Leading from Structure

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On Tuesday I wrote about Leading from Creativity. You can check it out here.

Over the past week I’ve completed two woodworking projects. The first one, as I wrote about on Tuesday, developed from a place of creativity. The second one, however, had a blueprint.

Now, I’m not one who usually likes to follow someone else’s plans, but I knew I wanted a bar stool for our new house and had no clue where to start. So I found a site where someone had already gone through the process and laid out their steps, and my goal was to simply follow what they did.

I followed the process, making a few adjustments (read:mistakes) here and there. The end result was something I could be very proud of: something that looks like a real piece of furniture!

Leadership can be the same way sometimes. We don’t always have to blaze a new trail, leading from creativity. There are plenty of times in leadership when we can benefit from the leadership and experience of those who have gone before us.

This may mean reading books or blogs (like this one!) and putting into practice what you learn. Or maybe you learn better by listening to podcasts, or sitting down over meals.

Ultimately, learning from the experiences of those who have walked the path of leadership before you helps you navigate the path of leadership more efficiently.

How are you making the most of the structure around you? Are you reading books regularly? Are you meeting with mentors consistently? Are you gleaning from the wisdom and experiences of others? Find a way today to benefit from the hard work someone else has put into their own experience and you’ll be a better leader because of it.

 

 

Check It Out: Hard Conversations

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Today’s Check It Out is a lesson, again, I learned years ago: waiting for the “right time” to have a hard conversation is often cut short by the arrival of the “necessary time”. Click over and check it out.

Don’t Hide from Hard Conversations

Lessons from the Big Chair: Communicate Well

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The church where I serve has been without a pastor since January, and I have had the privilege of serving alongside an incredibly wise, discerning, and experienced interim pastor over the past four months. As that time has drawn to an end and we have a new pastor coming in a few weeks, I thought I would spend some time reflecting on a few lessons I learned along the way. Today will be the last post in this series.

It’s really hard to narrow down some of the major lessons I’ve learned, while at the same time trying to keep situations general. Let me finish the series with the final piece of advice he gave me as he left: keep the lines of communication open.

So many leadership struggles happen as a result of poor communication. I find myself referring to people as “black holes of information” whereas just this week my loving wife accused me of the being the same thing.

Communication can be hard.

While communicating, intent can get ignored.

Content can get confused.

Comments can get misunderstood, and tensions can rise.

That’s why, as leaders, we need to learn to continually keep the lines of communication open, going both ways. We need to communicate well with those we lead, but we also need to be willing to listen and establish a culture of two-way communication.

So, how are you doing at communicating this week? Do you need to work out a situation with someone in a supervisory role above you? What about someone you are leading who may need to communicate with you? What are you doing to help them find opportunities to communicate with you?

Or maybe, for you, communicating means simply checking in and asking how life’s going. Whatever it looks like, keep the lines of communication open and watch your leadership influence grow.

Lessons from the Big Chair: Support Matters

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The church where I serve has been without a pastor since January, and I have had the privilege of serving alongside an incredibly wise, discerning, and experienced interim pastor over the past four months. As that time has drawn to an end and we have a new pastor coming in a few weeks, I thought I would spend some time reflecting on a few lessons I learned along the way.

Genuine compliments speak to my heart. When someone notices something I’ve done, specifically, and highlights the work, it is special to me.

Something that happened over and over during our short time serving together was the support I felt from our interim. I cannot tell you the number of times when I was not in the room and I heard someone say how the interim pastor had bragged on me.

Now, this isn’t me being insecure or needy. The things he was saying were things I would do without notice simply because I love God and I love serving Him by serving the church. BUT, to know the interim pastor not only recognized that love, but verbally supported me, meant the world.

So, what’s the lesson? Support those you lead. Find ways to highlight the effort they are putting forth. Bring attention to their victories. Celebrate the positive, happy moments with them.┬áLearn what speaks to their hearts, and affirm them that way.

How well do you do at that? Let’s test it: think of one person you lead and write down how they prefer to receive support. Got it? Try another, and then another. See how far you can go before it becomes too difficult.

Support matters. Our relationships are stronger when they are girded by support and encouragement. Find a way to bless someone today by showing your support for them.

Lessons from the Big Chair: Passion Paves the Way

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The church where I serve has been without a pastor since January, and I have had the privilege of serving alongside an incredibly wise, discerning, and experienced interim pastor over the past four months. As that time has drawn to an end and we have a new pastor coming in a few weeks, I thought I would spend some time reflecting on a few lessons I learned along the way.

Today’s lesson is more of an observation than any conversation we had: Passion paves the way.

I like routine. I like consistency and predictability. So, when our interim came in and started recommending changes, I was naturally a little hesitant. But, over time, I started to notice something.

The changes being made were not being made for no reason, but there was passion behind the motivation. For me, when I begin to see someone’s passion, I get excited and passionate as well.

There’s a downside to this learning, because sometimes passion is misguided and downright wrong. But when hearts are pure, passion paves the way.

Our interim was passionate about a few things, and because of that, those topics continually resurfaced in conversations. He made an impact as he moved forward with passion, and people started to line up behind him and follow.

Where is your passion leading? Is it leading to a greater sense of self-worth? Is it leading to a false sense of self-importance? Or is your passion leading others to get better, to grow, and to know Christ better?

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