ultimately give up. Be organized. – @cnieuwhof
Your organization will drift to the level of accountability the team leader establishes. – @cnieuwhof
Surround high capacity people with high capacity people. Like attracts like and like keeps like. – @cnieuwhof
#CatalystWest 2015 is the Catalyst West conference, a training experience for the next generation of leaders. It was held in Southern California during April. Here are my top 10 leadership quotes from the conference (taken from #CatalystWest on Twitter):
#10. Leaders are designed to be dissatisfied with status quo. That’s not a problem, it’s a calling. – @AndyStanley (via @hinscheman)
#9. Failure isn’t a person, it’s a event. It doesn’t define who you are. – @craiggroeschel (via @PaulLuna)
#8. To reach people no one is reaching, we must do things no one is doing. – @craiggroeschel (via @BigJHuanosto)
#7. Your greatest contribution may not be something you do. It may be someone you raise. – AndyStanley (via @FlippenAwesome)
#6. The thinking that gets you into a problem never gets you out; You’ve got to change your thinking. – @KentonBeshore (via @PaulLuna)
#5. Leaders don’t get into trouble all at once. It happens one step at a time. – @CraigGroeschel
#4. Many years from now, what would you like people to thank you for? – @AndyStanley (via @BigJHuanosto)
#3. Leaders don’t blame. Blame is an effective change-avoidance strategy. – @AndyStanley (via @HaleyVeturis)
#2. Organize to your vision statement. – @AndyStanley
#1. We don’t want to copy other leaders. We want to think like they think. – @CraigGroeschel (via @misterlib)
If you aren’t failing every now and then, you’re playing it too safe. – Craig Groeschel (via @Cory_Huffman)
Failure is not an option, it’s a necessity. Faith takes risks. @craiggroeschel (via @HaleyVeturis)
“Do not be afraid to fail. Failure is the 1st step towards #SUCCESS.” #CraigGroeschel (via @EfrenPenaPR)
“We are all one yes away from changing everything.” – @shelenebryan (via @misterlib)
True love involves doing; it requires action. – @shelenebryan (via @PaulLuna)
I’d rather fail God by thinking too big rather than insult Him by thinking too small. – @CraigGroeschel (via @PaulLuna)
I can’t think of a single hero of the faith that lived a comfortable life. – @shelenebryan (via @suannagutierrez)
If you are innovative, you are going to offend some Pharisees. – @CraigGroeschel (via @drewruiz85)
Failure is not an option, it’s a necessity. Faith takes risks. @craiggroeschel (via @HaleyVeturis)
The fear of failure drives you to lead without faith. – @craiggroeschel (via @vikramloya)
God guides by what He provides AND by what He WITHHOLDS. – @craiggroeschel (via @BethanyWymore)
There’s an inexorable correlation between leadership & change. – Andy Stanley (via @randysherwood)
Memorable is portable (make your communication memorable so people will take it with them.) – @AndyStanley
Limited resources are not a hindrance to innovation, but a catalyst to innovation. – @CraigGroeschel (via @PaulLuna)
Failure isn’t a person, it’s a event, it doesn’t define who you are. – @craiggroeschel (via @PaulLuna)
6 leadership lessons we can learn from the Holy Land.
Have you ever dreamed about visiting the Holy Land? You can literally walk in the steps of some of history’s greatest leaders. I recently traveled to Israel and Jordan. These modern-day countries can teach us valuable leadership wisdom.
New infrastructure, such as railroads like the one being built here, are linking two economies and strengthening relationships.
#6. IT’S HARD TO HATE A PARTNER (ISRAEL AND JORDAN): These neighboring countries have a deeply contentious history. Even so their leaders have agreed to new water, rail and trade projects. Both countries will be wealthier and more stable . . . because it’s tough to hate a partner.
In Israel, reclaimed fresh water creates farms in the desert. These trees produce dates.
#5. COMMON SENSE IS A POWERFUL TOOL (TEL AVIV): In less than 75 years Israel has gone from mostly arid desert to having meaningful agriculture. Common sense water projects are the reason why. Desalinization plants have been built to make fresh water for people to use. Their waste water is then cleaned and used for agriculture. Don’t over-think your problems. This simple, common sense leadership initiative gives the country the water and food it needs to grow.
