Lead Yourself Well to Lead Others Better

Re-post by Jenni Catron

Something deep inside each of us longs to count. We want to matter to the world. We long to make a difference. We get bored, tired, even depressed by routine and monotony. We’re desperate for significance. We’re searching for acknowledgment. We want to be known.

But to be known begins with knowing ourselves.

God has equipped you and designed you to live out your unique calling and gifting as a leader. Your heart yearns for influence because it is a part of how He created you. It’s God-designed, but it can also be humanly-distorted if we neglect the most important part of leadership – self-leadership.

Self-leadership is defined as “the process” of influencing oneself to establish the self-direction and self-motivation needed to perform.

Leadership begins with yourself. You must lead yourself well to lead others better.

“There is a person with whom you spend more time than any other, a person who has more influence over you, and more ability to interfere with or to support your growth than anyone else. This ever-present companion is your own self. “ Dr. Pamela Butler, Clinical Psychologist

I believe that self-leadership is the foundation for leadership and unfortunately it’s not the flashy part. It’s the tough part. It doesn’t get attention or affirmation. No one is singing your praises for leading yourself well. In fact, here are a few tough truths that we need to understand about self-leadership:

  • No one cares more about your personal development than you do.
  • You can’t wait for someone else to lead you.
  • No one owes you leadership.
  • No one is responsible for your leadership development.

I share these things to challenge you, because if you understand the hard work of self-leadership, and pour yourself into it without expectations of others or an entitled attitude, you will develop the character and core of a remarkable leader.

Parker Palmer reminds us that, “Good leadership comes from people who have penetrated their own inner darkness and arrived at the place where we are at one with one another. People who can lead the rest of us to place of ‘hidden wholeness’ because they have been there and know the way.”

Your God-given influence – your leadership – is a gift to you and others. We need you to thrive so that you can help others thrive. This journey of self-leadership, although painful at times, is part of what equips you to be the leader God has called you to be.

So just how do we do this?

Here are, what I believe, are the core elements of developing self-leadership. These are just listed to get you thinking. You’ll need to unpack them and determine what steps you will need to take to grow in each of these areas.

1. Character

  • Who you are when no one is looking
  • Attention to your spiritual and emotional health
  • Expecting more from you than others do
  • Relentless pursuit of the character qualities you want to be true of you

2. Discipline

  • Be the one to get it done
  • Set goals for yourself in all areas: personal, professional, family, and fun
  • Take initiative
  • “Leaders are readers”; Read ferociously
  • Be a lifelong learner, and be a fanatic about it
  • Surround yourself with mentors and people smarter than you

3. Self-awareness

  • Know your strengths & weaknesses
  • Seek counsel
  • Identify mentors
  • Always evaluate what you need to “own” (good or bad) in every situation

Self-leadership is the hard work behind the scenes that prepares you for great leadership.

How are you doing in the area of self-leadership? What one thing could you start working on today to improve?

About Jenni Catron: Executive Director of Cross Point Church in Nashville. Founder of Cultivate Her. Loves great books, the perfect cup of tea, playing a game of tennis with her husband and hanging with her dog Mick.

The 3M Model with Bill Hybels

A couple weeks ago, Bill Hybels sent a tweet talking about his 3M Model.

@BillHybels: I take a “3M” mindset into meetings: 1 Let’s Move something ahead! 2 Let’s Modify what is not working 3 Motivate everybody as they leave!

We were able to get a few moments with him this week and asked him to talk through this 3M mindset for leaders that he’s never talk about before. Watch this video for a few short take-aways!

How can you apply this in your setting?

3 Vital Principles to Leading Leaders

Re-post by Scott Cochrane

One of the most important steps in the development of a leader is found in being able to become a leader of leaders. Years ago I learned that to make this important step there are three vital principles that must be embraced.

The step from “leader” to “leader of leaders” is one that can be fraught with perils.

I discovered this first-hand when assigned with a relatively simple task during my first week as executive pastor of a large church in Canada.

My assignment? Lead an off-site retreat of our senior pastoral team.

This team of highly seasoned leaders were gathered around me, waiting for my opening words. I knew we should open in prayer, so I shrugged at this group of 20 or so leaders and said, “Why don’t you break into groups and spend time in prayer.”

My reasoning was sound, or so it seemed to me. “These are leaders; they don’t need me to tell them how to organize a time of prayer.”

Several awkward moments of shuffling about ensued, and eventually a few muffled words of half-hearted prayer could be heard being whispered about the room.

There was no energy. There was no unity. There was no momentum.

It was, to put it mildly, a less than auspicious debut of my season as a leader of leaders.

