Name One Non-Negotiable Leadership Characteristic

I tweeter recently a question. What is one non-negotiable characteristic of a leader you are willing to follow?

Here are some of the responses:

@JohninColorado Passion for the lost
@KevinDeShazo Honesty
@TN_SmartGirl Humility
@HireLianne Attentiveness to every rung of the ladder below him/her.
@John4Him Honesty
@Christfollower an integrity rooted in profound sense of dependence on God
@danscott smokes what he sells
@strategicsense Empathy
@RobertBlas ability to admit when wrong.
@TeriSWillis Healthy marriage
@dwaynehutchings Integrity
@Jill_Shaw Trustworthy
@taylors2belgium Integrity
@DistantLShaw Sticks close to God especially when it’s tough & when it’s good.
@elissekipe Integrity
@LAHSWORLD Integrity
@ericwschmidt Godly humility
@ YvonneMcLaren Integrity

@NoNameHere Must be a Twitterer (But he was just joking….see I didn’t sell you out…actually he gave a serious one above)

Keep in mind these were answered quickly, so answers may have been expanded or even changed had they had time to think about their answer more, but I think these are heartfelt responses.  I see a few trends and similarities in the answers…do you?

I think as leaders we should pay attention to things like this. Granted your staff may be different, but I suspect this is representative in many ways. As a leader, it’s important to know what is important to the people you want to lead. Sometimes we focus too much of our attention on things of lesser importance.

What do you think is one non-negotiable characteristic of a leader you are willing to follow?

BTW, this will give you a few more people to follow.

John Wooden on What is True Success: Ted Video

I love exploring Ted.com for exceptional videos. I don’t get to very often, but when I do, I find great stuff.

Here’s one you should consider watching. It’s about 17 minutes long, and honestly he rambles at times, but you’ll get some great wisdom and reminders from a great man. Here’s John Wooden on the subject “What is True Success?”

Do you agree with Wooden’s definition?

Doodling Turns Into Masterpiece: Turning Random into Success

This is a silly post with an important principle…

The other day I was on a Skype call with missionaries from Costa Rica. I serve on their ministry board and this was a board meeting. As with most meetings, I get bored easily, so I began to doodle on a piece of paper in front of me…actually the ministry budget. What started as doodling with no intended purpose turned into a masterpiece…as you can see from this picture.

Okay, so it’s not a masterpiece. It is cute though, don’t you think?

It did remind me, however, of an important leadership principle. Don’t quickly dismiss:
 

  • Random thoughts
  • Chance encounters
  • Informal brainstorming
  • Unformed ideas
  • Impossible dreams

Some of the best long-term ideas for an organization originate outside the traditional and formal settings. Don’t shy away from ideas, which can’t easily be figured out or seem incomplete at the time. You may just stumble on a masterpiece.

BTW, what should I call my new character?

The Power of 7…Popular Blog Posts


I have found 7 to be a popular number with blog posts. This week I even did an experiment. I posted four posts in a row with 7 principles in each. It prove to be a very successful week, with more interaction than usual. Seven is a Biblical number of completion. I’m not suggesting there is something to that trivia here, but I do believe there is something at work here. What do you think?

Here are my 15 most popular “7” posts:

7 Ways I Protect My Heart and Marriage from an Affair

7 Reasons You Need Social Media as a Christian Leader

7 Dangers of Leading in Isolation

7 Actions for the Times God is Silent

7 Pieces of Wisdom for the Disappointments of Life

7 Reactions to Fatigue (What Happens When I’m Tired)

7 Tips for Healthy Marriage Communication

7 Ways to Keep a Leader on Your Team

7 Reasons Leaders Quit Your Organization

7 Values Of Brokenness

7 Tips For Surviving The Terrible Threes Of Parenting

7 Ways To Recover After A Major Failure Or Mistake

7 Things I Should Have Taught My Sons

7 Top Needs of a Wife

7 False Beliefs of the Leadership Vacuum

The titles speak for themselves. Which do you need to read or read again?

Do you think there is any significance to the number 7 in a post?

BTW, Thanks so much for being a reader of this blog. You can always help by linking to this post on your site, adding it to your reader, or telling your friends.

