leadership factors

MIKE FIGLIUOLORev. Mike Figiuolo
FOUR KEYS TO OVERCOMING TO CONFLICT AND GIVING GOOD FEEDBACK

It’s nauseating to hear – someone soft-shoe dancing around an issue because they’re afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. They do so because they might receive negative feedback in a 360 review that they were abrupt or too direct in delivering feedback on that issue. So rather than going the direct route, they water down their message until it’s a mealy mouthed blathering stream of meaningless crap (yes, I’m fired up as I’m writing this).

Let me ask you this – do you want to follow a “leader” who doesn’t speak his or her mind? Someone who is more concerned with how their actions will be perceived rather than saying what they really think? Do you want to follow a leader who is more interested in doing nothing wrong (and hence not doing much of anything) or would you rather follow someone who takes a stand for what they believe in and suffers the consequences as appropriate?

Me? I’ll choose option B.

Conflict avoidance has invaded Leaderville and it’s an ugly blight. IMPORTANT: realize, I’m not advocating or approving of hateful, cruel, rude, or offensive behavior and words (although some idiot won’t bother to read this sentence and they’ll leave an anonymous comment to the effect that I’m a hate-monger or some stupidity of similar ilk). Those words and behaviours have no place in any workplace (or our lives for that matter).

What I’m attacking is a belief that we as leaders can’t speak our minds because we might hurt someone’s feelings. It’s that mindset that erodes the core of leadership over time and turns it into gentle corrective actions that end up having no impact whatsoever. Sure, no one felt corrected or had their feelings hurt but they now effectively have no freakin’ idea what they’re supposed to do or what they did wrong in the first place because the message was diluted.

We need to fix this. Now. So here’s what I propose:

1. Take the But(t) Sandwich off the Menu
I’ve written before about how much I hate but(t) sandwiches. Starting and ending feedback sessions with some false flattery just so you can jam a big slice of nasty feedback in the middle is a waste of time. It’s disingenuous. It also destroys your credibility as a leader. Any time after that if you begin praising someone, they’ll simply be waiting for the “but…” even if it’s never coming. This approach to giving feedback is terrible. Stop it. Now. But(t) sandwiches are now off the menu.
2. Everyone Grow Up
Take your frickin’ binkies out of your mouths and put your blankies away in your Scooby Doo knapsacks. This ain’t kindergarten anymore folks. The feedback isn’t personal. If you screwed up, step up and take it like an adult. I’ve screwed up plenty of times. And yes, when I took my beatings they were VERY unpleasant. But I took them and acted on them.

When you get drilled for doing something wrong then go crying about it to your peers, it makes you look like an idiot. They know you screwed up. They know you’re simply deflecting blame. If we spent as much time and energy focusing on fixing the mistake and building our skills to prevent the next one as we do on complaining to our coworkers about how mean our boss was to us, maybe we would actually perform better. You make a lot of money. A lot is expected of you. Getting some pointed feedback and being mature about receiving it is in your job description. A great leadership principle states “seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions.” Do it.

3. Take off the Soft Shoes and Put on the Boots
When you tiptoe around an issue, you come across as weak. More likely than not the recipient of the feedback knows what they did (or didn’t do). They just want you to get it over with. Dancing around the issue is a waste of time. It’s confusing. The recipient might walk away confused or with the wrong impression. None of these are good things.

Whether you’re going to saddle up and be more direct or not, you’ll need to take off the soft shoes and put on the boots. If you’re going to be direct, you’ll need the boots to deliver a swift kick in the behind. If you’re still going to dance around the issue, the boots will at least protect your ankles from the piles of crap that are rising and filling the room.

4. Lead
It’s not always a glamorous job. You’ve chosen to do it. Go be direct. Don’t deliberately hurt feelings but for crying out loud tell people what you really think. G been direct enough in this post with what’s on my mind. Now it’s your turn…

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leadership factors

andrew smith

Rev. Andrew Smith
STORM AND CALM

As I write this I’m looking out of the window at the Atlantic Ocean. The view is incredible on a beautiful but cold Saturday afternoon in November. The scenery is quite breathtaking and I can see for miles ahead here on the Shetland Islands.

The crazy thing is that yesterday a violent storm was blowing so hard here that all flights from the Scottish mainland was cancelled and all passengers had to be put in nearby hotels and try again 24 hours later.

