The Word LEADER

I have been thinking about the word “leader”.

I have been called a “leader” most of my life as I have held several “leadership” positions for the past 50 years.

However, the very word is confusing to me!  You ask anyone and they will explain that the leader is the person in front, the guy in charge, the man with the title “President,” “Pastor,” “Director.”  That is usually why we are called leaders!

Yet, there are three verses in scripture that say that being in front or being in charge does not make us a leader.  It makes us a “follower.” We have a leader and He is the one in charge and, in fact, we should spend our time working on being followers.

Verse #1  Proverbs 3:5-6  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart…and He will direct your paths.”  Who doesn’t want God to direct their path even if they are a “leader?”

Verse #2 Proverbs 16:9 “Man plan his course,  but the Lord’s way will prevail.”  Sure, make plans, but realize God has the last word. Satan cannot do anything without God’s permission.  God’s way will prevail.

Verse #3 Romans 8:28 “We know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him…”   Even in tough times, it can turn out good!

There are a lot of lessons in all three verses, but let me tell you what jumped out at me recently.
1.       Bottom line:  Do I really trust God?  Even during tough times?  When things don’t go my way? When I have no answers? Do I really believe that He will show me the way through each situation, opportunity, problem?  I really need His leadership in my life because, most of the time, I do not know the way.

2.       If I trust God, can I admit that He makes the final decisions? Not me, not the devil, not circumstances…it is God who determines what happens.  Am I OK with that?

3.       If I can trust God at all times, and let Him be in charge, do I really believe that He has my best in His mind?  That ALL will turn out good?

There is an old song that I often sing to myself…”My Lord knows the way through the wilderness, all I have to do is follow!  My Lord know the way through the wilderness, all I have to do is follow. Strength for today is mine always, and all that I need for tomorrow.  My Lord knows the way through the wilderness, all I have to do is follow!”

We have an awesome Leader!  Let’s make sure we trust Him at all times!  Let’s be good “followers.” That will make us better leaders!

Posted in Leadership Coaching Tagged with: , ,

Do you value COMMUNITY?

I’m reminded today of the story in Mark 2 when Jesus heals the paralytic man that was brought to him to be healed.  This guys friends couldn’t get in the front door, so they climbed up on the roof, cut a hole in it, and lowered their friend down to Jesus to be healed.  Jesus responded by forgiving him of his sins, and by telling him to get up and walk!  The man leaves completely changed.

I remember hearing a message on this story years ago that didn’t focus on Jesus’ power to forgive and to heal, but focused on the faith of this guys friends.  They believed that Jesus could heal their friend, and they weren’t going to let a crowded room keep them from getting their friend to Jesus.

Their faith put their friend in position to be healed by Jesus.  Their faith caught Jesus’ attention.  Their faith wasn’t limited to what was convenient and what was conventional.  They carried their friend to Jesus and to Life.

This is an incredible image of “Community”.  People caring for each other at all costs.  People risking themselves for a friend.  Faith and love that drives you to do something bizarre.  Community.

Do you value community?  I’m talking about “real” community where people go out of their way to support, encourage and share life with others.  I’m talking about “real” community where people can be honest and vulnerable and genuine.  I’m talking about “real” community where there’s safety, where there’s comfort and where there’s acceptance.  Do you have that?

Again, I remember being challenged with this question:   “If you were laying on that stretcher, hurting and in trouble, do you have people that would come to carry you to help and healing?  Who’s stretcher would you carry?  Who would you drop everything for?

Today, think about your “community”.  Invest in these relationships.  Look for ways to serve and care those in your community.  Build a foundation of trust and relationship.

There will be a time when you’re going to need this community.  Don’t be standing alone.

Posted in Leadership Community Tagged with: , ,

What I’ve Learned about Leadership

I serve as a missionary in Ecuador.  My husband and I live in Quito, the capital, but my work takes me to the far corners of this small South American country.  Over the past few months especially, I have been impacted by the simple role of leadership.

That sounds vague and almost silly, but let me explain.  In March, I was with a group of college students who had come to Ecuador over their spring break to serve.  We were partnering with a church in a coastal town and had spent two days moving dump trucks full of dirt to fill in and level out their ground so they would be able to start construction for their own church.  The last day we were there, Pastor Josue wanted to do community outreach in the adjoining neighborhood. He took us to a concrete ‘cancha’ or playing field area and asked us to start picking up trash, to pull the weeds emerging from the cracks in the cement, and to paint new lines on the soccer court.

