Voices of Wisdom: May 22, 2015


Addressing Signs of Leadership Fatigue — by Chuck Lawless

Previously, I posted on “13 Signs of Leadership Fatigue.” Several readers asked me to write a follow up post about ways to deal with these signs. Maybe these suggestions will help you move past leadership fatigue.

3 Must-Haves for Leadership Success Today—Ron Edmondson

Adaptability – Things are changing fast. Profusion is at an all time high. By the time I learn my phone there’s another update or another phone. And, it impacts every area of our life. If we are not going to change our core values and mission — and we shouldn’t — nor should we have to — then we must learn to adapt our strategies, systems and processes. Doing the same things that previously worked is no longer a sole option. We must embrace change.

5 Things You Should Fear — and 5 You Shouldn’t—Trillia Newbell

Fear held a tight grip on my life. It wasn’t just segmented in one area for me — no, the lies and anxiety of fear spread to so many of my relationships and situations. Pause and think about how fear impacts you. What do you fear specifically, and why does that fear have such power in your life?

Fear can have a crushing hold on us, but thankfully, there is One strong enough for all your fears. Though I still have much to learn and grow in this area, I’ve tasted the joy and freedom that comes in finding rest and joy through faith in who God is and what Jesus has already done.

Helping Deaf Students to Flourish—Jen Michel and Betty McPhee

With God’s help, I’m supporting Deaf students to flourish. Having been raised by Deaf parents, I know well that Deaf people are capable of everything but hearing. They don’t need to be fixed so much they need to be given the tools for flourishing. At a fundamental level, this flourishing means access to sign language. Often, I must advocate for this with students’ parents, who either don’t understand the importance of sign language as means of native/natural communication or who don’t support their child’s use of it. Some prefer trying technological solutions to “fix” their children’s hearing, like cochlear implants, but those attempts aren’t usually as effective as parents hope. Deaf students—like all other students—need language for their cognitive development. They also need educational accommodations to ensure their success. I advocate for these things—with parents, other teachers, and school officials.

But We Aren’t Even Married—Nicole Staples

That was the response in my head when a former roommate asked what my love languages were.

“Have you ever taken the 5 love language test?”

“Well, yeah . . . but . . . “

I had taken the test several years ago but I thought it was only put to use by married folks and the soon-to-be married folks. I was neither. I had received my results and, at that time, considered it information to tuck away and then whip out on a first date. Kidding . . . second date. Ha!

20 Signs It’s Time to Quit Your Job

20 SIGNS IT'S TIME TO QUIT YOUR JOBWhen Do You Know It’s Time to Resign?

We recently deleted a position on our team and had to let an individual go. Yes, this has happened before and each time I feel the full weight of this outcome. When leaders bring me this recommendation, I require us to look at all options, we spend a significant amount of time in prayer, and then really challenge the conclusions reached. As hard as it is, there are times when people need to leave the team for many reasons – strategy change so a line of work is no longer needed or the way work is done changes and the position is no longer needed.

In the changing market we serve today, it is even more important that we help prepare those we lead to be successful. Whatever position you hold on your team, your organization needs you to be all in – heart, mind, and hands. A love for the work, a commitment to learning and growing, and a commitment to do all you can to advance the work of the team.

Sometimes, we need to assess where we are in our work. If you answer yes to most of these questions, it may be time for you to leave your position.

20 Signs It’s Time to Quit Your Job

  1. You don’t enjoy your work anymore.
  1. You feel the organization/team owes you.
  1. You feel entitled to more – more money, more time off, more perks, more thanks, just more.
  1. You feel you are better qualified than your boss.
  1. You have no energy left for the work you do. Going to work drains you.
  1. You have no desire to learn, grow, and develop the skills needed for today’s marketplace.
  1. You have lost the passion and purpose in your work.
  1. You resent the new hires or new team members.
  1. You go home exhausted each day and constantly tell your family all that is wrong about your work.
  1. You stop seeking continuous improvements in your work.
  1. You refuse to do anything that isn’t in your job description.
  1. You never ask anyone for help.
  1. You never offer to help anyone.
  1. You think more about leaving your job than how you can do more to advance your organization’s mission.
  1. You wish you were financially able to quit.
  1. You think more about the past than the future.
  1. You had rather work alone than work with others.
  1. You stop praying for your leaders and thanking God for them.
  1. You stop praying for the team and asking God to show you ways to serve them.
  1. You can’t remember the last time you thanked God for your work.

