Leadership Tensions: Excellence vs. Perfection

Leadership Tensions: Excellence vs. Perfection

By: Jenni Catron

 

This one causes plenty of spats within the church leadership culture.

Are we stifling God’s Spirit because we’re planning every minute of the service?

Are we dismissing someone’s God-given gift because we don’t think it’s good enough?

Lots of questions with polarizing responses.

Excellence vs. Perfection is a real leadership tension that leaders face, especially ministry leaders.

How do we give our best to God while also being sensitive to how God is leading us?

How do we lead others to give their best while also being sensitive to how God may be growing them?

I believe the answer is found in a very subtle distinction:

Excellence is an ATTITUDE. 

Perfection is a RESPONSE.

Excellence is a desire to give your best all the time.

Perfection is a response to the fear of not being good enough.

In both cases, we’re aiming to please someone, but from entirely different motives.

Excellence flows out of a desire to give, perfection flows from a fear of something being taken.

The perfectionist is grasping for ways to earn approval.

The person pursuing excellence is offering their best to others and to God.

The activities will often look the same from the outside, but it’s the motivation that creates the subtle distinction.

As a leader, be tuned into what motivates you and your team.  Is your team giving their best as an act of service or a response to fear?

Look for opportunities to teach and reward the difference.

What’s your heart pursuing… excellence or perfection?

Jenni Catron is the Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group.  Her passion is to equip and inspire leaders to lead from their extraordinary best!

Why You Lose Your Best Leaders & Volunteers

Why You Lose Your Best Leaders & Volunteers

By: Stephen Brewster

It hurts when people leave. It’s been said that people don’t quit organizations, they quit people.
There are a million reasons why, over time, we can lose talented volunteers or staff members. Sometimes it’s circumstantial. Other times, it’s just a natural pattern of growth and development. But not always, and probably not often.
In reviewing a recent article in Forbes magazine on why top talent leaves business, here are some trends that tend to surface as common reasons people become disenfranchised.

We Stop Leading With Vision

Vision matters. It creates momentum and excitement. When we lead with vision and with “why,” we’re doing something that makes people move from renters to owners. Vision births passion.

We Don’t Allow People to Unleash Their Passions

It’s vital to keep people engaged and to align their passions with opportunities. When people are passionate about something, they not only want to do it…they have to do it. When we miss the chance to align passion and purpose, we fail our best people.

We Control Rather Than Trust

Great people want to be trusted. They won’t be capable of sticking around if they feel they need to be micro-managed. Will they mess up? Yes. Will they do things differently than we think they should? Probably. But growth – for them and for our organization – requires sharing not just the responsibility but also the authority. This creates leaders that will learn from you and your systems and help lead and coach other leaders.

We Lack Creative Engagement

Creative people want to make things better. Our best people want to add value to our organizations. They love to challenge and questions. They seek opportunities to engage and innovate. We have to free our best people to soar and do their best work.

We Don’t Coach

Learners are leaders. We’re all on a journey and all want to get better, smarter, and more valuable. Make sure we’re creating a culture that puts a premium on coaching and learning.

We Stop Challenging

We’re responsible to challenge our best people. Challenge them to be their best, do their best, and to engage using their skills, intelligence, and resource. If people become bored and aren’t given challenges, they will go find someplace where they can be pushed to be better.

We Don’t Create Venues for their Voice

Make sure we’re giving our best people room to have a voice. Leaders can’t make their best decisions if they only have one opinion or one set of data. Our best people have valuable information and opinions to share. If we don’t listen, we’ll miss this important information.

We Cared more about the Result than the Person

People Matter. When people feel we care more about their product than we do about their person, we’ll lose them. It’s messy and takes valuable time, but it’s the best investment we can make. Put a premium on people and we won’t have to worry about the product…it will take care of itself.

We Never Shared the Love

Never take the credit, always take the responsibility. Sharing the credit and promoting the “team” builds value and trust. When we use people for our agenda, we destroy morale. When things are good, it’s all about the team. When things are off, it’s all about the leader.

We Over Promised / Under Delivered

Always. It helps people feel like they are winning and when we’re on winning streaks we’re much more content and engaged.

We Provided Responsibility, but not Authority

It never works. If quality people are held to a certain level of responsibility but do not have the necessary authority, they will vanish. People will gladly accept challenges when they feel they are empowered to lead.
We don’t have to pay attention to these opportunities. But if we don’t, someone else will and one day we’ll look around and wonder what happened to our most talented people and why they’re all working together, enjoying life, creating momentum, and changing the world in another organization.