None of this is hard or specialized work.  In my mind, I wondered why those who lived around the court had not already done this?  We had seen firsthand that every night the court area was jam-packed with soccer players and their families and friends and, considering this is South America, that means it is the center of neighborhood socialization.

We set about the work and, without exaggeration, it was less than 90 seconds when children started coming out to join us. That was not a surprise at all; children are naturally curious and a group of pale-skinned strangers is worth seeing. But what was a surprise was when the teenagers, teenaged boys, came out of the neighboring houses and got in the act.  They even started correcting what we had inadvertently done wrong (dumping grass in an empty lot) and I saw two young men buying their own trash bags from the corner micro-market to join in.

Within ten minutes are so, all those who came to ‘work’ were out of jobs and were left hanging around waiting for the children and teenagers to finish so that maybe they would play a game.  The shoe was on the other foot, so to speak.

This simple day at the park reminded me of the importance of leadership.  Those young people, even the children, just needed someone to say, “Hey, let’s do this.”  How often do we all wait around until someone gives direction, a vision, leadership.  How easy and common place it is to just wait. Sometimes waiting is what is called for, but I have seen over and over again that sometimes it is because people don’t know what to do, where to start, or how to move forward.  They are waiting for a leader.

Posted in Personal Leadership

A Global Leadership Community

This past week I had the opportunity to attend the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit.  It was 2 days of fabulous teaching about leadership issues, and as I sat and soaked in this teaching, I was reminded of this larger “global leadership community” that longs for this kind of training, teaching and encouragement.  I was one of the privileged that was able to attend the main site, then the Summit was broadcast to cities around the world, and thousands of people were able to participate. I came back home filled up, encouraged and really challenged in my personal leadership in in the organization I work for.

Today I’m reminded of the people that weren’t able to attend this Summit or others like it.  There’s still a great need for training and resources, and there are so many leaders that long for this kind of event, but they’re unable to attend because of their geography, there economic status, their language, or the political situation in their country.  How can we reach them?  How can we train them?

I’m reminded of the verse in 2 Timothy 2:2   “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”  We were told in the Word to pass on the things we have learned.  We were told by Paul to be multipliers and to teach others who will teach others.

We are a part of a “Global Leadership Community”.  Let’s share what we have learned.  Let’s pass along things that have helped us become better leaders to young leaders that are longing to learn.  don’t be selfish with the knowledge you have, but be generous and give it away!  Let’s help those that don’t have access to this kind of training to be connected, informed, trained and encouraged.  Let’s be a “Community”.

The Leadon Esource Pages exist for this purpose.  Share your tips.  Share your lessons learned.  Share your knowledge.  Multiply yourself!

 

 

Posted in Leadership Community Tagged with: , , ,

What does “Leadon” mean?

I’ve met many leaders around the world that I would classify as “reluctant leaders”.  A “reluctant leader” is someone who has the ability and a faculties to lead, but they hesitate or they have to be pulled into leadership.

There is a classic illustration of a reluctant leader in the Bible in Exodus chapter 3.  God comes to meet Moses, and in verse 7, God tells Moses about a plan He has to bring His people out of captivity in Egypt.  Moses begins his response to God in verse 11, questioning the plan, questioning who he was, and the conversation continues with Moses trying to come up with excuses to keep him from having to respond to God’s plan.  In chapter 4 verse 13 after much debate, Moses pleads with God to just send someone else.  God isn’t happy. He’s prepared Moses for this time, for this opportunity in leadership.  This is the day!  Moses finally agrees to go, and we know the rest of the story.  God uses Moses to bring His people out of captivity.  God’s plan prevails!

Are you a reluctant leader?  Do you have to be convinced to lead?  Are you unable to make quick and bold decisions?  Does someone need to drag you into the leadership role you’ve been created to do?

I remember sitting with a leader in Asia, and after a long discussion, I simply said to him…. “LEADON”.  What I was saying was:  stop making excuses, stop waiting for other people, stop assuming that others will lead with the same passion you have…. LEADON!

For the reluctant leader in you, leadon.  Don’t  wait, don’t force others to force you.  If you’ve been given an opportunity to lead, leadon!

The Leadon Esource Pages have been created to give tools, resources and support to emerging leaders around the world that need some help and encouragement.  Instead of making excuses, learn from others and LEADON!

