Thursday, August 25, 2016

Leaders and their Listening: at which of the 4 Levels do you listen?

Leaders and their Listening: at which of the 4 Levels do you listen?

One of the greatest skills a pastor or leader can develop is to learn to listen well. We pay others a high compliment when we listen. We affirm others’ God-given value when we listen. We develop our own heart when we listen. The father of the field of listening, Ralph Nichols, captures the essence of listening in these words. The most basic of all human needs is the need to be understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them. Listening occurs at several levels. I describe four fundamental levels here.
Vector listen symbol As you read the four levels below, ask yourself at which level you usually listen.
Level 1-Listening TO…Internal Listening. At this level when we listen to others we mostly listen to our inner dialogue, thoughts, feelings, and what we plan to say once the other person has finished speaking. We focus on ourselves, our conclusions, our thoughts about the person/subject of conversation, and what the subject means to me. Unfortunately most listening happens at this level where it tends to be all about us.
Level 2-Listening FOR…Focused Listening. At this level we begin to authentically listen as we focus on what the other person is saying. We lock onto their dialogue and suppress our temptation to correct, give our opinion, give advice, or offer another perspective as soon as they finish. We become truly present and give the other person the gift of being understood.
Level 3-Listening WITH… Intuitive Listening. At this level we pay attention to what is not being said through these cues:  inflection, pauses, changes in tone and energy, the eyes, and body language. We listen with our gut and allow intuition to speak to our soul.
Level 4-Listening to the Holy Spirit. This is the deepest level where we intersect what the person is saying/not saying with an openness to what the Spirit of God is saying to us. This level requires great discipline and focus, yet provides pastors and ministry leaders a way to become conduits of God’s grace to others.
After reading those levels, at which level do you usually listen? What tips have you discovered that help you listen at levels 2-4?
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8 Things Leaders Do To Build Great Teams

Experienced leaders know you can accomplish far more with a team than you can by yourself.  Surrounding yourself with top talent is one of the most important things any leader can do.  So how do you identify the type of individuals which can make a good team a great team?
For answers, I revisited the 2013 college football champion Florida State Seminoles and their head coach Jimbo Fisher.  Following its BCS Championship game victory over Auburn, Sports Illustrated profiled the team in its January 13, 2014 edition.  As I read the article, I uncovered some truths which can help any leader regardless of what industry you are in.
The following are 8 Things Great Leaders Do To Build Great Teams:
  1. If You Want A Great Team Hire A Great Leader – Coach Fisher was the defensive coordinator for both Nick Saban and Les Miles while with the LSU Tigers from 2000 through 2006.  Upon becoming FSU’s head coach in 2010, he modeled the program after the way Coach Saban would later build the Alabama Crimson Tide.
  2. Great Leaders Build A Strong Inner-Circle – Fisher hired Alabama’s defensive backs coach Jeremy Pruitt.
  3. Great Leaders Establish A Leadership Culture – Fisher hired a nutritionist, built up the team’s strength staff,and a mental-conditioning coach.
  4. Great Leaders Have A Long-Term Plan – Head Coach Jimbo Fisher spent the next four years accumulating talent.
  5. Great Leaders Recruit Influencers – Top talent always want to be work with other talented people.  After recruiting high school stars Lamarcus Joyner and Jeff Luc, other top recruits took notice.  Joyner and Luc are credited with generating the recruiting momentum the program needed.
  6. Great Leaders Recruit Difference Makers – In 2012, Fisher recruited superstar quarterback Jameis Winston.  The final piece of the championship puzzle was now in place.
  7. Great Leaders Recruit People Who Respond To Big Vision – FSU top player Christian Jones said, “Ever since I’ve been a freshman, we’ve talked about getting to this point.  Offseason, through spring ball, for the past three years, and he (Coach Fisher) told us this is where we would be.  We’re going to win our conference, we’re going to win a BCS bowl and go to a national championship.”
  8. Great Leaders Recruit People Who Respond Well To Pressure – Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan said, “Everybody said we’ve never been in tight games, and they don’t know we’ll react to it.  But we fight.  We’re Seminoles.  That’s what we do.”
What is one thing you learned from this list that will help you build a better team?
Click HERE or on the image to the left and as a free gift for subscribing to this site, you can receive my new Ebook 1269 Leadership Quotes: Timeless Truths From 2016’s Top Christian Leadership Conferences.  Featured are the Johnny Hunt Mens Conference, ReThink Leadership, Orange and Leadercast Conferences among others.  If applied, these insights will make you an exponentially better leader.  Enjoy!!!