#4. STAND UP FOR YOURSELF (ISRAEL): Israel is a tiny country (8 million people in a space smaller than New Jersey). Even so, it is bordered by four countries that, at times, have been enemies. Setting aside the political issues, one thing is clear . . . Israel strongly believes in itself. It is willing to take a stand even if it doesn’t see the odds in its favor. It tenaciously builds infrastructure, security, business and governmental systems to promote its long term success. An organization needs more than good ideas. It needs a strong sense of itself and a commitment to systems that make things happen.
#3. THE COMMON GOOD TRUMPS PERSONAL AGENDAS (ISRAEL): Drive around Israel and one thing is inescapable – industriousness for the common good. Roads, schools, museums, homes, factories and tourist sites have been developed in just a few decades. Leaders are clearly trying to do something good for a nation . . . and not simply serve their personal agendas.
Petra – Jordan’s remarkable city where buildings are carved in stone.
#2. IF YOU’VE GOT IT, DON’T HIDE IT (PETRA): You would recognize the most visited place in Jordan . . . and that’s no accident. Petra is an ancient city with buildings carved into sandstone canyon walls. Leaders in Jordan deliberately arrange for Petra to be featured in movies like Indiana Jones and Transformers. That publicity brings tens of thousands of visitors each year, and big money to the Jordanian economy. Shrewd leaders understand that it’s important to get the word out about their organization’s strengths. Once people know about them, they will go out of their way to experience something special.
The Dome of the Rock Muslim shrine sits immediately above the site of The Temple.
#1. CREATE SAFETY FOR THOSE WHO DON’T AGREE WITH YOU (JERUSALEM): Israel is a Jewish nation. Yet the Catholic Church is the largest private landholder in the country. In the capitol city of Jerusalem, Muslims, Jews and Christians live side-by-side. They share some of the most contested real estate on Earth. There is a Muslim shrine above the Jewish people’s most holy site (the Temple). The various authorities have made it safe for everyone to experience Jerusalem. It may seem counter-intuitive, but good leaders create stability and growth by welcoming disparate voices.
A personal note . . . I put off going to the Holy Land for a long time. It’s easy to do because of logistics, cost and political instability. However, the trip was far more enriching that any other trip I’ve taken. If a Holy Land trip is on your bucket list, I encourage you to make it happen. It’s worth it.
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Leadership insights from our desire for escape, escapism and “Jimmy Buffett Syndrome.”
As a leader, do you have moments where you just want to chuck it all and leave? It’s a perfectly normal feeling. We want to escape. We want all the problems to just go away.
But, of course, we don’t leave. As responsible people we lead through the difficulty, sometimes at a high personal cost. Leaders who flee are weak. But does that mean escape has no place in the life of a leader?
I used to live in a picture-postcard part of Florida. As a hobby I had a boat and ran Florida’s most-visited boating website. Frequently I would receive emails from northerners. They would share how they wanted to leave their bad weather and personal problems. In Florida we called this “Jimmy Buffett Syndrome” . . . the desire to leave it all behind and escape to somewhere pleasant.
‘She came down from Cincinnati. It took her three days on a train. Lookin’ for some peace and quiet; hoped to see the sun again.”
– Jimmy Buffett, “Fins”
THE DANGERS OF ESCAPISM
Make no mistake. As leaders it is our job to handle the tough problems. It’s the reason we are provided with the “perks” of leadership. (Simon Sinek has a great lesson on this called “Why Leaders Eat Last” at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReRcHdeUG9Y)
Organizations will sometimes grant sabbaticals to leaders in trouble. It is hoped that a few months away will clear the leader’s head and recharge them. It usually doesn’t work. Running never makes things better.
This is because many times the problem is with us. Our personal challenges follow us no matter where we go. There is no place we can escape if we are not competent or lack organizational/people skills. It’s far better to stay and fix these problems head-on.
THE BENEFITS OF ESCAPE
There are times when a leader needs healthy escape. Competent leaders operate at high velocity and under stress. That’s okay . . . so long as the leader is able to get a meaningful break. Taking two straight weeks of vacation each year can really help. Typically the first week is spent disconnecting and the second week is spent recharging. If you have never taken two weeks off, I highly encourage you to try it. It can make a big difference in your performance and well-being throughout the year. This is a positive escape for leaders.