Posted in Leadership Coaching Tagged with: , , , ,

Leadon Launch

After talking to leaders around the world, we’ve identified that they have 4 basic needs in common with other leaders.

The need for:

1)   Training

2)  Resources

3)  Coaching

4)  Community

While there are many other needs out there, these 4 they have in common.

The Leadon Esource Pages will help meet the need for numbers 1 and 2.  We’ve been working for years on developing a way to deliver ongoing resources and distance training to leaders around the world, and this is the launch of that plan.

Global Leaders are often lonely.  They are disconnected from others by geography, political boundaries and economic limitations, yet they all desire to be the best leaders they can be!

The Leadon Esource Pages will begin to provide tip sheets and leadership tools;  we’ll provide online training tools and deeper training courses;  we’ll provide prospective from a great group of global leaders and experienced leaders that want to serve and be a resource;  we’ll provide regular journal entries on a wide variety of topics and themes that will encourage, challenge and embrace leadership.

We simply want to connect and help to address these needs.

You can help us!

*Share these pages with leaders, organizations and any global community you’re connected to.

*Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and with our Blog.  Engage with us!

*Contribute to these resource pages.  If you have links, resources, tools and help that you’d like to extend to this community, send it our way.

August 1st, 2011 is day #1.

Be a part of this journey!

 

Russ for Leadon Esource

www.leadonesource.org

 

Posted in Leadership Community Tagged with:

Learning to be Aware

Have you ever been a part of a conversation and at some point you realize that you have no idea what is being talked about?  You’ve drifted off, your mind has wondered, you’ve begun to make a list of all of the things you need to be doing…  This doesn’t necessarily mean that the conversation is boring, it’s just that you are not engaging!

For me, this happens mostly when I drive.  I find that being in a car driving down the road is a great place to think, to process and to just clear my mind.  My family realizes this sometimes, and they just stop talking to me because I’m not engaging in anything that they’re saying.

As I think about this today, I want to encourage you to learn to communicate in the present.  This happens when we simply discipline ourselves to focus on whatever and whoever is in front of us.  Communication is difficult enough without our bad habits of multi-tasking.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when I’m in the middle of a deep conversation with someone and their phone rings or they receive a text message and they immediately respond, while trying to keep the conversation going with me.  Sometimes they’ll even laugh or respond verbally when reading a text, and I realize that I’m not being listened to.

I want to encourage you today to practice the art being engaged:

– When you’re in a conversation, be all there!  Turn off your phone or ignore the constant chirping.  I know that sometimes there are emergencies that come up, but explain that to the person you’re talking with.  I will often tell someone I’m in a meeting with that I’m expecting an important call or message, simply to warn them that this may be coming.  Of course, if I can ignore those messages until after our meeting, that is so much better.

– When you’re in a conversation and the other person isn’t engaging, ask them about it.  Ask them nicely if you should reschedule your conversation.  Ask them nicely to put their phone down.  Be direct, don’t explode!

– Choose the right environment for important conversations.  This might mean avoiding noisy restaurants or parks, it might mean sitting face to face instead of driving some place.  Plan ahead for the best possible environment for that conversation that matters.

– Learn to be aware of signs coming from the other person.  There’s nothing worse than pouring your heart out and not being heard.  If you’re aware of what’s going on, you can initiate a change, you can ask them to engage, or you can reschedule.  Learn to see the signs, they’re not easy to miss!

I’ve learned this the hard way and I’ve missed many important conversations that I’ll never get back.

Learn to be aware when you’re in a conversation.  Learn to engage and to help others to engage.  It will take communication to a whole new level!

Posted in Leadership Coaching Tagged with: ,

The Process of Coaching

For many years, I thought that coaching took place when someone older and wiser told me what to do, and I did it.   Whether it was on the basketball court, in my boy scout troop, or with the youth group, there were always plenty of people telling me what I should be doing, how I could do it better, and what would happen if I didn’t listen to them and their advice.

The dictionary defines coaching using a number of different words:  “teach,” “prompt,” “urge,” or “instruct.”

Coaching today is taking on a new significance.  When I was younger, I thought success would come when I didn’t need coaching anymore, when I had figured out exactly what I needed to do on my own.

Coaching however is so much more than just teaching.  Coaching is most effective when three things happen:

#1)  When there’s a relationship between the coach and the leader

As the relationship is built, it allows for trust to form.  Trust enables honesty and vulnerability.  When there’s a relationship, then there’s the opportunity to talk about real issues.

