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Leadership

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Another semester has passed, and in the transition to summer school, I’ve been reminded again that some of the most powerful expressions of language often come from people who are just trying to get an A in a class.

I shared a collection of seven profound insights I gained from students here.  Today I thought I’d take another swipe at it.

Read these slowly.  Enjoy the insightful use of words and truths.  This is good stuff… Click here – you’ll be glad you did…

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Vision (2)

Years ago, when corporate giants Shearson-Lehman and American Express merged, they ran a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal with the headline, “Vision.”  Then they gave my favorite definition of all time:

Vision is having an acute sense of the possible. It is seeing what others cannot see. And when those with similar vision are drawn together, something extraordinary occurs.

Something in my soul still comes alive when I read those words, written about 30 years ago.  Nothing in leadership is more vital to the energy creation of an organization or its leaders than vision – that “acute sense of the possible.”

Over the years, of course, as with anything vital, I have also seen plenty of posers – people who used the allure and “sexiness” of the idea of vision as tools of manipulation, ego promotion, or cotton candy management (all flavor and no substance).

Having just had a great consulting experience with a wonderful church congregation in South Carolina, where we did some serious vision creation and casting (still a work in progress there), I have some ideas flowing about vision in leadership.  Take a look, and consider how these may apply to your leader or leadership and your organizations. [click to continue…]

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Diligent Leadership

Here’s a good conversation starter for you.  If you could identify one thing in a prospective leader that would ensure success, what would it be?

Or if you are currently in a place of influence, what’s the one thing you should strive for, today and every day?

Let the suggestions roll in… discussions like these will yield stand-by favorites such as vision, compassion, examples, character, communication, inspiration, encouragement and the like.  All good answers.

It probably wouldn’t surprise you to know there’s a Bible answer for that.  In fact, there are several, if you dig deeply enough.  But there’s one place where the Bible – particularly the Apostle Paul – addresses leaders. And there he could have used any word in the language of his day to challenge them.  So what one word did he use?  See for yourself: [click to continue…]

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Compassionate Leader

After surveying more than 10,000 people, the Gallup organization learned that people want four things from their leaders: trust, compassion, stability, and hope.  Whether you consider yourself as the “touchy-feely type” or not, you can greatly influence others by showing you care and are willing to take action on the concerns and joys of somebody else.  In short, regardless of your position, your influence rises and falls with the level of your compassion.

So how’s your level of compassion?  Here are eleven questions to help you explore that: [click to continue…]

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Leadership Light

In the last post I shared six signs of a leader who breathes life into organizations and followers, as opposed to those who have a way of sucking the life out of them.  Definitely worth a review if you missed it.  My guess is, you have probably experienced both types on a personal level, whether it’s in your workplace, your church, or your community.  We’ve certainly seen both types on a global or national scale as well.

What I’m more concerned about, however, is the leadership you show, even if you don’t think of yourself as a leader.  Everybody influences somebody, and you’re no exception.  And all of us can learn from the example of the ultimate life-giving leader, the Lord Jesus.  Here are six more signs of a life-giving leader. [click to continue…]

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Six Signs of a Life-Giving Leader

by Andy Wood on March 24, 2014

in Leadership,Life Currency

Firstborn

I didn’t know how to describe it at the time. I was only in the eighth grade, for crying out loud, and a “lost church member” at that.  But on that February day so long ago a new leader – a new pastor – showed up at my church.  And for the first time in my life a preacher held my attention throughout his message.

I didn’t know that the adults in the church had been argumentative and divisive.

I didn’t know that we had been through months of spiritual lethargy, coldness and conflict.

All I knew was that there was something completely different about this man, this preacher, who to this day I consider my pastor.  What I know now is that he was and is a life-giving leader.

Compare that to a Christmas card I received from a church a few years ago.  This church had also had a new leader come to town.  And the impact was just the opposite.  For months people on the staff of this megachurch had jumped ship at the first opportunity.  And those who remained were desperate to be the next.  I’ll never forget is the hollowed eyes and prisoner-of-war expressions on the faces of the staff and employees of this church – not just one or two, mind you, but the entire staff.  The message was clear:  Merry Christmas! Sweet Baby Jesus, get me outta here!

What I suspected then, and know now, was that this church was being led by a life-sucking leader.

