Articles of Faith: Strong and Courageous Leadership: The Joshua Effect

This post is part of our Sunday Series titled “Articles of Faith.”
We investigate leadership lessons from the Bible.
See the whole series
here. Published only on Sundays.

An ongoing misperception in leadership is that a strong leader is an authoritative one. For centuries, it was acceptable that a leader must take control of his team and environment with boldness and a dogged determination to get the job done.

In the generation of our parents and grandparents who grew up at a time in history when more than half the men were veterans, the culture was established that “subordinates” followed a chain of command.

That belief was bred in the generations after, and today we still find leaders who are commanding, controlling, and micromanagers.

Finding a Better Way to Lead

To understand a more effective way to lead, we can find one of the best examples in a warrior leader profiled in the Bible.

Joshua was given authority to succeed Moses as the shepherd who would usher the Israelites into Canaan. What made Joshua a successful leader is that he was able to take the helm without disrupting the original plan. Moses had started the journey and nearly completed it before his death.

But then Joshua was instructed by God to complete the trip. He was told three times by God to “Be strong and courageous” suggesting that his efforts would not be without danger and fear. Sometimes those who are given the opportunity to lead feel that the only way to get through the tough times of a mission is to lead by intimidation, threats, and punishment.

This never works. Those who do find that morale declines as does job performance. Joshua helps us to understand that having authority does not mean being authoritative.

On Real Trust

We find in Joshua 1:10 that he “ordered” the officers of the people to go through the camp and tell them to get ready to cross over the Jordan River and enter into hostile territory. He prepared the men to fight the enemies who would surely come against them as they entered in.

But Joshua reminded the people that he had assurances from God that they would have success. He trusted God. He just needed to get the people to trust him as the leader appointed by God on the heels of a phenomenal Sherpa like Moses. He pulled the teams together and encouraged them to support one another.

Then the most satisfying words that any leader could hear came from the people:

“Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses.”

Then just like God they encouraged him to be strong and courageous.

Winning Loyalty and Respect

How did Joshua win the loyalty and respect of this people?

He had three things working in his favor:

  1. The people knew he had been coached and mentored by an established and wise leader like Moses. He had learned from one greater than he, and he was open to correction and training.
  2. He exuded confidence but not cockiness. He was humble enough to know he would not be able to take the land on his own. He would need the help of his team.
  3. He delegated responsibility to the officers and allowed them to go through the camp and give orders to the people in preparation for the big move. He did so without interference. He trusted his people to do what he’d asked them to do, and then he stayed out of their way.

All leaders can learn from Joshua’s confident and inclusive manner of leadership. He was strong but not overbearing, courageous but not arrogant, focused but not inflexible. Inasmuch as he was all these things, he was also wildly successful and prosperous.

Follow his lead.

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———————
Betty Parker, CPLP

Betty Parker is President of Sharper Development Solutions, Inc.
Her daily goal is to turn Managers into Leaders through Training and Coaching.
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On Leadership and Emotional Intelligence

Low EQ Dunce

4 Eye-Openers Leaders Must Know in Evaluating Emotional Intelligence

The commercials on television today talk endlessly about treatments for “low this” and “low that,” but unfortunately, we don’t hear much about low Emotional Intelligence (EQ).

Here are some symptoms:

  • You know that you are brilliant, yet you find yourself reacting with impatience and anger with others who just don’t get it.
  • You have noticed that others don’t seem to get your humor, or your jokes, or don’t seem so interested in your great stories.
  • Maybe your feedback to a teammate failed to come across the way you had intended.

Low EQ

If as a leader at work, at home or in your community you have any of these symptoms, you’re possibly suffering from low Emotional Intelligence.

For most people, EQ limits a person’s career and influence more than IQ. So what are we talking about here? What indicates good emotional intelligence? It’s really about being aware of and responding effectively to emotions—our own and those of others.

In many ways, good EQ is similar to the common courtesies that were emphasized more in previous generations. After all, the old saw about “counting to ten” when we felt anger was about as scientific as you can get.

We now know that the emotional part of the brain (the Amygdala – /əˈmigdələ/) reacts four times faster than our cognitive quarterback in the pre-frontal cortex. In simpler terms, learning to slow down our response to emotional situations can keep us out of trouble.

Using Your Brain

The Amygdala is part of the limbic system and is the source of our natural protective response for flight or fight. For many who train regularly for combat – military, law enforcement, athletes—tapping into this source of high energy for a crisis response helps performance.

But away from the job, that same response can get you in trouble—hence the term “Amygdala Hijack.” But to some degree, all of us use and misuse this natural instinct to fight or flee—to dominate or withdraw.