What would you add to this list?

Stephen wants to encourage people to be brave enough to be their creative best. He has spent the past 15 years in professional creative environments including church, music business, marketing, management, artist development, creative team leading and art directing.

Priorities for Leading Change

Three Priorities for Leading Change

By: Danielle Wingate

 

 

If we are honest, most people are uncomfortable with change.  They have developed routines, patterns, and comfort. There is nothing wrong with this, we are all creatures of habit so essentially our teams have created what works for them in their time, with their perspective and their available resources.  Now, for whatever reason, let’s say a system no longer works and it is time for a change and as the leader, you are steering the ship.

Like any good team or organization, you are probably moving at a high pace, all too quickly to make sharp turns, no matter how opportunistic, negative or detrimental behaviors or attitudes are.  However, you can begin turning slowly with urgency with clear vision and communication. It is our job to paint the picture for our team and then hand them the brush to fill in the details.

When leading change, here are three things you can do:

1) Cast the vision early + often.  This is your picture for your team, helping them “see” a different way, a different solution, a better tomorrow…

2) Give them a voice.  As we have said, change can be challenging, give your team a safe place to vent, ask questions or share feelings.  If they aren’t doing it with you, know they are doing it with others without you.

3) Be realistic + follow through.  Are the steps needed to take place realistic with all in motion?  Is the timeline achievable? How can you ensure follow through?

Realistic expectations are healthy to keep in this… think in terms of 6 months, one year or even three.  It may seem like a daunting timeline, but you are turning a ship, already in motion. It will be amazing when it’s complete, but for now, we need to be intentional, strategic and patient as we navigate change with those around us who have a different lens, experiences and tools.  Our team needs to know the extra effort to transition, adapt and learn new ways has a greater value and that we as leaders are going to see this “new way” to the end.

Leadership is a privilege that we are entrusted with, it won’t be easy, but done well, the value is immeasurable.  Keep leading well!

Danielle is passionate about creating and supporting systems that improve the guest experience from beginning to end.  She has been part of some amazing church staff teams and now spends her time supporting churches and leaders through consulting.  She is the founder of Catalyst Women, an online space to share stories and invite women to be the change.
Danielle lives in Seattle with her husband Chris, two kids and giant schnauzer.  She is a fan of any good local coffee shop and enjoys a vanilla latte with coconut milk!

13 Facts About Opposition To Change Too Many Leaders Miss

13 Facts About Opposition To Change Too Many Leaders Miss

By Carey Nieuwhof

 

You’re probably trying to change something right now.

And — if you’re honest — you’ve already thought about backing off.

Change seems too difficult.

You’ve watched friends get hurt trying to lead similar change.

You’ve heard the voices of opposition get a little louder.

You really don’t want to be afraid to open your inbox every morning.

But what if this is true?

Change is harder than it needs to be only because it’s more mysterious than it needs to be.

And it doesn’t need to be quite that mysterious.

Here’s what I believe about change: Change involves common human dynamics, and the dynamics can be learned. There are facts about change that, frankly, too many leaders miss. Discover them, and change becomes much easier to navigate.

In my book about leading change while facing opposition, I outline the learned dynamics of change that I hope can help every leader.

I’m passionate about change because I’ve lived through it and can vouch for the fact that change is more than possible.

I’m also passionate because if the church (and other organizations) are going to reach their potential, change isn’t optional, it’s necessary.

So, if you’re navigating change, here’s a short cheat sheet of 13 key principles that I hope will help you maintain clear thinking amidst the sea of emotions that leading change brings.

 

1. People Aren’t Opposed To Change Nearly As Much As They Are Opposed To Change They Didn’t Think Of

Everybody’s in favour of their ideas, but most organizational change is driven by the ideas fostered by a leader or a leadership team. That’s simply the way leadership operates.

When you float an idea, there’s often initial resistance from people who didn’t think of the idea or who weren’t involved in the process. That resistance isn’t fatal though.

You just need to realize that most people will come on board. You just need to give them time until the idea spreads widely enough to be owned.

Great ideas eventually resonate, even if they’re initially met with resistance.

How do you know you have a good idea? Like a fine wine, good ideas get better with time. Bad ideas get worse.