As I landed in beautiful conditions earlier today it almost seemed impossible to imagine the storm-like conditions the previous day.

As I looked out on the idyllic surroundings a scripture came forcibly to mind from Isaiah 43 :

” Do not fear, for I have redeemed you. I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.
When you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned.
For I am the Lord your God. ”

Reality is that storms come and go. It’s never pleasant having to go through one but the good news is they do not last forever.
For those reading this today and you’re in the middle of a storm, a never-ending tornado : be encouraged that it will not last forever.
Breakthrough is coming and you will see a better tomorrow.

Stay focused on Jesus and understand that even in your darkest day… He journeys with you and has promised never to leave you or let you go.

So for those in the eye of a storm today be encouraged – it will not last forever.
There are better days ahead!

As the Psalmist once said, ” Weeping endures for a season, but joy comes in the morning”.

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leadership factors

graysonjones

Rev. Grayson Jones
WHAT GOES UP MUST GO DOWN

I have just returned from a week away in New York City with my wife. One of the first things that impressed me was the incredible heights of the skyscrapers – and as good tourists we did went up the viewing deck of the Rockefeller Centre Building and the Empire State Building to see the panoramic view across the city.

One of the reasons skyscrapers can be built so high is that they have incredibly good foundations. If you want to build anything that high to stand strong for many years, then it is vital that you pay just as much attention to the foundations as you do to the actual building that is above the ground.

As leaders who are looking to build significant churches that will serve our generation and the generations to come, there are two key lessons we can learn from the builders of these skyscrapers.

THE DEPTH WE GO BELOW WILL ALWAYS AFFECT THE HEIGHT WE GO ABOVE

If we want to build strong, highly visual and effective churches then we need to make sure they are built on a strong foundation. In the NT we see there is only one foundation and that is the person of Jesus Christ. We build on this foundation when we learn not to just hear or talk about the word of God, but actually do what the word says (Matt 7:24-27).

I love the fact that the Church of Jesus looks better and feels better today than it has for many years. Today many churches have great music, great teaching and great relationships – but it is vital that they are also places where we live out the word of God in everything we do.

THE HIGHER WE BUILD THE MORE FLEXIBLE WE NEED TO BE

If the building is going to stand through the storms that batter it then it also has to be built with an incredible flexibility. The higher the building the more flexibility or tolerance to movement that has to be built into it, or it would not survive.

As we build larger churches today it is important that we build into them flexibility so they are not stiff and immovable but are easily adaptable when things change and conditions demand for movement. The foundations should not move, but everything that is seen should be flexible and have movement built into it.

As you look at the church or ministry you are leading can you see the same two elements in place that will allow you to build strong and high? Do we have the immovable, irreplaceable foundation of Jesus and His word and do we have a movement and flexibility in everything else that allows us to be attractive and effective in our 21st century setting?

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leadership factors

dan rockwell

Dan Rockwell

WAYS TO FACE TOMORROW’S CHALLENGES:

1/. Someone needing something.

2/. Tensions between team mates.

3/. Opportunities waiting to be seized.

4/. Resources that are inadequate.

5/. Leaders work through issues others just complain about

6/. Look for bottom up movement. Where does the team want to go? Take people where they want to go – within the confines of mission, vision and values.

7/. Welcome the frustrations of others as expression of their passion. Explore don’t ignore frustration.

8/. Avoid solving problems for people. Leaders who solve-for spawn dependency.

9/. Declare your heart. Lower the harsh exterior and let everyone see you care deeply.

10/. Spend time with core contributors. Understand their passions. Fuel their fire.

11/. Eliminate hindrances and roadblocks. Make success easier.

12/. Give permission, authority, and support.

13/. Don’t talk about anything you aren’t going to do something about.

14/. Remember that some people need to talk. Listen and ask, “What can we do?”

15/. Explore and develop your plans with mentors, trusted colleague, coaches and advisers.

16/. Open your mind. You’ve formed opinions on partial information.

17/. Relax. Avoid the tendency to slip into unproductive strategies like pressuring people.

18/. Make short-term decision that facilitate forward movement now. (Keep long-term vision in mind.)

19/. Smile when the next problem rises up. Turn problems into opportunities. Encourage key contributors. The people on your team hear problems.