So, the key to good emotional intelligence is awareness. Until we become aware of our emotions and predict where they will take us, we’re clueless as to how to manage them; and that’s what we really want to do. Likewise, an awareness of the emotions of others helps us manage our response to facilitate the most effective interaction.

Two Tests and Four Steps

Like the nourishment of vitamins in our bodies, let’s digest the following four steps of emotional intelligence to get healthier as a leader –

1. Recognize your own emotions.

Awareness usually requires practice. For example, you are in a meeting and Bob says something that you know is absolutely wrong.

“How could anyone be that stupid,” you think.

Your first instinct is to call him out and show him how wrong he is. But you’ve been down that road before and know that will only embarrass Bob and ultimately make you look small. Besides, you may not even know all the facts that are behind his opinion.

Fortunately, you recognize that you’re angry and you’ve learned to coach yourself to hold back on your response. You slow it down and engage your cognitive quarterback to come up with a plan B.

2. Manage your emotions.

You’re a quick thinker and now your mind is running through options for an effective way of responding. Your goal is to respond with honor and respect because that’s one of your personal values. You remind yourself that Bob is a bright guy, too. Also, you’ve heard from your leadership coach that listening is a really good tool.

One option you remember that might work is to say something like, “Gee Bob, I had not thought of it like that before. Can you explain the logic of how that would work?”

Of course, tone of voice and body language are very important to pulling this off because they are two of your strongest communicators of emotions. Once Bob gives his explanation, more than likely you will see that he’s not stupid at all—just operating with a different perspective. But in any case, you’ve managed your emotions and maintained your decorum—signs of a good EQ.

3. Recognize the emotions of others.

On the way back from the conference room, you run into Jane, one of your peers, who seems a bit down and overwhelmed. You’re depending on her to deliver the data that you need for the next step of your project and the deadline is tomorrow.

Your immediate fear is that it’s not going to happen. Now that you’ve been working to raise your EQ, you mentally push back on your fear and consider what your teammate is up against and how her confidence and energy are sagging.

It doesn’t take an EQ genius to realize that putting a guilt trip on her is probably not a good idea, but what can you do?

4. Respond appropriately/effectively to the emotions of others.

Because you’re not fear-motivated, you focus on encouraging Jane. After all, she does good work and what she needs right now is an emotional boost. So you choose to show her some empathy and encouragement, telling her that you understand things are difficult right now and asking if there are ways that you and your team can help.

You also offer to listen to her challenges and brainstorm with her on solutions. (By the way, this is one of the most helpful things you can do for an extrovert; they unusually need to talk to think effectively.) You close out by reminding her that she is a great teammate and that you have confidence in her judgment.

The Silent Strength of EQ

Having good EQ may sound somewhat soft, but it’s actually very powerful because it’s about being the most effective we can be. It begins with awareness—we can’t manage what we don’t recognize—and then it’s about managing our own emotions and our response to others.

In the simplest terms, it’s about reading the situation and then acting in the most effective manner. It does get easier with practice, and it makes you the kind of leader that others want to follow. Try it and see for yourself.

“Good leaders know who they are—their strengths, weaknesses, passions, talents, and values. And, developing leaders always starts with self-awareness.” – Lee Ellis

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——————–
Lee Ellis

Lee Ellis is Founder & President of Leadership Freedom LLC & FreedomStar Media.
He is a leadership consultant and expert in teambuilding, executive development & assessments
Email | LinkedIn | Web | Blog | Book | Facebook | Twitter

His latest book is called Leading with Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton.

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Leading People Toward Influence – The ABCD’s of Trust

ABCD

Leadership is an influence process. Whenever you try to influence the beliefs or behaviors of another person, you are engaging in leadership.

By this definition we are all leaders in some form or fashion.

Understanding Basic Leadership Roles

Q: Are you a parent?

You’re trying to lead your children.

Q: Are you a sports coach?

You’re trying to influence the performance of your team.

Q: Are you part of a team at work?

You’re engaging in leadership when you try to influence the behaviors of your teammates.

Q: Are you a sibling, spouse, friend, or neighbor?

You’re in a role that requires influence.

Virtually all the roles we play in life require influence and leadership.

Leading People Toward Influence

So, you are probably a leader in some capacity, if not in many. And with this, YOU have influence. But how do you lead people toward influence? How do you help others, and yourself, become influencers?

It all starts with trust.

Influence requires you to be in relationship with someone and all healthy relationships are built on trust. Trust, and thereby influence, doesn’t “just happen” in relationship. It is built through the use of specific and intentional behaviors. Our behaviors either build or erode trust with others.