It is easy for all of us to turn the focus on us. That’s why Jesus said we must daily die to self.

“Then He said to them all. ‘If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it.'” Luke 9:23-24 HCSB

Your life matters, your work matters. Our first resignation may be to self, and then we need to take a serious look at our work. Life is too short and the Kingdom is too important to waste the work of our hands.

Do you love your work? I would love to hear from you. Comment below or on my Facebook page!







Do you Speak Your Mate’s Language?


In order for your “I love you” to be fully accepted and valued, give it in a way that’s natural for your mate to receive. The key is connection. Borrowing from Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages (available at LifeWay Christian Stores), there are “languages” by which people receive love from another. Let’s explore these to see how you can fine-tune your “I love you” for your mate.

Words of Affirmation

Some people gain incredible encouragement and genuinely feel loved when they are complimented or affirmed. This is my husband Rodney’s love language. During different seasons of our lives, most of the time it will be easy to find something your mate has done right. The challenge will be — in the midst of your own hustle and bustle — to share your finding with him or her. And remember: A specific affirmation goes a lot further than a general one. When I tell Rodney, “You’re a good husband,” he is grateful. But when I say, “Honey, you worked all day on the lawn. Thank you for the work you did for our family,” that connects! It’s the difference between black-and-white and color!

Quality Time

This is the subtle love language. You can easily overlook quality time because it doesn’t call attention to itself. It’s spoken when two people spend designated time with each other: going for a walk, sharing coffee, or simply talking each night after the kids go to bed. If your mate’s love language is quality time, look for ways to carve out time each day. That can be challenging in our daily rush, but the payoff is knowing that your mate knows — in the busyness of life — that you love him or her. That’s priceless!

Physical Touch

This language is spoken in simple moments of touch (we’re not talking about sex here). Holding hands, an arm around the shoulders, a hand on the back — all of these communicate “I love you” to a physical-touch person. This is my language. I used to drive Rodney crazy in church. We’d be listening to a sermon and I would be leaning on Rodney or have my hand on his arm. It was distracting! However, when we learned about love languages, it made sense. Now, Rodney will initiate touch with me, even in church. He can actually worship God while telling me, I love her! Make touching a part of your routine. So you’re not a “touchy” person? Great! What an excellent opportunity to more clearly convey your love. There will be no doubt when you take your mate’s hand at the mall or give him a shoulder massage after a long day at work that you’re speaking the right language.

Receiving of Gifts

Don’t be confused; this language is not based on selfishness. It’s the receiving of something tangible but not necessarily expensive. It’s when a husband comes home and says, “Honey, I picked this flower just for you.” Or, “This card reminded me so much of you that I bought it.”

For the person who speaks the gifts language, it truly is the thought that counts. The translation? “You thought enough about me to give this to me? I was on your mind?” A note written on plain paper or a $1 souvenir that reflects an inside joke speaks love if your mate uses this language.

Acts of Service

This language says, “Show me you love me.” Doing a specific task for another gets at the heart of this language. If your mate speaks this language, during different seasons gives you multiple opportunities to be a real hero. There are a thousand errands to run, both planned and last minute. When the cumulative effect of all those tasks descends on your mate’s shoulders, what an opportunity for you to help! Going back to the store for those forgotten chocolate chips can effectively express your love. A surprise check mark on your mate’s to-do list can remind him or her of your love, no matter the season.

Do You Speak Your Mate's Language

Speaking clearly

Want to take your marriage to the next level? Learn your mate’s love language. Then speak that language in a way he or she will understand. Watch the security in your relationship grow!

And don’t forget: the love languages pertain to all relationships including children, neighbors, and co-workers.

What ways have you experienced love from your spouse? What is the ideal way for you to receive love from your mate?

7 Ways to Build Personal Engagement With Your Team


Are You Connecting With Your People?

Over the years, I have done several employee surveys. Employee surveys are great tools when you are a new leader or when you are taking a deeper dive into an area for assessment. In every survey and listening session with people, more communication always rises to the top as a critical issue to be addressed. I am often surprised that leaders think they are communicating well but their team feels differently. If you want a high performance team, you must have high engagement with your team.

