Check it Out

Check It Out: 6 Effective Leadership Traits

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Have you subscribed to 3 Question Leadership yet?

One of the first things I do when I find a blog I trust and that seems to deliver quality ideas is subscribe to get their posts in my inbox. I found this as a great way to keep up with their posts, and I hope you’d feel the same way about getting 3QL in your inbox.

One of the blogs I have come into my inbox regularly is Tim Elmore over at Growing Leaders. His research, understanding, and insight into today’s teenagers is remarkable, so when I stumbled upon the post I’m linking to today, I was not surprised.

Last week, Tim wrote about “Six Effective Leadership Traits You Can Build“. His suggestions were top notch, and immediately something I wanted to share. Before you click over there, here’s a snippet:

Today, I thought I’d venture to toss out some of the most important traits leaders must cultivate. The good news is—almost anyone can develop these characteristics.

1. Positivity

This means you focus on strengths, not weaknesses; you see opportunities in each challenge; you maintain a vision for possibilities in each problem. Effective, magnetic leaders tend to be optimists. A recent study conducted by The Alternative Board, surveyed hundreds of entrepreneurs across the world, inquiring what made leaders most effective. The results may surprise you. According to respondents, positivity is the most important trait a leader can have—beating out passion, decisive and personable.

Trust me on this one, the click is worth the time investment. The practical nature of his suggestions are encouraging, and something we can all start applying today.

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Leadership Journey

2 Key Traits for Student Leaders

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Have you ever noticed some people look at situations differently than you?

A few years ago, I heard a radio personality talk about how science has proven women and men look at cleanliness differently. Women actually see dirt more easily than men. It’s not that they have some sort of super vision, but their awareness of filth is higher. This means as a husband, I need to adjust my standards of clean in order to be a blessing to my wife.

This happens in developing student leaders as well. So many times, as youth ministers, we fall into the trap of thinking a student has to meet a certain level of leadership ability in order to take on the mantle. But I would disagree.

In fact, as I have been working with student leaders more intensely over the past 3 years, I have noticed 2 criteria which are critical to developing successful student leaders.

1. OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE

I cannot think of a single situation where anyone has led without first making the most of an opportunity. In fact, without opportunity, nothing happens. Where there is no opportunity, there is no movement.

Opportunities are simple, but it may require you changing how you view situations. The old saying goes “If you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” While the intent behind the saying may be negative, the truth is opportunity opens up when we shift our perception.

Every time you meet with students, there is an opportunity for leadership. My question for you is: are you making the most of the opportunities around you to allow students to grow and develop as leaders.

2. WILLINGNESS TO SERVE

The other part of developing student leaders, and the most critical, is willingness. If a student is not willing to take intentional steps, any effort you exert will be diminished.

A student’s willingness to serve is imperative to their own development. But if you think about it, this concept is a no brainer.

As an adult, if you need to lose weight or cut back on salt, no one else can make that decision for you. It’s a decision you have to make. The people around you can provide opportunities, but it is up to you to make the most of the opportunities.

Students who are willing to serve, are more likely to grow as leaders. Students who are unwilling to serve will hit a ceiling of their own making.

The bottom line is this: if you can find a student who is willing to serve, give them an opportunity to serve and lead, and watch the impact they begin to make!

 

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Leadership Journey

Looking Back at 2018

looking back at 2018
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I think looking back is important. I find encouragement in data. But the most important thing is looking forward. As we look forward for 3 Question Leadership and 2019, I can’t wait for what comes next.

Until 2019, as we get fully settled into December, I thought I would take a moment today to look back over 2018. Below you will find a link to the best performing post (the post with the most views) from each month. Looking at the titles, if you see one you don’t remember or may have missed, click to read it.

I have put some notes beside a few of the posts. But more important than my thoughts, I would love to hear what post may have impacted you this year. After all, my goal is not to help me grow as a leader, but to help you expand your leadership influence. So, let me challenge you to do something today besides read: if there has been a post that stirred your heart in some way, share it with your friends or comment below to let me know. Also, if you haven’t already, sign up for the email to get posts delivered to your inbox, and be looking for a surprise that may be coming down the pipe later this month.