Why So Many Churches Copy Another Church’s Vision

In their latest edition of the Fully Engaged Church podcast, MAG Bookkeeping President Randy Ongie talks with Shawn Lovejoy. Shawn has a heart for coaching leaders, pastoring pastors and helping them conquer what keeps them up at night. Shawn previously served as Founding and Lead Pastor of Mountain Lake Church, Directional Leader of and the annual Velocity Conference. Now, Shawn has devoted himself to pastors and leaders full-time through his ministry Courage To Lead.
When Shawn left Mountain Lake Church, he had a very strong vision that he passed on to a young, new leader really well. He says it was the strength of that vision that he had fought relentlessly to protect that was responsible for such a smooth transition, not himself.
This idea of vision and the vision development process is something Shawn and Randy talk about a lot in the podcast. It’s something church leaders often have a hard time getting their arms around, but Shawn says it’s really pretty simple. God found one person and whispered in their ear first. Then he called that person to go out and find people to help.
That idea may be simple, but the process of cultivating a vision is not. Everyone wants it to be easy, which is why Shawn thinks there are so many copycat visions and churches. They want to skip over the wrestling with God part since it can take weeks, months, even years. Shawn says that before the first Mountain Lake service, they had four to six people who prayed, fasted and wrestled until they “knew that they knew that they knew” that God had spoken.
There’s also a difference between a good idea and a God idea. We can all see good ideas from thousands of churches all over the world by sitting at our computers. This can lead to the tendency to run around from good idea, to good idea, to good idea rather than getting down on your knees and wrestling down that unique vision. There are a lot of churches with good ideas, but the ones that are so powerful have God ideas. They aren’t necessarily doing anything especially unique with ministry or music, but “they know that they know that they know.” People can tell the difference.
Many aspects of ministry aren’t fun when it comes to the WHAT. It’s the WHY that moves people. No matter how passionate someone is, after doing that same thing for six weeks, six months or six years, it becomes old hat. But constantly reminding yourself and others of why you do it is what makes it fun.
Shawn says he spent a lot of time with the leaders of Mountain Lake reminding them of their why and discussing vision. This helped keep the sanctity of the vision in place as they thought strategically rather than practically. There are many ways to do this, and Shawn’s new book, Be Mean About Vision, is a great tool. At the end of each chapter, there are follow-up journal questions that can lead to some amazing discussions. We encourage all church leaders to check the book out!
I also encourage you to check out MAG Bookkeeping if your church or business needs virtual bookkeeping assistance.  They are the best out there!
This is a guest post by MAG and originally appeared on their site.
Click HERE or on the image to the left and as a free gift for subscribing to this site, you can receive my new Ebook 1269 Leadership Quotes: Timeless Truths From 2016’s Top Christian Leadership Conferences.  Featured are the Johnny Hunt Mens Conference, ReThink Leadership, Orange and Leadercast Conferences among others.  If applied, these insights will make you an exponentially better leader.  Enjoy!!!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Leading Through Change

Leading Through Change

Leading Through Change
Leading through change and transition requires three things
If you have been in ministry for any length of time, you have likely been faced with the leadership challenge called CHANGE. This issue of how to navigate a season of transition is one of the questions I am most frequently asked. It is an important question. Change can sneak up on us, it can shake the foundation of our teams and it can cause pain for all involved. On the surface, change within the context of worship can look like new people, new sound, new music and a new look. But when you dig deeper, change can look like new freedom, new love, new health and a new culture.
Leading through change and transition requires three things: a clear mind, a calm heart and clean hands.
A clear mind. You must be clear on the vision of where God is taking you. Clarity of intellect. A clear direction. Know what you’re doing. Get in the space with Jesus so you can hear the vision of where he is taking you.
But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you. 2 Timothy 4:5
Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Psalm 25:4
A calm heart. Put aside the position of being a people pleaser. Our ultimate goal is to make our master—our Lord and Savior—happy. Resolve to be calm and peaceful in following him. Don’t let your emotions determine every move you make. Transition will rock you, and it requires steadiness.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
Clean hands. Live a life that is worthy of touching sacred space. Seasons of change means holding things with holy hands. With change, there is often chaos. As leaders, we don’t have the freedom to be reckless. Live a life that says you’re taking seriously the call God has placed in you to take the church to deeper depths.
We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God. Colossians 1:9-10
Don’t fear change. When done well—when a leader leads through it well—it brings about good things. Change is necessary to grow, to reach our full redemptive potential, and to be the fruit-bearing church that Jesus dreamed we could be. 

