Are You Ready for Shared Leadership?

Shared Leadership Dr Bill I am a proponent of a flatter leadership culture. I believe in teamwork, shared responsibility, very little hierarchy and a more collaborative approach. Not only does it work – it works better. While a number of leadership “gurus” continue to act and teach like the Big Dog Leader model is a given (most then are well over age 50), a rising groundswell of leaders are opting out of the model. They are dropping like flies from organizations that thrive on hierarchy and the Command and Control model espoused at most Leadership Conferences.

So I am thrilled to see the changes that are coming. But here’s the question…

 

Are we – are YOU — ready for shared leadership?

 

Here are a few things that shared leadership implies. And you might have a few more so join the conversation.

1)    Shared leadership means shared blame. Ok, I know that you intellectually agree, but are you willing to take your share of the heat when things get hot? Or even more than your share?  When I coach organizations building a flatter leadership structure, the “underlings” are thrilled to be handed an oar or two, to row with the crew.  But I wonder if they are just as willing to grab a bucket when the boat takes on water in the storm? Are you willing to take the criticism, the blame for the loss or the downturn, or be confronted about the misfire?

2)    Shared leadership means deeper communication more often.  The more people involved in a process the more talking you need to do. That might mean more emails, more updates, more quick “check-in” meetings like Lencioni advocates in Death by Meeting. You ready for that?

3)    Shared Leadership means longer decision-making. I think this is generally good, but it takes some getting used to. I would advocate that, in the long run, you get better decisions and have less “clean up” to do when the solo leader goes rogue and makes a lousy hire or a bad decision “from the gut” (which is often code for “Let’s do it my way because I’m always right and I am in control). But decisions by a team take longer than solo leadership decisions.

4)    Shared Leadership means giving in and sometimes giving up. Of course, “real leaders” NEVER give up. Mandela is a great one to speak to this. In his book “Mandela’s Way” he has a chapter entitled, “Leading from the Back.” You need to read it. It comes after “Leading from the Front” so he is not opposed to being our front at times. But a willingness to step back and let other leaders have their way is an art that requires patience, trust and humility – a quality lacking in many “Big Dog” leaders. Are you ready to play second fiddle…or no fiddle at all?

5)    Share Leadership means shared success. Are you ready to share the glory, the rewards, the perks, the status symbols, and the “corner” office(s)? Many are not. If you have worked in a place where many people work longer and harder than the “point leader” but they get the special trips, income, organizational resources, power, freedom, vacation time, public recognition, and “benefit of the doubt” when stuff goes wrong, you know how that feels. It is a real demoralizing situation, especially when they pretend to be “a leader among equals” which again is code for “let’s share the problems but I get the goodies.” So are you willing to share the goodies equally among the leadership team? Even bonuses, and other rewards? We’ll see.

 

Shared leadership is more than an ideal. It is a commitment to becoming a real community of leaders with mutual accountability, vision, goals, trust, responsibility, blame and rewards.

 

It takes work, but it is really worth it. The team is stronger, the cause is more compelling, the results last longer and the process of “leadership succession” is virtually seamless, because there is no “mega-leader” to replace with another one. Instead, the team grows, changes, and new leaders are added as others move on. It is driven by much more than a person.

 

Are you ready for that?

 

Conflict Navigation – 6 Steps You Cannot Ignore

Conflict Navigation Dr. Bill DonahueI was talking with my son on the phone about a situation he was facing – a conflict between two members of a group that was affecting the entire group of eight. So, instead of having their regular gathering, the two members plus three from the group gathered to work it out together.

As he described what happened and how they chose to handle it, I realized they were wise about how they approached the situation and resolved it. And it reminded me of some principles of conflict navigation that every team, group and leader should be aware of. I have practiced and taught this for years.

 

 

1 – Start Soon: The temptation to avoid conflict often leads to not facing it at all. People put it off so long they figure, “That’s water under the bridge, now. Let’s just move on.” Or they think, “Maybe it will fix itself.” I guarantee that never happens. Don’t let things go on so long that deep-seated feelings and anger start boiling under the lid. The next time there is a disagreement among members this pot is going to blow! You don’t have to act immediately; let emotions calm down, get a clear head, clarify what you want to say, and then in 24-48 hours deal with it.

 

2- Meet Face to Face: Not email, not texting, not writing a long heart-felt letter. The impersonal approach makes it difficult to have a conversation, read feelings, respond “in the moment” and intercept misperceptions before a long trail of emails or texts gets established. Have a cup of coffee and work it out.