4 Key Elements of Trust

There are four key elements of trust you must cultivate in your life in order to be a leader and person of influence.

These four elements are the ABCDs of Trust:

Able 

Leaders build trust when they demonstrate competence. People trust you when you have the knowledge, skills, and expertise to competently lead in your chosen role or profession. Able leaders produce results by using strong problem-solving and decision-making skills that allow them to set and achieve goals that produce a track record of success. People don’t trust incompetent leaders, no matter how lovable or respected they may be.

Believable 

Leaders are believable when they act with integrity. Behaving in an honest and ethical manner, admitting your mistakes, and “walking your talk” are key ways that leaders build trust. Treating people ethically and equitably through fair policies and not playing favorites builds trust and confidence in a leader’s character to do the right thing.

Connected

Trusted leaders connect with their followers on a personal level. They use good communication skills to establish rapport and they take the time to appreciate and recognize the good work of others. Connected leaders understand that leadership is about relationships. They understand that every person has a story – their life experiences, hopes, dreams, and fears – and they make that personal connection that lets their followers know they are valued and respected.

Dependable

Being reliable and dependable builds trust. Following through on commitments, doing what you say you’re going to do, and taking accountability for your actions (and those you lead) is all part of being a dependable leader. Dependable leaders have an organized system that allows them to follow-through and meet deadlines, and they are timely in responding to others and don’t drag their feet when making decisions.

Leadership Is Influence

Leading people toward influence is an inside-out proposition. It starts on the inside, with your desire to be a trustworthy person, and evolves to the outside where the ABCDs of trust thrive in your relationships with others. Remember, influence is leadership, and leadership begins with trust.

So how are you doing leading people toward influence? How are you building trust with them and teaching them to build trust with others? How well are you doing in the ABCD’s of trust? I would love to hear your thoughts! 

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———————–
Randy Conley
Randy Conley is the Trust Practice Leader for The Ken Blanchard Companies
He helps leaders and organizations build trust in the workplace
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Creating Law and Order: Leading with Discipline

Discipline

Are you leading with discipline? Does this type of leader describe you?

  • You actually enjoy routine. In fact, if there is no structure, you create one. After all, routines promote efficiency, high productivity, and accuracy, right?
  • Starting a day without a schedule or knowing exactly what to do could potentially leave one aimless. That’s what makes it so difficult for you to work with or for someone who doesn’t create structure, for themselves or others.
  • Sure, there’s time for fun and breaks, you enjoy those too, as long as they fit into the overall scheme of things.

This outlook on your job and life can be attributed to your Discipline strength.

Your Barrier Labels

Discipline is definitely a good thing, especially when it’s self-imposed. Your bosses love that you get things done without supervision, your employees always know what’s expected and when, and your peers know they can count on you. Unfortunately, before people get to know you or your Strengths, you need to be aware of some of the labels people may tag you is a less than flattering light.

In an unsophisticated manner, Discipline can appear overbearing, mechanized, or unable to handle change. In short, a leader no one wants to come to or lean on.

A Sophisticated Leader

If you’ve ever been described using the barrier labels above, the good news is you have Discipline! That means, you have the ability to discipline yourself to become sophisticated; practicing the art of balance takes self-imposed structure, which you have plenty of.

The even better news? Once you have mastered your Discipline, you’ll be known and recognized as a great planner, highly productive and efficient, and extremely accurate. Nothing wrong with that is there?

As a sophisticated leader, your strategy for success is going to be knowing when things are too rigid, and when they aren’t rigid enough. In general, people don’t enjoy being micromanaged. However, they do like to know how to be successful, and some may even need a hint on how to get there.

By leveraging one or more of your other strengths, i.e. Relator, you will be able to adjust your style with the human factor in mind. Because some of your other strengths allow you to connect to your people, or see the bigger picture, you’ll be able to pull back on the Discipline in your leadership style when necessary, and create boundaries when and where they’re needed.

Leading those with Discipline

If you’re a leader with more “free slowing” strengths, like Adaptability, Futuristic, or Harmony, you may find there is some friction between you and your employee with Discipline. If they are constantly seeking structure, and you are unable to provide any, they may become frustrated.

Though they can create their own routine, there will be others on your team that need a little more guidance. If you, as a leader, don’t provide it, Discipline is going to notice. Chances are, there will be someone on the team under delivering, or delivering late, which affects the whole team. Even if it’s an indirect effect, Discipline will feel it more than most and quickly become dissatisfied with you as a leader, and their job as a whole.

Now, that doesn’t mean you need to try and be just like them. It just means you need to be aware and as consistent as possible. Make sure that everyone has deadlines, and they have the guidance and resources they need to produce. You’re already an apt leader, so no major adjustments should be necessary!