Often leaders think if they communicate once, that gets the job done. It doesn’t. People engagement must be a regular and consistent part of your leadership. Intentional and ongoing. Formal and informal. Speaking and listening.

People engagement is one of the most strategic things you can do as a leader. It is a way to learn, share knowledge, get feedback, develop leaders, and drive home the “why” of your organization. Communicate regularly and communicate often. In all my years of doing organizational and team assessment, employee surveys, and employee listening sessions, I have never heard an employee say, “don’t communicate anymore.”

7 Ways to Build Personal Engagement With Your Team

  1. Your Team Needs to Hear From You Frequently

You pick the time that works for your organization but the key is consistent and regular. If you are a global organization or have multiple sites, this communication may need to happen through video, email, and audio. If possible, a regular time to get your entire team together is great for building team, culture, and engagement. The key is regular and consistent communication that reinforces the mission, vision and values of your organization. Also, ask your team for regular feedback on issues they want you to cover. An open dialogue with your team will help build trust and confidence.

  1. Conduct Employee Surveys

There are times when you will want to use an expert in employee surveys to help you develop and execute a survey. Experts in the field of employee engagement will use instruments that have research validity and can help quantify results; this is great for organizational learning and development. However, these instruments will take a significant amount of leadership and organizational time and focus. I recommend you use this more formal approach every three to five years. But, using employee surveys (survey monkey and Google form are two great resources) are great ways to get continuous feedback from your team. These instruments are simple, easy to use, and are great feedback tools.

  1. Utilize Listening sessions

Every survey should be followed up with listening sessions. This allows you to take the survey results and start a more in depth dialogue with individuals and teams to take the learning to an even deeper level. For example, you learn from the survey that people want more communication and they feel disconnected from leadership. The listening sessions will allow you to ask more details about what people want to know and how they want to receive information.

  1. Town Hall Meetings

This is an open forum to answer questions in real time. You may want to include your top leaders in this forum also. This kind of meeting is great if you and your leaders are equipped to say “I don’t know but I will get back with you on this.” These kinds of forums are great for building trust but can also set you back culturally if leaders can’t handle hard questions. I would make sure you have steps 1-4 in place first before you go to open Q&A meetings.

  1. Create an environment of trust

Have you ever said, “I can’t get my work done for all the people”? I think every leader has said this. The truth is, our work is the people. I have found having an open door policy will actually reduce the number of interruptions you will have. Just knowing your team can reach you if needed and that you are open to hear from others will actually increase trust and confidence and cause less disruptions. Also, have a confidential email policy. If anyone in your organization has something critical to share, they can send you an email marked confidential.

  1. Prioritize the informal moments

One of the most powerful impacts you will have as a leader will be the informal times with members of your team. You will have to plan for this and mark it on your calendar or you will never get to this one. There is something about dropping by and seeing where people work and just asking a few questions like “how are you” or “how can I help” or “tell me about this picture of your family” will create a positive buzz throughout your organization. These informal but personal few minutes of dialogue may lead to the greatest organizational outcomes.

  1. Schedule lunch and coffee meetings

Who are you developing as a leader? Who are the most critical players on your team? Who are the game changers? Who are the most influential leaders on your team? Do you have a view of the top performing millennials on your team? Have a list of people you want to personally learn from and develop and schedule lunch or coffee with them.

Maybe the first step is for you to ask your team, “Do you feel I am a leader who listens and engages with you?” Ask, learn, and then take steps to increase your leadership engagement with your team.

“Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”  Philippians 2:4 HCSB




Voices of Wisdom: May 12, 2015


Ordinary Moms, Everyday Heroes—Amy Julia Becker

It was religion scholar Joseph Campbell who pulled back the curtain on more or less every book and movie in the Western canon. Campbell demonstrated the common shapes and themes of our great stories, from Star Wars to Great Expectations to Paddington Bear.

In Campbell’s “hero’s journey,” an unlikely suspect gets called on some sort of mission. After some equivocation, he agrees to the task, endures a series of setbacks, and ultimately achieves his goal. Along the way, the experience transforms him; he grows up and becomes a hero.

