The Leader’s Private Life

The leader’s private life…

The leader’s marriage…

The leader’s family life…

The leader’s physical health…

The leader’s emotional health…

The leader’s spiritual health…

Impacts the leader…which naturally impacts the people he or she leads…

The leader’s private life matters to the health of the team…

You may want to read THIS POST next.

Leader, how is your private life impacting the people or organization you lead?

Not sure…ask them…

I always tell the teams I lead…and remind myself…

We must get better to get bigger…

(BTW, I help “brave” leaders do this…read more HERE.)

In a Church Plant…Hire Generalists not Specialists

In a church plant, no one can be a specialist.

In the early days of Grace Community Church, I did many things I wasn’t necessarily trained or qualified to do. That was even truer in my first church plant, which started smaller, but I suspect it’s true of every church plant. This has been the case for all of our staff. They’ve had to fill roles not assigned to their specific job description.

Specialist concentrate on what they do best.

Generalist, while they may have a specific job title, handle multiple tasks; some better than others.

At Grace, we’ve hired people for specific jobs, but we’ve had to ask everyone to do tasks which weren’t necessarily in their “job description”.

  • Our groups pastor helped launch our second campus.
  • Our family pastor helps with worship planning.
  • Our worship pastor helps with our website.

As the church grows, you may hire more specialists, but honestly, we are living in a day where generalists are more needed than ever. To me, someone’s value to the team increases the more tasks he or she can complete, or they are willing to try.

If you are looking to add to your church staff…consider those who can and are willing to handle multiple roles.

Have you had to handle multiple tasks in your position?

Do you see a change to more generalist or more specialist roles in churches today?

How I Blog about Current Leadership Problems

Let me bring you in on a little secret. All those leadership posts I do…I don’t make them up…

Most of them come from real life situations…either mine or yours…

The one about 9 Bad Boss Types

Yea, I’ve either had them, been them or seen them or heard of them through readers like you…

The one about 10 Types of Good Leadership

The one about Controlling Leadership

The one about Ways to Lead People Older than You

Yea…all me…or you…

I get asked frequently, “How do you post about people you know? Don’t they figure out you’re talking about them?”

Well, truthfully, sometimes they ask, “Is that post about me?” The reality is, however, that every situation seems to repeat itself. Many of my situations from which I draw principles come from readers of this blog sharing their stories with me. I get lots of them. Some come from other churches with whom I’ve worked. Many of the situations from which I develop leadership principles happened years ago when I was in secular business and management. Sometimes the details are cloudy, but the principles are still quite clear.

I do have a system (informal that is), however, of how I post about current leadership issues, especially those real life to me, where I know the people involved.

Here is my system:

I wait until some time has passed – The principles learned will still be good. It could be a month or a year, depending on how easy to discern the details would be. (I keep my notes in Evernote) I also try to remove emotions before I post about a situation. I’ve been burned a few times (and burned others) by posting in anger, so I’ve learned to never post until I’m back on even ground emotionally.

I consider all parties involved – I want to make sure I’m telling the story correctly. I try to capture the facts as they happened, not as someone felt as they were happening. If it’s a personal issue for me, I never share any situation I wouldn’t be comfortable discussing with the people involved. I especially don’t want people I lead feeling slammed through my blog, so I make sure I address leadership problems I have outside this blog. I frequently mention upcoming posts so they know in advance I’m writing about a certain topic.

I examine what was learned – I always want to learn from experiences; good or bad, so I ask myself how the teams involved are better and how things could improve because of this situation. I try never to post out of personal frustration, but I do try to share that which can benefit others from my experience or the experience of others.

I change details – I never share names, unless I have permission and it’s necessary for the story. I change enough details to keep people guessing as to the characters in the situation.

I post – Eventually I use the story or situation to write about a leadership problem or principle. My theory is that all leadership principles develop somewhere. Some of them may as well be with me…or you.

Have you ever posted in anger or had someone question if you were writing about them in your post?

Where have you learned your best leadership principle?

If I’m Your Leader…It’s Your Business…

“This is probably none of my business, but…”

Do you ever hear that as a leader?

Recently one of our staff had a question for me. He had observed that Cheryl and I sold our house and bought a condo downtown. He wondered if there was some hidden motive; like I was preparing to travel more, or perhaps become a full-time consultant and maybe even leave my role as pastor. (Evidently he doesn’t read my blog. I explained the move HERE 🙂 )

So, he bridged the conversation by stating, “This is probably none of my business, but can I ask you a question?”

