Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and temporary residents…
(1 Peter 2:11)
9 great ways to be extremely strange:
Love – Loving others even when others may seem unlovable.
Joy – Being joyful, in spite of the circumstances around you.
Peace – Providing a calming peace to those around you.
Patience – Demonstrating patience even in chaos.
Kindness – Being kind to one another, even when others aren’t so kind.
Goodness – Not advocating perfection, but genuinely striving to be a better person and serving as a witness to that endeavor for others.
Faithfulness – Standing firm with loyalty and commitment to Christ, even when others are rejecting what’s true.
Gentleness – Not wimpy, but carefully balancing strength and truth with grace and love.
Self-Control – Disciplining self to live out a strange kind of life, often sacrificing what’s temporary for what is eternal.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Leading is hard, but the principles and practice of leading don’t have to be as difficult as we make them at times.
I talk to leaders every week who are stressed out by the things they know they should be doing but aren’t getting done. They’ve read a blog — maybe even this one — they read a book, they attended a seminar or conference and they feel defeated.
Sometimes I think we complicate leadership too much.
I often tell leaders who want to improve to think of one or two areas in their organization or church, or in their personal leadership style, that they’d like to improve upon and take some small steps to make something positive happen in that area. Don’t start big. Start small. One bite of the elephant at a time. Take one thing you learned and implement it in a small way. Get better at it. Over time, do it more. Simple. (At least simpler in concept.)
If a leader is continually doing that over time they will start to see major improvement.
For example, a leader who knows he or she isn’t building new leaders, and recognizes the need, could set a goal to help develop one or two leaders this year. Currently no leadership development is being done. Replace that with discovering how and implementing the development of just a couple new leaders.
- Meet with them regularly.
- Find out their strengths.
- Find out their weaknesses.
- Seek ways to develop their strengths.
- Help them learn to minimize their weaknesses.
- Talk with them through your own leadership experience — good and bad.
- Introduce them to new resources, new opportunities, new challenges, other leaders.
That’s not simple, and it’s not profound, but it is doable and it starts moving things in a more positive direction. With intentionality, discipline and practice, that simple effort can lead to systematizing leadership development in a larger scale in the future.
Sticking with this example, the problem for many of us is that we start at the overwhelming sense that we have nothing. So we try to begin with some complex system of leadership development. It is too big and too fast and so nothing ever gets off the ground.
You may have heard some big, lofty ideas. That’s great. They stretch you, but simplify it in your mind. Place it within your current context.
Start small. Make incremental improvements. Learn from the process. Improve. Increase. Add to. Grow. Systematize. Booyah.
My friend Bradley Stevenson wrote a post about Kentucky basketball. Isn’t everyone these days? Well, not everyone, but lots of people are around here. UK basketball is a topic of conversation wherever you go in Lexington this time of year.
And, all the chatter hasn’t been positive this year. You are obviously not a basketball fan if you couldn’t figure that one out for yourself.
But, Bradley’s post was different. It was challenging, but encouraging at the same time. It resonated with people. Lots of people. Read “An Open Letter to Coach Cal (Coaches, Players and Fans)”.
Then Bradley did something only a friend would do. He asked me if I had any leadership advice to offer the UK basketball program. What? Me? I’m a student of leadership, but I’m only a casual basketball fan. I love the game. I go to the games. I wear the team colors. I cheer. But, my greatest passions are consumed in other directions. (Like Jesus. I’m passionate about Him. And, leadership. And the church.).
Anyway, Bradley’s a friend, or at least he claims to be (we’ll see how good a friend after this post goes live), so I decided to comply with his request. We did it in an interview fashion. And, knowing how much I like (and use) the number 7, Bradley asked me 7 questions about my leadership advice for Coach Cal and the UK basketball program.
Here were the questions:
- What’s your best leadership advice when dealing with negativity?
- How do you motivate your team during difficult times?
- How do you stay focused during difficult times?
- What do you say to naysayers?
- If you had 5 minutes with Coach Cal what advice would you give him?
- Same question, but about the team! If you had 5 minutes with the team (without Coach Cal) what advice would you give them?
- Finally, if you had 5 minutes with the UK fans…what would you say?
You can read my answers on Bradley’s blog post, “A Leadership Perspective for Coach Cal, Players and Fans“.