7 Reasons You Need Social Media as a Christian Leader

So maybe “need” is too strong of a word. Perhaps you can do everything I will suggest as reasons to be involved with social media without social media (Although I would question how well you can these days) but I don’t think anyone could argue social media is not a large part of our culture today. Because it is such an influence, today’s successful leaders, including those in the church, must figure out how to make it work for them and make their ministries even more successful.

For me that currently means Twitter, Facebook and blogging. Not everyone has to do all three, but I have found them to each have unique benefits in my ministry.  (I have written about how I use these tools HERE and HERE.)

Here are 7 reasons you should be using social media:

Networking with people who are making a difference. I get to interact with and learn from church leaders who have already walked where I am walking. Most of these connections would never be possible apart from social media.

Go where people are. The number one way my church contacts me is through Facebook. The people I’m trying to reach and minister to spend more time on Facebook than they do in the church on Sunday.

You’ll meet great friends. I have met some of my closest friends in ministry these days through social media. No, we don’t keep the friendship to an exclusive online friendship, but the friendships did begin online.

Keep updated on breaking news. Although I have limited time to keep up with all the latest fads, by following the right people and blogs through Twitter, I know quickly what is taking place around the world in the fields of politics, technology, and ministry.

Wise use of time. People think the opposite is true, but the reality is that social media makes me more effective. I have a heart to influence people for good. As pastor of a large church I’m expected to minister to large groups of people. Social media allows me to make a difference more efficiently.  You are reading this, aren’t you?  (BTW, if my social media activity is influencing you, I’d love to hear about it.)

Breaks down barriers between people. It seems harder to get to know people today. They are more guarded and less trusting. When I Tweet (which updates my Facebook) People get a glimpse into the real me and I become more personal to the people in my church and online community. In turn, people are more likely to allow me into the deepest parts of their life when they see me as authentic and approachable.

Stay current with culture. Like it or not, culture determines much of how we are able to reach people. People are doing social media. To continue to allow culture to work for Kingdom grown rather than against it we must remain current with social media.

That’s some of my reasoning. Why and how do you use social media?

7 Dangers of Leading in Isolation

I sat with a new pastor recently trying to hold a church together long enough to help it build again. The previous pastor left town, after a series of bad decisions; some the church is still finding out about each new day.

Sadly, I see it all the time. This pastor suffered from the same temptation any pastor faces. His number one problem in my opinion: He was leading in isolation. He had no one on the inside of his life who knew him well enough to know when something was wrong and could confront him when necessary.

Leading in isolation is displayed in numerous ways to the detriment of the organization. I see 7 clear dangers of leading in isolation:

Moral failure – Without accountability in place, many people will make bad decisions because no one appears to be looking. We are more susceptible to temptation when we are alone.

Burnout – There is an energy we gain from sharing life with other people. When the leader feels he or she is alone the likelihood of burning out, emotional stress and even depression increases.

Leadership Vacuum – The leader is clueless to the real problems in the organization and is fooled into believing everything (including the leader) is wonderful. (I wrote about the leadership vacuum HERE and HERE.)

Control Freak – The leader panics when others question him or her. He or she tries to control every decision.

Limits other people – The leader in isolation fails to communicate, invest, and release, which keeps others leaders from developing on the team.

Limits leader – The isolated leader never reaches his or her full potential as a leader, because he shuts out influences, which would help him or her grow.

Limits organization – In the end, the leader who leads in isolation keeps the organization from being all that it can be. Because the leader sets the bar (read more about that thought HERE), if the leader is in isolation the organization will suffer.

Leaders, are you living in isolation? Do you need to get out of the protective shell you’ve made for yourself? The health and future success of your organization depends on it.

(I realize many pastors of smaller churches feel they have no option, but to lead in isolation. You feel you have no one you can truly trust in your church and you have isolated yourself, for various reasons, from others in the community. As hard as it may seem, and as great as the risk may appear, you must find a few people to share your struggles with to avoid these dangers. If you need help, please email me today.)

What would you add to my list as a danger of leading in isolation?

Waiting Doesn’t Always Mean NO Activity

Inactivity rarely produces anything…
Waiting on God doesn’t always mean doing nothing…

Jesus said, “My time has not yet come” (John 2:4)… He was in a time of waiting…yet He continued to act on what He could do…carrying out His Father’s work…

Do what you know to do today…
Take initiative towards change you know you should make…

In Joshua 3 they had to get in the water before it started to part…You may have to get in the water first, before you start to see results…

Create action…it is often then God begins to reveal the destination He is taking you towards…

What action do you need to take today?