20/. Invite others to compensate for your weaknesses.

21/. Identify wins. Celebrate when they happen.

Most importantly, bring yourself to the challenges with forward-facing optimism. You don’t have to be an exuberant cheerleader. But, you have to believe you can make things better.

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leadership factors

dan rockwell

Don. Rockwell

UNLOCK RELATIONSHIPS

I knew too much when I was younger. Now that I’m older, I have the same problem. But, the thing that most expands leadership is the belief that we don’t know.

Those who think they know are worse off than those who know they

Everyone who’s afraid to look dumb, remains dumb. We learn and grow in community.

Mentors grow us most. But, know-it-all’s outgrow community.

 MENTOR-READY IS READY TO:

  1. Not-know with an open mind.
  2. Believe people, more than circumstances, change us.
  3. Have confidence, even though you don’t have all the answers.
  4. Shift strategies.
  5. Expand options.
  6. Nurture curiosity.
  7. Stop pretending you know when you don’t. 

MENTORS: 

  1. Give time for reflection. Without a mentor you keep circling the same thoughts.
  2. Explore inconsistencies.
  3. Dig into priorities.
  4. Press for clarity.
  5. Instill confidence.
  6. Honour growth.

 

4 marks of lousy mentors:

  1. Fix rather than explore.
  2. Advise before understanding desired outcomes.
  3. Do all the talking.
  4. Act like they know.

7 KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL MENTORING:

  1. Grow rather than fix.
  2. Control the need to tell.
  3. Aid self-exploration and discovery.
  4. Help define current situations, desired wins, and the next steps.
  5. Establish accountability.
  6. Care deeply and expect a lot.
  7. Avoid personal agendas.

7 TIPS:

  1. You haven’t outgrown being mentored. Humble yourself. Arrogance blocks growth
  2. Transparency opens the door to mentoring. Share your dreams, fears, and frustrations.
  3. Have many mentors. Learn from everyone.
  4. Age doesn’t matter. Young people often teach me more than older.
  5. Short-term is fine.
  6. Mentoring is a two way street. The act of teaching is learning.
  7. Evaluate and fine-tune interactions. What types of interactions work best for you?
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leadership factors

philpye

THE CALL
Rev Philip Pye

Romans 1:1 – ‘Paul a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle’

I write on the back of Inspire ’14 – a now annual four day retreat for our AOG ministers in training, led by the National Leadership Team, held at Mattersey – what an excellent time as very nearly one hundred men and woman came together. Heartfelt worship, impacting teaching, times of openness to the work of the Holy Spirit, new friendships formed, a hubbub of conversations and yes on occasions uproarious laughter! What was the thread that held all this together and drew such an enthusiastic response?

It was unmistakably and undoubtedly the call of God that sits over leaders of churches for such a time as this. Leaders apprehended, arrested, ‘ruined’ and ‘wrecked’ by the Sovereign Lord’s call to serve: there really is nothing like it.

Dave Kraft in his excellent book ‘Leaders that Last’ defined the call as: ‘Like being in love, you can’t explain it, but you know you’ve experienced it!’ Consider afresh:

– The Priority of the Call – It is not just ‘a job’ or ‘an industry’, it’s a life ‘given away’ to making Christ first in everything.

– The Absurdity of the Call – Again and again in the Bible, history and the present, God places His hand on people who naturally seem wholly unsuitable for the task and uses them anyway.

– The Enmity to the Call – Of course it will be opposed, you are dangerous for the cause of the kingdom. Be like that great called leader Nehemiah, and carry on anyway to complete the task mandated to you.

– The Beauty of the Call – Although we are just ‘jars of clay’ what we carry is treasure, the good news of Christ, that is breathtakingly beautiful.

Dave Kraft again, ‘The need for called leaders is great, where is the next generation of God called anointed leaders?’ Inspire 2014, within our context of AOG GB, gives us hope that they are most certainly emerging and arising.

Live The Call!

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leadership factors

dan rockwell
Dan Rockwell
STRATEGIES FOR DEALING WITH WORRY

Trust worried leaders; doubt the rest. Lack of worry results in over-confidence. Confidence doesn’t eliminate worry, it answers it.

LEADERS WHO DON’T WORRY:

1. Need a firmer grasp on reality.
2. Ignore opposition.
3. Dream too much.
4. Haven’t failed enough.
5. Blame others for failures.

