Spiritual Leaders Must Repair the Past

Imperfect Past

In dealing with spiritual leadership it is more common to think about a leader’s impact on an organization’s present and future because of his or her values.

However, it is also critical that leaders take responsibility for the past they have created or inherited.

On Vision and Perspective

Vision relates primarily to the future and then to the present in so far as a spiritual leader makes present decisions in light of future hopes. However, it is not possible to construct a shared vision on defective foundations from the past.

  • Harm has often been done to others by former vision-less leaders, and that needs to be healed.
  • Harm has often been done to the integrity and trustworthiness of an organization, and that needs to be undone.
  • Sometimes the harm ends but the roots of evil are deep and a spiritual leader must dig out the evils of the past before moving forward.

Some organizational evils—such as the greed and the lack of ethics we have seen—take such a hold there is not much one can do but cut out the cancer before moving ahead.

Thus, not only does vision impact the future but it must also heal the past.

Visionary leaders often live in pain, when they confront the decay of an organization’s values, or see how co-workers have surrendered to mediocrity regarding the quality of their commitment. If transformative change is to occur everyone must take responsibility for the reform of structures and of the values of their organization; they must together raise up the shared vision and give birth to a new dawn.

Repairing the Past

A spiritual leader repairs the past in several ways. Before anything else a leader must humbly review his or her own life to identify serious or smaller failures that have done harm and may continue to do so.

Perhaps the first question a person in a leadership position should ask if whether he or she is suitable as a leader.

The best service some can perform for their organizations is to leave them.

In examining one’s own past in need of repair, an honest leader may identify the following:

  • Negative attitudes to people
  • Abusive misuses of the organization for one’s own benefits
  • A lack of direction
  • A failure to build community
  • An awareness of being distrusted, disliked, and disapproved of

Sometimes, a friend or mentor, a peer in another organization, or a spouse, can pinpoint obvious defects that a leader fails to see.

Healing Others’ Harm

A spiritual leader must repair harm done to others either by former leaders or by the organization’s unhealthy structures or policies. Every organization has people in pain for one reason or another, and before a leader can move forward to vision, he or she must restore others to they can give their best.

This means attention to a healthy working environment, just policies, and open communications.

It also calls for the removal of any unethical practices, misuse of power, unjust salary scales, and autocratic administration. Spiritual leaders will build a spirit of reconciliation, mutual appreciation, and a strong sense of community.

Healing Organizational Harm

A spiritual leader will need to give attention to repairing damage done by the organization itself, perhaps because of its lack of shared values, vision, and mission.

They will check the structural components:

  • Value statement
  • Strategic plan
  • Code of ethics
  • Oversight board
  • Hiring procedures
  • Decision-making processes
  • Conflict management procedures

Only when the organization functions to the benefit of workers can the leader move forward to vision.

Vision For the Future

In examining the past in view of a vision for the future, a spiritual leader must work with dedication on a series of convictions.

Mission precedes profits

Values precede strategies

Just wages precede shareholder returns

A leader’s sense of purpose precedes compensation package

The common good precedes personal advancement

Hope precedes stunted motivational techniques

So what type of healing is needed at your organization. Are the pain or dysfunction from the past apparent, or do they lurk underneath the surface? What can you do to quickly step up and address the past to help the present and the future? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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——————–
Dr. Leonard Doohand

Dr. Leonard Doohan  is an author and workshop presenter
He focuses on issues of spiritual leadership
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On Leadership and Balancing Intensity with Gentleness

Intensity and Gentleness

Dr. Seuss called life “a great balancing act” in his book, Oh, The Places You’ll Go.

And balance is a leader’s biggest struggle.

Going Strong

Highly effective leaders are relentless in making things happen, but they also know how to balance their intensity with the gentleness that is needed to connect with people. Many leaders start their careers as strong do-ers.

They are able to work hard and accomplish tasks quickly and effectively.

