There’s a torrent of Leadership blurb updates about to happen.
#16 Leadership Is Asking Questions.
“A boss creates fear, a leader confidence. A boss fixes blame, a leader corrects mistakes. A boss knows all, a leader asks questions. A boss makes work drudgery, a leader makes it interesting.”
“Judge a person by their questions, rather than their answers.” santizVoltaire
Asking questions- leads you to the answers that really matter – reason can answer questions but imagination leads you to ask them.
1. leads you in the right direction
2. invites others into the process
3. means you continue learning
4. illustrates to others the nature and example of your character
One who asks questions will never lose their way – it’s an African proverb and as much as we joke about asking for directions being the last thing that we do …. actually it’s true, that our willingness to ask questions inevitably keeps us on the path of discovery..
Discovery allows for innovation and imagination – discovery is the process of asking great questions..
1. what are we not doing?
2. what could we do differently?
3. why do we do and say what we do and say?
4. how could i do this differently
5. who should be with me here?
6. who is here that shouldn’t be here?
7. what skills, knowledge or understanding do we need that we don’t yet have…
these are questions that will take you on an incredible journey of discovery – as an individual, as a leader and as a tribe..
DON’T BE AFRAID OF THOSE THAT ASK QUESTIONS… the ones that ask questions on the way out the door should be listened to with a grain of salt, those that ask quesitons from the couch should be embraced. if you don’t know how to ask questions – get a questioner beside you!
#15 Leadership is You.
He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away. ~Raymond Hull
If God wanted you any other way he would have made you some other way. Excusing the fruits of the spirit, that endless of tireless goal of being the best that we can be in graciousness, love and mercy to one another.. your particular temperament, your style, your perspective on life is how and where and what you have been with and for.
There is no grand spiritual plastic surgery that can transform the laidback, casual surfer to the high-powered, task-oriented business suit – one will make sure certain things happen, the other will make sure to have some fun along the way.
One is no better or more important than the other because the depth of life we live in is rich and full, to the glory of God who is crafting it.
So who am I, who are you to be anything less that the fullness and wholeness of who God created us to be — so that we may lead, or be leaders in every unique space, nook, cranny and crevice where we have opportunity to be – at the top of the highrise office block, in the backend of the west coast crawl, the front of church speaking or the back of the church cleaning toilets.
1. Learn to know and enjoy your own company – don’t be afraid to watch a movie, read a book, listen to music, build or make something on your own. cook dinner for yourself once in a while and get to know your own headspace
2. continually journey towards wholeness – reflect on repeated behaviours/patterns that cause you concern or illustrate sadness, find wise people who can hold up a mirror and don’t be afraid of a little brokenness every so often. The bone is often strongest where it’s been knit and reformed after a break.
3. embrace leading where you are and from yourself. be careful with how many leadership tips 101 you try and adopt, how many strategies from other people … you’ll instinctively find a way of leading that comes from the REAL you.. if you allow it some time to surface, and some room to grow.
4. have a go. you may well be surprised at the people that follow, and the people that allow you space to take the lead. often we talk about the leaders that we want to be.. but most of the time we are defined by whether or not anyone is following. noone can follow if you don’t step out, and make a move.
#14 Leadership is Washing Dishes.
“Leadership is an opportunity to serve. It is not a trumpet call to self-importance.” J. Donald Walters
“In this business, you can never wash the dinner dishes and say they are done. You have to keep doing them constantly.” Mary wells
Leadership is washing the dishes for a couple of really important reasons.
You both have your hands dirty and clean all at once – you have the opportunity to be aware at the most basic level of your organization – and to understand the elements that go into putting it together, including the dirt that’s left behind. So you’re dirty.
But undoubtedly you will learn other people’s systems for efficiency, other’s people/s insights on the organization – and you remember to keep your hands clean – it’s good practice.
Why wash dishes?
1. The conversations that you have while washing dishes are great opportunities to listen in, to really hear what’s going on at the most basic level. Working with people shoulder to shoulder builds trust, so that those conversations can become places of great development, fresh ideas and practical insight into how your decisions and leadership are best serving those around you.
2. It keeps you grounded. Serving in the menial stuff makes a difference because it either demonstrates or shapes your attitude towards the small things. My uncle owns a bunch of commercial property, runs his own businesses as well and probably could easily afford to have someone else mow those lawns, but he does it himself. Most of the people that use that property wouldn’t think anything of the overalls and job he does – but he’s serving by mowing the lawns, so that his employees can get on with the more important work they are specifically skilled at.
