Tag Archives: goals

4 Signs Your Leadership Isn’t Working

There are ALWAYS warning signs. It hardly ever comes as a complete surprise.

warning-sign-leadership-mistakes

Team members begin backing away. Meetings lose energy and focus. Complaints rise. Morale falls.

Then one day it becomes painfully clear – something isn’t working.

Here are 4 warning signs that your leadership isn’t working

1. Self-preservation

Are you looking out for yourself or are you serving others? Are you following your own agenda or helping others to realize their potential and fulfill their dreams?

When self-preservation is present, leaders resort to manipulation. Sometimes the behaviors are subtle. Sometimes they’re blatant.

Either way, when leadership evolves into manipulation, relationships and organizations suffer. Because people and teams aren’t interested in following someone who is in it for themselves.

Ask yourself: Why am I doing this?

2. Unhealthy

A couple of years ago, a friend introduced me to 4 critical gauges to assess health in my life and workPhysical, Mental, Spiritual, and Emotional.

You can read more about these gauges here.

How you FEEL about how you are doing does not matter nearly as much as how you’re REALLY doing.

You CAN make the conscious decision to live healthy in these 4 critical areas of life and work, so you have more to offer than a handful of years of frenzied activity.

If we are not holistically healthy, we simply cannot live and lead effectively. We cannot respond to challenges and opportunities calmly and decisively.

Ask yourself: Am I physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally healthy?

3. Lost

There was a huge vision for growth. The organization restructured, launched a new initiative, and began gaining momentum. Then the negative feedback started – and it came from influential people. And that’s when you found out how committed the leader really was – and how committed the team really was.

YOU were doing great – then you weren’t. What happened?!

It’s not that you weren’t committed at all. You were! Maybe you just weren’t as committed as you thought you were.

What causes us to give up on our goals? Why do we so readily abandon our dreams?

Commitment doesn’t mean much anymore. But it still means something to you – you meant it and you’re going to follow through. You’re going to reach your goal!

Ask yourself: What one step can I take today to get back on track?

4. Sign language

Do your team members think you’re deaf?

Let’s face it – you aren’t really in a position to objectively answer that question. And neither am I.

Nobody – absolutely no one – is interested in me sitting across the desk from them waiting for their sentence to end so I can start talking again. They need me to listen – to actually give a rip!

Listening takes time and when you are willing to give your time, people know you care. [Tweet That!]

Ask yourself: Does my team know that I am listening?

Article by Michael Nichols

@michaelenichols

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Do You REALLY Care about Your Family?

Do you care about your spouse? Does it matter to you what your children will become? Not what they will do for work – but who they will be – what they will become.

What legacy you are leaving for your grandchildren?

Happy family preparing a healthy dinner at home.

In our parenting journey, Sarah and I have noted essentials for healthy families. Every family can do these!

Discover and pursue their dreams

If you are spending significant quality time with family members, then it’s likely that you are intimately familiar with their ambitions, passions, and dreams. And when you are, you can help them fulfill those dreams.

Nearly every day I do something or say something to help my wife and children take the next step in the pursuit of their passions.

This is important – these are not MY dreams for them. Rather I’m encouraging them to pursue the calling and the passion that lies within them.

Consequently, I must regularly assess my understanding of their dreams as they evolve. And I must evaluate my motivations for challenging them to move forward.

Independence

This area was particularly challenging for me because of my tendency to be too engaged in most everything.

I’m a problem-solver. So I naturally want to fix problems – some before they even occur.

But my problem-solving occasionally robs others of valuable life experiences. So I’ve had to learn to back off of problem-solving and allow others to grow through their experiences.

When Madison was very young I began allowing her more and more freedom to make healthy decisions – decisions about spending and saving, planning family trips, getting involved in athletics, doing chores.

This week she told Sarah and me about a product that she’d like to invent and how she plans to do it. Another evening she drafted a simple plan for a business she’d like to start.

In reality, she often falls short of her ambition. And that’s ok – because failing facilitates growth.

I want those closest to me to know that I believe in their dreams. And I want them to know that I will do everything possible to support them. More than anything, I want to challenge them to follow their calling with abandon.

Pursue spirituality

I’m not sure if it’s your style or not – but Sarah and I encourage Madison to pursue spirituality. As a result, she loves church. She loves to read Scripture. She loves to pray with us…

Over the past 2 months our family has experienced a significant transition which included moving 1300 miles to a new home and community. So our schedules got all out of whack.

Prior to our transition we’d been praying with Madison every night. (We pray at other times throughout the day too – but our bedtime prayers have become a special time for us.)

This week we’re finally getting back into a routine. So last night I laid down with Madison to pray. She went first – “God, I know we haven’t prayed in a while…” Whoops!

I love that she understands the importance of faith and that it plays a significant role in her life.

It’s a non-negotiable, a top priority for us.