But as with any setback, there were leadership learnings to be gleaned. And in this case I came away with three vital principles that must be embraced in order to become a leader of leaders:

1.   Leaders want, and expect, to be led.

Leaders more than anyone understand the value of good leadership. And they look for it in those who step forward to lead them.

2.   Leaders respond to leadership language.

Instead of such a vague, meandering opening, I should have addressed them with leadership language like this: “Team, there are opportunities before us that will only be realized by the mighty hand of God.”

3.   Leaders demand clarity.

Instead of “break into groups and spend time in prayer” I should have said, “Break into groups of 3 and spend 10 minutes praying for these 4 items…”

If you’ve been given the opportunity and responsibility to lead a group of leaders, don’t shrink back. Lift your leadership to the next level and lead them well.

You could be amazed at the passion of their response.

What have you learned about leading leaders?

Scott Cochrane is the Vice President of International at Willow Creek Association. Loves Jesus, Nora, Adam, Amy and John. Football and hockey further down the list. Follow Scott on Twitter: @WScottCochrane

Finding the Right Leaders

Post By Mindy Caliguire – Excerpt from STIR 

Wherever I travel around the world, leaders share the same compelling questions as it relates to intentionally creating cultures of transformation in their ministries:

* How should we think about the role of small groups?

* How do we teach spiritual practices?

* How do we motivate and engage mature believers?

These leaders recognize that, to help their congregation, they need to recruit and train others to share the leadership load. A basic requirement of effective spiritual leadership is to be able to discern where “here” is for someone else, in order to help them get “there”. Like many other areas of life, only leaders who have truly been “there” can help.

The following is an excerpt from a new WCA resource, STIR: Spiritual Transformation in Relationships, aimed at helping leaders develop strategies to help congregations experience transformation.

In particular, this excerpt looks at the kinds of leaders who help others navigate the inner journey stage, where they acquire core spiritual practices as their way of life, and make peace with their personal story.

Only those who make it through this stage can become the kinds of people who are able to fulfill the world-impacting assignments God may bring. Their inner person has been shaped so that they can fulfill any assignment in God’s power, in God’s timing, and in God’s ways.

[Read more...]

Chasing Symptoms vs Addressing Problems

Post by Jenni Catron

Symptoms get our attention.

Watery eyes and compulsive sneezing alert us to allergy season.

An upset stomach and high fever may be indicative of the flu.

We know symptoms indicate that there is something bigger going on inside of us.  If we’re smart we proactively treat the real problem.

But unfortunately every day in our organizations, we can be guilty of chasing symptoms rather than addressing the real problems behind them.

  • We are frustrated with volunteer turnover but aren’t aware that our training for them is defunct.
  • We don’t understand people’s lack of engagement but fail to recognize how complex and confusing our communication is.
  • We grow irritated with the consistent under-performance of our staff but don’t provide regular feedback and accountability.

It’s easy to get distracted by symptoms.  They are the obvious.  The urgent.  But when we ignore the real problems underlying them, we keep ourselves and our teams trapped in the same frustrating cycles.

As a leader you must address the problems lurking in your organization.

What symptoms are you currently chasing?  Challenge yourself to look deeper to identify the real problems.

About Jenni Catron: Executive Director of Cross Point Church in Nashville. Founder of Cultivate Her. Loves great books, the perfect cup of tea, playing a game of tennis with her husband and hanging with her dog Mick.

Which YOU Do You Do?

Post by Denise Barreto

Coming off an incredible 48 hours of intense leadership training, my head is still spinning, 2 days later. All the incredible knowledge from lawyers, doctors,  Ivy League professors, corporate gurus, international pastors and some of the every day people like me who covered the event on the digital experience team is just bursting from my brain.

The one thing I feel compelled to share now, as I sort thru the most important nuggets to make action around in my life and business, is the point of “which you do you do?”

Meaning, which “you” do you do most often in your life? We all have this aspirational “you” – the person we idealize in our heads and if asked, is most likely the “you” we describe when folks ask us for a self-description.  The person who has specific principles and values that we can quickly rattle off. Many of us also have the “real” you that vaguely resembles the “you” on paper. This the  “you” that shows up in our every day living that rarely actually uses those principles and values that we hold “close to our hearts.”

Over and over as I listened to talk after talk, I kept challenging myself with this question, “do I really live up to the me I have dreamed in my head?” I would nod in agreement to many principles that were given and then ask myself, “do I live out those principles as often as I can?” I would peer deep into my own consciousness and look for inconsistencies as I furiously agreed and co-signed with many of the topics and themes discussed at the WCA Global Leadership Summit. Speaker after speaker referred to the important work of being honest on who you are, where you are so that you can make goals to be better.