 

3- Affirm the Relationship: Be genuine and let the other party (or parties) know that you are there for them, you want to restore health to the relationship or team, and that you value them. Name some positive contributions or attitudes you see, and remind them that “You matter to us/me and that is why we need to meet and remove this barrier to our friendship/work.” This let’s them know you really want to work this out and move on. You are not finger-pointing just to “win” or be “right” – rather, you want restoration.

 

4- Make Observations not Accusations: Avoid “you” language and use “I” language. “You are a liar” is just going to add fuel to the fire. Better to say, “Twice I heard you say that you would make that phone call Tuesday, and now it is Thursday and the client is frustrated. I am concerned about that relationship.” OR, “Yesterday when you and I were arguing I felt attacked for my opinion. I heard you say some very harsh words and it hurt me. We need to talk this through.” Stick with, “I saw, I heard, I felt” language and then let them respond.

 

5- Get the Facts and Listen: Once you have taken a minute or two to make your comments, listen and ask, “Do you understand what I saw/felt/heard and why that is causing a problem?” Make sure you hear their words as well as their emotions. Clarify, repeat what they are saying to show you are listening, and make an effort to show you understand their side. (Same thing if you are the third party – make sure to two people in conflict have heard each other by making them say what they heard. DO NOT assume they listened, and do not simply ask for a yes-or-no response to the question, “Did you hear what Susan was saying?”

 

6- Promote Resolution: “Ok, so where do we go from here? Let’s find a way we can move forward. What do you need to take place? Here is what I need.” It may take some time to fully restore a relationship, especially if the conflict was bad and harsh things were don or said. But at least you can get the “issue” resolved, agree to move ahead, and determine a plan for continuing to process the damage, as needed. Avoid the extremes of dragging it out or trying to “clean it all up” in a hurry just because it is painful. You will regret wither approach. Stay in the process and move toward resolution.

 

 

Some good resources to use are:

 

Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott – http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_10?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=fierce+conversations&sprefix=fierce+con%2Caps%2C189

 

Caring Enough to Confront, by David Augsburger

http://www.amazon.com/Caring-Enough-Confront-Understand-Feelings/dp/0830746498/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1367931301&sr=1-1&keywords=caring+enough+to+confront+by+david+augsburger

Leadership Lessons from the Iron Lady

I was saddened to hear of the passing of former Prime Minister of England, Margaret Thatcher. We need more leaders like Margaret – both men and women. Listen to her speeches and look at what she accomplished and there is much there to inspire any leader.

Margaret Thatcher

The following is a list of 5 leadership lessons from the Iron Lady.

 

1)     Be willing to do what others say cannot be done. She turned an economy around by throwing out the heavily socialist policies and practices in a system controlled by oppressive unions and special interest money-grubbers. Garbage piled high in the streets and Britain limped along. And then came Margaret: bold and willing to tackle the impossible. She removed business subsidies from the government in favor of more free markets, causing high unemployment at first. And she took a lot of heat.

 

2)     Never let your current status define your future progress. Or as some say, never let your label determine your level. Many looked down on her because she was a woman, and others because she was outspoken (not highbrow enough for some of the Downtown Abbey types of her day.) Politics was really not a woman’s place. Until Margaret showed up.

 

3)     Speak the truth – especially the harsh realities. When I hear the spin that comes through so many media outlets today it is a wonder we can find the truth after all the massaging done to the message. Margaret was savvy, to be sure. But when it was time to speak and let the chips fall, she did. And many did not like it. But it changed the world, especially when confronting communism and facing the financial depression of her day.

 

4)     Do what’s right – there will be a cost. When she led the British to invade the Falklands, it was highly criticized. But it was a gutsy move and her popularity (low at the time) got a huge boost after she defended her countrymen and she won a landslide re-election.  Later however, when she tried to impose a poll tax, it hurt her and she was drummed out of office by her own party. Some things never change. But she never let political opinions define her. She was her own woman.  http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/08/world/europe/uk-margaret-thatcher-dead/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

 

5)     Be graceful in defeat, charitable in victory, but always grounded in principle. You win some and lose some. But stick to your principles: integrity, courage, serving the people, finding your own voice, and facing criticism with tact.

 

Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady – a nickname the communists respectfully gave her after her 1976 speech – helped bring down the Iron Curtain. Her determination and resolve were a reflection of her greatness, and her grace and wit were expressions of her poise and humility. Yes, she had her moments – some found her a bit arrogant later, allowing her smashing success go to her head. Perhaps so. Few leaders seem to avoid that hubris.