PLAN FOR THINGS TO GO WRONG. They will.

12 strategies for dealing with worry:

1. Explore don’t ignore.
2. Create contingency plans. Planning answers worry.
3. Rank your worries on a scale of 1 -10. Prepare for the big ones. Preparation answers worry.
4. Pray.
5. Determine who is trustworthy. How has the team performed in the past? Trust answers worry.
6. Establish accountability. Who’s responsible for what? Ambiguity is legitimate reason for worry. Things don’t work out on their own.
7. Ask for progress reports.
8. Welcome the worries of your team. Don’t fight them. “I see what you mean,” is better than, “That’s not going to happen.”
9. Take the next step toward success. The downside of worry is inaction. Winston Churchill said, “I never worry about action, but only inaction.
10. Ask, “What will we do if the worst happens?”
11. Seek counsel from experts.
12. Err on the side of trusting qualified people.
For female leaders:

WORRY IS SEEN AS MORE OF A PROBLEM FOR WOMEN THAN MEN. Deal with the
woman-worry-wart problem:

1. Avoid saying, “I’m worried.”
2. Frame your worries in the context of preparation.
3. Say, “I’m trusting you to …,” if you feel worried.
Finally:
Successful leaders respond with plans and action.

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leadership factors

jmaxwell

Rev. John Maxwell
STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS:
MINISTRY AND MARKETPLACE LEADERS
Taken from the John Maxwell Leadership Bible

Samuel 9:1—15:31

The Scripture provides a marvellous picture of how pastors and business leaders can part together to fulfill a God-given vision. First Samuel shows how God sovereignly uses both Samuel the priest (ministry leader) and Saul the king (marketplace leader).

Because he feels secure, Samuel is able to fulfill his role as spiritual leader to big and strong Saul. He finds his security in his divine call and in the One who called him, not in people. While Saul could be an intimidating, daunting leader (1 Sam. 9:2), Samuel does not envy Saul’s role, I can he be diverted from his work in Saul’s life. Note the following observations regarding the partnership of these two in fulfilling God’s plan.

1. SAMUEL COULD SPEAK INTO SAUL’S LIFE BECAUSE HE FELT SECURE IN HIS CALLING (9:17-19).
While God told Samuel to anoint Saul as king, the prophet never considered the son of kb to be a celebrity. Saul became king over Samuel—but Samuel never placed his security or emotional health in a mere man. With poise and confidence he said to Saul, “I am the prop* He then instructed Saul concerning the spiritual matters he would face as king.

2. SAMUEL AFFIRMED SAUL’S COMPLEMENTARY ROLE AND HONOURED HIM FOR IT (9:21-23).
Although Samuel had been the visible leader in Israel, he intentionally gave away his stall
by publicly honouring Saul. He reserved special food for him and a special place at the table, no one would question whom they were to follow.

3. SAMUEL TOOK INITIATIVE AND ANOINTED SAUL FOR THE ROLE HE WAS TO FULFILL (10:1).
Samuel didn’t feel competition or envy over this new king; he knew that both would serving leaders among God’s people as complementary partners. As Coach Bill McCartney once said to some Promise Keeper speakers, “We are not here to compete with each other, but to complete each other.”

4. SAMUEL HELPED SAUL TO RECEIVE A NEW HEART FOR SERVING PEOPLE (10:6-9).
At this point Samuel had every reason to feel awkward or displaced; now Saul was doir very thing Samuel had been gifted to do. But Samuel didn’t resist helping Saul to develop i the spiritual leader God called him to be.

5. SAMUEL ENCOURAGED SAUL TO USE HIS SPIRITUAL GIFTS (10:10-13).
Samuel faithfully brought God’s word to Saul. He prepared Saul to receive his spiritual | by explaining what would happen and when to look for it.

6. SAMUEL DID NOT FEEL INTIMIDATED BY OR ENVIOUS OF SAUL’S CONQUESTS (13:8-13).
Samuel allowed neither Saul’s position as king nor his success as conqueror to move I While Samuel affirmed the king, he also understood his role in Israel and in the king’s life. Samuel confronted Saul’s disobedience and clarified each of their roles.