3. Washing dishes allows you the opportunity to see what people are really great at. Observing and serving others in your organization is the quickest way to see how you can help develop them, and what skills and talents you’re under-utilizing.
#13 Leadership is Honesty.
Thomas Jefferson said “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of Wisdom”
Spencer Johnson said “Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.”
You have to believe it. You have to know. You have to be honest about what you can and cannot do.
Telling the truth and being full of truthfulness yourself honours people. It honours them with because you trust them to be able to handle the truth
and because you give them the opportunity to rise up to what the truth demands of them.
Honesty disperses blame because it accepts responsibility on all sides.
Honesty exposes opportunity – when we tell people what we are good and what are not good at – it changes the expectations and the playing field.
Honesty gives us the chance to be the best of ourselves and to bring out the best in others. Honesty gives us the hope of the miraculous… and the acknowledgment of it.
What does honesty look like?
Self Awareness. If I could offer you to the one key to being a successful leader in this world I would offer you this challenge and goal – the pursuit of wholeness within yourself.
Because in that pursuit you will become self aware, and the lessons that you learn on the way to wholeness will be the greatest gifts & truths you can impart to others.
That’s what it means when we say Integrity is telling myself the truth.. Integrity is being full of truthfulness.
Telling people something that is truthful doesn’t have to be painful – when you are full of integrity. In fact more often than not – when we are on a journey to wholeness ourselves – we see less of the brokeness around us, and more of the possibility of what God would see happen in the lives of those we are leading.
So much of the time we associate honesty with exposing that which is dishonest.. but honesty in of itself it to be praised, and is praise… to see the beauty of what IS and what can be
and with credibility and integrity – communicate with honesty in such a way that the truth brings freedom ..
That’s exactly what Scripture is talking about when it says – the truth will set you free.
#12 Leadership is Helping People To Embrace Pain.
“When we become aware that we do not have to escape our pains, but that we can mobilize them into a common search for life, those very pains are transformed from expressions of despair into signs of hope”
The difficulty with pain is that as leaders – people often look to us to help them avoid pain.. and because we care so much, often times we do – focus on people not doing things that would cause them pain, we focus on pain prevention –
even when it comes to hope – we say “hope deferred makes the heart sick – so because you don’t get too unrealistic with your hopes”… remember that if God doesn’t come through … he still loves you…
But ACTUALLY one of the most basic learning mechanisms in life .. is pain. physical, emotional, spiritual pain.. is part of the great learning design.
SO.. being great leaders are those who will help others and within themselves… learn how to deal with pain WELL..
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction… when we deal with pain well – when we allow ourselves to experience it fully, when we allow ourselves to still be loved, valuable, whole and meaningful in the midst of pain… then we learn to love better and more deeply.. those who suffer around us.
When we do not deal with pain well – when we hide, run, avoid, don’t engage … we learn nothing, we harden our hearts.. and the reaction… is that we do not allowed ourselves to be loved fully and wholly.
Deal with pain well as a leader and your ability to love and serve others will only increase. Deal with pain poorly as a leader, and your heart will harden to others, and you will be harder and harder to love. You’ll find it more difficult to receive the love of others. Love is like water to a barren desert.. without it, we dry up and shrivel away.
So – if we embrace and model this dealing with pain well – this humility, this openness, this vulnerability … we model something to people .. and instead and helping them to avoid pain by getting it all right – we embrace the mistake makers, the suffering, the anger, the weak, the limping..
“Yes, as you love deeply the ground of your heart will be broken more and more, but you will rejoice in the abundance of the fruit it will bear.”
#11 Leadership is Great StoryTelling.
“Some people aspire to be great storytellers. Others aspire to tell great stories.” – Tash McGill
Leadership is great storytelling – finding stories that are within grasp, that inspire, that create aspiration, hopefulness, self reflection, communal understanding and common ground. Stories that further knowledge and expand horizons.
Discovering stories is like uncovering a treasure in a field – each one takes you by surprise and yet, when we understand the value of a powerful, true, God-woven story – it changes our perspective on every field we pass.
People need stories, because stories are mirrors and magic looking glasses. And great leaders are less concerned with the manner of storytelling (although that is valid and important too) – the greatest of storytellers is first a master of discovering a story worthy of his craft…
A great leader learns to look for the great stories happening in the people around us, and begins telling those stories in a manner so as to help them unfold. Encouragement is great storytelling. Great storytelling sees a trajectory of narrative that offers hope, unique expression, the fullness of a person coming to life.
Be a great storyteller – give those around you a great mirror.