 

But despite her flaws – the kind we see in ourselves and in all leaders – we can celebrate her character, leadership and courageous will to do the right thing. Even in the midst of great opposition, including a terrorist attack on her life.

 

Margaret – may your tribe increase. We can learn much from your leadership today, especially in politics, church and business. We need more leaders like you. I want to be more like you.

So while some of us fantasize about having The Iron Man on our team, I’ll take The Iron Lady any day of the week.

 

 

Image Sources: via http://www.cnn.com

By Oli Scarff (GETTY Images)

Leading through Change and Chaos

Leading through Change and Chaos – Graph Detail

Referred to in Video

Leading through Change and Chaos

 

 

Leading through Change and Chaos – Transcribed

Hey talking today about the tension leaders face in managing chaos in change. Both of those things are inherent in any group or team or organization that’s moving forward to accomplish its mission.

If you’re looking to create high change in other words new initiatives, new risks, new vision you’re looking for Entrepreneurial Leaders.

If you look on the diagram that accompanies this video you’ll see I put them in the upper left-hand corner. Because they are high change-oriented people and really don’t like a lot of chaos. They create a lot of chaos but they don’t thrive in the chaos because there are too many details flying around and sort of stall them. But they love change, they love the new initiative. They love a blank sheet of paper to try the new sales territory, to create a new product, to think of the new ministry initiative if you’re in ministry work. These are people that say,” Hey, go out and try this or explore this or give us some fresh ideas of thinking in that area,” so entrepreneurial leadership is essential to push change forward.

At the opposite corner the lower right you’ll see Managerial type Leader.

Managerial leaders are needed to manage the chaos created by the entrepreneurial types. They bring structure, order, some systems in place, management kinds of initiatives needed. They sort of bring some control to the chaos that’s been created. You don’t want to stifle change but the chaos that gets created can really disrupt an organization if not dealt with over time. It can wear people down and it can create some pretty crazy environments as you know. So as you start to create new initiatives you say what structures need to be brought into that to make sure that initiative continues to move forward, so managerial leaders are great for that.

If you look at the lower left-hand corner you’re looking at someone I would call a Stabilizer type of Leader or that kind of style.

In ministry work people call this the shepherding or the pastoral style of leadership, it’s low chaos, low change. These people are best, and they are leaders, but they’re best at bringing stability to an organization or to a team or to a group. They put some systems in place, they make sure the vision is being carried out appropriately; they hold dear the values of an organization and make sure those things aren’t compromised as you create new change and as you manage the chaos. Often areas of accounting, finance, maybe HR but these are areas that bring some stability to an organization or group when they have to be led well.

The fourth one in the upper right-hand corner would be the Strategist who has to bring tension or manage the tension between the chaos and the change, make decisions about how resources are allocated to foster the change or the new initiative, but also has to know what needs to be managed and who needs to be managing it.

So the strategic leaders are directional type leader saying okay where do we invest what we have into what areas, we want to keep things moving forward but we want to make sure we make the right decisions and put the right strategies in place.

So as you manage chaos and change think, “What kind of leadership style do we need for what areas or group or organization, and what kind of leadership style do I have that contributes to forwarding the mission where I work?”

Leading for the Long Haul

Leading for the long haul.

 

Leading for the Long Haul – Transcribed

I want to talk to you today about staying power in leadership or … resiliency.

How do we stay healthy while leading for the long haul?

Well this is a topic we continue to need to pay attention as leaders because the pressures that we face. Whether you’re leading students as a teacher whether you’re leading groups or teams, you’re a CEO, you’re a pastor, whatever, it doesn’t matter resiliency is critical to long-term effectiveness. I recently was talking with some leaders about some research that they’re still in the midst of and still refining but it was primarily with non-profit leaders and church leaders but as we looked at it we realized it applied to not only all leaders but to all people. So I’m going to talk about six areas that were emerging from that study that they’re in the midst of that they are discovering that if you don’t pay attention to these you can really get into trouble.

 

The first one was just personal growth your own formation, your own development, your own sense of character formation.

Leaders need to pay attention to what’s happening in our souls, are we centered, are we clear, do we know what we believe and why, do we pay attention to those areas of weakness, are we aware of some things about us that kind of bump up against others and so that we’re cautious and were careful about how we relate how we talk which is paying attention to character. That was number one.

 

Number two is self-care.

