7 Ways I Gain Influence with My Team

John Maxwell says leadership is influence. If that’s true, then how does a leader develop that influence with the people he or she leads?

Here’s how I gain influence with my team:

Treat people professionally and with respect - I expect to be treated likewise, but for me to demand it without displaying it doesn’t build influence, it fosters control. (I wrote a post about that HERE)

Take risks on people and give opportunities to fail (or succeed) – Several on our staff started their ministry career with us…in large roles. I like placing faith in people. If a team member comes to me with a dream, I’ll try to help them attain it. The risk is almost always worth the return.

Recognize and reward efforts – I try to find ways to invest in our team, based on the individual needs and desires of the team member. I’ve been known to be creative in rewarding a team member for doing exceptional work. I’m also not afraid to single out exceptional work for individual recognition.

Allow them to know me personally – I’m transparent. I try to be clear about my weaknesses and own my mistakes. I’m also not afraid to be the brunt of the jokes.

Be approachable - I return phone calls and emails to my team quickly. They can get in touch with me and on my schedule before anyone other than my family. I keep the door open when I’m in the office and welcome walk-ins. (I have candy in my office too!)

Be consistent and reliable - I keep lots of lists so I don’t forget things I’ve committed to do. I have an Evernote folder with each team member’s name on it for things relative to them specifically. I don’t make many promises, but I try to honor my commitments, even when it’s costly at times. If I tell a team member I’ll do something, I make it a priority in my schedule until it’s accomplished.

Help others achieve personal success - I love to learn a team member’s goals and help them achieve it.

Keep in mind, I’m not perfect and this is not an attempt to brag about my performance. As with all my posts, I’m trying to be helpful in developing your leadership. If you read this blog regularly you know that one way I improve what I do is that I annually ask my team to evaluate me. (You can find out about that HERE and the consulting I offer in that area HERE.)

Of course, my team is free to comment on this post as well, so that should humble me. :) Most of what I’ve learned in leadership came from doing the wrong things first. I think it’s vital to a healthy team that the leader be continually conscious of his or her need for influence and ways to improve upon it.

You may also want to read my post 12 Ways to Keep an Organization Small

What would you add to my list?

Saying “That’s Nice” Is Never Enough for a Wife

I was talking with a young man at church today. He’s been married a couple years and is still learning how to understand his wife, and more importantly, how to communicate with her. I think he actually thought I’d figured things out by now. Silly boy! :)

His dilemma?

He had an example:

His wife got a new haircut. She wasn’t sure she liked it. She wanted his response. He said, “I like it.” She said, “Do you really?” He said, “Yes, I really do!”

She said, “No you don’t, you’re just saying that.” He replied, “No, I really, really like it. Seriously.”

She asked, “Would you tell me if you didn’t?” He said, “Of course I would.” She said, “No you wouldn’t…you hate it don’t you?”

“No”, he continued, “I really think it’s great. You’ve never looked any better. I think it makes you so much more attractive.”

“So you didn’t like my hair before?”

“I didn’t say that. I just meant I really like it.”

“But you said I’m more attractive now. It makes me think you didn’t like my hair then.”

“I loved your hair then and I love your hair now. You could wear your hair anyway…in fact you could shave your head…and I’d love it.”

“See, you don’t really care.”

Okay, so I don’t know the word for word conversation. I embellished a little…almost like I’ve had a similar conversation. :) Not that I ever have of course…but, almost like I had…almost :)

Men, have you ever been in that conversation?

Wives, how should he have responded?

(Please note that I put this post in the “funny” category…)

Why I (You) Need a Mentor

“Surely I am too stupid to be a man. I have not the understanding of a man.” Proverbs 30:2

I’ve got pastoral intern this summer named Dan Dominguez. Dan and I have been able to hang out some the last month or so and I have enjoyed our time together. He attends Moody Bible Institute, where he is studying to be a pastor and is a good friend of my son Nate. Nate is studying in Europe this summer, so it’s been a blessing having Dan near.

Dan and I were discussing the need for people in our life to help us when we can’t clearly find our way. I don’t know your situation, but Dan and I, from two different generations, could agree that Proverbs 30:2 could be one of our life verses.

By the way, the opening verse is the answer to the title of this post. I’m not trying to be funny or offend you. I’m admitting I need this too, but I need a mentor because the best options in my life are not always certain. A mentor has often helped me avoid stupid decisions I might have made without one.

Do you recognize your need for a mentor?

Be honest, what is one area of your life where you have the greatest need for one?

Pastor, can you convince my wife to stay?

I get a request about once a month from a man or woman.

“Pastor can you convince my wife (or husband) to stay?”

Sadly, I’ve lost a few friends this way. They wanted me to have magical words or supernatural powers of persuasion. The reality is it seldom works. In years of doing this I’ve learned:

  • I can’t change a heart.
  • There are no magic words
  • I have no special powers
  • Begging doesn’t work

All I can usually do is what they can do. I can pray. I can ask God to intervene.