Be warned. I’m a leadership guy. And, this is basketball. Big Blue Nation basketball. That’s serious stuff around here. And, I live here. Please be nice.
Let’s talk sports. Or leadership. How do you see the two subjects related?
And, for bonus points…
Who, in your opinion, is the best leader as a coach in sports today?
The way a leader handles correction of someone on the team is important if the desire is to keep quality people on the team. All of us occasionally need someone to help us become better at what we do. That should be the end goal of correction. All of us make mistakes.
Avoiding the corrective procedure keeps the organization from being all it can be. It keeps people from learning from their mistakes. Good leaders use correction to improve people and the organization.
It’s important that we correct correctly.
Here are 7 aspects of healthy correction:
Relationship – Corrective actions should start here. It’s hard to correct people effectively if you don’t have a relationship with them. Using authority without an established relationship may work in a bureaucratic organization, but not in a team environment. Relationship building should begin before the need for correction.
Respect – Never condemn the person. As soon as correction becomes more personal than practical, the one being corrected becomes defensive and the leader loses the value of the correction. Focus attention on the actions being corrected and not the person. (Even if the correction involves a character issue, if you intend to retain the person, you will accomplish more if he or she knows they have your respect.)
Reprimand – Make sure the action being correction is clear and the person knows what they did wrong. Don’t wait until the problem is too large to restore the person to the team. Even though protecting the relationship is important, the person doesn’t need to leave still clueless that there is a problem.
Refocus – In addition to telling the person what he or she did wrong, help them learn from their mistakes. Spend time discussing how the person can improve in the area of performance being corrected.
Restore – Make sure the person being corrected knows you still believe in their abilities and that you have faith they can do the job for which they are responsible. Correction is never easy to accept, but the goal should be to improve things following the corrective period. People will lose heart for their work if they do not think their work is still valued.
Reinforce – Correction can be a valuable time for the team member and organization if used appropriately. It should be a learning time for the leader and the person being corrected. Use this as a time to remind the team member of the culture, vision, goals and objectives of the organization, as necessary to improve the team member’s performance. The leader should consider how he or she can improve to help the team member improve.
Replace – Some people simply aren’t a fit for the team. The problem could be them or the team. Making the call to replace a team member is hard, but sometimes necessary to continue the progress of the organization. The sooner this call is made the better it will be for everyone. (If it reaches this point, the leader should spend time evaluating what went wrong with the relationship — was it the person, the organization, or the leader?)
Leaders, do you avoid correction? Are you using it for the good of the organization and the people on your team?
What would you add to my list?
Yesterday I shared 7 Reasons the Introvert Is Not Talking in Your Meetings. I committed then to share some suggestions. Read that post first, or this one will be harder to follow.
The fact is we miss out on a lot of valuable input if we don’t hear from the introverts on the team, but hearing from them is more challenging. They are introverted. That basically means they typically internalize their thoughts more than the externalize them. But, in order for them to be helpful you have to hear them. They have to externalize their thoughts.
These aren’t fool proof. Not all introverts are alike, just as not all extroverts are alike. All of us are unique.
But, these might help. If you’re not hearing from some of the introverts on your team, give some of these a try.
Keep in mind, these are coming from an introvert and a leader.
First, from the previous post…
Here were 7 reasons they may not be talking:
- Everyone else keeps talking
- You are rushing the answers
- There are too many people, especially extroverts in the room
- You have them in an uncomfortable seat
- They’ve got nothing to say
- The conversation isn’t going anywhere
- You put them on the spot without warning
Here are 7 suggestions to get them talking:
First – Give them proper warning before the meeting to get them thinking ahead of time and let them know you’ll be expecting their input. With time to collect their thoughts in advance they’ll be more likely to share.
Second – Give them time after the meeting to reflect and specifically ask for their thoughts. In brainstorming, give them the questions before the meeting that you’ll be discussing. In some circumstances, I’ve even given introverts the freedom to email or text me or someone else during the meeting. (I’ve led a couple meetings where we put a live Google Docs on the screen to add our thoughts. Introverts could type in their response and Google Docs would update. They seemed to share more.)