13 Signs of Leadership Fatigue—Chuck Lawless

Leadership is sometimes wearisome – so wearisome that we come close to giving up. Over the years, I’ve watched leaders slide into defeat, and I’ve seen some of these common signs of trouble.

I list these symptoms of “leadership fatigue” here not to discourage you, but instead to help you recognize them, address them, and move forward. At the end of this post, tell us how we might pray for you if you see yourself in this list.

Arise All Women Who Have Hearts—Sharon Hodde Miller

Ever since I had my first son, Mother’s Day has been pretty great. Isaac is still not old enough to know what’s going on, but I love celebrating this new identity of mine. For me, Mother’s Day is a day to take stock of all the blessings tucked into this season of life.

However, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit the day is a little weird. Mostly because the language about mothers is so saintly. On Mother’s Day, we receive cards singing our praises, while pastors declare our unparalleled good works. We are tireless servants, selfless givers, tender nurturers, priceless jewels, all possessing the patience of Job. Apparently.

You Are God’s Workmanship—Jon Bloom

You are a piece of work — God’s work. When Paul says that you are God’s “workmanship,” don’t think of your clunky seventh grade shop class project. Think of The Odyssey, Beowulf, The Divine Comedy, Paradise Lost, or The Faerie Queen — great works of epic poetry.

The Greek word Paul chose for this sentence is “poiema,” and what he had in mind is a work of masterful creativity. You can already tell that this is where we get our English word “poem.” Paul selected this word carefully. The only other time in Scripture he used it was in Romans 1:20:

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Your Clothes Tell a Story—Jenna Lusk

Growing up, my family didn’t have a lot of money. When the new school year rolled around, clothes shopping more often involved sifting through hand-me-downs than trips to the mall. In high school, I discovered the thrill of hunting for clothes at thrift stores. The items I loved most weren’t discarded graphic tees from popular stores but quirky, unique pieces without recognizable brand names, like the oversized, suede fringe vest that I imagined once belonged to a rodeo cowboy. Or the floor-length skirt printed with pocket watches that looked like something a high school art teacher might wear. I gave background stories to these clothes—where they came from and who owned them before me.

Top Tips for Eating Healthy with a High-Paced Life

tips to being a healthy leader

As a follow-up from my last post, I continue to hear from leaders about the struggle to stay healthy with the demands of leadership. I know I struggle with this also and want to explore with you options that work and are actionable even with the schedule of leadership. Too often we are sitting in meetings way too much, grabbing unhealthy foods between meetings, not getting enough sleep, and we know we need help but aren’t sure where to start.

“Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Today we are going to explore tips to eat healthier in the midst of our crazy schedules:

  1. Drink Water

This is probably the easiest healthy tip to add into your lifestyle but its importance shouldn’t be understated. The benefits of drinking water are endless — healthy looking skin, healthy bones and muscles, and a healthy digestive system, according to WebMD. These factors, plus the obvious factor that it keeps you HYDRATED and feeling great, are essential reasons to find a water bottle you like and fill it up several times a day. Keep water with you all the time and you will be surprised at how much you will drink.

  1.  Healthy Foods

I recently heard a nutritionist describe eating food as either: eating for fuel or eating for fun. Eating for fuel means that you’re making healthy, wise choices in what you put in your body — fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins and healthy oils/fats. Eating for fun means that you know the food choices you are making aren’t the best thing you could be putting in your body. This is a good way of thinking about healthy eating. I try to keep fruit, nuts, and other healthy snacks in my purse, at my desk, and in my car. Empty your cabinets of all unhealthy snacks, shop only in the outside isles of your grocery store, and keep fresh vegetables and fruits available.

  1. Simple technology tools to help

There are a myriad of tools that you can use to help you with your healthier-living lifestyle — from meal tracking and fitness apps to online meal planning services. Here are a few that I really like:

  • The Fast Metabolism app + book: I love this app and this plan is my favorite. It is an easy plan, it gives you energy, and it helps you maintain your weight.
  • MyFitness Pal: This free activity and calorie counter mobile app is available for iPhone and Android and integrates with many other technology tools like a Fitbit activity tracker.
  • eMealz: An online meal planning service that provides weekly recipes and grocery lists. This service is perfect for the busy go-getter because it takes all the planning and stress out of mealtime. They have a wide variety of plans that you can choose from to suit your dieting or healthy-eating needs —Paleo, diabetic, 30-minute meals, slow cooker or kid friendly meal plans are just a few of the many choices.
  1. Find a plan that works for you

There are so many different healthy-living plans and options that are available to you, depending on what your goals are. Here are a few tried-and-true plans that I have either used myself or they come highly recommended:

Your organization needs you to be a healthy leader. Your family needs you to be healthy. In whatever season of life you are in, you want to be healthy to steward well your time, energy, and resources. I have three small grandchildren under 5! They are keeping me busy and I love every minute of it. My health has become a new priority for me. But above all, I want to honor God with my life.