Best Performing Post per Month:

January – 3 Fundraising Tips (A super practical post for ministry leaders)

February – You Can Make a Difference

March – Context is Key

April – Keep Going (The kickoff to 2018’s “Lessons from the Farm”)

May – Calling vs Job

June – Leadership & Yard Work (What you can learn from asking a 10 year old to mow your yard)

July – Navigating Pace

August – Leadership and An Airport Terminal

September – Substance vs Surface (this one may be my favorite post for the year!)

October – Never Lose Sight of the One

November – When Mistakes are not Mistakes, pt 3

 

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3 Questions

What if People Want to Help?

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Confession time: I struggle with asking people for help. My biggest hurdle is convincing myself people want to help, even after they are already serving in some capacity.

That’s why I lean on the 3 questions to help me grow as a leader. They serve as a framework and a reminder.

(Side note: if you don’t know what the 3 questions are, please go here and read about them.)

Today, let’s talk about the 3rd question specifically (Who can I get to help?). My thought is simple: What if people actually want to help?

I know not everyone wants to help, and not everyone wants to help with anything you ask (although some may). But in my experience, there are people who are willing to help especially when they are helping in a way that energizes them.

People who love to cook, when asked to cook, are energized by being able to cook.

People who love to build, when asked to build, are energized by being able to build.

People who love to paint, when asked to paint, are energized by being able to paint.

People who love to run sound, when asked to run sound, are energized by running sound.

People who love to work with babies, when asked to serve in the nursery, are energized by serving in the nursery.

Are you starting to see the pattern? It’s there, but it doesn’t stop there. Our role, as ministry leaders, is to find what it is that someone loves to do, and ask them to serve that way. Makes sense, right?

Over the years one of the most defeating things I’ve encountered is having requests for help being met with no. Sometimes, it has been because the person hasn’t wanted to serve, but sometimes it was because I was asking the right question to the wrong person.

So, today, what if people really want to help? Are you asking the right person to accomplish the right thing? Are you asking the right question? Or, is the fear of “no” causing you not to ask at all?

One last thought: for those who work with students. There is incredible value in teaching students to ask and answer the 3 questions, teaching them to grow as leaders early in life by simply exerting influence. But there’s also incredible opportunity to find students who are willing to serve and giving them an opportunity to do just that, because after all, what if students are willing to help?

 

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Leadership Journey

Leadership Overwhelm

Leadership overwhelm, snorkeling
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I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Hawaii on my honeymoon. I was 20 years old, and had never been to a beach, so to say it was an experience is an understatement. We were fortunate to be able to take several tours, one of which took us around the island of Oahu to a couple different beaches.

On that tour, one of the stops was a snorkeling expedition. I don’t know about you, but I discovered something that day: snorkeling is not natural. Don’t believe me? Fill your bathtub with water and immerse your face, but breath normally. I’ll wait here.

I distinctly remember floating around and realizing my heart was racing and I was on the verge of a panic attack. I was supposed to be breathing through a tube, but my instinct was to hold my breath. Something had to give.

Leadership can feel the same way. You get into a situation where you think you know exactly what you are supposed to do, but in reality you may have to adjust your natural reactions to meet the needs of the moment.

And in that moment, overwhelm sets in. You begin to wonder if you’re going to be able to adjust, or even if you should have to adjust. You feel like the water is all around you and all you want to do is breathe normally.

Here’s the reality: the only way to avoid leadership overwhelm is to avoid leadership.

If I had stayed on the beach that day, I would never have experienced that moment of panic, but I also would not have seen firsthand one of the most inexplicably fascinating things I’ve seen in my life. Sure, I could watch videos or look at pictures of schools of fish swimming by, but nothing replaces the experience.

Leadership is the same. If you’re feeling overwhelmed today, good. Now, breathe normally and keep going. You’ll adjust and respond accordingly. That’s what leaders do.

And who knows, along the way, you may even influence some people to do the same.

 

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