 

2. Change Is Hard Because People Crave What They Already Like

You have never craved a food you haven’t tried, and change operates on a similar dynamic.

Your people want what they’ve seen because people never crave what they haven’t seen.

That’s why vision is so key – you need to paint a clear enough picture that people begin to crave a future they haven’t yet lived.

 

3. Leaders Crave Change More Than Most People Do Because They’re Leaders

The reason leaders love change more than most people is because they’re leaders.

Your passion level is always going to be naturally and appropriately higher than most people when it comes to change. Just know that’s how you’re wired and don’t get discouraged too quickly if your passion for change is higher than others.

You’re the leader. That’s your job.

 

4. Most Of The Disagreement Around Change Happens At The Strategy Level 

Most leaders stop at aligning people around a common mission and vision, but you also need to work hard at aligning people around a common strategy.

It’s one thing to agree that you passionately love God, it’s another to create a dynamic church that unchurched people flock to.

One depends on vision; the other is a re-engineering around a common strategy. When people are aligned around a common mission, vision and strategy, so much more becomes possible.

 

5. Usually No More Than 10% Of The People You Lead Are Opposed To Change

Most leaders are shocked when they hear that only about 10% of their church or team is opposed to change at any time. Almost all swear it’s higher.

But usually, it’s not.

When I’ve challenged leaders to write down the actual names of people who are opposed to what they’re proposing, most are hard pressed to write down more than a dozen or so. And often, that’s even less than 10%.

It may feel like 50% of the people you lead are opposed to change, but that’s almost never true.

The question, of course, then becomes this: Are you going to sacrifice the future of 90% of people you lead because of the discontent of 10%?

I hope not.

I dissect the 10% rule in detail in my book, Leading Change Without Losing It. (I promise you it’s good news for leaders.)

 

6. Loud Does Not Equal Large

So why do the 10% feel bigger than they are?

Because they’re loud. Conversely, the proponents of change are usually quieter, even respectful.

Just because the opponents of change are loud doesn’t mean they’re a large group. The most opposed people make the most noise.

Don’t make the mistake most leaders make when they assume large equals loud. Almost every time, it doesn’t.

 

7. Most People Opposed To Change Do Not Have A Clearly Articulated Vision Of A Prefered Future

Most people opposed to change do not have a clearly articulated vision of a preferred future. They don’t know what they want. They just know what they don’t want.

In fact, most just want to go back to Egypt. And you can’t build a better future on a vision of the past.

 

8. Fear Of Opposition Derails More Leaders Than Actual Opposition

Fear of opposition derails more leaders than actual opposition. Wouldn’t it be horrible to look back on your leadership and realize there was little opposition to change—you just thought there was?

So push past your fears. And push past the opposition.

Courage isn’t the absence of fear; it’s the determination to lead through your fears. By the way, this also does wonders for your faith.

 

9. Buy-In Happens Most Fully When People Understand Why, Rather Than What Or How

What and how are inherently divisive. Someone’s always got a better, cheaper, more expensive, faster, shorter, longer way to do what you’re proposing.

Articulating why you’re changing something is different. It unites people. Why reminds everyone why we do what we do, and why we’re doing this in the first place.

So focus on why when you’re communicating. Why motivates. Always start with why, finish with why and pepper all communication with why.

 

10. Unimplemented Change Becomes Regret

If you don’t muster up the courage to usher in healthy change, you’ll regret it.

You’ll look back and yearn for what might have been, not for what was.

Unimplemented change becomes regret. Remember that.

 

11. Incremental Change Brings About Incremental Results

People will always want to do less, which is why many leaders settle for incremental change, not radical change, even when radical change is needed.

You’ll be tempted to compromise and reduce vision to the lowest common denominator: incremental change.

Just know that incremental change brings incremental results. And incrementalism inspires no one.

Radical change brings about radical results. Incremental change brings about incremental results. You choose. Also, incremental change inspires no one.

 

12. Transformation Happens When The Change In Question Becomes Part Of The Culture 

How long does change take? It takes a while, and it’s important to persevere. Because over time, change becomes transformation.

You can change some things in a year and almost everything in 5 years. But transformation happens when people own the change. That’s often 5-7 years; only then do most people not want to go back to Egypt.

So how do you know transformation has happened? Simple. Most people no longer want to go back to the way it was.