The idea that we don’t eat well, we don’t sleep enough, we don’t exercise enough, we don’t control sort of our boundaries in our margin in our life and that the self-care issue is one of the main ones that seems to emerge for leaders and people in particular. Busy, crazy lifestyles keep us from the appropriate care. I’m doing this from home cuz I’m taking actually about four or five days off right now. I’m getting ready to I’m getting ready in couple hours to hop onto a plane for some vacation time with my family. So I’m looking forward to a little self-care time it’s essential as a person and as a leader.

 

Another one is emotional intelligence.

I know it’s a phrase kicked around a lot. Maybe Intelligent intelligence isn’t the best word sometimes but it’s paying attention to relationships and emotional health, how we deal with anger, how we deal with fear, how we deal with loss in our life, broken relationships that affect us, are paying attention to those things. And are we paying attention on how we relate to people on our team and in the marketplace or the church or wherever we work? Are we emotionally savvy are we relationally savvy with others?

 

Forth one was cultural intelligence.

Knowing what’s going on around us, knowing the issues that are shaping our world, knowing the issues that are shaping the context in which we work? What’s the culture of like, what are the ethical and moral issues, where are the trends, what  are the things we need to be paying attention to as we understand that were engaging culture at all times. We’re either trying to sell something to the culture, trying to learn something from the culture and sometimes we operate in a vacuum and can’t do that.

 

The fifth one was marriage and family, paying attention to those close dear relationships in our lives.

Neglected marriage and family a main, main killer of leaders and people in general and will wear you down if that’s not healthy and keep you from being a resilient leader.

 

And number six was just leadership and management skills.

Particularly those in the non-profit area sometimes lead with passion but not with leadership savvy and skills. So we need to be managers of our teams and our organizations, know how to do that well and have the skills necessary to do it and we need to be able to lead effectively not just believe in what we’re doing that have good leadership skills.

 

So look at those six areas and see … Where is that I need some growth? What do I need to pay attention to? Jot em down on a list and look at them frequently because they will help you stay in the game for the long haul.

Four Marks of Authentic Community

While I’m in the process of teaching a class on what is authentic Christian community and we focus on four marks of authentic community, of that the first is to know and be known. I call this storytelling, some people would call it self- disclosure but the idea is to open up my life to you as you open up your life to me. You know we have a deep desire to be known and to know others but things stand in the way, there are barriers.

Four Marks of Authentic Community

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four Marks of Authentic Community – Transcribed

While I’m in the process of teaching a class on what is authentic Christian community and we focus on four marks of authentic community, of that the first is to know and be known. I call this storytelling, some people would call it self- disclosure but the idea is to open up my life to you as you open up your life to me. You know we have a deep desire to be known and to know others but things stand in the way, there are barriers.

It’s usually fear, fear being misunderstood, fear of being shamed that my story isn’t valuable to you or maybe I’d bring some hurts and wounds from the past and you can’t accept them or when you hear about those you say, “Whoa, what is that about you?” so I’m worried that you’ll judge me, maybe I’ve had bad experiences in relationships in the past. So lots of fears or barriers might stand in the way but our deep desire is to be known and to tell a story to others and to hear their stories so that we can know them better. So carve out a place and some time to know and be known whether it’s on your team or in your small group or whatever. That idea that we need to carve out a place and whether it’s in a group setting or at a meal or an extended time together at a retreat but we need a place and then we need some time together. Community doesn’t happen quickly and so if we can devote some extended time to telling our stories and getting to know each other it’s a big step to building community.

A second of one is to love and be loved, to express love and receive love. Gary Chapman in The Five Love Languages book, years ago picked five areas we can do that in. With words, because some people are words people they need to hear or see in writing that you care about them, that you appreciate them. Some people are touched people, they need a hug or handshake or you know, that punch in the arm or something but that the touch is important that says I connect with you, I care about you and I know you care about me. For some it’s gifts, actual tangible things, “Hey, here’s a book I want to lend to you” or “I heard this great music on this CD I want to give you” or maybe you were traveling and you said “Hey I thought you while I was traveling and I picked up this little object here this token of my appreciation for who you are” that little iconic sort of thing represents your affection for them and that gift is something they can look at it see if they feel cared for. Service is another one, just doing acts of service, serving others, doing the little things to encourage them and lift them up, do chores for them do the hard things in their life for them, help them with their taxes or whatever. And then finally time, just spending time together is another way to say “Hey, I care about you I love you, I’m glad you’re in my life.