Third – Divide into smaller groups. Especially during brainstorming meetings or strategy sessions, divide out and then come back together to share. Depending on the size of the group, you could have an introvert serve on their own “team of one” during the breakout time with the assignment to come back and share.
Fourth – Let them choose their seat. Never force introverts to move to the front of the room. You can offer them the seat, but if they want to stand in the back of a crowded room, let them.
Fifth – Don’t make people talk. Don’t call out an introvert or put them on the spot for an immediate answer. Provide opportunities, but don’t force. As mentioned previously, to see if they have thoughts to share, write a question on the board and give some time to process — maybe even let the answers be written.
Sixth – Start meetings on time and with an agenda. If small talk is part of the culture — that’s okay — but give them something to read or focus on until the main meeting starts. And, don’t be upset if they are still working on their phone until the actual meeting starts.
Seventh – Give them a preassigned part in the meeting. Most introverts are not afraid of leading, even speaking in large groups (I do it every week), they just want time to prepare. Then watch them shine.
As I said in the previous post, leaders this means you must know the people you are trying to lead. If you aren’t sure — ask, do assessments, observe, get to know them.
Also, to my fellow introverts, I hear from you. Some of you cringe at the word “brainstorming”. You want a pass from anything that makes you particularly uncomfortable. I’m sorry, I can’t give that as a leader. We all have to do things uncomfortable at times — that includes my extroverted friends. Sometimes they’ll be forced to sit in silent activities on the teams I lead. Brainstorming can be an important part of team-building and idea creation. And, the team needs you. We just need to help leaders — especially extremely extroverted leaders — learn how to get us more involved.
What suggestions do you have?
Ever wonder why the introvert on your team isn’t talking?
Introverts can be highly creative. They have original ideas. They think things through thoroughly. You need to hear from them.
Chances are, if they aren’t sharing, you’re missing out on some good participation.
Here are 7 reasons they may not be talking:
Everyone else kept talking – Most introverts aren’t going to talk over other people. They’ll wait their turn. If it doesn’t come. They won’t share.
You are rushing the answers – You don’t give them time to process. Introverts take time to find the right words to say. If you press for quick responses, they’ll likely share less. That’s true in brainstorming too, where you’re looking for many responses.
There are too many people, especially extroverts in the room – If there are plenty of “talkers” an introvert will let others do the talking. Again, they won’t interrupt. If introverts are easily outnumbered they are usually silenced.
You have them in an uncomfortable seat – Maybe they were late to the meeting and all that was left was an awkward front row seat. Not happening. They won’t likely share if they feel they are being made the center of attention.
They’ve got nothing to say – Perhaps it isn’t their subject. Introverts aren’t as likely to talk about subjects they know less about as an extrovert will. Their words are typically based on thoughts they’ve processed longer, so if it’s a new subject, they may still be processing internally.
The conversation isn’t going anywhere – Introverts aren’t usually fans of small talk. If too much time at the beginning of the meeting was about nothing they consider of great importance, then you may have lost their interest .
You put them on the spot without warning – Introverts are often NOT opposed to making a presentation. (The “not” is capitalized on purpose.) The myth is that introverts are always silent. Not true. Or that they have nothing to say. Not true again. They simply want to be prepared before they share.
Of course, this means you need to understand the team you’re trying to lead. Who are the introverts — the true introverts — on your team? They may have thoughts you need to hear. Your challenge is to create an environment conducive for hearing from them.
Edited note: I always receive push back from introverts about brainstorming. (Remember, I am one. Fairly extreme one.) I don’t think the problem is brainstorming, but rather how we do it. The process is too important not to do it and the collective thoughts are too important to miss anyone. We don’t get an “out” of everything uncomfortable because we are introverts. No one does. We just have to adapt and leaders have to get better at leading everyone, which is the point of these posts.
Go to my 7 suggestions post for ideas for each of these to get the introverts sharing.
What other reasons do you know that keep introverts from sharing in a meeting?
The title is deceiving. I admit that. You can’t “get” anyone to love you. How that occurs is a mystery. (And, we’ll end this post in mystery.)
But, I wanted you to find and read the post if you need the help.
I wrote this post almost 5 years ago now and titled it “Winning Back the Heart of My Wife“. It continues to be a heavily searched post. I think it’s because so many men are asking the same question. They’ve lost their wife’s heart and don’t know how to get her back. They want to know how to “get my wife to love me again.”