What are some healthy eating plans you are using?   How do you work this plan within your schedule as a leader? What is most difficult? I look forward to hearing from you.



4 Tips to Being a Healthy Leader

tips to being a healthy leader

The demands of being a leader often mean we end up ignoring what’s best for ourselves in the name of productivity. That sounds noble but it isn’t sustainable leadership your organization needs.

The work of leading never stops and technology allows us to do that work 24/7.   There are opportunities to advance, problems to solve, people to develop, and endless books, blogs, and articles to read to keep on top of changes. Even the passion for the mission of the organization we lead can drive us to the point of being an unhealthy leader.

This is an ongoing issue in my own life. I personally struggle with the discipline of a consistent exercise plan. I start and stop often. An executive coach recently told me I needed to get mad about it to the point I make it happen – no excuses but owning my own health as part of the requirement to be a great leader.

Has the work of leadership made you an unhealthy leader? Have meetings replaced workouts, conference calls replaced much-needed doctor’s appointments, and business books replaced time in God’s Word? Some real danger signs are sleepless nights, constant fatigue, reactionary leadership, being overweight, loss of energy and passion, and maybe even a loss of hope. So what are some consistent disciplines we can do to make sure we are healthy leaders?

In this two-part series on being a healthy leader, we’ll explore some essential things to work into your leadership routine.

The first 4 tips to being a healthy leader:

  1. Stop

“Stop your fighting—and know that I am God,
exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.” Psalm 46:10 HCSB

While many Bible translations use the phrase “Be still and know,” I love that the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) translates it: “Stop your fighting.” I don’t know about you, but I need to be reminded to stop fighting (a great word to describe leadership), put down my sword and reflect on God and all His incredible glory. I need to stop to know that God is in control.

As leaders, we often feel the full weight of the organizations we lead. We think it is all up to us to get the win. Time in God’s Word and time in prayer are essential to stay healthy. When the work of leadership robs us of this time, we will hit a wall.

So stop. Stop and know that God is God. Stop to pour God’s Word into your life to be reminded often of the truth of the gospel. The energy to lead will come from Him. I like to start my day early with God. It sets the tone for the rest of my day. Set this daily time and mark it on your calendar.

  1. Rest is sacred

“God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it He rested from His work of creation.” Genesis 2:3 HCSB

God didn’t need to rest but He did. And He declared this rest, this pause, as holy. Yet this concept is often the most overlooked in our hyper-connected age of constant updates, messages, texts and endless news cycles. In the drive to always do we often miss the sacred rest.

Rest looks different for all of us but rest is required. For pastors or church leaders, rest needs to happen on a day other than Sunday. The older I get, the more I guard the boundaries of rest in my life. Unplug. The world will not fall apart without you. Trust me. Pockets of rest will refresh you and keep you healthy. Your family and the people you lead need you to rest.

Mark a weekly time of rest.

  1. Own your calendar

“Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.“ Psalm 90:12 HCSB

I mean own it. Set your strategic plan and work it. That plan includes the broader purpose of your life including the organization you lead. The boundaries between work and life are gone now in the new era of technology and mobile work. Now, more than ever, you need to integrate the broader purpose of our life with your work.

Step back and list the priorities for your life. Your overall health, your marriage, your family, your friends, your ministry, and the organization you lead must be a part of your planning. Creating a healthy work-life routine has been one of the most critical aspects to ensure my healthy lifestyle. When I do annual calendar planning, my family and other priorities show up. Time with my 90 year old dad (taking him to Alaska for the first time this year), date time with Rodney, time with my three grandchildren, time with dear friends, and ministry plans through my church all get priority on my calendar. There are always adjustments but if you have no margin in your life, you have no space to adjust to the most important priorities in your life. The urgent will eat up your life. Guard it, own it, and if you have to, get mad enough to protect it. Own your calendar! To be a healthy leader, you have to set boundaries and you have to learn to say no often (with grace most of the time). If you’re looking for a great weekend with your spouse, I invite you to join my husband Rodney and I in October for a Marriage Getaway.