As they progress in their careers, they learn that the “people aspect” of leadership requires a certain kind of gentleness that may be counter-intuitive to their “go-getter” personality. This is where many leaders struggle.

If this balance is not found, leaders can be abrasive, cold, and hard-driving.

While people respect these leader’s efficiency, they don’t necessarily want to be a part of the team. A balanced leader, however, will have people lined-up at their door in order to join their team because working for them is so much more attractive.

Understanding Intensity

To be effective, a leader has to be intense in their pursuit of reaching goals. It’s that intensity that allows leaders to get past the many obstacles that are thrown in their way. And there are many, and constant.

Someone in a leadership position that doesn’t possess this intensity is not going to be around for long because goals will be missed. The day-to-day distractions will get in between them and the goals that they need to achieve. An intense leader knows what needs to be done and does everything they can to achieve it.

Daily distractions are nothing but a bump in their road to success.

Intensity for a leader means that they are focused, determined, and have a strong desire to succeed.

Understanding Gentleness

Effective leaders know that people will require a gentle touch. Gentleness can sometimes fly in the face of intensity, but it is something that people require for relationships to be strong. And let’s face it, if a leader’s relationships are not strong with their people, the team will struggle to accomplish anything.

Some people will stay in an organization that only worries about production for only as long as they have to. They will only give a small percentage of their effort and energy. However, people will go the extra mile if their leader and the organization shows a gentle concern for them and their personal lives.

A leader must understand that the people in the organization want to know that they are cared for.

People want to know that their leaders are concerned for their overall well-being. Great organizations get this point and implement programs, training, and policies that show their people that they are valued. Effective leaders are the champions of these programs.

Effective leaders want to build their people up.

What “Balance” Looks Like…

Saint Francis de Sales said this:

“Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as real strength.”

The strongest leaders understand that the quickest way to reach the organization’s goals is to be gentle with their people in order to build relationships, and yet relentless in the pursuit of goals. This is the yin and the yang of leadership.

Building strong relationships on trust will set the foundation for the organization to get the most out of their people. It allows a leader to quickly organize the team behind their vision so that goals can be achieved.

The effective leader can flip the switch between their intensity and the gentleness needed to build relationships when they have to. They are able to adapt to the situation.

When you have reached your goals, what obstacles have you had to overcome? How intense were you required to be? How strong are your relationships with your people? Would they stand with you in tough times because they want to? How quickly do you adapt to what the situation requires? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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———————–
Rich Bishop
Rich Bishop is President of Bishop Coaching & Consulting Group
He takes a hands-on approach to your Development through Coaching & Training
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How Leaders Can Create a Culture of Feedback

Time for Feedback

Creating a culture of feedback is vital to any organization. Giving and receiving feedback is something every leader should be comfortable with.

To be an influential leader requires that you be genuine, authentic and real to make a positive impact on your teams.

A Partnership for Learning

The best way to champion feedback is approach it as partnership for learning.

  • People who are well-coached about their performance are better positioned to make changes and take action toward a better future.
  • Giving feedback is an important part of developing others and developing yourself as a leader and communicator.
  • Being vulnerable to both giving and receiving feedback are the two of the most important skills you can learn, or improve, if you want to maximize your leadership and the success of your team.

4 Crucial Questions

As a leader giving feedback, ask yourself the following 4 questions to make feedback an integral part of your culture:

1) Am I ready to listen, ask questions, and accept that I may not fully understand the issue?

When you have a mindset that’s open and welcoming, you are approaching the communication of feedback from a positive more peaceful place. You are willing to be wrong or admit mistakes in the dialogue of feedback within your team. You are willing to say, “Help me understand better.”

2) Am I willing to acknowledge what you do well instead of picking apart your mistakes?

This is something all leaders need to pay attention to. Are we strictly focusing on what needs to be corrected or are we looking at the glass half-full to help the recipient understand they have good things in them as well?