It could have been other issues…

  • You seem distracted…is something wrong?
  • You look tired…are you feeling well?
  • I saw you without Cheryl…are you guys okay?
  • We haven’t spoken lately…are you mad at me?
  • I don’t understand that decision you made…what were you thinking?

Chances are…if you are a leader…you’ve had people think things like this before…

Some will ask…some may not…

If they do, they may start with, “I know this is none of my business, but…”

Here’s my take on that…

I don’t get upset when someone asks me a personal question…

In fact, I welcome them…

Why?

If I’m your leader…it’s your business…

Some things may not be the average church member’s business…

Or a reader of this blog 🙂

But if you look to me for leadership…

Then it’s your business…

Why?

Because I believe strongly that the health of the leader affects the health of the team… ***

I also think that trust in a leader is paramount to the health of the organization…

If the leader wants respect, he or she needs to be clearly understood…

So…

If I’m your leader…it’s your business…

Feel free to disagree with me, but do you think the health of someone leading you is your personal business?

***Read THIS POST and THIS POST for a further explanation of this principle.

Leaders Lead…So Others Can Follow

Leaders lead so that others can follow…

You’ll see it among organizations everywhere…

The team is no more intentional than the leader…

The team gives up when the leader gives up…

The team works no harder than the leader…

The team slacks off when the leader slacks off…

The team takes no greater risks than the leader is willing to take…

The team believes the vision no more passionately than the leader…

The team becomes negative when the leader becomes negative…

If you want others to follow your leadership, give them an example worth following…

Leaders lead so that others can follow…

What other examples of a leader’s impact on a team come to mind?

The Question I Ask When Receiving a Complaint or Criticism

When I have complaints or criticism I ask a question:

Is it individual or representative?

In other words:

Is it one person with an problem or is it multiple people?

Is it a personal issue or a public issue?

Does this complaint or criticism represent one person’s opinion or is it representative of a larger number of people?

The answer is critical before responding. I know I can’t please everyone. Some individuals are simply going to disagree with the way I or our church does something. I will listen to the complaint and respond to even the individual criticism, but when there is a growing tension among the masses, the issue demands more attention. It may not alter my response, but it does alter the intensity of my response. I realize when a larger number have the same complaint or criticism that it may lead to a “bad culture that eats good vision”. (I wrote about that principle HERE.)

To read more of my thoughts on responding to criticism see:

5 Right Ways to Respond to Criticism

5 Wrong Ways to Respond to Criticism

What do you think? Do you ask similar questions when responding to criticism?

If a leader always…

If a “leader”…

  • Always has to be feared…
  • Always has to have the final word…
  • Always has to be coddled…
  • Never empowers others…
  • Never takes ownership for a mistake…
  • Never steps up to lead…

Then he or she is not a leader…

  • May have a title…
  • May be the boss…
  • May have power…
  • May draw a larger paycheck…

But is not a leader…

In fact, in my opinion, he or she may even need to get out of the way and let someone lead…

Have you known people with the title of leader who weren’t really a leader?

A Quick Tip for When You Can’t Find the Courage Needed…

Here’s a quick tip I’ve had to use many times in life…

When I can’t find the courage to do the thing I know I need to do…

Instead of trying to muster the courage…

I often need to renew or grow my passion for the thing that needs doing…

It’s a bigger picture approach…

Dave Ramsey says that if you want to get out of debt that you have to “Get angry about it...”

That’s the same idea here…

Emotions often fuel courage…

Grow your passion…grow your courage…

As an example, if you need to address a difficult employee situation, but don’t have the courage…fall more in love with the vision of the organization and it’s effectiveness, and you’ll find courage to have the hard conversation…

You take risks to achieve those things for which you are most passionate…

Think of it this way…if your child was in danger, you’d find the courage to save him or her, regardless of the risks involved…

Fall more in love with what you hope to accomplish and you’ll find more courage…

Are you in a situation now that is requiring more courage? I’d love to hear your story…

(I’ve written previously about the courage of a leader HERE and HERE.)

The Larger an Organization Gets…

Bad leadership is bad leadership. It’s usually easy to recognize.

It’s easier, however, to hide bad leadership in an organization, which isn’t growing. (I wrote recently that it’s easy to keep an organization small. Read that post HERE.)

The larger an organization becomes and the more growth, which occurs, the more bad leadership becomes apparent.

As an organization grows:

  • More people ask questions and challenge the process…
  • More decisions need to be made…
  • More and better systems are needed…
  • More people are required in the process…
  • More leadership development is needed…
  • More delegation and management is necessary…
  • More responsibility is placed on leadership…

…and the better leadership must be.

Continuing to grow an organization requires a growing leader.