I decided to repost this, with a few alterations, because apparently there is a huge need. And so yes, if you stumbled here looking for answers-that’s my intent, but please know this is not a perfect post. It won’t apply to everyone. It won’t be an “end all” to your situation. It is simply designed to gear your heart in a healthier direction, so you can better concentrate on repairing your marriage.
As I refresh this post, it’s early one Saturday morning and I have just had this same conversation with another man. He doesn’t know me. He found me online, but he is desperate. Through some bad decisions, he has injured his wife and she isn’t sure she wants the marriage to work anymore so he went searching for answers.
I told him as I’ve said so many times before, this type of help is hard to give over the Internet. Generalized posts can only help so much. His wife is unique; unlike any other woman.
I have learned, however, that there are some commonalities in these situations. In working with marriages in distress, I’ve discovered that most men have injured their wife emotionally at some level and many times don’t even know it.
A man seldom understands (this man included) how different a woman is from a man. Of course, we understand some of the physical differences, but women are usually more in tune with their emotions than men are. When life happens to them, typically their initial and dominant reaction is to respond emotionally. When someone hurts a woman’s feelings, for example, even though the information they receive may be false, they have a harder time working through the feelings associated with the emotional injury.
The heart, speaking in terms of the seat of our emotions, was created much like other parts of the body. When a finger is broken the body is designed to instantly start to heal and protect itself from further injury. The same is true of the heart. When a person’s heart is injured, it goes into a self-protective mode to keep it from further injury. Over time, after years of injury, the heart becomes almost calloused, refusing to allow anyone to injure the heart again. A woman who has had years of emotional injury doesn’t have much heart left to give, but especially to the one who has done the most injury.
When a sudden dangerous blow to the woman’s heart is delivered, such as when she finds out the man had an affair, the already injured heart breaks — and completely closes off from being hurt anymore.
Most men enjoy trying to “fix” problems, but men cannot fix their wife’s heart. And that’s the advice most men want me to give when they contact me. Emotions are not repaired as easily as one could fix a leaking faucet or program a computer. There’s no program. No system. No script. There’s not an “app” for that.
So what is a man to do if he feels his wife’s heart is injured? How do you heal a broken heart?
Of course, Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor. He can come in, erase all the pain and make the heart brand new. Most of the time however, at least in my experience, He lets us wrestle with life’s heartache while we learn to better love one another.
In the former post I list these as “steps”. That was probably a poor choice of words. A better word might be suggestions. They are written simply as suggestions if a man wants to encourage the healing of his wife’s heart. These are good suggestions even if the man simply wants to improve his marriage relationship.
Here are my suggestions:
Seek God – I added this one to the previous post. It should have been in the first one, but honestly, I saw it as almost an unspoken understanding. It’s certainly what most men tell me they are doing at this point. Like the man mentioned above told me, he had never been much of a “church guy”, but now he desperately wants God to heal his marriage. Whatever draws you closer to God is a good thing — and will make you a better man, regardless of what happens with your marriage. Use this time to develop and strengthen your relationship with God. It starts, as all relationships with God begin, through a recognition of who Christ is and your belief in Him. Start there and grow.
Practice Patience – The first thing men need to do is to recognize that restoring a broken heart will not happen overnight. Emotions heal very slowly. Steps should begin to restore an injured heart or to rebuild the marriage, but men should not expect too much too soon.
Love Her – This is by far their greatest need. Most wives have their love need unmet. The standard for our love is perfection, since a man is to love his wife as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5), so a man will actually never love his wife enough, without the help of Christ. The wife knows, however, when the husband’s attention is somewhere else. Most men sacrifice their marriage for their careers or other interests. A wife’s love need is there every day. A wife needs to know that she is second only to God in her husband’s affections. I have found that for my love for Cheryl to grow-I need Christ’s help. I pray for this often.
Romance Her – A woman has a need for romance. Most wives had a fairy tale idea of marriage when they were growing up. They realize early in marriage this isn’t reality, but their need for occasional romance remains. Men rarely know how to do this. A man should be genuine, but should recognize and value the uniqueness of his wife and find ways to give her romance. I gave my wife a “romantic” trip to New York City for Christmas one year. We were going to dance, walk through Central Park and just enjoy each other. It didn’t turn out exactly as I had planned it, but I earned huge points in the romance category with my wife.