A third one is to serve in the served. To use our gifts, abilities and talents for the sake of others in our group and outside of our group in the world around us and to be served by people to let them serve us appropriately. That exchange builds a sense of bonding and encouragement and oneness. And then finally to celebrate and be celebrated, everybody loves to be affirmed and encouraged.

I have to think today, how can I affirm and celebrate and encourage others in my group, on my team, in my world? So, take some time to know and be known. Think of some ways to express love and receive it. Find some aspects of your talents, gifts and abilities that you can share with others and serve them and be served by them. And then be thinking… “How can I encourage someone today, how can I build them up by celebrating who they are and allowing myself to be celebrated by them as they do the same for me?”

Leadership Transitions – 4 Realities to Navigate

I’d like to talk to you today about leadership transitions.

 

« Leadership Friction Leadership Transitions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leadership Transitions – 4 Realities to Navigate – Transcribed

 

I’d like to talk to you today about leadership transitions. Even as I speak three major ones have taken place in my world and in our world even in the last two weeks. We have had a president of our university announced his resignation, a transition that will be happening in leadership up here. The second one is a global and huge one and that is the election of a new pope which is a great and huge transition for the Roman Catholic Church. And finally, a friend of mine just moved from one nonprofit organization that’s quite substantive to leading an even larger global nonprofit organization and is in the process of that transition. Transitions happen and there are things that affect us, affect our teams, affect our groups, and affect our leadership. So I’ll make a few comments about this and then I’d like to do a little more writing and blogging about this over the perhaps weeks and months ahead from time to time because I think it’s such a huge and essential area to understand in your leadership.

 

First of all transitions our normal they occur in everyday life both in family and in relationships as well of course in organizations and institutions and that’s the first thing for leaders to do is name that reality that this transition is normal. It’s not odd it’s going to happen again at some point in time so let’s learn from it now. I’ve learned a lot from William Bridges in his book Transitions, Making Sense of Life’s Changes. Bridges advocates kind of a process through which transitions go and that sort of my second team it’s not just that they are normal, they have sort of a pattern to them and they have an ending, a period of uncertainty and a new beginning. That’s how Bridges describes it. There’s this sense of what is the ending how do we process that what is this transition time of awkwardness that he calls the neutral zone and then what about going into the future into the new beginning? Sometimes these things overlap sometimes there’s great distance between the ending and the new beginning. The point is to recognize that there’s a pattern to change and transitions. So let’s process ending’s well, do the relational work we need to do, make sure things are closed out, let’s not leave a lot of loose cannons. Make sure things are as best as we can leave them as we leave and not leave things in a mess, it’s really awkward in an organizational when a leader just takes off and leaves a mess behind. To have integrity in this is the process the ending well but also to live in the ambiguity of the uncertainty before the new fully gets functioning.  It’s an awkward time so we need a name that reality as well.

 

Another thing about transitions is they can be highly emotional in an organization or relationship. That can create anger, frustration, sadness, disappointment and some people don’t understand why the leader is leaving even if it’s for great and legitimate reasons. Sometimes a leader leaves under darker circumstances that create a lot. Sometimes it’s a very positive change even for the leader but that’s emotional too even the joy and the enthusiasm can create some awkwardness. So it’s important for you to allow your people or people in the process to process the emotion, journal it down, create a meeting or retreat or environment to sort of get things off your chest. Don’t ignore the emotional components, don’t try to stuff all that, you’ll just simply create tension in the organization that you do not need.

 

And finally, when transitions are processed well they’re great times for personal growth and change even though it doesn’t feel that way in the moment. Those periods of ambiguity and frustration challenge our leadership. We are required to step forward. Just talked to a friend yesterday where a leader was leaving a small organization. His comment was, “Everyone in the organization has stepped up to a new level to make that organization work well until the next leader comes in. I think that’s healthy, we get new responsibilities we take new ownership. So if we process transitions well we can learn from them, grow in them and help our groups, our institutions, our teams function more effectively.

 

Even as I speak three major ones have taken place in my world and in our world even in the last two weeks. We have had a president of our university announced his resignation, a transition that will be happening in leadership up here. The second one is a global and huge one and that is the election of a new pope which is a great and huge transition for the Roman Catholic Church. And finally, a friend of mine just moved from one nonprofit organization that’s quite substantive to leading an even larger global nonprofit organization and is in the process of that transition. Transitions happen and there are things that affect us, affect our teams, affect our groups, and affect our leadership. So I’ll make a few comments about this and then I’d like to do a little more writing and blogging about this over the perhaps weeks and months ahead from time to time because I think it’s such a huge and essential area to understand in your leadership.