Back to our beach bards . . . When Jimmy Buffett was young, he wanted to be a country star. He moved to Nashville and gave it his best. When things didn’t work out, he went to the Florida Keys. There he developed the Caribbean/folk/country/pop style that made him famous. But Jimmy Buffett doesn’t sell music. He sells escape. He’s been so successful that other singers like Alan Jackson and Zac Brown have joined in. Here’s what we learn from them: Healthy escape isn’t about changing place. It’s a state of mind.
In his song “Toes”, Zac Brown sings about returning from a beach vacation only to find true escape at his local lake:
Adios and vaya con dios.
Going home now to stay.
Just gonna drive up by the lake.
I put my (rear) in a lawn chair, toes in the clay
Not a worry in the world . . . Life is good today. Life is good today.
There are many ways to “clear out” without having to get on an airplane. I know one senior leader who likes to go fishing. His mind is clear when he’s out on the water with a pole in his hand. For another senior leader, cycling is his thing. The only time he really clears-out is on a long bike ride. For me, it’s grabbing a kayak after work and going for a sunset paddle. There are many things that will help us to refresh if we’ll just be intentional to do them. Healthy escape isn’t about changing place. It’s a state of mind. That’s the real cure for Jimmy Buffett Syndrome.
Come on in the water it’s nice… find yourself a little slice.
When you lose yourself… you find the key to paradise
Leadership quotes from the Catalyst One Day conference 2014.
Catalyst One Day is a leadership training event. Each year Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel make several tour stops around the country. Here are the top 10 leadership quotes from this year’s Seattle tour stop:
#10. We give up some things we love for some things we love more. – @CraigGroeschel
#9. What you care about determines what you can be trusted with. – @CraigGroeschel
#8. You’re greatest contribution may not be what you do but someone you raise. – @AndyStanley
#7. Never say “Our people don’t.” Say “We have not led our people to.” – @CraigGroeschel
#6. Wise time management doesn’t mean you do more, but you do more of what matters most. – @CraigGroeschel
#5. The difference between the values you embrace & the life you live equals the frustration you experience. – @CraigGroeschel
#4. General ideas do not move people to specific action. Specific communication results in specific action. – @CraigGroeschel
#3. If you like your organization’s culture, hire from within. If you don’t like your culture, hire from the outside. – @CraigGroeschel
#2. If you delegate tasks you build followers. If you delegate authority you build leaders. – @CraigGroeschel
#1. People would rather follow a leader who is always real rather than always right. – @CraigGroeschel
BONUS LEADERSHIP QUOTES
One of our top goals is to lead our staff and volunteers to think like owners rather than employees. – @CraigGroeschel
The result of poor time management is well-intentioned leaders who constantly allow the urgent to overwhelm the important. – @CraigGroeschel
Leaders don’t get into trouble all at once. It happens one step at a time. – @CraigGroeschel
The days are long. The years are short. – Sandra Stanley
Create a family that wants to be together even when it doesn’t have to be together. – @AndyStanley
Prioritize your marriage on your calendar (not just in your heart). – @AndyStanley
I will never sacrifice my family on the alter of the church. – @CraigGroeschel
You have one life to make a difference in this world. (Use your time wisely.) – @CraigGroeschel
The younger generation does not respond to cool. They respond to people who care. – @CraigGroeschel
Click here for more information on Catalyst One Day conferences. Click here for information about the annual Catalyst multi-day conferences in Atlanta, Dallas and Southern California.
You know the feeling. Something is wrong. You’re the leader. You really should say something about it. But confronting someone is the LAST thing you feel like doing. You consider your options. Perhaps you can do nothing, or simply drop a hint, and the problem will go away. You’re in agony watching the cycle of identifying a problem, shying away from a difficult conversation and then having the problem continue. How do you fix it?
I was raised on the West Coast, a part of our country where people are “nice”. Speaking in a frank manner was definitely NOT the tool of choice when resolving problems. People might subtly infer if there is a problem. Rarely would they say what they were thinking directly to your face (though behind your back was generally okay). It just wasn’t “nice” to tackle relational problems head-on.