 

13. The Greatest Enemy Of Your Future Success Is Your Current Success 

As I wrote about in Leading Change Without Losing It, success has its own problems.

The biggest problem? Success makes leaders conservative. The more successful you become, the less willing you are to change.

As a result, the greatest enemy of your future success is your current success.

The best way to overcome that?

Keep changing. Keep experimenting. Keep risking.

Successful organizations create a culture of change because they realize that success tempts you to risk nothing until decline forces you to reexamine everything. Keep changing.

 

I hope these 13 principles can keep you focused on a few of the toughest dynamics associated with change.

What would you add to this list?

And what’s been the most difficult aspect of change for you and your team? Scroll down and leave a comment.

Carey Nieuwhof is founding pastor of Connexus Church and is author of several books, including his latest best-selling work, Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Will Help Your Church Grow.

Carey speaks to church leaders around the world about leadership, change and personal growth. He writes one of today’s most widely read church leadership blogs at www.CareyNieuwhof.com and hosts two podcasts—the top-rated Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast where he interviews some of today’s best leaders and the Canadian Church Leader’s Podcast, where he helps Canadian church leaders reach people. His podcasts and blogs are accessed by millions of leaders each year.

Twitter & Facebook: @cnieuwhof | Instagram: careynieuwhof

5 Steps for Leading Change

5 Steps for Leading Change

By: Jenni Catron

 

Whether you’re leading an entire organization through change or coaching a staff person through a transition, leading through change is one of the most important tasks you’ll do as a leader.

In leading through various seasons of change, here are 5 steps I encourage you to consider whatever change you’re facing.

1) Listen Well

When change is imminent we can be tempted to either operate in denial until we’re forced to change or rush to make changes to get it over with as soon as possible.  Either extreme robs you of the opportunity to listen well.  When you need to lead through change, take time to listen.  Listen for lessons from history.  Listen to fears and concerns.  Listen for the reason behind emotions.

2) Question Thoroughly

After you’ve listened well, begin to ask questions…. lots of them.  Particularly if you’re leading change through an issue that is new to you.  Whether it be an organization you recently joined or a project that you weren’t intimately involved with.  Asking questions will help you uncover valuable information about sensitivities, key players, historical nuances, etc.  Questions will help you better understand the landscape and make more thoughtful decisions.

3) Evaluate Rigorously

Change is challenging.  It’s tempting to make snap judgments or jump to quick fixes.  Take the time and mental energy to evaluate the situation from all angles before hurrying to a decision.  As part of your evaluating, seek wise counsel from others who have either led through something similar or who can add helpful perspective.

4) Decide Prayerfully

Once you’ve listened, questioned and evaluated it’s time to make a decision about what to change and how to lead through it.  Consider everything you’ve gleaned in the process so far and prayerfully decide how to move forward.

5) Direct Confidently

Finally, you need to provide strong, confident direction for change.  Your confidence is drawn from the intentional process you’ve followed and the prayerful decision you’ve arrived at.  Now you must direct change with strength of vision and decisive action.

Leading change is not easy, nor should it be taken lightly.  But this is exactly why you are in a position of leadership – to help set the course and lead others in the direction God is calling you.  Taking the proper time to listen, question, and evaluate before you decide and direct is critical to leading through change in a way that honors those you’re leading.  Change is emotional and stressful.  Taking time for process equips you to be aware and sensitive while earning trust with those you lead.  Additionally, the process builds courage for everyone involved.

What change are you facing?  What step do you need to take today?

Jenni Catron is the Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group.  Her passion is to equip and inspire leaders to lead from their extraordinary best!

Culture Has to Come First

Culture Has to Come First

By: Danielle Wingate

 

“If your culture is horrible, your vision is irrelevant.” – Jenni Catron

How many times have you walked in to an environment only to feel like something is off? Maybe you enter a room and there is relational tension.  No one has said anything about it, there are no signs pointing to it, but you sense it.  You begin to see and hear things that affirm it. Truth is, it’s quite challenging to focus on much else and furthermore, why would you want to stay?

Culture is similar.  You can’t touch it, there are rarely signs pointing to it to say who, what, why and how, but it is evident when you enter an environment.  How so? It’s in the posture that your team carries, the attentiveness as guests are around, the problem solving and serving, the ambition, the words used and the investment shared.  Our guests are going to walk in with fresh eyes and ears… they will pick up on everything that your team has been pressing on to mask on the back end. The hard work to “look and feel” great is there, no doubt, but I guarantee, it will be quite challenging for your guests to focus on much else.  Which as you can imagine impacts everything else.