I am happy to report that after much self-reflection, I’m congruent. The “me” in my heart and on paper is very close to the me I live. I even checked in with a couple of close advisers and they agreed with my conclusion. This was super important to me as I invest regularly in my own personal growth and development. One of the “returns” on my investments is the ability to actually see my own values and principles put into action on a regular basis. It’s not enough for me to “hear” and have my values reinforced if I am not actually converting that into action in my life and business.

Now, I throw the challenge to you. Have you made an effort to ensure that the “you” on paper and in your heart is aligned with your daily living? Do you make choices that honor your principles and values regularly? Are there people around to help you in this endeavor of being the best “you” you can be? If the answer is not in the affirmative to each question, that is OK. Taking the time to reflect and ask those questions are the first step to getting you there. But I challenge you to get to work on this immediately.

Regardless the theme or topic, it is imperative that the “you” you do every day lines up to the “you” you value most. One way to experience life the way you’ve dreamed is to bring your dream world into reality, starting with you.

Accidental entrepreneur, author and TEDx speaker Denise W. Barreto brings a fresh marketplace perspective to the WCA GLS team this year. A seasoned corporate strategist with over 20 years of marketing experience across multiple industries, Denise is the founder and managing partner of Relationships Matter Now, LLC, a boutique strategic business and marketing consultant firm.

The Biggest Challenge of Being a Leader

Post by Tony Morgan

When there is uncertainty for the future, leaders clarify vision for where the organization is going.

When a good opportunity pops up that pulls the organization from its core strategy, leaders say “no.”

When teams are pulling in different directions, leaders prioritize what’s important now.

When conflicts arise around competing core values, leaders lead through the conflict to preserve unity.

When leaders make mistakes, leaders are quick to admit responsibility.

When mistakes are made by someone else, leaders are quick to take responsibility.

When the team gets comfortable and content to stick with past practices, leaders challenge the status quo.

When there is work to be completed and deadlines to hit, leaders prioritize time for leadership development and equipping others.

When talented, high capacity people join the team, leaders let others lead but they never give away accountability.

When someone continues to drop the ball, leaders step in to coach and redirect.

When someone continues to ignore the coaching, leaders remove people from the team.

When consensus is impossible and people are watching, leaders make decisions knowing criticism will follow.

When the future is set and a team has clear vision, values and priorities, leaders empower others to make decisions.

When the crisis hits and people are searching for direction, leaders make decisions quickly and decisively.

Do you know the biggest challenge of being a leader?

Eventually you have to lead.

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of TonyMorganLive.com. He’s a consultant, leadership coach and writer who helps churches get unstuck and have a bigger impact.

How to Change Entrenched Bad Habits

A Leader’s Guide to Influence - Part 2: How to Change Entrenched Bad Habits

By Joseph Grenny

Over the past 30 years, I’ve sought out and studied a different kind of leader. I’ve tried to find those who had remarkable abilities to influence change—rapidly, profoundly and sustainably. I’ve studied up close the methods used by one remarkable influencer who—with no formal authority—has changed behavior in thousands of US hospitals. I’ve looked first-hand at one influencer who saved five million lives from AIDS—simply by influencing behavior change in a country of 60 million people.

These influencers have the skills to create influence strategies that really worked. They influenced profound change in behaviors rapidly and permanently. Those who sustained their influence efforts described how changes lasted for years.

Below are a few of the most powerful strategies they, along with other influential leaders, routinely employ. If you put these strategies to work, you will be far more likely to turn entrenched bad habits into positive work practices.

1. Pick two or three behaviors. Ironically, one of the best ways to improve results is to stop focusing exclusively on results. Effective influencers target one or two “vital behaviors” to bring about significant change. For example, if you want to improve accountability, influence how people talk to those who let them down.

2. Overdetermine influence. Effective influencers refuse the temptation to find the “one easy answer.” For example, unsuccessful leaders rely on a heartfelt e-mail to drive change and mediocre leaders may deliver a PowerPoint presentation explaining what must change. By contrast, successful influencers combine four or more “sources of influence” to facilitate change. For example, they employ values, training, praise, coaching, incentives and environmental factors in combination.

3. Influence the influencers. Many leaders wonder how they can influence dozens or even hundreds of people. Effective influencers realize they don’t have to have personal relationships with everyone; they just have to have relationships with the opinion leaders who do. Less effective leaders could think they’re working with opinion leaders when they’re actually working with people who look good to management but are held in low esteem by their peers.