Then I moved to the Northeast. I got creamed. I thought everyone hate me. They were always raising problems . . . to my face! They were direct and it didn’t feel particularly kind. I thought something must have happened to me on my trip from the West Coast to the East Coast because people were treating me so differently. But after about a year I came to a revelation: I did have friends and people did like me. I realized that on the East Coast, you always know where you stand with someone. The relational air was surprisingly clear. Great things happened because people weren’t afraid to be direct.
DIRECT VS INDIRECT COMMUNICATION STYLE
Do you struggle to be direct? You’re not alone . . . most people do. But if you’re indirect you may be hurting your career, relationships and potential. Here’s why:
Indirectness kills creativity and productivity. Indirect leaders fail to communicate both what they want and what they don’t want. Employees don’t understand what behaviors to avoid. They don’t know what the boss’ pet peeves (organizational landmines) are. This makes them afraid to contribute new ideas (for fear of presenting something that isn’t wanted). Employees retreat into their known silos and do business as usual. Indirect leadership creates an atmosphere where playing it safe and doing nothing is rewarded with continuing employment.
An indirect communication style fails to resolve problems and causes stress. Unresolved problems cause dull pain. It’s like a toothache that reminds you that something is wrong. Just like our teeth, problems don’t get better when we fail to address them. The dull pain amplifies other problems, making indirect leaders feel worse than they would otherwise.
An indirect communication style may reveal a lack discipline. It takes leadership discipline to look for problems, find solutions and speak with the people involved. Indirect people sometimes lack this leadership discipline and feel it is easier to let problems go in the hopes they will go away.
Indirectness makes leaders look weak. Leaders are in charge. Sometimes we are the only ones on our team who can deal with the obvious problems. Our people are relying on us to solve the challenges they can’t. We hurt our careers and our people when we fail to directly address challenges.
Indirectness promotes staff turnover. Indirect leaders drop hints. They beat around the bush. Indirect leaders ask others to communicate their message to a problem individual. Staff members view these things through their own lenses (past personal experiences) and come to negative conclusions. The unclear expectations create frustration and insecurity among staff members, which ultimately promotes turnover.
NOT ALL DIRECT COMMUNICATION IS CONSTRUCTIVE
Bad “direct” – The truth in anger: One of the reasons a direct communication style can be so difficult for some people is because they associate it with anger. How many times have we had an angry person say direct things to us? They have something that bothers them but are afraid to bring it up. It’s only after a problem emotionally elevates during an argument that the finally truth comes out (in an ugly way). Their issue may genuinely need to be raised. However, it’s impossible for the recipient to accept the criticism because it is in the middle of a heated argument. Directness is seen as an instrument for hurt rather than a positive relational tool.
Good “direct” – The truth in love: Good “direct” is about good intent. The Apostle Paul had one of the best “direct” styles in history. In Ephesians 4:15 he promotes the power of “speaking truth in love” to each other so that we will grow. When you read any of Paul’s letters you see that he is both encouraging and direct about things needing to be addressed. Paul says a lot of tough things, but always from a standpoint of constructive criticism and caring. When done this way, directness positively promotes growth and strengthens relationships.
HOW TO DEVELOP A DIRECT COMMUNICATION STYLE
Our personality and skill set determine how easy it is for us to be direct. Some people are wired to be direct (drill sergeants, football coaches, prophets, etc.). Some people have had “direct” modeled well for them by friends and family. Other people are wired in a way that they detest conflict or have only seen “direct” used against them in ugly arguments. Where are you in this continuum? Knowing yourself will give you an indication of how difficult it will be for you to “speak the truth in love.”
Being direct starts with intent: If you need to speak with someone directly, make sure it is because you have their best interest (and the best interest of your organization) at heart. People are perceptive. People will listen if they sense you are talking with them because you care. If they sense bad intent they will quickly become defensive. Remember Theodore Roosevelt’s wise words, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Direct communication is enabled by relationship: Beyond good intent you need relationship. This means that you know the person you are speaking with. Over time you should have built positive relational capital with the individual. This means that you have made relational “deposits” in the past by encouraging them, asking about their family, helping them and paying attention to them. Having plenty of relational deposits means that you can make a “withdrawal” by being direct, without destroying the relationship. In the best relationships, showing you care by being direct can actual be a relational deposit and not a withdrawal.