I’ve also learned, however, that sometimes He does…and for whatever reason…sometimes He doesn’t. Sometimes God even allows people to make decisions they later regret.

My best work is always on the preventative side.

Pastor, what’s your experience in this area of ministry?

The 5th Type of Mentor

I’m updating a post. Yesterday I posted 4 types of mentors. Read it HERE (updated of course). I can’t believe I missed one…or that no one else caught my obvious error.

I grew up without a close relationship with my father. I missed the investment a father makes in the life of his son. As a result, I’ve tried my best to invest in my sons, but I guess because it wasn’t a great part of my story I missed it.

There is another kind of mentor.

The 5th type of mentor is:

Relational - It’s probably the best kind. It’s the way I am with my two boys. They can call me anytime for advice. They can get through my crazy schedule when no one else (except Cheryl) can. They hold my heart and my desire for their personal success in their hand. I mentored them because they are part of me. A relational mentor relationship happens with someone to whom you are related. It’s the most Biblical kind of mentoring. I hope it’s been a part of your life.

Isn’t that the best kind of mentor?

Do you have a relational mentor in your life? Share that with me here. I promise I’ll be encouraged!

Let’s Talk Mentoring

I have had mentors in my life since I was in my early twenties. These men have added so much to the quality of my life. I can’t imagine doing life without them. Mentoring is certainly not a new concept, but it seems to be talked about more recently than I’ve heard in some time. People, maybe especially men, are looking for someone to invest in them and help them find their way.

This week alone I’ve had half a dozen conversations regarding mentoring, either personally or with someone on Twitter. It’s certainly an issue on my mind more recently. I shared some of that with you in THIS POST. I also recently wrote about one of the new mentors in my life HERE.

I’m currently playing with some ideas, perhaps a resource or two, considering what I can do to engage in this process and help with this need.

Will you help me think through this issue?

Let’s talk mentoring today.

First, take 5 minutes and complete my 10 question survey on mentoring HERE. (Your responses are completely confidential.)

Second, leave a comment on this post (so everyone can see) if you know of any good mentoring resources.

Third, please share this post with your friends online (or the survey link http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/75Z7ZBL ) so we can get some good discussion going on this important topic.

Thank you for your participation. Hopefully more to come!

He Who Loves You, Watches Over You

One of the greatest feelings as a parent has to be watching your children sleep….

Knowing they are safe….resting…under your care…

I never got tired of knowing my boys were safe in their beds at night. It was a great time of day.

I wonder if God feels that way…

I wonder if God gets a charge out of watching over His children as they sleep…

I wonder if He smiles when He sees a child drift into dream land…

I’m reminded of these verses:

“He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:3-4)

When you are sound asleep, God is on watch…like a proud dad!

As you go to bed tonight, capture the moment, imagine the emotion God has as He watches His child fall asleep.

My Current Heart Stirrings: Men’s Ministry

I did men’s ministry for many years before I went into vocational ministry. Recently I felt led to address the young men in our church. One Saturday morning, I invited men aged 35 and under to join me as I shared some thoughts with them. Basically I said to them what I wish had been said to me at that age. The response from the guys who attended has been amazing. They want more.

In the process of planning and praying for this event, God did something to my heart. I’m still processing all that means, but I know it involves being more intentional addressing concerns I see as a need for more godly men to lead in their homes, communities and churches.

This week I received this email. (Some details are omitted to protect the identity, although this email is one of dozens like it I receive each year.)

Hi, my wife and I attend your church regularly. My wife feels like I need to be more of a spiritual leader. I wanted to get your advice on what I should do as a husband to be more of a spiritual leader in my marriage and what it looks like. Thank you for your time.

Pastor, how would you answer that question?

God is placing a huge passion and burden on my heart for men, specifically young men who desire to be godly, but aren’t sure where to start. I’ve seldom met a man who didn’t want to do the right things, but I’ve met many who didn’t know how to get there. Mentoring and discipleship resources for men are rare compared to what’s available for women.

In the coming weeks and months, I’m going to spend more time addressing this issue here and in other venues. I’m even praying about a bigger opportunity to address this need. I don’t know what’s next completely, but I know when I stand before my God I want to have been faithful to His call.

Am I on the right track? Help me process this need and opportunity.

Men, be honest, do you need some help in this area of your life? Are you struggling in your roles as a man?

Women, what about your take on this issue? Do men need help learning to be godly men?

What are the best resources right now addressing this issue?

I’d love your input as it helps confirm and fuel my heart and thoughts.

Make Sure You Have at Least One of These…

Make sure you have at least one person in your life…

…Who is willing to say the hard things you don’t want to hear but need to hear…

  • Someone you trust…
  • Someone who knows you…
  • Someone with wisdom…
  • Someone who loves you…

Willing to tell you the truth…

It could save you, your marriage, and possibly your life…

Do you have someone like that in your life?