  1. Laughter

Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” Psalm 126:2

I believe God has a sense of humor, and I think sometimes we need to take a step back and laugh. Life doesn’t always have to be so serious, and sometimes laughter is the medicine we need to gain perspective on our circumstances and remember that God is bigger than whatever we are facing. Ask your family to help you learn to laugh.

These are the first 4 tips to being a healthy leader, and we’ll follow-up next week with the last 4. Which ones are easy for you? Which ones are harder?




Voices of Wisdom: May 7, 2015


3 Questions All Parents With Young Children Must Ask—Sharon Hodde Miller

Sometimes it’s easy to observe other families at your local coffee shop and think, “I will never parent like that,” or “at least my kids don’t act like those,” or even, “I’m pregnant, what was I thinking?”

Moments like these are the reason parenting books, websites, seminars and support groups are so popular. And while there’s nothing wrong with looking for answers from the professionals, we should first be able to ask ourselves the right questions.

Fear and Faith—Trillia Newbell

A bright college student is sexually assaulted in the middle of the night. A young Christian lady receives a shocking and unwelcome phone call that her sister has suddenly died. An anxious wife fears that her husband won’t return from his overnight business trip. A pregnant mother anticipates the devastation of another miscarriage (number five, to be exact).

Trillia Newbell, women’s initiatives consultant for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and author of the new book Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves, knows a little about fear. In fact, she can speak directly to the issue of fear because every one of the aforementioned events happened to her.

10 Suggestions for Raising Godly Children—Ron Edmondson

Most of the believers I know have a strong desire to raise their children to be godly; to be passionate followers of Christ.

Years ago, before I even had children, God laid on my heart to develop a plan for my fathering. Though at the time I didn’t put this on paper, over the years I have begun to write it down in an effort to encourage other parents to have a plan for their parenting in the area of spiritual development.

When Doubt Is More than Just a Season—Lore Ferguson

Every spring my social media feed bursts with photos of children sitting in fields of bluebonnets, an annual tradition in Texas. It’s purported to be a crime to pick a bluebonnet, our state flower. (It’s not.) It’s definitely a crime that I’ve lived here for five years without ever coming close enough to a bluebonnet to be tempted to pick one.

The Cure for Drifting—Eric Geiger

C.S. Lewis wrote, “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

We often choose to medicate ourselves with the pleasures of this world when He offers us Himself. We really are far too easily pleased. The cure to our wandering is constant reminders of the supremacy of Christ. Because our hearts are prone to wander from the God we love, we need to continually refocus our attention on Him.

Are You Putting Your Team in Danger? The Resolute Leader

Are You Putting Your Team in Danger-

Being resolute means you are purposeful, determined, and unwavering in your commitment. Would your team describe you as this kind of leader?

The team you lead needs a leader who is all in. Resolved. Determined. Committed. No excuses and no wavering from the mission. Anything less is hurting your team. How determined are you to lead?

There are always reasons to give up and quit as a leader. The critics are real and the problems can be overwhelming. The challenges of change are a constant reminder that there is no room for complacency. Your team requires a leader that is all in, resolved to move the mission and organization forward no matter what the challenges.

I remember launching a new initiative as a young leader. After launch, the results were less than plan, which meant we were going to miss budget and our ministry goal. I was so discouraged and was ready to pull back. I went to my leader knowing the project would be cancelled and I would be dismissed. I reviewed the results and he stepped in to help. We adjusted the plan to help manage costs and he outlined for me the learning we would have by going forward. He restated the loss as a great investment in the future. The lessons I learned from this problem have served me well over the years.

Here are 7 signs that you are a resolved leader:

1. You lean into problems.

You don’t avoid them, ignore them or make excuses for problems. You also don’t blame others for the problems. You show up and your team knows you are not afraid of challenges your organization faces.