Everyone has the ability to contribute and make a difference but leaders have to share the observations and thoughts to appreciate also what is going well.

3) Am I willing to hold you accountable without blaming you by placing the problem in front of us and not between us?

It takes courage and a strong relationship to move from blame to working together as a cohesive unit to tackle the issues of the day. Leaders need other people as part of their leadership journey as no one can be successful alone.

By blaming others, we create a culture of conflict and isolation.

Everyone seeks to win on their own terms.  When we are facing a challenge in our organization, we need to face it together to maximize our strengths.

4) Is the feedback leading to our growth and opportunity?

As leaders, we need to keep in mind the long term objective of how feedback improves relationships and creates growth in our organization. Feedback is more than just an annual conversation between you and your team members.

Feedback: An On Going Dialogue

It should really be an on-going dialogue and an opportunity to nurture everyone on the team. Feedback sessions can be small opportunities for development and exploring more of the talent existing in our organization.

Setting the team up for success for growth and learning should be the leader’s foremost responsibilities.

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———————–
Tal Shnall
Tal Shnall Coach/Trainer Development Renaissance Hotel Dallas Richardson
He specializes in Service and Leadership Development
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Building a Leadership Team That Builds Your Business

Building Teams

When it comes to your small business, you only want the best. You have worked hard to build your business and you continue to work hard to keep it flourishing.

But growing your business without the right people is a path to ruin.

Your Building Blocks to Business

When your business reaches a point where it requires additional dedicated workers other than you to continue growing, it’s important to know what to look for and what kinds of goals and standards to set to build a quality leadership team.

A strong leadership team will allow you to delegate some of the responsibilities of managing the operations of your business. There are specific skills necessary to lead others, and there are critical standards you must set for your business to drive company goals.

Personally, it took me much longer than I would have liked to master these tools, but hopefully my experience will help you learn these lessons ahead of time.

Building Quality Leaders

Here are three key elements that I have found to be essential in building quality leaders:

Flexibility

Quality leaders are able to address multiple issues under any one circumstance. By being flexible, a leader is able to tackle whatever situation presents itself inside or outside the business “norm.”

Communication

Communication is the key to effective leadership. A good leader listens first, gathers as many details as possible about the issue, and then provides necessary solutions.

Desire

Above all, a strong leader must have the desire to lead others. If the desire to lead isn’t there, then communication and flexibility are moot points. Quality work begins with an interest and a passion for the work at hand.

As important as strong leadership is to your team, as an entrepreneur, it is sometimes difficult to begin to give up control of your business to other people. But relinquishing control is actually one of the best decisions you will ever make.

I realized that when I refused to relinquish some of the control, I was actually holding everyone back.

Leaders are Readers

It is helpful to read, read, and read as much as possible about other entrepreneurs’ experiences. You’ll find helpful tips on how others have managed to release some of the control you feel like hoarding. It truly makes all the difference to have confidence that your team can handle the job just as well as you can — if not better!

Doug, the operations director of our company, is the perfect example of a quality leader. He was able to calm the storm he walked into by making processes more efficient and putting in place a higher standard than I ever thought possible.

I feel fully confident in his knowledge and his ability to provide quality work. By relying on him to do the job, instead of jumping in and giving (bad) suggestions, I gave him the opportunity to impress me.

On Processes and Procedures

In addition to a quality leadership team, it’s important to implement specific processes and procedures that will allow you to give up the reigns and trust that the company won’t fall apart. If you haven’t set certain standards and expectations, how can you expect that the strong team you have built will make the best decisions and do right by your business?

If you’re like my past self, however, you may feel like you have nothing to learn. I thought I was smart. Of course, other call this being a “know-it-all”…

You may feel like you know all there is to know, and you don’t need to bother with such silly details. But if you’re like my current self, you’d like you visit your past self and slap him across the face for thinking that way.

Mission Critical

If you haven’t already, stop what you’re doing immediately. Define these few critical standards for your business.