This post is part of the series – Non-Negotiables For a Healthy Family
Part 1: Family – It Doesn’t Have to be This Way

Question: What non-negotiable would you add to the list? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Article by Michael Nichols

@michaelenichols

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Tug and Not War Part 3 – Positive Tension on a Team

This is part 3 in the “Tug and Not War – Tension on a Team” series. See Part 1 and Part 2.

tug-of-war3In Part 1, we looked at four words associated with tension. They are: conflict, stress, strain, or pressure.  In Part 2 we discussed the word tension and how it can be defined as, “the act of stretching or straining.”  Both are action words and both create a pull in different directions; therefore, we get “tension”.  Note there is a positive side, “stretching”, and a negative side, “straining”.

Negative tension is a strain on a team, but positive tension will stretch a team.  The object is to rid a team of negative tension and foster an environment for positive tension.  How is that done?  The leader must immediately deal with the negative and never allow it to grow.  I call this process the Barney Fife model, “Nip it in the bud.”

Let me share 5 ways to develop positive tension on your team:

  1. Plan proper balance – I believe it is critical to have a diverse team as I have mentioned in Post 2.  Through Personality Assessment tools and personal coaching you can assemble a team that complements each other.  They do their part well, but are cross-trained to help their fellow team member when needed. The balance keeps the boat from turning over.
  2. Promote creativity – Each team member should be qualified and passionate about their area or they shouldn’t be on the team.  If that is the case, allow them to share their passions and goals.  When positive tension is taking place, the entire team will take their ideas and grow them together.
  3. Demand accountability – Once the team is in place and the road toward success has been defined, get ready, negative tension will surface.  It’s not a question of “if”, but of “when” and “how”.  The leader of the team MUST set up a plan of accountability.  A checks and balance system keeps things from going down a wrong road too far.  Don’t be shy as the leader to deal with something quickly and severely.  It may hurt for a moment, but will feel much better in the long run.  It will also set the boundaries for the team.
  4. Allow for personal growth – Every organization should have systems in place that allows everyone to know the rules, objectives, and what a win looks like.  When they are in place the leader begins to lead his leaders.  In turn each leader begins to train a third layer of leadership.  Give each team member opportunity to grow as an individual and the team will grow.
  5. Focus on a goal – When people get their eyes off of a common goal they will soon define their own individual goal and go in separate directions.  Work hard to achieve a team goal then celebrate when it is achieved.  When a goal is defined everyone will walk in the same direction. That way when the destination is reached, the entire team will be there.  You do not want to leave people behind.

Negative tension will kill you, but positive tension will energize you.

Do you have comments about positive tension?

To read more material by Dr. Agan, go to www.rodneyagan.com

Article by Rodney Agan

@rodneyagan

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Top 10 Mistakes Leaders Make

I just found my notes from Hans Finzel’s book – a must-read for any pastor / church leader.  Just in case you’re like me and already have 3-4 books going at this moment and don’t really have time or energy to add another book to the list – here are the ‘cliff-notes’ version:  (Don’t miss #9 – it’s my favorite!)

1. Top-down Attitude
This is the “mother of all leadership hang-ups.”  Based on the military model, this autocratic model is set to be abused.  It promotes talking instead of listening and often neglects the art of delegation.

2. Putting Paperwork before People-work
People are opportunities – not interruptions.  Need-meeting is at the core of leadership and ministry.

3. The Absence of Affirmation
People thrive on sincere praise and appreciation.  Don’t underestimate the power of a ‘thank-you note.’ Do your best to catch people doing good and be generous with your compliments.  The ratio of positive to negative should be no less than 6:1.

4. Beware of not Making Room for Mavericks
People with different ideas are often pushed to the side by their leaders.  Make room for independent thinkers by creating an atmosphere of innovation.  Creativity has been terribly stifled in today’s churches.

5.  Dictatorship in Decision-making
You can’t delegate philosophy – only procedure.  Don’t think you are the only one who can do it. The one who does the job usually knows best how it’s done and how it might be improved.  The best ideas usually bubble up from the bottom – not from the bureaucrats!

6. Dirty Delegation
One of the most frustrating things to an employee or a volunteer is to be assigned something with no authority to do it.  Sometimes the job given has so many strings attached to it, that the worker is afraid to make a move.  Don’t be afraid of losing your authority – and don’t give into your tendency to micro-manage.  There is nothing that crushes morale and causes resentment quicker than this!

7. Communication Chaos
Never assume – NEVER.  Communicate your vision and repeat your dream.  Do more listening than talking.  The larger the group, the more formal the communication needs to be, and the more methods of communication needed to interact.

8. Missing the Clues of Corporate Culture
Corporate culture is defined as: the way insiders behave based on the values and traditions they hold.  Theologians call this ‘contextualization.’  Part of establishing credibility is learning to identify with the specifics of your team.  Know them.  Be sensitive to what people think.

9. Success without Successors
Instill your convictions and philosophies deep within your followers.  Pride tightens the grip, humility relaxes and lets go.  A good mentor:

  • sees potential in others
  • tolerates failure and weakness
  • is flexible
  • must have patience
  • looks down the road
  • prays for discernment
  • gives timely advice
  • has the capacity to encourage
  • gives freedom to allow leadership to emerge
  • is willing to risk his own reputation

10. Failure to Focus on the Future
Be pre-occupied by planning.  Don’t settle for long-term dreams — set short-term goals.  Then evaluate your progress.

Article by Patrick Nix

@patchnix

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