4. Enlist the environment. Much of behavior is influenced by our physical environment—the buildings, reports, tools and things surrounding us. Smart influencers design the environment to enable new behaviors and by doing so, create an influence strategy that works 24×7. For example, one leader increased accountability in her team by posting all commitments made, kept and broken in the team area. She also listed “Review of commitments” as the first and last agenda item at meetings. These small visual cues kept the team focused on changing their behavior.

If your organization has found a way to tolerate or “live with” entrenched bad habits, then it’s time you challenged these behaviors and turned them into productive work practices. If you don’t, then our research suggests these bad habits will continue indefinitely and produce profoundly damaging results. On the other hand, if you learn the skills of influence, you will make change inevitable.

Joseph Grenny is the coauthor of four New York Times bestsellers—Crucial Conversations, Crucial Accountability, Influencer, and Change Anything. He is also a sought-after speaker, consultant, and cofounder of VitalSmarts, an innovator in corporate training and organizational performance, www.vitalsmarts.com

Why Leaders Have No Influence

A Leader’s Guide to Influence - Part 1: Why Leaders Have No Influence

By Joseph Grenny

As my coauthors and I conducted research for our latest book Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change, we sat down with two dozen senior executives from several Fortune 500 companies and asked each leader whether they faced any of these problems:

  • Bureaucratic infighting that smothers innovation and change
  • Self-centered silo thinking and turfism that prevents true collaboration
  • Shoddy accountability wherein failure, plus an excuse, is acceptable performance
  • A “let’s do the minimum” work ethic

The most typical response was, “Can I pick ‘all of the above?’”

Suffice it to say, these are very common problems. These issues are also especially costly and difficult to resolve because each involve entrenched habits—ineffective practices that have come to be accepted, or at least tolerated, within an organization. Consequently, solving these problems requires influencing chronic patterns of behaviors.

Why Leaders Have No Influence

As we continued to interview senior leaders, we began to see some very clear failure patterns. Before long, we could quickly tell whether the change strategy a leader described was going to fail. Below are the five most common failure modes we observed.

1. Leaders act as if it’s not their job to address entrenched habits. Most leaders put a great deal of time into crafting breakthrough strategies, selecting winning products and engaging with analysts, shareholders and major customers. However, few realize the success or failure of their grand schemes lies in influencing the behavior of the hundreds or thousands who will have to execute on the big ideas—their employees. In fact, our research shows the average leader spends less than five percent of his or her time on active efforts to create behavior change. Instead, they delegate these responsibilities to others, mainly leaders in HR—who often lack the credibility to influence real change.

2. Leaders lack a clear influence plan. Many leaders who previously stumbled into success at influencing behavior change couldn’t articulate why their efforts succeeded. Even worse, the study showed that while most executives were frustrated with many behaviors in their organizations, only one in 20 had a carefully developed plan for influencing change.

3. Leaders confuse talking with influencing. Many leaders think influence consists of little more than talking people into doing things. It’s no wonder most influence efforts start with PowerPoint presentations. But profound, persistent and overwhelming problems demand more than verbal persuasion. Anyone who’s ever tried to talk a smoker into quitting knows there’s a lot more to behavior change than words. Leaders make the same mistake when they publish platitudes in the form of Mission and Values statements, give a few speeches on why these values are crucial and then assume their job is done.

4. Leaders believe in silver bullets. When leaders actually attempt to influence new behavior, they commonly fall into the trap of thinking deeply ingrained bad habits can be changed with a single technique. Some host star-studded retreats. Others hand out inspiring posters and color-changing mugs and think people will line up for change. Still others believe it’s all about incentives, and so they tinker with the performance management system. The research shows that when leaders rely on just one simple source of influence to drive change, they almost always fail.

5. Leaders try to influence everyone. The few leaders who do understand that influence is their job make the mistake of trying to influence everyone. The most influential leaders amass a wealth of social capital by investing time and energy with two influential groups—their chain of command and their opinion leaders. Influencers know they don’t have to have personal relationships with everyone in the company—they just have to have relationships with those who do. If leaders spend time building trust with formal and informal opinion leaders, they will inherit social capital that extends their influence into every corner of the organization.

Don’t fall trap to these failure modes. Awareness is the first step in changing your own behavior so you can become the Influential leader your organization needs to succeed. In my next post, I’ll share important strategies leaders can use to change entrenched habits.

Joseph Grenny is the coauthor of four New York Times bestsellers—Crucial Conversations, Crucial Accountability, Influencer, and Change Anything. He is also a sought-after speaker, consultant, and cofounder of VitalSmarts, an innovator in corporate training and organizational performance, www.vitalsmarts.com