 

First of all transitions our normal they occur in everyday life both in family and in relationships as well of course in organizations and institutions and that’s the first thing for leaders to do is name that reality that this transition is normal. It’s not odd it’s going to happen again at some point in time so let’s learn from it now. I’ve learned a lot from William Bridges in his book Transitions, Making Sense of Life’s Changes. Bridges advocates kind of a process through which transitions go and that sort of my second team it’s not just that they are normal they have sort of a pattern to them and they have an ending, a period of uncertainty and a new beginning. That’s how Bridges describes it. There’s this sense of what is the ending how do we process that what is this transition time of awkwardness that he calls the neutral zone and then what about going into the future into the new beginning? Sometimes these things overlap sometimes there’s great distance between the ending and the new beginning. The point is to recognize that there’s a pattern to change and transitions. So let’s process ending’s well, do the relational work we need to do, make sure things are closed out, let’s not leave a lot of loose cannons. Make sure things are as best as we can leave them as we leave and not leave things in a mess, it’s really awkward in an organizational when a leader just takes off and leaves a mess behind. To have integrity in this is the process the ending well but also to live in the ambiguity of the uncertainty before the new fully gets functioning.  It’s an awkward time so we need a name that reality as well.

 

Another thing about transitions is they can be highly emotional in an organization or relationship. That can create anger, frustration, sadness, disappointment and some people don’t understand why the leader is leaving even if it’s for great and legitimate reasons. Sometimes a leader leaves under darker circumstances that create a lot. Sometimes it’s a very positive change even for the leader but that’s emotional too even the joy and the enthusiasm can create some awkwardness. So it’s important for you to allow your people or people in the process to process the emotion, journal it down, create a meeting or retreat or environment to sort of get things off your chest. Don’t ignore the emotional components, don’t try to stuff all that, you’ll just simply create tension in the organization that you do not need.

 

And finally, when transitions are processed well they’re great times for personal growth and change even though it doesn’t feel that way in the moment. Those periods of ambiguity and frustration challenge our leadership. We are required to step forward. Just talked to a friend yesterday where a leader was leaving a small organization. His comment was, “Everyone in the organization has stepped up to a new level to make that organization work well until the next leader comes in. I think that’s healthy, we get new responsibilities we take new ownership. So if we process transitions well we can learn from them, grow in them and help our groups, our institutions, our teams function more effectively.

 

We would like to encourage your feedback as it helps us to identify the issues that are important to you. It also helps others who are searching to develop new creative ways of leading. Thank you in advance for your comments.

Leadership Friction

I want to talk about leadership friction.

Leadership Friction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I want to talk about leadership friction. Transcribed

You know friction like when we rub our hands together on a cold day gives us warmth, but when you rub those same hands against sandpaper … goes beyond warmth to something destructive. So too much friction, too much banging up against each other as leaders trying to get something done causes some problems wherever we work. I see three areas in which leadership friction develops and I’d like to address those.

 

  1. The first is conflicting personalities and we all know we have different personalities and those tend to bump up against one another, the proverbial abrasive personality the person that just seems to “rob us the wrong way” a kind of interesting expression. They kinda get too much into our space or they just seem to push too hard or their words are more toxic than supportive and instead of just challenging us they kinda get abusive with language or demeaning with language. These can be abrasive personalities and that certainly can rub up against other leaders saying, “Whoa, you know, where you coming off here?”
  2. Sometimes it’s the direct person, the person who’s eager to simply communicate faxed and data or to tell you what to do with their supervisor. “Bob make three sales calls by three o’clock and report back to me.” “Susan, can you put that over there?” “Steve, I need to set up two meetings.” They never smile, they never crack a joke, they are just always direct and they don’t see this as abrasive but constant just pure direct can feel like a little bit of a poke over and over and over and begin to clash with other maybe warmer personalities in the leadership circle.
  3. Then there’s the condescending or elitist type person, again may not recognize it fully. They tend to look down on us so they tend to feel superior because of the performance or socioeconomic background, maybe there’s racial stuff going on. The point is they kind of look down there nose a little bit and that kind of personality robs up against those of us to don’t like that and we may perceive that that’s some sort of a one-upsmanship going on.

 

I also see some things that cause friction around contrasting styles of leadership. Bill Hybels did some good work in Courageous Leadership, a book he wrote about a decade ago to focus on ten kinds of leadership styles that he observes. And it’s important to look at those, matter of fact we’ve posted as you can see them on the site.

