Check It Out: Perspective

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Back in May, I posted a series called “Lessons from the Farm.” Today’s Check it Out is a link back to the first in that series, titled “Perspective.”

What happens when the wheels literally fall off? Click to find out.

http://wp.me/p8lYoA-3N 

The Redundancy of Leadership

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Do you know the hardest part of writing a blog? The consistency of having to write another post. It comes up three times each week, like clockwork.

Ministry is the same. Sunday is always right around the bend (or Wednesday for many youth ministers).

Farming was the same. No matter how many years in a row you planted a seed, the next year it was time to plant it again.

I imagine CPAs have the same feeling. Regardless of how hard you work from January to April 15 one year, the next year you will have to work just as hard.

But in the midst of the mundane, there is beauty. In the midst of the repetition, there is opportunity.

Something a mentor pointed out to me not long ago is what he called the “redundancy of leadership.”

What does that mean? Simple: a major part of leadership is repetition.

Take, for instance, the three questions (you can read about them here). The three questions work great when you use them one time, but they find their greatest impact when they are asked and answered on a regular basis. The more frequently you answer them, the more integral they become to your leadership style and effectiveness.

The problem, however, is when redundancy carries a negative connotation. Who likes getting their teeth cleaned every six months? Or, who enjoys shooting hundreds of free throws? Or, what parent anticipates the excitement of yet another dirty diaper?

The redundancy of leadership means having the same conversation over and over. Sometimes the audience changes, but sometimes the message and audience remain the same.

The redundancy of leadership means yet again casting vision for your organization, even though you did it last week, or last month, or last year, or all of the above.

This week, embrace the redundancy. Find the beauty in the mundane. Excavate the excitement of the repetitive. And, above most other things, hang in there.

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Guest Post: The Security of Structure

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We have a first for the blog today! Here’s a guest post written by friend Eric Kaiser.

My kindergarten son and I love Legos! We have a ton. Honestly, I use my son as an excuse to buy a lot of Legos. Most of the time he will help me at the beginning, lose focus, and move on to something else as I finish.

Legos are masters of illustrating the instructions to build complicated toys. Step by step builders know what to do. There are even patterns that emerge as each product is completed. Unless there are missing pieces, it is almost fool-proof.

I love the security of structure. I would rather build something with instructions than build from creativity. My son is the opposite. He would much rather start putting blocks together without a certain project in mind. The end result is a ton of fun. His wildly imaginative construction adds flavor and fun to my straight forward designs.

Leaders need both structure and creativity. While we continually grow as leaders, our tendency toward one or the other can make our leadership lopsided. How can we balance our leadership?

Compliment your style

Build a team that compliments one another. Usually we gravitate to people who lead like us, who think like us, and relate like us. Intentionally find people who do things differently. Give them freedom to speak, dream, and direct.

Force yourself to grow

Find some way to limit yourself and see how you can overcome limits with creativity. Reduce your next event’s budget by 15%. Limit your involvement in planning the new project so your team is allowed to stretch their leadership legs.

Fail forward

If you never try, you will never grow. One of the hardest things for me to do is allow myself to fail. I am much more gracious to others who fail. When I don’t live up to my expectations, I need to allow myself the freedom to fail and try again.

What advice would you give to someone who is prone to structure? What would you say to encourage someone to embrace creativity?

 

G. Eric Kaiser lives in Plains, TX with his wife and son. He serves as youth pastor of FBC Plains, TX and loves his job way to much. When he’s not working, he’s probably reading some Batman comics. He’s a nerd like that. 

Structure vs Creativity

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Last week I talked about leading from creativity and leading from structure, using the backdrop of two recent woodworking projects. Today, I want to reflect a little more.

I truly believe that effective leadership calls for both creativity and structure. There are times where being creative is the only way to move forward, and there are times where maximizing from the steps, mistakes and successes of others has already paved the way.

So, today, my question for you is simply: do you find yourself more naturally leading from creativity or from structure?

I wrestle with a heavy tendency to want to lead from a position of creativity. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I am a thinker. I joke that I spend about 90% of my time thinking about what I could do, and only 10% of the time actually doing it. The byproduct of that much thinking: creativity.

I fight against structure. I would much rather write my own Bible study, create my own logo, plan my own trip, or create a new wood working project than try to follow a blueprint written by someone else.

But, if we are going to be honest with each (and why wouldn’t we be honest?), my leaning to creativity is often times my greatest weakness. I suffer when I refuse to ever walk the path someone cleared before me.

Truthfully, I grow as a leader as I wrestle with this tension. Too much creativity, and my mistakes swallow me whole. Too much structure, and I get crushed under the weight.

So, which way do you naturally lean? How do you find balance between creating new and learning from the old? Please share your experiences!

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.