#2)  When there’s dialogue and communication

When coaching is one-sided, then we miss out on the best application of what’s being taught and encouraged.  You need to talk through the process, talk about how to integrate into your situation, talk about pro’s and con’s, even debate a little bit.  If coaching is based on relationship, than communication is the best way to develop that relationship.

#3)  When there’s evaluation

Just because someone is playing the role of a coach in your life, that doesn’t mean that they are always right.  Evaluate what you’re doing.  Ask tough questions.  If it’s not working, come at it from a new direction.  Coaching is a process, and it’s an ongoing process.  Don’t be afraid to seriously evaluate all that you’re doing.

Coaching can be so much more than someone standing on the sidelines yelling at you and telling you what you need to do.

Real coaching offers you the opportunity for a lifetime of insight, help, support, encouragement, and, most importantly, someone to process with.

There’s a passage in Proverbs that talks about this:

Proverbs 15:22  “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” (ESV)

Look at the coaching relationships you have in your life and evaluate how they are going.  If you don’t have people to speak into your life and into your leadership, find someone, and begin the process!

One last thing…. there is also a time, place, and purpose to the coach that stands on the sidelines and tells you what to do.  We need to learn the basics.  We need to learn to trust.  Sometimes, we need to just be told what to do.  However, as a leader, if this is the only kind of coaching that you’re getting, you’re missing out!

Posted in Leadership Coaching

Lift You Up

Have you ever been lifted up?  I mean, literally, people gathering around you and picking you up.

At a leadership summit this past year, I had the opportunity to be lifted up.

As I stepped into the middle of this group of guys, in my mind, I was wondering if they could really lift me up.  I’m sure they were thinking the same thing.  I’m kind of a big guy!

Then there’s that moment of truth…. they gathered around me and I had to take the first step and lean back, allowing them to support me.  That’s not too tough…. I was only leaning.  Then they picked me up and they carried my full weight.  Pretty impressive.  I was ready to get down.  Then they lifted me up above their heads and there was nothing I could do.  I simply had to lay there, trusting them to hold me and not drop me.

It’s quite a feeling to be held up. It’s a little humbling and I

felt pretty vulnerable.  Why am I like that?  Why is it so hard to put my trust in other people?

It’s because I want to be in charge.  I want to be in control.  I want to be the one doing the heavy lifting.  I don’t like depending on others to do that for me.  Doesn’t that sound like it’s all about “ME?”

One of my favorite verses from the Bible is 1 Thessalonians 5:11:  “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (ESV)

We are reminded to “keep on” encouraging and building others up.  We’re reminded that it’s not about us.  We’re reminded that all of us need to continue doing this, over and over again.

Who are you encouraging?  Who are you lifting up?  Are you allowing others to do that to you?

 

 

Posted in Leadership Community

You’ll feel better when you leave.

This sign is at the entrance to the gym I go to:

I had to stop and read it over a couple of times, then I found that it is so true. When I finish a work out, I feel great!  That’s what keeps me coming back.

I then thought about leadership, and I realize that in most cases, this isn’t true. We walk into a new leadership role excited to be there, anticipating all that will come, and usually we leave beat up, burned out, and we want to hide.

One of my first roles in leadership came when I was 10 years old and I was chosen as the captain of my little league team (baseball).  I was so excited to be the captain, so excited to be the leader…. until we lost a game.  My friends turned on me, my coach criticized me, and I remember feeling so alone.

Over the years, that feeling has come back many times.  The simple question rolling around in my head:  “What am I doing here?”  And then, the even more important question:  “How can I get out of here?”

For the past 25 years, I’ve been able to work with leaders around the world.  I find that many of them, many of YOU are asking yourself these same questions.

If you’re a leader who sometimes wonders what you’re doing, then the Leadon Esource pages have been created for you.  We want to make practical resources, encouragement, and training available to you. We know that being in leadership is difficult. We don’t want you to feel alone. We don’t want you to run and hide.

Leaders around the world are all screaming for the same things:  Training, Resources, Coaching, and Community.  We’ve see these four things help leaders not only to “last” in their leadership, but we’ve seen leaders “thrive” in their leadership roles.  This is true for leaders from most parts of the planet.

Join us on the journey.  When you leave your role in leadership, we want you to feel good about all that you’ve accomplished and the impact you’ve made on others’ lives and on your organization.

Lead On!

 

Russ…

Posted in Personal Leadership

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