If you’re a leader with Discipline, how do you balance your need for structure with the strengths of others? Do you lead someone with Discipline? Do you find them to be reliable? Do they often ask you for deadlines, schedules etc.? How do you handle that on days you might find it “overbearing?”

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Alexsys "Lexy" Thompson HCS, SWP

Alexsys “Lexy” Thompson is Managing Partner at Fokal Fusion
She helps building Strong Leaders through Strong People Strategy
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On Leadership, Change and Transition

Changes AheadChange is never easy. Change is a bumpy process. Change is uncomfortable. And it create problems.

But why is change so hard? 

Leaving the Familiar

Change is hard because it is an emotional experience for most. An emotional experience, particularly an experience one often has little choice in being part of, creates resistance. 

Resistance is a natural emotion, though an emotion that can make change even harder.

 “All resistance is mobilization of energy, not lack of energy. Those who “resist” are “bundles of energy” not passive, lifeless blobs” – Nevis (1998).

However, resistance must be managed to harness that energy for positive change. Managing resistance requires focusing on not just change, but also transition.

Understanding Transitions

Often in managing change individuals and organizations neglect to address “transition.” According to William Bridges, transition is the psychological movement through the change.

Change Bridges

Transition consists of three parts:

  • The Ending (of what was)
  • The Neutral Zone (muddling and creative period)
  • The New Beginning (of what is)
People go through the phases of transition at their own pace, not necessarily at the pace of others or the pace of an organization. It is important for people to be supportedthroughout each phase.

“To ease the difficulties of the change process a focus on transition must run in parallel to a focus on change.”

Change is the actual physical event (merger, new job, graduating from college, getting married, getting divorced, new baby, new grandbaby, new boss, and so on). There are three primary reasons people view change as difficult and thus resist change.

  • Loss of self, power, influence, or perceived value
  • Having to learn something new
  • Lack of understanding on “why” they need to change

Many times people view change as a statement that they are underperforming or not doing a good enough job.

Managing Transistions

People often see the impending change as a threat to their established reputation, quality of life, or future with the 

community. Most people that resist change fear having to learn new skills, concepts, or policies.

Whether it’s learning a new computer system, operational skills or even how to get something approved, organizational improvements and change efforts threaten their current status-quo.

“The way ‘ we have always done it’ works just fine.”

The thought of changing behavior scares people. The majority of people who resist change simply don’t understand why things need to be different.  “It’s the way we’ve always done it” is the typical response from this group. Not successfully addressing these issues increases resistance.

Wherever there is a change effort, there will be resistance” – Beckhard & Pritchard (1992).

Do you resist change? How do you deal with individual and organizational change and transition? Does the idea of a big change strike fear in you, or does it bring optimism and hope? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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——————
Scott Span

Scott Span, MSOD is President of Tolero Solutions OD & Change Management Firm
He helps clients be responsive, focused, and effective to facilitate sustainable growth
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Leadership Lessons from Mickey Rooney and a Telegram Boy

This is a true story.

In 1938, when he was seventeen, my father-in-law (first name Guy) worked as a telegram delivery boy for Western Union in Los Angeles. His territory was Hollywood, so occasionally he would find himself driving up to the house of a movie star.

One evening, Guy delivered a telegram to Mickey Rooney. It was Rooney’s eighteenth birthday, and the telegram was a singing one. (Back then, Western Union sang as required.) Rooney himself answered the doorbell; he was having a party, and he was surrounded by his guests. Guy, looking spiffy in his uniform, launched into a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday to You.”

Now Rooney, like many movie stars, had a preference for being the center of attention. After a few moments of seeing his friends smiling and laughing at the telegram boy’s performance, he flung himself to the ground and began thrashing around in imitation of an epileptic seizure. All eyes turned to him, and everybody laughed harder.

Guy found this a little irritating. So, he lifted his foot and placed it on Rooney’s chest, applying enough pressure to stop the fake convulsions. With foot firmly planted, he finished the song.

A minute or two later, Guy left—tipless. But as he was walking back to his car in the dark, something odd happened:  One of the party guests emerged stealthily from a side door, chased after him, and handed him a ten-dollar bill. (That’s $163.27 in today’s money.)

This is for you,” the man said with a grin. “I have never seen anyone put his foot on Mickey Rooney!

Surprise! Not Everyone Thinks You’re Wonderful

Believing everyone thinks you’re great is a classic pitfall for leaders. I call it the “They Love Me!” Trap.