15 Qualities Of Leaders I Want To Be In A Meeting With

Many leaders I know do not like meetings.  They would much prefer to be engaging in productive activities rather than talking about it.  I would fall into this category.
However, there are some meetings I have been involved in which were replenishing and actually quite fun.  I enjoyed these times because of the “Who”, not the “What” or “Why”.  In other words, the other leaders in the meeting made it fun, not the task or assignment itself.
The following are 15 Qualities Of Leaders I Want To Be In A Meeting With:
  1. Leaders who love Jesus Christ, their families and His church above all else.  This speaks to their approach.
  2. The leaders are my friends and it is good to see them.  The meeting feels more like a social event where we also actually get things done.
  3. They have accomplished something.  They are speaking from experience, not just theory.  This also means good ideas flow from experience rather than exposure.
  4. Each are active listeners.  They are learning from the experiences of others.
  5. Every leader has a specific skill set.  When a topic comes up, everyone defers to the expert in the room.  This is a matter of respect and no one person has to be the wellspring of all knowledge.
  6. It is a group of alphas who respect each other enough to discuss topics in a calm, logical manner.  Volume is not a leadership weapon or asset.
  7. Everyone is affirming of the other person.  Words of affirmation are my love language.  If YOU don’t have something good to say, WE don’t say anything at all.
  8. People have a sense of humor.  I love to laugh and accomplish things with people in fun environments.
  9. We have history together.  We have been through some ups-and-downs and lived to tell about it.
  10. We trust each other.  There are no hidden agendas and we have each other’s backs.
  11. Time is seen as our most valuable commodity and we don’t waste each other’s.
  12. People who are courteous enough to schedule meetings at convenient times.  Leaders live busy lives.
  13. Leaders who arrive prepared and start fast.
  14. Leaders who expect things to get done.
  15. As much as I love being around them, leaders who end meetings early!
What other type of people do you enjoy being in meetings with?
Click HERE or on the image to the left and as a free gift for subscribing to this site, you can receive my new Ebook 1269 Leadership Quotes: Timeless Truths From 2016’s Top Christian Leadership Conferences.  Featured are the Johnny Hunt Mens Conference, ReThink Leadership, Orange and Leadercast Conferences among others.  If applied, these insights will make you an exponentially better leader.  Enjoy!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

10 Leadership Lessons From Top United States Olympic Athletes

This past week I had the privilege of being in the Chicagoland area as part of the Willow Creek Association Global Leadership Summit.  If you missed any of the speakers or their insights click the Complete Content Listing From The 2016 Global Leadership Summit Speakers,  While in town, I obviously spent several nights in a hotel and read the daily edition of the USA Today newspaper provided to guests.  The Olympic coverage provided countless leadership insights.
The following are 10 Leadership Lessons From Top United States Olympic Athletes.  Regardless of if you lead a church, business, non-profit, or athletic organization, these lessons will make you a better leader.  Two of the quotes came from the Cleveland Browns training camp but we so good, I had to include them.
Also, do not fret, the historic U.S. ladies gymnastics team will get a post solely dedicated to their efforts in the near future.
August 10th
  • Apex Leaders Work Hard – “We’re confident because of the hard work.  We’re consistent because of the hard work.” – U.S. female gymnastics team captain Aly Raisman
  • Leaders Do Not Confuse Activity With Accomplishment – “Innovations are everywhere – cancer research, iPhone apps, Olympic sports training, cloud computing – they are just not showing up in the eta that measures gross domestic product.” – IHS Global economist Patrick Newport.
  • Your Level Of Expectation Determines Your Level Of Preparation – “I expect to win.  And nothing says that we can’t.  I’m not going to think we can’t.  I don’t think our players are going to think we can’t.  We’re going to work as hard as anybody across the National Football League.” – new Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson
  • Leadership Takes Time And Is A Developmental Process – “We know it’s going to take time for those guys to show up on the field.  We’re willing to be patient with our young guys as they develop.” – Browns new executive vice president Sashi Brown
  • Leaders Must Be Willing To Pay A Higher Price Than Others – “I just knew I had to really dig deep.  That’s the closest I’ve ever come to throwing up in the middle of a race.” – U.S. gold medal Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky
  • You Never Have To Recover From A Good Start – “Our sport is one that rewards early efforts…you need to trust in your physiology and your ability to kind of fight through pain, to keep taking good strokes and to get yourself the result you want.” – U.S. rower Austin Hack
  • Apex Leaders Are Highly Focused – “My job is to win the game for the U.S., and I’m going to do everything possible to do that.” – basketball player Kyrie Irving
August 11th
  • Apex Leaders Get Better By Making Other People Better – “Sometimes I think I wouldn’t be the swimmer I am today if I didn’t have Michael (Phelps).  We both push each other.  We both bring the best out of each other.” – U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte
August 12th
  • Smart Leaders Choose Their Legacy. – “I think no matter what, my judo legacy is fulfilled and I’m happy and happy with my career.  Now it’s time to go and continue to have a legacy off the mat and try to change the world.” – U.S. judo gold medal winner Kayla Harrison
  • “When you have a refreshed perspective and a newfound purpose, it gives you a sense of renewed spirit and excitement.” – U.S. wrestler Jordan Burroughs
What is one lesson you learned from the U.S. Olympic team which will make you a better leader?
Click HERE or on the image to the left and as a free gift for subscribing to this site, you can receive my new Ebook 1269 Leadership Quotes: Timeless Truths From 2016’s Top Christian Leadership Conferences.  Featured are the Johnny Hunt Mens Conference, ReThink Leadership, Orange and Leadercast Conferences among others.  If applied, these insights will make you an exponentially better leader.  Enjoy!!!

