Five Quick Leadership Tips/ Reminders

I have been in a leadership role, and have followed others, for some years now. It amazes me how I still have different experiences almost daily. While driving home one night, I began to reflect and these five tips/ reminders came to me and I wanted to share.

1. Don’t be afraid to let your team shine. A leader is versatile, sometimes they lead in front, other times they lead in the back. At some point, leadership will require you to stand in the shadow and receive instruction from the leader at the moment. Be willing and be supportive; don’t power trip. There is no need to upstage anyone. If you’re effective in your leadership everyone already knows who you are.

2. Support your team member even when you do not agree. Every idea that will be carried out doesn’t have to be your idea. Give your team creative freedom and support them. Provide your thoughts and give feedback, but if a team member wants to go in a direction that is not your personal preference and it could be advantageous for the vision and mission at hand, give your blessing and let them run with it. If it is a success- great! If it fails- great! Don’t use it as a moment to reaffirm your position, instead encourage them through the process and coach them on what can be done differently next time.

3. Encourage and allow the team members to be themselves. You don’t need a bunch of yous. Your focus shouldn’t be on duplicating you, but building better individuals who are adequately equipped to fulfill their mission and assignment. Celebrate the diversity on your team and appreciate their strengths. Great leaders know how to properly apply their team’s strengths to the vision.

4. Provide timely feedback. Just because you think it, doesn’t mean you have to share it. This is particularly true in moments where your team is overwhelmed. Feedback should be timely and well thought out. Yes, you’re the leader, but that doesn’t mean you have freedom to say what you want. Feedback should be on time, not on your time.

5. Celebrate and give praise when warranted. Don’t hold back praise, especially when it is earned. When someone does something exceptional, tell them. If you’re apprehensive about giving others credit, your confidence in yourself may be more feeble than you think. True leaders celebrate their team’s accomplishments, especially when they posses a strength that is greater than your weakness.

Puzzle Progress

Puzzle Progress

It amazes me how God will use the simplest things to bring clarity to your life. I set out on a task at the beginning of my winter break and learned a couple good lessons. They are simple, yet powerful.Picture of puzzleMy husband brought home this puzzle before the winter break. I set my mind to complete it before the break was over. I was ecstatic about the challenge.Picture 1I fished through and found all the edged pieces and completed the border. In the process of me putting the border together, I came across other pieces and put those together too. The border alone took about two days. However, I remained extremely optimistic!Picture 2At this point, I felt like I should have had more progress, even if I was only devoting a couple hours a day to the project. Sure, I had other things going on, other commitments and responsibilities, but I wanted this task to come together so I sacrificed some of my nights, staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning! Picture 3I then begin to realize I needed to get organized. How I organized things changed based on where I was with the puzzle. I realized that I was not going to just find the right piece out of 700. So I decided to create goals. I broke the puzzle up into sections. First, I focused on getting the tower and the mountain outline completed.Picture 4My next goal was the sky. OMG, the sky was super challenging! The colors kept changing – light blue, dark blue, purple, yellow, etc. To help, I changed my organization method by putting the sky pieces into piles of similar shapes. This sped the process along, but it was still very tedious.

Although I have made more progress since this picture, I have not completed the puzzle. However I did learn a few things along the journey that I would like to share:

  1. Don’t be afraid to do something that appears challenging. If your heart is in the right place, trust that God is going to lead you along the way. Leaders understand the importance of growth. That growth comes from getting out of your comfort zone and/or doing something that you’ve never done before.
  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, but don’t be discouraged if you walk the journey alone. The puzzle was first presented as a family project, but I quickly learned I was the only one who was truly interested. And that’s fine. My family helped with some pieces along the way, and I asked for a second and third eye when needed, but I was determined not to quit because their commitment wavered. My conviction wasn’t their conviction. Leaders understand there are some tasks and journeys you have to walk alone. Just remember to share it with others when it’s done.
  1. Break the task down into steps and focus on one area at a time. Being a big picture person is great, but there comes a time when you have to focus on the details. You may even find that by completing one area, it’ll help you deal and solve some others. Leaders understand that you have to take challenges, and even success, in stages. Handling details can be exhausting, but it’s necessary to make sure the end goal is achieved.
  1. Stay positive and celebrate the small victories. There were times I wanted to give up on the puzzle completely. I walked away frustrated several times, but I was committed. Every time a piece fit, I celebrated. I would step back and look at the puzzle and see the progress. Leaders understand that there is going to be discouraging and frustrating days, but commitment and devotion with give you the strength you need to keep going.
  1. Don’t be afraid to tweak it. It wasn’t until I was down to two pieces that I realized I had placed two others in the wrong spot. You would think I would have noticed, but I didn’t. The wrong pieces actually fit (that’s another sermon for another day). I was able to identify my error and I corrected it. And you know what, it felt good! Leaders understand they are not perfect and can always learn something new and grow. There is nothing wrong with revisiting an idea or vision to improve it.
  1. Lastly, be flexible. I expected to be done with this puzzle this past Sunday night, and I am not. But you know, I have peace with that. I recognize that our timelines are not always realistic. And life surely doesn’t say, “I’ll leave her alone while she completes this task. I’ll throw some distractions and other things at her later”. Nope, doesn’t happen that way. Leaders understand deadlines, but strive for quality as well. A true leader knows how to navigate changes and setbacks.

Happy New Year.

It’s Not You- It’s the Word

Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

18 “Therefore hear the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

-Matthew 13:3-8, 18-23

Often times when we hear this message preached, emphasis is placed on providing a place for the seed to be sown—the good ground. Is it possible to believe that you have good ground for the word, but then realize it has no depth? Well, if you are afraid to admit it, allow me to be the first. This has happened to me plenty of times! I heard the Word, I received it, but then sometime the following week (or maybe even 3 days later), I find it difficult to regurgitate the Word! I mean, did I even receive one if I can’t remember it?

As a leader, God has entrusted you with the responsibility of maintaining your garden. It is up to you to put in the effort to make sure it has the proper nutrients so when you plant something, it won’t so easily be destroyed by the environment. It is imperative that you take notice and cater to the needs of your garden. Your garden will only produce to the degree it has been prepared and cultivated. If you don’t spend much time tilling the ground, pulling up weeds, laying fertilizer and watering it, nothing will grow.

How do you protect your ground? You read your Word, spend time in prayer and worship. The Bible instructs us to set our affections on things above, and not on the things of the world. But if you don’t spend any time with Him, you will not develop an appetite for Him. Developing an appetite for Him will keep you from stumbling as well. An Appetite means you need to satisfy a desire or a need. Once you spend time with Him on a regular, you will desire to seek Him more and more, BEFORE reacting to situations and BEFORE making decisions.

Have you ever noticed that when you are not trying to accomplish anything, everything seems fine? What about when you make the decision to accomplish something? Does it seem like things become more difficult? Verse 21 informs us that tribulations and persecutions are going to come, BECAUSE OF THE WORD! When a Word is spoken over your life, the enemy will bring about every opposition possible to keep this transformation from manifesting. Why? He stands the chance of losing a lot if you get to your next position in God. The more you grow, the more he loses.

Take your leadership role as an example. While God gives us grace for our designated tasks, there is still some opposition that comes with leadership. As leaders, we have to protect our vision. If God has given you a vision for something, write it down and make it plain so it can manifest at the appointed time. You have to be committed to the plan and strategy of the Lord. When opposition comes, stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord! This thing will pass, but you have to endure hardness as a good soldier.

Leaders are charged with the responsibility of living a life of integrity, especially in front of God’s people. You want to set an example and give them encouragement that if God spoke it, it will come to pass! What does it look like if you are trying to reassure someone else that God’s Word does not return void when it looks like you are having difficulties experiencing the manifestations of God’s Word yourself? To their surprise, you forfeited your own destiny by not protecting your vision!

So next time you feel God pulling you in another direction, but your circumstances are not in line; or if you feel like the enemy has a personal vendetta against you—it’s not you, it’s the Word!