Mission

  • What are the meat and potatoes of your business?
  • What are the services you provide or the purpose of the product you create?
  • What does it do to help the community?

Vision

  • What do you see for the future of your business?
  • What is your ultimate goal?
  • What do you want your business to look like in 10, 20, 50 years?

Values

  • What are the things that matter most to this business?
  • What kind of image do you want to portray to the community?
  • What are the standards you want to uphold?

Be intentional in your efforts to build the strongest team and teach that team the importance of upholding the standards you have in place. You will find that taking the time to lay out a map of success for your business that is clear for all team members makes everything easier overall for your business, for your team, and for yourself.

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Jordan Guernsey
Jordan Guernsey
 is the CEO of Molding Box, a simplified outsourcing solution

He is a leader in the shipping and logistics industry
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Values: The Lifeblood of an Organization

Organizational Health

Many companies are quick to point out their values when a customer or prospect walks in the door. They are proud of what they stand for.

Then there are many other companies who don’t have any formal values posted anywhere.

Values Drive Business

I have known many people who think that mission statements, vision statements, and values are a waste of time and keep an organization from being “productive.” But if you look at some of the most successful companies in the world, these are a key reminder to keep employees focused on what’s important.

The values that are being lived out that determine the health or the corporate culture.

“Integrity” is a word that is usually the first word out of someone’s mouth when they talk about values.

It sounds nice, doesn’t it?

“Our company values integrity.”

Not only is integrity a great value to have, but it’s the key to whether or not the corporate values are worth the paper that they’re printed on.

Your Corporate Culture

It has been said that a person’s true leadership ability shines in a time of crisis. This is also true for organizations. The true corporate culture will show when times get tough, regardless of what is written somewhere in a mission, vision, or values statement.

Here are a few critical steps to ensuring your organization embodies the values it stands for:

Build buy-in from the current employees

If your employees don’t buy-in to the organization’s values, they’re worthless. Like any vision that is cast, buy-in is vital to its success. Include as many employees as possible in setting the values.

Hold round-table discussions or run a contest to incentivize them to participate in the process. The key is to have as many people as possible feel ownership in the decision – it is the best form of buy-in.

Don’t stop talking about them

Values can’t just be written once and thrown in a drawer. In order for them to be in the front of everyone’s mind, they have to be discussed constantly.

  • Mention them individually whenever the entire company is addressed.
  • Put them in your email signature.
  • Print a poster on the wall or hang them in the offices and cubes.
  • Whatever you have to do, get them in front of people.

Align your business practices around them

The key to integrity is doing what you said you were going to do, right? If you want to represent a value, you have to live up to it. This means doing what you say you’re going to do even if it’s difficult.

Many companies include the company’s values as a part of the annual employee evaluation process. For example, if you value your employee’s growth, then you have to support them. You have to move them on to new challenges when they’re ready.

Don’t keep them at a job just because they do it very well. If you value customer service, make sure the customer is the focus of everyone in the organization.

Don’t be afraid to let people go

Companies often show that they honor performance over values. If a person is going against the corporate values, you have to be willing to part ways – even if they’re a strong performer. When a person can repeatedly fall short the company’s values, everyone around them knows it.

It sends a very strong message if that person is kept or if they are let go.

Keeping them will breed distrust in management because you are not practicing what you preach. Worse yet, nothing can be swept under the rug. You will either deal with it now by letting the person go, or you will deal with it later by the decline in employee morale. One decision affects one person negatively while the other effects the entire organization.

Which one do you think is best?

Hire the right people

This is truly a key component of any business’s success, isn’t it?

Not only is it important to hire someone who is technically competent for the position, but their values need to be measured as well. Study after study has shown that corporate culture is one of the greatest factors in a company’s success.

So a candidate who has average ability but holds the same values is going to be a much better fit for your corporate culture than someone with strong ability and different values.

Values are the lifeblood of any organization. Align your people and processes with the corporate values and you will create a company that is enjoyable to work for sets up long-term success.