Vision is a buzz words these days.  It’s pretty, enticing and essential to the end goal.  Your culture is the means by which you get there and the length of time.   Just as your church never arrives, neither should culture. It’s always growing, learning and evolving, asking the question, “how can we do this better?”  Your “this” is your team, your people.

What’s the next step?  

Busy probably doesn’t even describe how you feel most days.  Leaders, let me encourage you, the best thing you can do for yourself and your team is to clear your calendar for an afternoon or a day.  Partner with your fellow executive members or key leaders and talk through these five things:

1- Core Values– Are they clear and measurable?

2- Communication– what are the lines like?

3- Celebrations & Coaching– How do we respond when good things are done or opportunities are evident?

4- Team Building– what are we doing to help people grow in their relationships?

5- Investment– What are we doing to invest in our people personally & professionally? in that order.

To be an extraordinary leader, team and organization, we can’t afford not to build a strong foundation in culture.  It will be slow and clunky at first, you are turning a big ship, but starting is often the hardest part. So lead well, look at your calendar today, clear that time and invest in your culture to enable your vision to excel.

Danielle is passionate about creating and supporting systems that improve the guest experience from beginning to end.  She has been part of some amazing church staff teams and now spends her time supporting churches and leaders through consulting.  She is the founder of Catalyst Women, an online space to share stories and invite women to be the change.
Danielle lives in Seattle with her husband Chris, two kids and giant schnauzer.  She is a fan of any good local coffee shop and enjoys a vanilla latte with coconut milk!

What Kind of Culture are You Curating?

What Kind of Culture are You Curating?

By: Jenni Catron

 

LEADERS ARE KEEPERS OF CULTURE.

They know that great team cultures require deliberate effort. Teams will work better with one another, they’ll go above and beyond the call of duty, they’ll invest themselves personally, and they’ll own their wins and their losses more honestly when they are a part of a healthy environment.

Healthy environments are of course characterized by leaders of integrity; intolerance for discrimination; strong systems, policies, and procedures; and an organizational alignment that promotes shared goals and achievable results.

But truly healthy cultures go one step further. The healthiest work cultures I’ve observed find ways to capture the spirit of the organization. They have identified the “personality” of the organization and they find ways to express that. Personality provides color and vibrancy to what could otherwise be a strong but sterile environment.

Ranked number 1 in Fortune magazine’s 2014 list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For, Google is well known for its corporate culture. When I moved to the Silicon Valley area, one of the first places I visited was the Google campus. I had heard rumors of the great megaplex in Mountain View, California, and my quick tour lived up to the hype. Reflecting a desire to keep the culture of a start-up organization, everything about the Google campus is designed to inspire open communication among employees. From bicycles to bowling alleys to inspiring themed meeting spaces, the facilities encourage interaction in fun and innovative ways.

Zappos, an online retailer that aims to “deliver WOW through service,” carries that wow faIMG_0326ctor into the culture for its staff. The managers refer to their staff as family and have ten core family values that they believe put the “zap” in Zappos. Among them you’ll see phrases like “create fun and a little weirdness” and “be adventurous, creative, and open-minded.” Several years ago I toured the Zappos offices. On our tour the other visitors and I were made kings and queens for a day, complete with throne and regalia; challenged to a hula-hoop contest; given a free book from the company’s family library; and paraded through a sea of cubicles where staff, or “family members,” were bustling with energy and productivity. The energy in the space made me briefly consider a career change.

In their book Spiritual Leadership, Henry and Richard Blackaby state, “Today’s workplace is a forum for people to express themselves and to invest their efforts into something that contributes positively to society. People no longer choose jobs based merely on salary and benefits. They seek companies with corporate values that match their personal values.” Great team cultures should cause people to clamor to work for your team, your division, or your company. People aren’t afraid to work. They’re afraid to have to work in a place that drains the life out of them.

WHAT KIND OF CULTURE ARE YOU CURATING?

We at The 4Sight Group believe that culture is the backbone of an organization. That’s why we have created a 2-Day Intensive Workshop focused on helping you create a healthy, sustainable and thriving culture in your organization.

How Do You Stay Spiritually Healthy As A Creative Leader?