7. SAMUEL SPOKE WORDS OF DIRECTION TO SAUL (15:1-3).
Even after confronting Saul’s disobedience, Samuel was able to provide direction for 1 king and affirm his work on the battlefield. He didn’t shrink from playing his role in Saul’s I and again clarified Saul’s place in the scheme of things. He furnished Saul with great cor dence and support as he led the armies of Israel.

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leadership factors

dan rockwell

Dan Rockwell
STOP WASTING TIME:
10 WAYS TO LEARN WHAT MATTERS

One young leader is laid off. The other just started a new job. But, both shared the same concern. “How will I fit-in?”

Our need to fit-in reflects our need to connect, belong, and matter.
Fitting-in and standing-out need each other. Fitting-in without standing-out makes you mediocre. But, standing-out without fitting-in makes you aloof.
Do what matters:
You must know what matters before you can do what matters.

10 WAYS TO LEARN WHAT MATTERS:

1. Learn from support staff.
2. Gain insights from direct reports.
3. Query colleagues.
4. Observe those directly over you.
5. Watch how people relate to top leadership. (If you’re in the middle.)
6. Discern untitled power-people. Every organization has an official chain of command and an actual. Watch who people listen to and talk about.
7. Interview suppliers.
8. Connect with external customers.
9. Attend to board members.
10. Listen to your heart.

MISTAKES FROM THE MIDDLE:

If you’re in the middle of an organization, don’t focus directly on pleasing those over you. Build productive relationships with those beside and below you.
You please top leadership by connecting with those beside and below you.
People over you want you to fit in. When you spend too much time with the boss, you neglect the people who do the work.

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leadership factors

alanhewitt

Rev. Alan Hewitt
OPENING THE DOOR TO A BETTER NEW YEAR!

As we leave 2014 and enter 2015 here are some tips to start the year well:

1. RELEASE OLD BAGGAGE

“Extreme Hoarding” is not just a TV program, it’s a sad reality for many people. Too many live weighed down by baggage collected on life’s journey. The more you hoard – the less freedom you have and the longer you hoard – the more it stinks! Carrying unnecessary stuff seriously damages your future – so let it go!

2. REMEMBER TRAINING BEATS TRYING

Don’t think that trying harder will give you more success or make you more spiritual. Paul told Timothy “train yourself in godliness”. No one drifts into training, it’s a decision based on a desire to achieve something. Training will always help you achieve what trying could never do.

3. RENEW YOUR MIND WITH THE WORD

Your mind will determine whether you crawl or fly in 2015. Your thoughts will either ground you or launch you. The ancient writer John Climacus compared our dark thoughts to “maggot eggs that incubate in the soil of our falleness”. Henri Nouwen said our mind is like a banana tree filled with monkeys constantly jumping up or down, rarely quiet and clamouring for our attention with many dark thoughts. Only the Word can sterile and immobilise thoughts that can cripple or ruin us.

4. RECOGNISE THAT JOY IS NOT AN OPTION

Sometimes we think that Joy is a blessing, but it’s much more than that. John Ortberg writes “Joy is at the heart of God’s plan for human beings. The reason for this is that Joy is at the heart of God Himself”.
Nehemiah said “the Joy of the Lord is you strength” which implies that the absence of joy creates weakness. Karl Barth called joy “a defiant nevertheless”! George Muller in a sermon preached on New Year’s Eve said “Above all things, see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord…..it is of supreme and paramount importance that you seek above all things to have your souls truly happy in God”

5. REALISE THAT HOPE IS ACTIVE

Roms 15:13 makes it clear that “Hope” is not airy-fairy or passive. It’s not something you wait for – it’s something you get. It’s NOT optimism. J. I. Packer refers to optimism as “a wish without a warrant”. The text says Hope is the result of faith and the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s a solid truth-based confidence that becomes the anchor for our soul – no matter what happens!

6. RE-KINDLE THE FIRE OF YOUR HEART

Prov 26:20 says “Without wood, a fire goes out” . No one can be on fire without fuel. This is a good time for all of us to check the altar od our hearts and to remember that more fires go out through neglect thn by the smothering of the satan! Jim Cymbaia says “not all Christians live the same distance from God”. Those who draw near to the fire get the warmest. In Wesley’s words” still le me guard the holy fire and still stir up thy gift in me”. Happy New Year.

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