Value Words – When a man comes home and says “This house is a mess”, being a mostly factual being, that’s probably all he meant. He looked around, made a physical observation and stated a factual conclusion. The wife, however, probably did not receive the information that way. The wife most likely hears lots of negative information, such as, “You have done nothing all day”, or maybe even, “I don’t like you.” That sounds impossible to most guy’s rational minds, but with emotions receiving information anything could be heard, whether that was the intended response or not. Men need to learn how to be gentle with their wives and the words they use. One question I ask men, “Would you let another man talk to your wife the way you talk to her?”
Communicate on Her Terms – Women communicate best heart to heart…not head to head. A man should allow his wife to see his true heart. This is difficult for a man to do, but he should be willing to be vulnerable with her. Men may need to ask their wives to help them learn how to say things to her. Men cannot talk to their wives as they would their guy friends. It’s rare for men to get very “deep” in their conversations with other men, especially when it involves emotions. Women require understanding, compassion, openness and honesty in communication.
Give Consistent Assurance – Trust is an important need for a woman in relationships. The wife needs to know that her husband is going to be faithful. Men should not take offense, for example, when their wife asks details about their schedule or the activities of their day. The wife desires to be a partner in her husband’s life and these details help her provide trust and security in the relationship. A man should also tell his wife frequently that he loves her. She needs this consistent assurance. As long as nothing major happens, most men can live with a “we said it once and meant it” attitude. This is not enough for the wiring of most women.
Encourage Truth – Ultimately life cannot be lived strictly by emotions. We need truth. Emotions are often unreliable. A woman who feels unloved may be very much loved by her family, but she fails to feel that truth because of years of emotional abuse or just because she’s emotionally having a bad day. Men should gently, but consistently speak truth in love, reminding his wife of her worth, her beauty, and her place in his life. Husbands have this ability better than anyone in the heart of their wife. Over time — truth, when given with love, can play a part in healing damaged emotions.
Be Consistent – The heart is damaged over years and years of injury. Sadly many women have deep and tragic heart wounds, but much of this injury will have been unintentionally delivered and small in terms of the magnitude of the incident. Years of emotional injury builds up in the heart until the heart becomes closed. The erasing of the pain will happen just as it was developed…a little bit at a time. The husband cannot try this for a week and then stop. Protecting a woman’s heart must become a lifestyle.
I remember once talking with a man whose wife was experiencing deep depression. As I talked with this man it became apparent that, though probably unknowingly, he had been damaging his wife’s heart for years. He couldn’t seem to understand why his wife was so emotional; “Everything seems to upset her”, he said. The man told me he had tried to help her through her problems and that everything they had going against them he could “fix” if she would let him. I am not sure I could have ever convinced this man that his attempts at “repair” were probably one of the chief causes of his wife’s broken heart.
Most men tell me they don’t know how to be who their wife needs them to be or wants them to be. And, most men don’t, anymore than our wives know how to be the wife we need. I believe if we want to grow strong marriages we will both, husbands and wives, have to keep learning. It’s never too late to begin! Ephesians 5 calls it a mystery, but the best marriages work through the hard work, to get to the greater gain. Great marriages are worth it.
I discovered a genius way to strengthen my marriage. And, it’s so simple.
I calendar everything.
I share my calendar with my wife.
- It makes her feel a part of my day.
- She feels more secure in the relationship.
- We have less miscommunication because I forgot to tell her something.
- When I get home, we have automatic points of conversation, because she knows what my day looked like.
For detail people, I use Google calendar and she has an app on her phone that syncs. It’s also good because she can add social events to my calendar without seeing first if I’m available.
For us, this works best. Her job is more structured than mine, so there aren’t as many calendar items in her day. This may be opposite for some couples. When Cheryl is “at work” that’s about all I need to know. I meet with many different people in many different place in a week, so keeping up with my schedule is more difficult without this.
Plus, Cheryl is detail-oriented. She wants to know the details. I’m much less so than her. Again, this may be opposite for some couples.
The key is to do what makes the marriage work best for both spouses. This is one that cuts out a lot of miscommunication and adds a sense of partnership to our marriage.