What are your organizations values? Are you building a culture that promotes them in everything they do? If the organization doesn’t live and breathe the values, what comes forward in a time of crisis? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————
Rich Bishop

Rich Bishop is President of Bishop Coaching & Consulting Group
He serves with hands-on approach to Development through Coaching & Training
Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Web

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Trust: The Foundation of Leadership

Foundation of Trust

According to their wonderful book “The Leadership Challenge,” leadership research experts Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner state that “credibility (or Trust) is the foundation of leadership.”

The research simply confirms what we have all experienced in our lives.

Understanding Trust

Without trust, you can’t lead and you won’t follow!

We’ve all heard that old saying, “people don’t care what you know until they know how much you care.” And if you’re a good leader, you understand that without trust, you have nothing.

The depth of each relationship is directly equal to the amount of trust that is in that relationship. Trust is the basis of ALL relationships, and as a leader you must understand this in order to be effective.

I’ve made a few observations about trust in leadership that I’d like to share with you. I think you’ll find these to be true in your situation as well. How many times have you been a part of an organization and just wished that the leader(s) would trust one another so you could move forward?

Unfortunately, I’ve seen it all too often which is what led me to jot down the following:

  •  Trust is a Two-Way Street

In order to be trusted, you must trust those you lead. At it’s foundation, trust is simply believing in someone else’s abilities and empowering them to fly.

Too many times, leadership becomes more about control than about empowerment of those we are leading. That shift in your focus as a leader can become the first step to the destruction of trust, and the organization/church/ business.

Trust is a two way street and good leaders trust their followers’ abilities and empower them to lead instead of holding them back by micromanaging them.

  •  Trust is Mission Focused, not Self-Seeking

We all want our organizations, churches and businesses to be successful. However, if you care more about who gets the credit for the success of the organization than you do about the mission of the organization, there is a trust problem.

When our focus is on who gets the credit, then we will inevitably become distrustful of others in the organization. We will constantly be paranoid that they will “outshine” us and steal our glory. The fact is that all the glory must go first of all to God who allows us to do anything that we do.

Then we must give proper credit to those who excel in their respective roles in accomplishing the overall mission. Good leaders defer credit and accept blame.

  • Trust is All About Teamwork

As the leader, we are responsible for creating the environment of trust in our organization. If we want to be trusted, then we must trust our team! Our team will do as we do, not as we say.

We can talk about teamwork and trust all we want, but if at the end of the day we do not trust our followers and believe in their abilities to make the team better then they will never trust us to lead them anywhere.

What are some things you’ve observed about trust in your organization? How much do you trust your team? How much do you think they trust you? Have you ever had an open discussion about trust in your organization?

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————–-
Keith Glover
Keith Glover
 is Head Coach at Pastor2Pastors
He helps Pastors & Ministry Leaders take care of themselves to better serve others
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Blog | 423-343-4335


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Leadership Priorities: How “Why” Eats “How” for Lunch

FAQ

Awhile back, my invisible mentor, Seth Godin, wrote a post called Form and Function.

In this article, he had a quote which read:

The question that gets asked about technology, the one that is almost always precisely the wrong question is, “How does this advance help our business?

The correct question is, “How does this advance undermine our business model and require us/enable us to build a new one?

Adopting this disruptive perspective is a fundamental difference of what separates someone who wishes to lead, particularly in the strange new economy. Godin’s contrast is helpful, because it helps us remember that a big part of leadership is about asking one question: Why?

“Why…?”

Why are we doing things the way we are?
Why are we continuing down this path?
Why should we stay the same — or is it time to change?

As we move into a marketplace which places new and different demands on our businesses (e.g. more customer focus, faster failures, more product launches, etc.) we find that the “same old” thinking isn’t just harmful, but that it’s actually more destructive than it used to be.

If we wish for our business to thrive tomorrow, we must be crystal clear on the WHYs of our behavior today.