How Do You Stay Spiritually Healthy As A Creative Leader?

By: Stephen Brewster

One of the most difficult tensions to manage in church life is the balance of spiritual health while serving. This tension exists in 2 areas, for your volunteers or staff and yourself. Every week you and your team have the responsibility to take the time where most people find discipleship and focus on the execution of the moment as opposed to the depth or developmental component of the moment.

How do we stay healthy as creative leaders?

First, we have to remember that our spiritual health is our responsibility, not the responsibility of someone else. God is speaking to us. The truth is that most of us are probably educated way beyond our obedience. Make sure whatever the disciplines are that help you connect to God is part of your daily flow. For me, it is music and being outside. If I don’t intentionally make those things happen, I can feel myself drift. I fight to find these moments. Another issue we have as creative leaders is our exposure to Sr. Leadership. We see a different side of the pastor than most. While this can be healthy at times, it also can be detrimental. Your pastor is a gift and is being used by God. Even when he does not like your work, it does not make him less of a pastor. Serve him and serve him well.

I have also found it is super valuable to use “off times” to refuel. Vacations, rehearsals, online services, times when I am not “on” or responsible can be vital for my personal development and growth. God is near. He is talking to you and reaching out to inspire you. He is waiting for you to respond. Slow down and listen. Further, remember that Tuesday is just as sacramental as Sunday. Everything we do is “unto the Lord.” Our work is an act of worship. When this becomes our posture, our meetings, our volunteer interactions, and even our emails can take on a different context!

God did not ask you to serve him in ministry to leave you. He cares about you, a lot. He loves you more than you could imagine and has crafted you in His image. He has ideas for you, plans for you, and inspiration for you. Tune yourself into him. Find His spirit and focus on what He is trying to do through you, but more importantly TO you. God cares a lot more about who you are becoming than he does about what you are making. Each of us has a different type of relationship with God, but we all have a relationship. Take the time to listen and learn. Your best days are ahead.

Stephen wants to encourage people to be brave enough to be their creative best. He serves as the Creative Pastor at Real Life Church in Orlando, Florida. He has spent the past 15 years in professional creative environments including church, music business, marketing, management, artist development, creative team leading and art directing. He lives in Orlando, FL with his wife Jackie and their four amazing kids.

Why a Title Doesn’t Make You a Leader

Why a Title Doesn’t Make You a Leader

By: Ron Edmondson

My first paid leadership role came to me by default. I was a full-time college student working in the men’s department of a large retail department store. I had been at the store under two years when my boss quit suddenly to pursue other interests. Turnover is often high in the retail world, but it seemed even more so in this department. I was the most tenured person, so they made me the department manager.

At 20 years of age, I had basically “arrived” in the field of leadership.

The store was located close to a university, so it was a great place to attract college students as employees. I remember the first time we had a big sale after I took over the leadership of my department. Popular in the day were “midnight madness” sales. We would close for a couple hours late afternoon, cover all our doors with butcher wrap paper to add suspense, then reopen in the evening with significantly marked-down items throughout the store. People would stand in line for hours prior to the sale and scramble to find the bargains as soon as we opened the doors. These type sales are not as common anymore, because people have come to expect bargains daily – either in the store or online. Although it was not quite midnight – it truly was madness. (We later changed these sales to “moonlight madness”.)

I had added additional staffing for the evening – relying on the advice of others for how many people I should schedule. You can only imagine my disappointment – and embarrassment – when the doors to eager shoppers opened and my department was flooded with customers and grossly understaffed. Two of my employees, both fellow college students, had not shown up to work this night. They did not call. It was before the days of cell phones, email or Facebook. I tried their dorm rooms and got no response. I was mortified – and angry.

The next day I ran into one of my “no-shows” on campus. I asked him where he was the night before and why he never called. He told me he had a test and realized he needed to study. He said he meant to call, but got distracted. It was not his regularly scheduled day to work, so he assumed he would not be missed.

I stood there with him in awe – wondering how he could justify what he was saying to me. It was in this moment I realized he was not seeing me as his boss. In spite of my position of leadership, he saw me as another college student. I was his friend – his colleague – his equal. He seemed to think I would understand – he had a test – and could not seem to grasp my frustration. (Which made me even more frustrated.)

I learned through this experience a title does not make one a leader. There are people like me – who have been in positions for years – who actually believe simply having a title makes them a leader. People will look up to them, do what they request, and show them a higher level of respect. It is what I thought, but I learned the hard way – it simply is not true.