Leaders fall into this trap when they take their posse’s smiles and applause at face value and don’t stop to wonder whether someone might be secretly hoping to see a foot planted on their chest (or rear).

A couple of recent articles and books take a look at the phenomenon:

  • In “The Price of Nice,” Jeremy Sherman says that when we insist on being treated nicely, we tend to be kept in the dark.
  • And Robert Bruce Shaw, author of the book Leadership Blindspots, talks in a recent interview about how “the lights come on” when leaders realize their relationships aren’t as positive as they thought.

Oops. Didn’t Know People Thought That

I still remember an incident years ago when an employee let me use her collaboration software account and forgot to delete a private chat she’d been having with another team member during a virtual meeting a few days before.

When I opened the software, there was the entire chat in black and white. It revealed that those two team members didn’t think much of a certain pet project of mine. I closed the chat window after reading a few lines, but the truth was out—and the realization that not everyone loved my “baby” put a knot in my stomach for quite a while.

Here Are Three Ways to Avoid the “They Love Me!” Trap

1) Make it entirely safe for people to express doubts or report bad news.

The smallest sign of disapproval from a leader—a slight frown or a sigh, let alone pounding the table and yelling—tends to shut people up instantly. When a team member expresses a view you don’t care for, even one that feels like a personal attack, make a conscious effort to show you welcome the comment: relax your face, lean a little forward, and ask him or her to “say more.”

2) Ask your team members for advice. 

The best way to improve someone’s opinion of you is to show you care about his or her opinions. Make it a habit in one-on-one meetings with team members to ask for advice on some aspect of your work with them, and listen when they reply.  Not only will your relationships improve, but you might learn something.

3) If you happen to overhear unflattering remarks, don’t overreact. 

Remember there are many reasons someone might have said or written those things (a desire to be funny, agree with a friend, vent some passing frustration …). It’s unlikely there’s anything truly sinister behind the words, so rather than confronting the person or trying to sniff out “what else they really think about me,” redouble your efforts to create a positive, open relationship.

Oh, and one last tip: If a telegram boy appears at your door to sing you a birthday song—don’t try to steal the spotlight.

What’s your advice? What can we do to shed light on the state of our relationships? To create more positive ones?  To remove the blindfold when it comes to our team’s opinions?

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————–
Jocelyn Davis

 Jocelyn Davis is Founder and CEO of Seven Learning
She is an Author, Speaker, and Consultant on Leadership Issues
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Creative Leadership: Discover New Training Games

The brilliant thing about leadership is that it’s creativity is only limited by the means in which it’s lived out in your life. We’ve moved into a period of history where it’s unacceptable to be black and white or dare I say it – beige!

So, looking forward into new methods of leadership and utilizing creativity, how can we change?

On Opening Hearts

Lance Secretan once said this:

“Leadership is not so much about technique and methods as it is about opening the heart. Leadership is about inspiration—of oneself and of others. Great leadership is about human experiences, not processes. Leadership is not a formula or a program, it is a human activity that comes from the heart and considers the hearts of others. It is an attitude, not a routine.”

Creative leadership means thinking outside of the box of mundane. Where it once was OK to stand in front of a group of people and talk for an hour or two, now you’re thought of as old fashioned, boring and irrelevant. People need different types of stimulant and communication to learn and be open to hear what you have to say.

Leadership Training Games

Leadership games and icebreakers have become more important, not in the traditional sense of just facilitating icebreakers in a group scenario but also teaching valuable leadership techniques. They’re not just fun and awkward 10 minutes during a training session, but can become a bigger learning adventure than any subject matter that can be created.

Kickstart Cards

The Perfect Icebreaker! 1+ 770-490-5289

I’ve seen business simulation games really open up ideas and creativity in teams which lacked both ideas and creativity. The work that comes out of it is innovative and sticks with the participants. Further than that though, the concepts which have come from these leadership games often get applied to businesses and organizations.

Opening Up Creativity

These training games open up creativity in three particular ways;

1. Putting groups of people in a creative environment stimulates personal innovation.

2. Stimulating creativity among two or more people help to bring an idea into reality.

3. Opening people up to new ideas and reality prompts people to grow and be creative with future endeavors.

Obviously the expectation isn’t that you completely transform the ways in which you teach and lead in one instance, but rather why not take an opportunity this year to do something different. Be creative and open your eyes to new possibilities in a team leadership environment.

So what are you doing to open up people and help them discover new ways to be creative in their leadership development? what steps can you take in the future to start to investigate clever ways to open up their minds? What types of successes have you had in the past with training games? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————–
James Baldock

James Baldock is Creator of Leadership Lime
He develops Leadership Culture, Trains People and Empowers Leaders
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