Step Across the Line to Leadership Excellence

I love watching the dynamics of organizational growth and leadership. It is always interesting to me how people approach the position they are given. Some step up and lead quickly…others take a short time to adjust to the organizational culture before leading…some never move from employee to a leader on a team. I personally like to surround myself with leaders. It’s harder to lead leaders.  Managing workers who are told every move to make is easier in structure, but, in my opinion, it’s more effective, more productive, and more fun to create environments that let’s people lead.  (Read a similar post about this difference HERE.)

I want to encourage you to step across the line to leadership excellence.  You don’t have to have a title or a position to be a leader in your organization.  You just have to respond as a leader.  Others will follow your influence.  Too many people never take the initiative to personally become the leader God has equipped them to be.  Moving from an average employee to one of excellence takes self-initiative.  Are you up for the challenge?

Here are a few examples of what I mean by stepping across the line to leadership excellence:

Are you willing to step across the line? What would you add to my list?

The Competitive Nature: Could It Be Used for Good in the Church?

There’s a competitive spirit in most of the leaders I know…even church leaders. I saw mine kick in while running recently…

It was 6 AM and already 76 degrees with near 90% humidity. I was casually running, listening to our former worship pastor and my friend Daniel Doss’s song Masterpiece, when out of the corner of my eye I sensed someone trying to pass me. I looked around and it was a girl! She’s the wife and sister of two good friends from college, and a dedicated athlete, so I may have normally been okay with her passing me, but something snapped in me. I exchanged a few cordial remarks and then I gradually picked up speed. I killed myself…and I suffered for it the next day…but I won! YEA!!!Not that it was a race, and I’m sure she could have taken me had she wanted to, but there was the thrill of victory when I pulled ahead on the road.

I have written about this concept before (read a previous posts HERE and HERE) and I know it creates controversy to talk about, but what if we used that competitive spirit in a way that helped grow the Kingdom? Is there a way to satisfy a natural tendency of many leaders and still glorify God? (Seriously, I’d love your input!)

As I reflect on Scripture, Jesus picked disciples who seemed to have a competitive spirit about them. (Consider Matthew 18:1-3 and Mark 10:35-45) Jesus didn’t condemn the disciples for entering a competition. He even acknowledged, “Whoever wants to be great”. Then He simply pointed them back to the correct way for a disciple of Jesus to compete: in service to others. Consider also Paul’s encouragement in 1 Corinthians 9:24.

Personally, I think we should not be as afraid or freaked out when the natural competitive nature rises. Instead of asking people to check that competitive spirit at the door (along with enthusiasm and excitement), I think we should learn to channel it towards energy, which honors God, serves others, and advances the mission He has given the church. The strange thing to me is that many will leave our churches on Sunday and experience the “thrill of victory” by watching a competitive sport, yet we tell them this is a wrong attitude to have in the church.

What if, in our desire to win, we strived to be great in service to others, excellent in the way we love the unloveable, or awesome in how we forgive the people who hurt us most? What if we competed with our natural tendencies towards sin…with a competitive desire to win? I know some will suggest I’m advocating pride, or even false humility, but every good thing has the potential to be corrupted if misused. What I’m really suggesting is that maybe our goal is not to do away with a natural tendency towards competition, but to figure out how to balance that with a command to be holy as He is holy.

(Plus, sometimes I just like to stir discussion!)

What do you think?

Caption This Photo: Winner Gets a Free Book


This is a precious picture from our time in Sierra Leone. I recently returned from teaching pastors in the country and I’m forever changed. You can read a post about the children HERE.

The children wanted to touch us, hold our hands, crawl in our laps, and share love with us. This picture helps share that story.

What caption would you give this picture? Comment on this post with your caption and I’ll pick one of them and send the book The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family by Patrick Lencioni. (This is a great book to help frantic families restore sanity to the most important organization in their life!)

Again, all you have to do is comment a caption for this picture.  I’ll pick the one I think best captures this image. You have until Tuesday, July 27, 2010 to answer.

(Please understand this winner will simply be based on opinion.)

Also, will you say a prayer for the children of Sierra Leone?