But we’re not very good at this, are we?

Obsessed with “How?”

For a long time, leaders and managers have been obsessed with “how.”

  • We’ve developed lists of tasks and we’ve created lengthy job descriptions
  • We’ve built policies, procedures, and protocols
  • We’ve obsessed over process

And we’ve come a long way using this mentality — our operations are incredibly efficient and our companies are lean and mean.

But to a great extent, this relentless focus on “how” has gotten us as far as it can. Now, we must shift to WHY.

3 Reasons for “Why?”

Here are three reasons to make this shift, and how to get started:

1) ‘Why’ Frees Up Our Personal Resources

When we focus on WHY, we can manage by outcomes instead of tasks. This is a crucial activity for creating a strengths-based team, and allows us to truly capitalize on the diversity of our talent and the synergy of teamwork (both things companies talk about a lot, but aren’t very good at operationalizing).

When we lead with WHY, it helps our teams do what they’re good at and frees up our own personal time and energy to focus more on the things we’re best at, creating more value for the organization from two directions.

If you are a leader/manager, this looks like:

Give direct reports the outcome they need to achieve and let them know you don’t care how they get there (of course, you actually have to mean it, too).

Encourage them to use all the creativity and autonomy they can muster to meet that goal.

It hopefully goes without saying that behaviors must match up with laws and organizational values, but beyond that… set the people free to work the way they want! The level of autonomy you can grant is almost only limited by how fearless your organization’s leadership is.

2) ‘Why’ Helps Us Innovate

When we lead with WHY, our teams can be more flexible because we don’t have to legislate every little task. Also, when we are overwhelming clear about why we are doing something, it empowers our teams to not get lost in the mire of purposelessness.

Having to ask “Why are we doing this?” is emotionally draining, and the costs often remain unseen because many people don’t voice this concern — they simply think it. Even unspoken, the damage has the same impact in lost trust and diminished buy-in.

If you are a leader/manager, this looks like:

When people come to you for decisions, always (stop just short of being incredibly annoying–which means you should sound a bit like a broken record) remind people of the mission of your organization/team/department/group. Then, after reminding them, ask them if what they plan to do furthers that mission or not.

If it doesn’t, help them find that conclusion themselves.

If it aligns, tell them to go for it and inform them that next time, before coming to see you, they should run their question through this same filter. Give them permission to execute their ideas without approval if they further the mission.

3) ‘Why’ Boosts Engagement & Passion at Work

Companies from Apple to TOMS to Zappos know that the work we do is rarely about the “thing” we produce.

In these examples:

  • Apple is about simplicity more than technology
  • TOMS is about giving away shoes more than it is about selling them
  • Zappos is about customer service and not about being a “call center”

Making a connection between “work” and “why” isn’t easy for many people, though — which means leaders can play a big part in helping making this connection.

Research is very clear: when we provide people with a connection to “something bigger,” they care more deeply about their work, which makes everything better.

If you are a leader/manager, this looks like:

Constant reminders about the end-user benefit of your product or service. These can be conversations or something more — the only requirement is that they remind employees of the real-life impact their work has.

Some of the best examples I’ve seen are mini-films which depict end users directly experiencing the benefits of the product/service.

When done well these are be quite touching, even after being indoctrinated in a culture for a while. Everyone (everyone you want to hire, anyway) wants to be part of something that’s making a difference in the world. Don’t let your people forget about what your company REALLY does.

So, what are you doing as a leader to look at the strengths of your people in conjunction with the tasks they perform? How are you aligning these? Are you actively incorporating a “Why” mindset over a “How” culture at your organization? What can you do to unshackle your people and their natural strengths to build your bottom-line? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————
Josh Allan Dykstra is Author, Speaker & Consultant at Strengths Doctors
He is a work revolutionary, an agent of change, a catalyst, and a firestarter
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter  | Web | Blog 

Image Sources: notarybonding.com

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