Find the right location: A direct conversation requires the right location. Choose a place where others can’t see/hear you. Have tissue available in case things get emotional. Choose a place where you both can quietly go your own way immediately following the conversation. Choose an informal setting (seating area in your office) over a formal one (you behind your desk).
Use the right tone: Be mindful with your tone of voice and body language. Both should be calm, friendly and business-like. Remember that your words will have a lot of weight just because of your leadership position. The person you are talking with may have had bad experiences with confrontations and conflict. They may bring a lot of past baggage into the conversation. They may quickly become defensive if they think you are angry or wanting conflict. Commit to having the conversation quickly after the problem is discovered. Procrastinating builds tension and makes it more difficult to maintain an even tone.
Start by prefacing your comments: People want to be treated as adults. Set the stage by sharing what you will be doing and that you will be speaking in a straightforward manner. Example: “John, I know how much you care about things around here and I appreciate that. There are some things that are concerning me. If it’s alright, I would like to speak frankly with you about them.” This allows people to know that something difficult is coming but that you are going to speak about it as adults.
“Rip off that bandage quickly”: Having set the tone now is the time to say what needs to be said clearly and directly. Example: “Last month I asked you to get an agreement signed by ABC Company so they could use our facilities. As I understand it, that never happened and now they are going elsewhere. What’s up with that?” Asking for a response after stating a fact engages them and allows you to discover things you may not know. Many times the person will make excuses at first, but ultimately accept responsibility for their shortcoming.
Frame your response with common sense: At this point, keep the conversation frank and focused on the problem (so that it does not become personal). Example: “Okay, I see where things went wrong. John, losing ABC Company’s business is a $10,000 loss for us. That’s money we need to pay our employees and expand into other cities. We can’t afford these kinds of oversights. You’re better than this and I need you to make sure this doesn’t happen again.” If the person wants to take the conversation down different trails, politely and firmly redirect it back to the topic at hand. Example: “John, maybe Mary did mess up that other account . . . but right now we’re talking about what happened with ABC Company.” Stay singularly focused on the problem at hand.
Cover everything: In direct conversations there can be a temptation to explore most of a problem, but to leave out the most difficult part. Be sure to say all of what is necessary. There will never be a better time to do it! End by affirming the future and the value of direct communication: Example: “John I’m glad you’ll be doubling your efforts with ABC Company. I’ll look forward to seeing them here next year. I’m glad we have the kind of relationship where we can be straight with each other like we were here today.” End the conversation with a smile and handshake if appropriate.
DIRECT COMMUNICATION IS TWO-WAY STREET
Directness isn’t just about being able to occasionally “dish it out.” Through all your interactions, invite others to be honest and direct with you. Respond to them thoughtfully when they are. You should be able to accept direct communication from others as well as provide it. Be consistent in your directness and people will see you as a “trusted critic.” Directness with honesty can be so rare that people will value it . . . and you as a leader . . . to an unusual degree.
HAVING THE COURAGE TO BE DIRECT
Conflict is unavoidable. It’s a natural part of our organizations and relationships. The only question is, ‘How will I handle conflict?” If you have been defaulting to an indirect communication style, I encourage you work on becoming direct. It may be one of the more difficult things you do in your leadership this year, but I’ll bet it will be the most rewarding.
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. – Ephesians 4:25
Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. – Matthew 5:37
Note: This post was developed from my presentation to the national Xpastor conference in Dallas and originally appeared on the Xpastor website. I discuss it further with Rich Birch on the unSeminar podcast. Click here to watch.
We’ve all experienced it. And we would love to experience it again.
It’s that brief pause in time after the big event has ended. It’s when we put up our feet and take stock of what just happened. It’s a bittersweet moment better measured in emotion than time. The adrenaline is gone. The pressure to perform has ceased. The deadline is met. The mountain has been climbed.
These moments are amongst our most rare and precious in this life. There’s a clarity in our reflection. Was all the work climbing the mountain worth it? You bet. Were we right to make it a priority? Yes! Was the time we sacrificed well spent? Absolutely. Are we (and those around us) genuinely satisfied? In this moment, yes.
