Is this urgent or essential? What should you stop doing? These two questions laid the foundation for the questions that great leaders ask.
The third question Mike Maddock contributes in this Forbes article is another step in leadership development; “What makes you feel strongest?”
There is no doubt when it comes to great leaders they understand their strengths and weaknesses. They know the areas where they are weak and how to find the individuals who have strengths in those areas.
By doing so, great leaders continue to focus on their strengths. Numerous sources claim that leaders should focus 80% of their time in areas of their strengths and only 20% in areas of weakness.
While this may sound opposite to what we might consider the right approach, great leaders tend to prove the theory.
Focusing on the areas of passion and strength makes a good leader great, and a great leader outstanding.
The challenge for us is taking the time to ask the right questions and make sure we are providing the answers to deliver what is needed to reach our greatest potential.
The idea of a contingency indicates a provision for future possibilities. When circumstances change the course of action, a contingency should be in place.
The one consistency facing leadership today is change. Apart from the changes in fields such as technology, science, medicine, etc., people and circumstances change!
When leaders cast the vision, pointing others to the goal, and establishing the plans to reach the goal, there will be change. Several questions need to be considered when thinking about the word for the week.
What contingency is in place for the time when changes occur?
Are the consequences of a contingency minimal?
Will the contingency create a loss of morale for followers?
Who will implement the contingency during the transition?
How will the contingency affect the overall vision and goals?
When is the appropriate time to initiate the contingency?
The questions may not always be the easiest to answer, but having a contingency can help negotiate the challenges that occur when change is inevitable.
The old adage “to be forewarned is to be forearmed” does have merit when leading others.
“The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don’t know what to do.” John W. Holt, Jr.
Several thoughts came to mind when first reading this quote. The idea of the test of one’s character is powerful and needed. The thought of character itself is also a great subject when considering leadership.
However, the main thought here has to do with behavior; specifically, how leaders behave when they don’t know what to do.
There will always be times when leaders struggle with knowing what should be done. During these times their character is truly tested to its limits.
The qualities of patience, understanding, thoughtful reflection, and being cautious are important. Decisions can be made too rashly and without the proper foundation. The result can bring serious consequences which could be avoided.
Learning to seek the counsel of others who have walked the same paths can open leaders up to greater wisdom, possible alternatives, and new angles of consideration.
When leaders find themselves not knowing what to do, the first option is to begin with prayer!
Solomon relates the value of a word spoken in the right circumstances “like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
The analogy emphasizes the value of speaking the right words at the right time.
Very few principles carry more weight in leadership than this one. When leaders speak the right words at the right time it strengthens their leadership immeasurably.
The challenge is how to develop this ability. What will assist leaders in developing this quality?
1) Learn to actively listen. One of the best attributes to learning what to say at the right time is to listen intensely at what is and is not being said by others. There are times the silence speaks more to the need than the actual words.
2) Think long and hard before speaking. The most common tendency is to speak as soon as the thought crosses our mind. More than one relationship has been damaged because someone spoke something off color, harshly, or in anger without thinking of how the words might affect someone else.
These two principles lay a powerful foundation to a word spoken in the right circumstance.
Last week began a series of four questions great leaders ask. The article written by Mike Maddock for Forbes has powerful insight into questions leaders should ask. The first question involved answering the difference between what is essential and urgent.
The second question is one that also demands thought: “What should you stop doing?”
This question follows on the heels of the first. Once a leader has an understanding of what is essential, there are certain other elements to be eliminated.
These elements are distracting and become time stealers, robbing leaders of the time to focus on matters of an essential nature.
Through the process of eliminating areas of lesser importance (what we should stop doing), leaders can focus their time and energy on the essential side of a “to-do” list.
The implication for spiritual leadership is significant. Spiritual leaders realize the need to prioritize life and work by recognizing the proper balance between what is urgent versus essential.
As we make our way through each question, please take time to consider the answers in application to the leadership needed in the church today.
Substance is a particular kind of matter with uniform properties. However, having a technical definition does not adequately describe the definition and application of this word in leadership.
Substance also involves a quality of being important, valid, or significant. Simply stated, substance is the stuff that makes up leadership.
What is the substance that makes up the character of our leadership? Integrity? Work ethic? Core values?
Is there something significant that stands out giving credibility to leadership substance?
Can others see the substance of our leadership?
Only you and I can answer these questions for ourselves. The substance of spiritual leadership must not be self-centered, but others-centered. The quality that validates the importance of leadership is not built upon “I,” but “you.” The substance of good leadership is about “we.”
When our leadership is evaluated, we need to take advantage of the opportunity to ask ourselves hard questions to determine the substance of our leadership. This is where the true character of leadership is found.
As important and needed as leadership is today, it is worth our time to focus on the substance.
Advances in technology have just about changed every area of life; and it has affected avenues of leadership.
Technology is not backing off in the direction of the future. The development of technology influences every individual.
Therefore, leaders need to learn how best to use technology to assist in their leadership.
First, do not deny, reject, or excuse the technology that exists. The use of technology is not going away, nor is it slowing down. Hoping it will go away is an exercise in futility.
Second, be open to and take time to learn. I am not referring to being an expert, but it would serve leaders well to learn how to use the basics. Seek help.
Third, use areas of technology where followers are engaged. If they are using Facebook, then get on Facebook. It is amazing what is learned through the status posted by followers.
Fourth, always approach and use technology as a tool for building up others.
These four suggestions are a starting point. If we will use technology appropriately, it can be a tool of great influence for the kingdom. Think Souls!