You have people for example with visionary styles or entrepreneurial or re-engineering styles go-getter start-up take the hill those kinds of styles, bumping up against people that are bridge-building, team building, collaborative, encouraging, motivational styles. So different styles of leaders can bump up against one another by virtue of we just lead differently. Now, we might get the same result done but we go about different ways but our styles can cause a little friction.

A third area is just competing visions in other words we see things differently. Get a group of leaders together in a circle and some may report to others or whatever but when you get those leaders in a circle they all have a sense of vision, there are all leaders, and they see a future that can happen and it may not be the same. One way to help with that a little bit I say is being together is seeing together. There is something about working on vision collaboratively that really helps that process and create more unity around the vision verses we each individually come with our own separate view of reality and then compete with one another to see whose vision wins.

So these are areas I see of friction or tension developing. How you address it, it’s pretty simple but it takes work and it’s simply saying let’s look at the strengths of each of these. What are the strengths that my vision brings? What are the strengths I bring in my style of leadership? What are the strengths I bring in my personality? And what do each of you bring? Focus on strengths, not the differences that kind of rub us a bit but let’s say okay the driver what’s good about that personality? The leadership style that’s team building what’s a strength we can leverage to get the job done from your leadership because your that kind of leader?

So work on your strengths, leverage those together, name the realities of the tension that you see and the friction that may be there and then get on the strengths side and see if that helps you lead better as a group of leaders.

 

We would like to encourage your feedback as it helps us to identify the issues that are important to you. It also helps others who are searching to develop new creative ways of leading. Thank you in advance for your comments.

Leadership Styles and Leveraging Yours

Bill Hybels in Courageous Leadership lists 10 Leadership Styles he has observed in leaders.

Many possess more than one style, but often there is a primary style or a cluster of 2-3 that stand out. As you look at each of these, ask yourself, “What style(s) most describes my approach to leadership?”  If you truly are courageous, pass this along to teammates and fellow leaders (or a mentor) and ask them to choose the style(s) that best describes you. These are defined with Christian leadership in mind (especially Pastoral Leadership), most apply to any leadership context in which you might find yourself.

 

The 10 Leadership Styles:

Visionary Leader 

Has a crystal clear picture of the vision, is enthusiastic about the vision, casts the vision continually, is future oriented and believes the vision will occur if you discuss it enough. Not easily discouraged by set-backs, defections, etc. Gifts of faith, evangelism, prophecy.

 

Directional Leader 

Has the innate ability to choose the right path at critical moments. These moments can paralyze an organization, but these figures can do the right thing at the right time. This type of leader may or may not be a public figure. Sorts through the complexity of mission, resources, personnel, timing, external forces, etc. to make the right decision. Gifts of discernment, word of wisdom.

 

Strategic Leader 

Has the ability to breakdown the vision to a series of sequential, achievable steps. Followers respond when they see progress toward the vision by achieving these steps. Develops a game plan that all the players can understand and find their place in. Keeps the organization on cadence and aligned. Fights off fads and vision drift by highlighting the “fundamentals.” Gifts of teaching, discernment.

 

Managing Leader 

Able to organize the people, process, systems, and resources to achieve the vision. Monitors the whole system and measures progress according to appropriate mile-markers. Manages and analyzes details, sees critical resource shortages, etc. The natural complement to (and sometimes adversary of) the visionary. Gifts of administration, helps.

 

Motivational/Inspirational Leader 

Has the gift of inspiration and can transfer that to followers. Has the ability to know who needs training, encouragement, cheering on, refocusing and, when morale sinks, they think of new ways to inspire their followers. Sees lack of morale as a challenge to inspire rather than a defeat. Into “hanging”, training, helping people review and reflect. Gifts of exhortation, pastoring.

 

Shepherding Leader 

Has the ability to build a team (usually slowly), and the leader cares so deeply for the team and builds a strong sense of community. The vision gets accomplished because the team wants to respond to the leader’s love. Gifts of pastoring, exhortation, mercy, healing.

 

Team Building Leader (Talent Scout) 

Knows the vision and has a plan to achieve it, but understands that it takes a team of leaders to achieve it. Has the ability to put the right people in the right positions to achieve the right objective. This leader is driven by their insight into people. Values the precise placement of gifts/people for the achievement of the mission. Maximizes each

individuals greatest gifts and recruits others to fill the holes. Gifts of discernment, exhortation.