You can take on any title you want – call yourself president, manager, boss – Mr. or Mrs. Boss – regardless of your title it will not necessarily change how people view you.

This is just one of the seven myths addressed in my book “The Mythical Leader”. Over the last 30 years of leading I’ve learned some things we think about leadership simply aren’t true. When we live as if they are our leadership is greatly hindered. I hope people find the book to be very practical. It’s full of real life examples. Some lessons we learn the hard way. Some we learn from others. My hope is to help others learn from my experiences.

Ron Edmondson is a pastor, teacher and church leadership consultant. Ron has led in two church plants and two revitalizations. He is currently Senior Pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky. Ron blogs at ronedmondson.com.

3 Tips for Leading Great Team Meetings

Meaningless Meetings or Intentional Conversations? – 3 Tips for Leading Great Team Meetings

By: Jenni Catron

I was recently talking with a new client in preparation for our first consulting visit. This was a routine call that I typically do with the leader to ask some basic questions about how they interact with their team. It’s a quick way for me to get insight to how the leader leads and how their team operates. Usually it’s a quick peak into their culture which helps me prepare for working with them.

FAST GROWTH EXASPERATES COMPLEXITY

As with most of the clients we serve, this was a young organization that had grown rapidly and found themselves frustrated with the difficulty and complexity they were facing. Not uncommon at all.

But after asking just a few questions, I discovered a significant trouble spot that was incredibly easy to fix.

This leader and his team had no structure or rhythm for meeting together.

“How do you get anything done?” I asked.

“Well, it’s getting more and more difficult.” Mike replied. “When there were just a handful of us on staff we just kind of figured out how to get the information we needed. We were constantly together so it was never a problem. Now, there are dozens of us at different office locations with varying work schedules, and it seems like it’s harder than ever to get even the simplest things done. Let alone actually hold anyone accountable for their work.”

WE FEAR MEETINGS BECAUSE WE FEAR BUREAUCRACY

What Mike expressed to me is something I’ve heard from too many leaders. It’s a common reality especially for organizations that start small and grow rapidly. Creating meeting structures feels bureaucratic. We fear we’ll lose the relational culture and spontaneous spirit that helped us get to where we’ve gotten so far. We resist it rather than recognize that without it we could actually begin to lose the very thing we’re clinging to.

Most of us resist creating weekly staff meetings and regular one-on-one meetings with our team because we’re afraid of boring meetings that everyone hates. I get it.

But I believe that we have to reframe our perspective on this, because as a leader you need regular time with your team in order to lead from your extraordinary best.

Personally, I believe you need to establish this rhythm as soon as you have someone else you’re working with to accomplish a shared goal. Whether there are two of you or 2,000, regular gatherings for connecting and communicating are essential for your effectiveness as a team. I like to think of meetings as “intentional conversations around a shared goal.”

3 TIPS FOR CREATING GREAT TEAM MEETINGS

1) Determine the Purpose

Why are you meeting? The reason so many of us are resistant to creating regular meetings is because we fear the boredom of monotonous information that doesn’t help us actually get our work done. As a leader, you’ve got to own this and be committed to creating meetings that unite the team and equip each person to do their job better. If a meeting doesn’t move the mission forward, cut it. If the mission isn’t moving forward, start gathering the troops for a regular meeting.

2) Be Prepared

Another reason we have meeting-phobia is that people (including the leader) often show up unprepared. This is why most meetings feel like a waste of time. Set an agenda ahead of time. If you’re leading the meeting, send the agenda as well as any prep work the team needs to do in adequate time for them to be prepared as well. If you’re naturally a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants leader, you will falsely assume that everyone else can do this too. They can’t. Your team will be more prepared and contribute more confidently if they have had time to think about the topic or prepare necessary information for the meeting.

3) Establish a Regular Schedule

Your team needs predictable rhythms of work. Most of us face enough surprises and curve balls in our regular work. Sporadic meeting schedules don’t need to add to the chaos. Determine how frequently you need to meet to effectively accomplish your shared goals and then commit to that schedule.

None of us want to be victims of “death by meetings” but we also don’t want to experience organization death because of not meeting. Gather your team and get stuff done!

Jenni Catron is the Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group.  Her passion is to equip and inspire leaders to lead from their extraordinary best!

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