6 Insights I learned at the 2016 Willow Creek Leadership Summit

6 Insights I learned at the 2016 Willow Creek Leadership Summit

This year our church took over 55 to attend Willow Creek’s Leadership Summit at our local video venue in London, Ontario. As usual, I came away with many great leadership insights. In this post I summarize my top 6 learnings.
summit 2

What I learned at this year’s Willow Creek Leadership Summit:

  1. The lens of leadership.
    • Bill Hybels, senior pastor at Willow, taught the first session of the day. He’s always super. He used eyeglasses as word pictures to describe these 4 different lens of leadership:
      • passion lens (self explanatory)
      • shattered lens (an unhealthy view of leadership)
      • performance lens (we have to get stuff done)
      • legacy lens (what we will leave behind)
    • The ‘passion’ lens insight stood out to me the most. He said that passion can be fueled by our dreams or even our defeats (lessons we learn about what does not work or lessons learned through failure). He also said that it’s our job to fill our passion bucket.
    • This statement profoundly impacted me: There are no do overs in leadership but there are makeovers.
  2. Culture mapping.
    • Erin Meyer, a professor at a university in France, and author of The Culture Map, gave a fascinating talk about her innovative research on how cultures differ in several ways. She has isolated eight different dimensions that any organization involved in cross-cultural work needs to understand.
    • In her talk she unpacked the communication dimension which was amazing. Since our church has three different language expressions in three different congregations, I will definitely delve more into her insights.
  3. The one thing to get right: add value to people.
    • John Maxwell spoke on this subject. I’ve heard John speak before and read many of his books. But it’s been a while since I’ve heard him. When he started speaking, I felt like a wise uncle was  in my living room sharing sage advice with me. I had heard his theme of ‘add value’ to people before, but it was refreshing to hear it again.
    • Several gems stood out.
  4. The power of vision.
    • In this session Jossy Chacko who leads a ministry that has a goal of planing 100,000 churches (they planted an average of 11 per day in 2015), challenged us about true vision. Here are some of his nuggets.
      • Some people are vision poppers.
      • A passionary leader is a passionate leader with great vision.
      • Risk is a friend to love not an enemy to be feared.
      • Real vision is hinged to the door of risk.
      • View comfort and safety as enemies to vision.
      • Don’t try to work out all the details of your vision before you do anything.
      • See the heavenly possibilities instead of human limitations.
      • Leadership capacity is proportional to your pain threshold.
      • Some of the world’s greatest ideas lie in the grave (because some people were too afraid to pursue their vision).
  5. What to look for in a potential leader.
    • Patrick Lencioni has been a Summit favorite for years, and for good reason. He brings great stuff. At this session he summarized his latest book, The Ideal Team Player, in which he suggests three key character qualities that make, well, the ideal team player: humble, hungry, and smart.
    • I loved this insight about humility. Humility is thinking about yourself less, not thinking less about yourself. He then described the person with different combinations of only two of these qualities, really interesting stuff. Definitely a good book to pick up.
  6. Bonus insight.
    • Wilfredo De Jesus (pastor of the largest Assembly of God Church in the U.S.) closed out the Summit with a powerful call for the Church to be the Church. Some of his standout quotes included these:
I’m glad I attended this year’s Summit. I plan to read several of the speakers’ books and our team will meet soon for a debrief/action plan session.
If you attended the Summit, I’d love to hear the insights that stood out to you?
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