 

Entrepreneurial Leader 

Possesses some of the all of the listed styles, but functions optimally in a start-up mode. Once the organization gets too complex, this leader loses energy, focus and confidence and starts to look toward the next thing to start. Gifts of faith.

 

Re-Engineering Leader 

Possesses some of the above listed styles , but their challenge is to turn around an organization. Loves to find a situation that had bad leadership and revitalize it. Once an organization is fixed, they may or may not want to continue to lead. Keeps what is best of historic values, structures, etc. and is able to bring the fresh direction that the organization needs. Adept at change dynamics, refocusing and healing individuals, bringing in new players, etc. Gifts of pastoring, healing, discernment.

 

Bridge Building Leader 

Ability to bring a wide variety of people together. This leader is diplomatic and negotiates well. Has the ability to persuade each group to feel like they are getting their individual needs met while the entire entity achieves its vision. Works to bring a wide variety of constituents together so a complex organization can achieve its mission. This leader loves to work with a very wide variety of people and be the advocate for all of them.

 

How does your style interact with other leaders on your team? What kind of leadership is required now, and who are the right people to bring that leadership to the issues you face?

 

NOTE: For the full explanation of each style, here is the extended 6-page article by Bill Hybels

http://www.buildingchurchleaders.com/articles/1998/le-8l1-8l1084.html

 

 

We would like to encourage your feedback as it helps us to identify the issues that are important to you. It also helps others who are searching to develop new creative ways of leading. Thank you in advance for your comments.

Burnout Warning Signs

Burnout Warning Signs Image of a man at a desk Some years ago good friend of mine pointed out some signs of erosion or warning signs on the pathway to burn out, pointed them out to me and a number of leaders. It really resonated with me. I actually taught them at a conference I was at recently. I shared with a group of leaders those same warning signs and it resonated with them. I think they will resonate with you and I want to cover three of them that are indicators that you may be drifting toward burnout.

 

 

 

 

Burnout Warning Signs – Transcribed

Some years ago good friend of mine pointed out some signs of erosion or warning signs on the pathway to burn out, pointed them out to me and a number of leaders. It really resonated with me. I actually taught them at a conference I was at recently. I shared with a group of leaders those same warning signs and it resonated with them. I think they will resonate with you and I want to cover three of them that are indicators that you may be drifting toward burnout. The first one is words without action. “Hey let’s do lunch we will have to get together on that.” “Hey, I will call you next week.” “My team will have to get together and discuss that.” “You know someone needs to put a strategy retreat together or a planning session.” “Yeah, we’ll do that; I’ll get back to you on that.” All of this sort of activity in words and clichés with no action behind and no follow-through is an indicator that maybe your filling space with words and avoiding true meaningful conversation where there’s real dialogue and real engagement. And I think you gotta pay attention to that. Sometimes it’s better not to say anything there’s an old Jewish proverb that says, “Even a fool, when he’s silent, is thought to be wise.” So pay attention to how you’re using words. Are you creating a lot of space that’s filled with words and clichés and da, da da da? People are like. “Whoa, you know she talks a good talk or he talks a good talk but there’s walk there. There’s no follow through, your integrity will be compromised. A second one is busyness without purpose. Shuffling the papers on the desk again, reorganizing the files, doing yet another search checking, did I get liked on Facebook, who’s looking at my profile on LinkedIn? After all it has been three minutes since I checked. This sense of I need to constantly be active and busy in finding out information. Researchers at Purdue did a study of television watching in light of the proliferation of tablets, mobile devices, the internet; they expected to find a drop in television watching as we spend more time looking at these other screens. Just the opposite happened. Television watching increased during the proliferation of all these devices. And they made this comment; People are spending more time looking at screens than they are into one another’s faces. Instead of doing meaningful relationships, instead of having purpose to our activity, we’re filling it with distractions. And it’s something to be aware of, the more and more you do that the more it says there’s something breaking down here, just busyness for the sake of busyness will lead to burn out. A third thing, there’s relationships without reciprocity or relationships without a return. I give, I teach, I serve, I help, I care … I never get back. So to have relationships where you’re always on the giving side of the equation and never on the receiving side is going to lead you to emotional breakdown. You need to be filled up in relationship you need mentors and friends and others to speak into your life not just for you to serve and teach and help others. So how you use your words, how you spend your time, just busyness for the sake of busyness and how you connect in relationship are three factors to pay attention to help avoid a drift toward burnout.

 

We would like to encourage your feedback as it helps us to identify the issues that are important to you. It also helps others who are searching to develop new creative ways of leading. Thank you in advance for your comments.