How are you growing as a leader?

What is your personal leadership development plan?

Opinion question: Do you think some organizations often outgrow a leader’s capacity to lead well? Have you seen this happen?

An Interview with Mark Schoenwald President/CEO of Thomas Nelson

Over the next few months, I’ll be interviewing some great business leaders. They may or may not be leading Christian companies, but they will be high-level leaders in successful organizations. I think there are helpful things to learn for us in the church world from those leading outside the church.

I begin with Mark Schoenwald, President and Chief Executive Officer at Thomas Nelson. I have met Mark on a couple of occasions and each time he left a great impression on me in a casual setting. I understand he is a runner, which makes me identify with him, but I also gather from our causal encounters that he is professional, methodical, kind, and wise. Mark recently replaced the well-known Michael Hyatt as CEO of Nelson. From the outside, it appears Mark will approach the position different from Michael. I was interested in learning from Mark’s leadership.

Here is an interview with Mark Schoenwald:

How do you keep up with current trends and the market in your industry?

I believe to stay current you have to do multiple things. First, you have to understand history and the key drivers as history has a tendency to repeat itself but usually in a different format. Second, study the key current data; best seller lists, POS, Bowker consumer and customer information. Also, get out of the office and get into stores and online to understand the focus of merchandising and promotions. Lastly, ask the consumer. We conduct focus groups and surveys to gain insight into the key decision drivers as well as candid feedback on product and pricing.

How is your leadership style different than Michael’s?

First, I would like to start with what we have in common. We both strive to honor God in all we do as we lead this company. We believe in transparency, integrity and doing the right thing even if it is difficult or inconvenient. My hope is I am consistent with what Mike has worked to establish as hallmarks of leadership at every level at Thomas Nelson.

A primary difference between us is my initial tendency to learn by listening and communicating in person where Mike tends to thrive by speaking and active in social media.

I am direct with people, focused and motivated by competition. I tend to be more internally focused on our business and driving key initiatives and results. I encourage our people to expect, embrace and navigate change. I enjoy building and being on teams and being right in the middle of the action in terms of work, meetings, interaction etc.

What would you do or advice to give someone starting their career?

Your ability to see change coming and learn to navigate within a culture of rapid change is critical to your success. Second, get up, get out of bed and get going earlier than anyone else. The message is work ethic counts. Be willing to accept any job or assignment with enthusiasm. Once you have established a reputation of a strong work ethic and great attitude, people and opportunities will find you. Every leader wants that on their team. Lastly, listen and learn. Be a sponge and soak it all in. Mix all this together and that person will be successful in any situation, industry or business.

What is the greatest change you have seen in the workplace since you began your career? Does that change the way you lead today?

The speed of change is the biggest difference from early in my career. Phil Cooke said “if you don’t like change, you will dislike being irrelevant even more”. Change has become a certainty in life. But, the speed and magnitude of change continues to increase. We have to learn to accept uncertainty at times. You have to make decisions based on the information and time you have. The risk of delay or not changing is greater than what most people focus on which fear of the change itself. Failure is going to happen when change occurs this fast. That is part of life. So embrace the speed of change, don’t be afraid to make a mistake and if you do, learn from it so we don’t repeat it. I am not encouraging people to be reckless. Rather, be smart, do your homework, rely on your experience and make a decision. Speed demands this and if you can’t or won’t keep pace, you and your business will be left behind.

What are three words people would use to describe you?

Focused, Competitive, Loyal.

What is the hardest thing you have to do as a leader? What have you learned that has helped you in this area?

Delegate. I like to lead and like to drive initiatives. That is my natural bent so I need to learn to delegate and then support the process. I have learned the key is to find and hire the very best leadership you can find. Give people clear objectives and vision and then get out of the way. Be there for support and any guidance they may require but let them accept their responsibilities and perform the work. This is something I have to work on every day.

What motivates you to get up in the morning? What is it that keeps you pushing for more personally or professionally?

I pray daily that I am open and accepting of God’s plan for my life and for the courage to accept it. I am motivated every day to be the best husband, dad and business leader I can be. It is my responsibility to maximize the gifts, skills and situation that God has granted me. The responsibility and gift of the three kids God has trusted us to raise is awesome. The challenge and reward to guide the development of these kids and our family motivates me every day.

I am motivated daily to model leadership by example. To be humble and courageous. Due to my competitive nature, the motivation comes from the internal competition to do the right thing. Learn, listen, lead and grow spiritually, professionally and personally every day.

Great interview Mark….thank you!

Who are some other leaders you’d like me to try to interview here?