  1. Your team is quick to tell you when there is a problem.

They tell you because they know you will walk it out with them. They know you won’t place blame but are quick to provide the resources to help address the challenges.

3. You see problems first as organizational problems.

You don’t see problems as a people problem but as an opportunity for your organization to get stronger and better. It is first an organizational problem. You are not looking for a person to blame.

  1. You provide leadership calm to challenges.

No, you aren’t happy there is a problem. Happiness is not what your team needs. They need a leader who brings the right people together to lean into the challenge with a commitment to find the best solution for the customers you serve and to help the organization get stronger.

  1. You make sure your team grows through the challenge.

The way you handle a challenge will make all the difference in the opportunity to learn, grow and develop. You hold the key to the tone and environment for engaging during a challenging situation. Set it up well and watch how your team tackles the most challenging situations for a better outcome.

  1. You care more about the future than you do today.

You keep a longer view in mind as you lead through challenges. You know the way you work through the problems of today will set your team up for success tomorrow. You don’t want to miss the development of people, systems, and your organization for a short-term solution.

  1. You are honest about the challenges.

Being resolved doesn’t mean everything is perfect. You are honest with your team about the challenges and even about your own feelings as a leader. Being resolute means the mission of your organization is greater than the challenges you face.

Your team needs your leadership. In a time of great change, they need a leader who is resolved to lead with confidence in the mission of your organization.

“But I count my life of no value to myself so that I may finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus to testify to the gospel of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24

How have you been impacted by a leader who is fully committed and fully resolved to lead? What lessons did you learn?



5 Ways to Beat Loneliness


I recently shared on the danger signs of loneliness.  Several people then shared their private experiences in dealing with isolation and feeling disconnected from others with me.  Because leaders are with people a great deal and because they are actively engaged online, the effects of isolation are usually not fully felt until a crisis hits.  The crisis may come through burnout, a leadership problem too large to handle alone, or a personal family problem.

Leaders are busy.  One reason you are in a leadership position is because of your ability to handle a broad and complex range of work (strategy, planning, execution, people, market knowledge, etc.).  Your plate is full and running over.  You simply don’t have time for community but you need it more than you realize.  In the give and take of leadership community, you will stretch and grow to reach your full potential as a leader.

Here are some ways you can start now to break the cycle of leading alone.

1. Take the initiative

You have to risk.  Pick one or two other leaders that you respect and have enough in common for shared learning, shared support, and shared growth.  It may take you a few meetings to find the right combination of leaders to meet with on a more regular basis but the effort will be worth it.  It is good to have one or two leaders outside your organization, church, or team.  This will allow for a more objective level of sharing.

2. Make the time

I know, you don’t have the time but you have to make the time.  Schedule it.  The when and how you connect is less important than you making it a regular and ongoing connection with other leaders.  You are blessed if it can be weekly but for most it will be monthly or even longer.  The formal time will build the informal times when you can just pick up the phone and call if a need arises.  Getting it in the routine of your life will take it to the level of importance.

3. Risk sharing

Trust is a critical part of any relationship.  That takes time.  I remember a leader I met with for several months before trust was built and we moved to authentic leadership support.   It may take time but take the risk.  You can’t build leadership community unless you are willing to share more openly about yourself – your past, your goals, your challenges, your failures, your fears, and your future.

4. Commitment to grow

Leadership community gives you the opportunity to learn and grow.  Your organization needs you to grow.  A healthy growing leader creates a healthy growing organization.  You need to broaden your view of your organization and meeting with other leaders will do that.  Sometimes our challenges seem overwhelming.  I often find that meeting with other leaders helps me get perspective and my own challenges seem less.  There is also the growth that happens on a more personal level as you become accountable to others in how you are leading.  And finally, you will grow spiritually, as you pray with other leaders.  One of the greatest gifts of leadership community is knowing someone is praying for you.

5. Serving other leaders

Leadership community is not just about you.  There are other leaders right now who need you to pour into them.  There are leaders who need you so they know they are not alone.  They need you to share your wisdom, experiences, and challenges with them to keep them from giving up or losing heart.  They need you to pray for them and to be there for them in a crisis.  Don’t miss the blessing of helping another leader grow.

God never meant us to do life alone.  How are you building leadership community?  Please share your insights in breaking out of isolation into relationships with other leaders.