Regardless of the venue – Church World, Business World, even Disney World – every person in a position of authority or leadership has a choice. You can be a life-giving leader or a life-sucking leader.  Life-giving leaders create energy, enthusiasm, passion, and loyalty.  They have a contagious way of infusing a sense of purpose, motivation, and confidence in those who follow them.

Life-sucking leaders?  Just the opposite. In their wake you’ll find dispirited, defeated, discouraged people, divided organizations, and a general spirit of fear or powerlessness.  What’s scary is that on the surface, many of these leaders and the organizations they front appear successful, at least for a season.

How can you tell the difference? How can you know to what degree you are a life-giving leader?  The best way I know is to turn to the ultimate life-giving leader – the Lord Jesus Himself.  Based on His impact and leadership, I have discovered twelve ways to recognize a life-giving leader when you see one.   Here are the first six. [click to continue…]

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leadership failure

Nobody who takes on a leadership role sets out to blow it.  I’ve never heard of a CEO who dreamed of halving his market share, a pastor who fantasized about getting the right foot of fellowship, or a government leader who longs to go from hero to zero.

But leadership failure happens.  Often. And while it can happen quickly at times, usually there are warning signs.  Unfortunately, most of the time we wait for hindsight to convince us of what foresight and insight have probably been hollering all along.

If you’re a leader, or have the ear of one, you may want to pay attention to these seven warning signals before it’s too late. [click to continue…]

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Intercession

You probably won’t read about this in your favorite leadership book – even the Christian-flavored ones.  You almost certainly won’t read about it in the latest wave of business tomes or political memoirs.  And yet nearly every significant leader of every stripe in the Bible practiced this.

The politicians did it.

The prophets did it.

The priests did it.

The preachers did it.

The patriarchs did it.

I’m running out of things that start with “p,” but if you think of something, they probably did it too.

What’s this “secret weapon” of leadership?  This so-obvious-it’s-embarrassing-we-missed-it practice of every revolutionary influence I can think of in scripture? [click to continue…]

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You’re the Inspiration

by Andy Wood on January 11, 2014

in Half-baked Ideas

Footsteps 3

(Sort-of-random thoughts from the Gulf Coast after a memorable Christmas, my first real vacation in four years, and the delicious taste of clarity, vision, and blackened grouper…)

You know it’s time for something different when going through airport security seems preferable to the schedule you’ve been keeping.

Our recent travels have been a nice reminder that all of life doesn’t have to be lived in the bunker – even if you love the people or causes you fight for when you’re in it.

I’ve been reminded lately that life was meant to be lived connected with other lives.  The kind of connections may vary, of course, from lives that profoundly touch us once to love or friendship that lasts forever. Regardless, the bottom line is that “solo” equals “so low” or “slow go” if you stay in that gear too long.

Show me the lives you have crossed paths with in the last 24 hours, and I will show you the lives you have influenced somehow, to some degree – whether you necessarily want to be an influence or not. [click to continue…]

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Leadership TestIn his profile of University of Alabama quarterback A. J. McCarron, John Wertheim describes a scene that took place when the record-setting quarterback first arrived and joined the team as an 18-year-old freshman.

At his first intrasquad scrimmage McCarron was grouped with walk-ons, facing the defensive starters.  He was sacked early and often, and wasn’t happy about it. He didn’t even remove his cleats before marching into Coach Nick Saban’s office afterward.

“I need to talk to you,” he snapped.

“O.K.,” said Saban.

“You want me to show you what I can do, how I can play? Well, I can’t do s— when you put me with walk-ons who can’t even block. I don’t understand why you don’t put me with the [starters].”

“Why? Because today we were testing your leadership,” Saban said, barely looking up. “And you failed. Miserably.”

Life is filled with little tests (and big ones), and they aren’t always what they seem. Tests of faith. Tests of skill or knowledge. Tests of character.  Tests of performance. And yes, tests of leadership.

Most of these tests reveal themselves in the rearview mirror, not in the windshield. It’s only after the fact that we can truly see them for what they are.  What we can do, however, is use hindsight to identify when others faced tests of leadership and learn from their successes or “miserable failures.”  Here are five ways to recognize when your leadership was being tested: [click to continue…]

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