The Faithful Pacesetters

Learning leadership from those who led in the Bible

Archive for the tag “Communication”

Perception Is Reality

Bible Character: Jesus

Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi.  On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”  They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”

People held many misconceptions about Jesus.  If Jesus experienced this, it is fair to assume we are all susceptible.  Others’ perception of us often matters more than our own image of ourselves.  What we have created in our mind may be the truth, but it’s not always correct.

As a leader, how do we shape our image?

It’s Personal

Individuals view leadership from their perspective or department.  If you invest in only one area, which quite likely is the area you enjoy most, it will be noticed.  Your staff is observant, and soon they will sense you leaning stronger towards one area of interest.

Make yourself available as much as possible.  I know people that have a closed door policy…literally…and it instantly sends a message, “don’t bother me”.

Good Communication

Often people’s perception is misguided simply because we don’t communicate properly.  We may start a new policy within the organization, but if presented incorrectly, it will be viewed differently by the staff.  Perception soon turns the policy into a “negative” instead of the “positive” that you intended it to be.

Titles

What is the difference between being called “coach” and “Vice President?”  Can a title get in the way?

Jesus had a message from God that he was trying to get out to the people.  He knew that if he started by telling everyone he was the Christ, his audience would have been distracted from his teachings.  Similarly, we can’t let titles get in the way of your overall leadership message.

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Why are Charismatic Leaders so Inspirational?

Bible Character: David

David was small in stature, just a boy, but he possessed more courage than any other man in Saul’s army. His actions and words inspired those around him.

Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground. 1 Samuel 17:49 NIV

Confidence

A charismatic leader has little room for doubt. Confidence in themselves and in the goals of the organization takes precedence. David displayed no uncertainty when he faced Goliath.

Vision

An essential characteristic of creating change is having vision. Charismatic leaders have a way creating eagerness towards accomplishing long term organizational goals. David’s vision went well beyond his lifetime, with one of his greatest dreams being fulfilled by his son Solomon when he built the temple.

Communication

Charismatic leaders are generally considered great communicators.   Using a sports analogy – would you prefer a coach that is really mellow before a game, or do you prefer a coach whose pre-game speech is so passionate that it fuels your inner fire and desire?

Results

David got results! Some of his contributions included many military victories, great economic growth, and widespread building development. He accomplished this all with God’s blessing.

So what can go wrong?

In the spring of the year, the time when kings normally go out to do battle, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel. They devastated the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. 2 Samuel 11:1 NIV

Even though the Israelites won this particular battle, they began to miss David’s enthusiasm. A leader that depends purely on charisma runs the risk of the organization depending too much on their personality.  

The Real Value of an Annual Evaluation is…

Bible Character: Paul

Sometime later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” Acts 15:36 NIV

Paul wanted to assess how the churches he planted were producing. His assessments went beyond just communicating the positive and negatives…it was about relationship building.

A Unique Time

There is something special about the minutes spent during a review. Even though we constantly lend feedback throughout the year, the moments during an evaluation are unique. The staff member gets feedback on their performance and also has a chance to give some of their observations. Communication is a two way street.

Investment

We have expectations that when we invest in someone they will grow. If you can’t spend the short time it takes to do an evaluation, you might not get the positive results you’re looking for from the people you lead. Individuals want feedback on their performance, especially if it’s good.

Relationship

Paul cared greatly for the churches and how they were doing. Developing mutual support for each other was also important to him. It may be a stretch to view an evaluation this way, but even when delivering a negative review, progressive steps towards open communication and support for each other can be further advanced.

Paul understood the importance of traveling to the churches and personally reviewing their progress.

This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority – the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down. 2 Corinthians 10 NIV

Is it Gray or Grey? Leadership is often not Black or White

Bible Character: Jesus

But they remained silent.  He looked around at them in anger, and deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.  Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.  Mark 3: 5-6 NIV

Jesus healed on the Sabbath…and that was “technically” against the rules.

A good leader realizes not all situations can be treated as black or white.  The Pharisees wanted to make all decisions based on a rule of law that had been previously established; with no room for gray.

Strength

Jesus showed strength by healing a man on the Sabbath.  Jesus was more concerned about the individual than the rules, even with the realization that he could potentially lose his life for it.

Effective leaders survey the situation and make the best decision for all involved, and many times it is not clearly black or white.

Negotiation

The key verse before Jesus healed on the Sabbath is Mark 3: 4.  Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” NIV

He gave them the opportunity to understand the predicament he was in and why he would perform this miracle, but they remained silent.  He sought open communication with them so they would not be exasperated.  Sometimes people don’t care what the reason is for your decision; they just see that you broke the rules.

It is frustrating to those you lead if you constantly change the rules and do not support employees, but that must be balanced with making sensible decisions.

Execute The Plan

Bible Character:  Joshua

God gave specific instructions to Joshua in regards to the battle of Jericho.  Although those instructions may not have involved the traditional of war tactics, Joshua executed the plan just as God had instructed.

March around the city once with all the armed men.  Do this for six days…On the seventh day, march around the city seven times…then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in.  Joshua 6:3-5

How often have we had great plans, but the execution fails?  What are some ways to make sure a plan is completed?

Trusting the Plan

A leader must trust in the plan that has been developed, but difficulties arise when other organizational members don’t have “buy in.”   How many of Joshua’s people questioned why they had to keep walking around Jericho every day? 

Present-day leaders encounter similar challenges when acting on a plan.  Humankind possesses a natural tendency to question.

Give it the Proper Tools

Sometimes we have a plan, and even full buy-in from the team, but lack the tools needed to complete the task.  Nothing is more frustrating for individuals in an organization when directions are given, expectations established, but resources don’t align to complete the objectives.

This failure may even happen without management even knowing about the lack of resources.  Setting up a good communication system is vital to maintaining the proper materials for the task.

Joshua trusted in the Lord’s plan, even equipping his people with the ark of the Lord! On the seventh day of marching around Jericho the walls fell down and the city was delivered to the Israelites. 

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