Guaranteed Impact through Leadership (continued) #3 …

Courage is not the absence of fear but doing what is needed in spite of the fear or consequences. Courage is needed in leadership, without it there will be little impact. If those around you do not see your courage as you attempt to lead they will fall back instead of follow closely. We all want to know that our leaders are leading with courage, if not we assume they will disappear when things become difficult.

How does courage show up in leaders? It shows when …

-Courage is shown when … the leader is willing to take responsibility for the movement or lack thereof in the organization.

-Courage is shown when … the leader passes out praise generously and enthusiastically to people at all levels of the organization. This needs to be both privately and publically. Done publically it lifts those people in eyes of the whole organization. Done privately it shows the leader is aware of and cares about others and who they are as persons, not just as a part of the organization.

-Courage is shown when … the leader is willing to say “my bad” or “I am sorry” when they have made a poor decision or acted poorly. Apologies that are sincere go a long way in building strong connections with those to whom you have apologized. You have shown that you are know you are not perfect and are not pretending to be. You have given everyone permission to make honest mistakes. This will give great energy to the people around you in the organization.

-Courage is shown when … the leader is quick to say thank you. Thank you for your input, for your efforts, for your ideas, for your support, for your sacrifice and many more things. A thank you is one of the most cost effective things a leader can do in the organization. Everyone loves to be appreciated and to be acknowledged as having contributed. The cost is virtually nothing, but the benefit is tremendous.

-Courage is shown when … the leader makes decisions based on what is best for the organization and the people of the organization not just what makes him/her look best. In my first ministry position I was an Assistant Pastor to great mentor, Pastor Dave Engrecht, who consistently modeled this courage and urged me to make my decisions based on “What’s best for the body?” In other words, he was saying that we needed to always move forward with was best for the whole church/organization and with what matched our mission. People will work hard for a leader who consistently makes decisions in this manner.

Courage is needed to make an impact. This is not an exhaustive list, and many things on this list might seem trivial to some people, but they take courage and they reveal courage in those who will do them.

What would happen in your organization, your church, your family, or your friendships if you began to exercise these courageous actions? You can do them. Start with one. Then add another one a couple a of weeks later and so on. Then watch what happens. I know that you will begin to see great things taking place.

Here’s hoping you will take a next step in being courageous. Watch for more posts on making an impact through leadership coming soon.

Dennis

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Guaranteed Impact through your Leadership (continued) …

Compassion is defined in Webster’s dictionary as “sympathetic consciousness of other’s distress together with a desire to alleviate it”. What does compassion have to do with leadership? Leadership without compassion is nothing but a formula that might work in an organizational chart but will fail to create a desire to follow nor the desire to give the effort needed to make an impact.

It seems that we often neglect this part of leadership. If those you are attempting to lead do not sense compassion in you there will be little loyalty. Ask yourself if you have ever felt great loyalty to a person who seemed to be lacking compassion? This is especially true in churches and it is also true in any organization no matter their stated mission.

Some questions to ask in the area of Compassion …

-Does the language we use communicate about our organization indicate that we care for those we are trying to reach? Language is a powerful thing and the words or phrases you use in describing what your organization is about matters a great deal. If you are not communicating that you care about the people, or their perceived needs, you will fade away. Ask some people outside of your organization what they sense when they read, or hear, key words or phrases you use to promote your organization. Listen to what they tell you and take note of some words that may need to be changed. Then seek to change the word, or words to better reflect that you care.

-Ask internally if you are really seeking results that will make a difference in people’s lives? The flip side of that is, are we just seeking to build our organization? If you answer yes to the first and no to the second great! But if an honest evaluation indicates no to the first and yes to the second, you are in a crisis and you need to make some changes quickly.

-Ask if your intended desires, to help others, are truly being communicated? Then ask if your actions, and those of your organization, are reflecting your stated desires? Our actions tell the truth about what we intend.

-How well do you know the people you are seeking to lead? To show compassion you must know the people in your organization. How well do you know the people you are seeking to reach through your organization? You must know the people in order to create ministries, or products, that will truly have an impact on them. I am often in awe (in a bad way) when I hear people in leadership who do not know, or know very little, of those they are seeking to lead or influence. Get to know the people and their needs.

It is true that you can have great compassion and not make a real impact. Especially if your leadership lacks clarity, courage or commitment. However, it is a fact, that without compassion you will have little lasting impact.

Here’s hoping that you are saying and showing compassion for those around you. Those in, and those out, of your organization need to know that you care. Here’s hoping that you are known as a compassionate leader. Here’s hoping that your leadership and your organization makes an impact that is felt.

Next week I will write a couple more follow-ups to this idea of Leadership Impact.

Dennis

Guaranteed Impact through Your Leadership …

Impact – “to have a strong effect … on someone or something; to hit something with great force”. This is how Webster’s dictionary defines impact. The first part of the definition is what I am focusing on, though anyone in leadership has felt the urge to complete the second part. Last week I posted about “4 Keys to Guarantee that your Leadership has Impact”, this is the first follow-up to that post.

The first key to guaranteed impact in your leadership is Clarity:

-This means having a clear vision for your leadership, what to do and how to do it. It also means having a clear vision for their organization, group or church.

-This requires asking some simple, but not easy, questions. Such as, “Who are we as an organization?” and “What is our mission?” and “Who is really leading?”. The answers to these questions are something you must discover. Realize that you cannot have clarity until you have an answer to these questions.

-When you have an answer to the question of mission, begin to share it. Share in a raw form at first. That simply means begin to share it with your team even before you have it polished. In fact, if the mission is clear and resonates well your team can polish it. A huge mistake we leaders often make when it comes to sharing the mission is we wait to have it all polished up, and looking perfect, before we share it with anyone. That leads to getting bogged down in the polishing instead leading your organization into doing the mission. When we only working on polishing and not also on doing we become irrelevant in whatever we need to accomplish.

-In answering the question of “Who are we as an organization?” be sure to make this an honest evaluation. Measure your organization against the mission and get a hold of what you are and what you are not. Even if there are negatives discovered in this evaluation it can be a very positive experience. You are answering who you are so that you can lay out a clear path to get to where your vision is directing you. To lay out a path you must know where you are beginning as well as where you are headed.

-In leading for impact you must lead. This means being the leader, not the dictator or the pollster. It means to lead. Impactful leadership is never defined by position it is always defined by the influence and impact on the organization and the people around the organization. A person in a position of leadership that bosses people around from above or behind, pushing the people will never make an impact. They may inflict some pain, but they will not impact or influence the people around their organization. To influence and impact you must lead from among and in front.

-Some questions to ask in evaluating whether your leadership is influencing and impacting your organization and the people around it are … “Do the people around me get better?” “Do the people around me gain confidence in themselves and the organization as a result of my leadership?” (I don’t want people to only gain confidence in me as a leader, but I need them to gain confidence in themselves and our organization. If not then we will never get any further than I can carry them.) “Do people feel free to try new and innovative things without fearing loss of position?” “Are the people around me saying ‘we’ or ‘your’ when referring to our organization?”

Clarity is vital to any organization that is going to make an impact. This is especially true of churches.

Here’s hoping that you are seeing clearer than before you read this post. Here’s hoping that you will courageously lead with clarity. Here’s hoping that you will begin to see the impact of your leadership. Here’s hoping that if your evaluation was discouraging that you will find someone to talk with who will encourage you and help.

Watch for more posts on Impact Leadership coming soon.

Dennis