These moments only occur when leaders choose an attitude of carpe diem. It’s easy to play it safe, but don’t. Meaningful victories never sprout from easily obtained goals or challenges that do little to stretch. Others are inspired when we focus on something worthwhile and work hard at it. Seize the day… and ultimately you will give your team the gift of the moment..
Who do you like to learn leadership from? Perhaps the best people to learn from are those special leaders who can lead leaders.
It was my privilege to sit down with just such a person at the Orange leaders conference. Carey Nieuwhof is a leader in the Orange organization, which attracts some of the best minds anywhere. He also leads a highly successful church in the Toronto area. He is an outstanding speaker, connector, doer and visionary. Nieuwhof is a leader of leaders . . . and I asked him for his most practical leadership advice.
HOW TO MANAGE TIME
Deciding what you are not going to do is as important as deciding what you are going to do. The genius is in knowing what you are skilled and gifted at. Only say “yes” to those things you do well. Say “no” to everything else, especially those things at which you aren’t very good. Become excellent at saying “no” graciously. Your spouse and your assistant can help you in saying “no”. They may be able to decline some opportunities for you. Eliminate 90% of the opportunities that come your way so that you can focus on the 10% of opportunities for which you are gifted.
HOW TO STAY PRODUCTIVE AND ENERGETIC
Being a morning person helps. Get up early for your quiet time, writing and social media posts. Have them done by 8am.
Have a good assistant.
Be very careful what you say “yes” to and focus on what you are good at (as noted above).
Productivity varies with life stage. A driven person in a life stage where there are no kids at home may have one capacity level. A leader in a life stage where there are heavy family demands may have a different capacity, in that specific season. It’s good to be aware of your personal life circumstance and adjust your priorities/expectations/time accordingly.
Cultivate your heart. Your interior journey determines your external journey. Guard your heart with great friendships. Gather wise people around you. Maintain good relationships with Jesus and your spouse. Get enough sleep. Do the things that energize you.
Nieuwhof does not regularly watch TV or play golf. He enjoys cycling and uses the time cycling to think and create outlines for his writing.
A note for senior pastors. Pastors are expected to create sermons and give their church vision. In essence, pastors create “something out of nothing.” This means setting aside meaningful time to think and create message series/church vision. Nieuwhof limits doing church business functions to a maximum of three days each week in order to preserve enough margin to create.
WHAT DO YOU KNOW NOW THAT YOU WISH YOU HAD KNOWN AS A LEADER IN YOUR 20s?
It is character, not competency, that determines your capacity. As you grow your character you grow your capacity as a leader. It’s relatively easy to develop your skill set, especially in the areas in which you are gifted. However, character issues such as humility and submission were the things Nieuwhof wrestled with as a younger leader.
Having a mentor is important throughout life, but it’s especially valuable in your 20s.
Learning to work with a team is critical. A team can bring out the best in you and in others. Learn this skill as early as you can.
LEADERS LEARN FROM BLOGGING
Nieuwhof writes one of the most helpful and practical leadership blogs on the internet (CareyNieuwhof.com).
Writing blog posts help leaders process thoughts. You can become a better thinker by writing.
A blog teaches you what resonates and connects with people. If you write a book you will wait a year for feedback. A blog post allows you to receive immediate feedback. It can be surprising what ideas resonate and get shared. . . and which ones don’t.
Social media allows you to float trial balloons. Nieuwhof notices when one of his tweets gets a lot of response. He will build that idea into a blog post or a sermon.
THE GREATEST OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR THE CHURCH
The greatest challenge the church faces is creeping irrelevance. We are more irrelevant than we think we are. This is a major blind spot for the church. The best place to see this is in the Millennial Generation.
There is a lack of next generation leaders. Where are the 20-something leaders? We have not seen enough emerge. We need to ensure there are enough young leaders to fill the leadership tank.
There is too much of a divide between business and the church. 100 years ago the best and brightest went into ministry. Now they go into business or elsewhere. This is creating a brain drain for the church.
People and families are looking for answers. However they don’t think the church can help.
The church has a great opportunity to reach people. There has never been more unchurched people. The fields are ready for the harvest.
The church also can leverage billions of dollars in under-used real estate (church buildings).
LEARN BY FOLLOWING NIEUWHOF
Carey Nieuwhof – Leading Change Without Losing It
Nieuwhof is generous when it comes to sharing his leadership experience and wisdom.