Extra Innings Leadership

Dr. Donahue works with catalytic leaders and leadership teams to help leaders maximize their leadership capacity, sharpen missional clarity, build transformational groups and teams. He is a growth coach to senior leaders who act as catalysts for change personally and organizationally.

SHAW_325_3OTwinnerWe are smack in the middle of baseball season heading to the July All-Star break. Despite this we are in the middle of the ice hockey finals. Still! Normally my interest for this drops by May because the season is too long, baseball is up and running and it is just too warm outside to think about ice hockey.

But my interest this year goes well past May because the Chicago Blackhawks are in the finals. Last night they played the Bruins in one of the longest playoff games in NHL history. At the start of the 3rd overtime period it was still 3-3.

 

Whether it’s baseball, hockey, or just the local beer softball league, everyone expects to play a normal game. But sometimes it’s tie at the end of regulation and the teams play overtime. In the playoffs you compete until someone wins or everyone dies from exhaustion.  (Of course, in the guys-over-40 softball league it’s just as intense– but if you run out of beer, the game is called and everyone heads to the bar.)

 

Playing extra innings is hard enough. Weariness sets in and sheer intensity of competition takes its toll on the body and the mind. Emotions run thin and a single mistake can cost you the game. Everyone has to take it up a notch at the time when they are least capable of doing so.

 

But leading in extra innings is even harder.

 

It is especially difficult for the player-coach, the guy or gal who has to perform at the top of their game while motivating and guiding the rest of the team. Overtime will test your leadership ability in ways that other challenges cannot for the sheer fact that so much more energy, stamina, and focus are required.

 

Here are a few tips on how to lead when there is more game left on the clock than there is in the players.

 

1)     Acknowledge the reality of the challenge. This is no time for fake, rah-rah cheerleading that basically communicates, “C’mon guys, this isn’t any big deal.” It IS a big deal. Getting the project done, preparing the presentation, or solving the crisis really matters. Let your team know that YOU know this is not just really important – it is also going to be hard.

 

2)     Discern what is “doable hard” versus “destructive hard.” Working harder in overtime does not mean everyone becomes a crazy workaholic and winds up quitting when the project is over. People have to juggle the extra work in a way that considers family commitments and personal health. If every week at work is another overtime crisis it will ultimately crush morale, deplete leadership resources and produce an inferior product or service.

 

Some organizations use abusive work practices to force “extra innings” for employees. Famously, it is Wall Street financial companies, urban hospitals and top-end law firms who create insane work hours to weed out the “weak” and get more bang for their buck. It is illegal in some cases and demeaning in at best. Organizations that pay “part-time” people for 32 hours (to avoid paying for health benefits) but “allow” them to work well past that are ethically bankrupt.

 

3)     Focus the energy. In sports you have to coach tired players and create a winning game plan. You cannot use all the resources in the first few minutes hoping for the quick kill. If you fail, you are in big trouble because you might have another 30, 60 or even 90 minutes of game time ahead. So get your team members focused on what they do best, and help them draft a long-term approach. Doing what they do best will leverage the energy they have. Don’t ask everyone to help with everything. It gets chaotic, and wastes time you do not have.

 

4)     Deal directly with complainers. When the going gets tough the complainers get grumpy. You and the team cannot tolerate this – it saps energy, wastes time, and damages morale. Pull the offenders aside, look ‘em in the eye and let them know that attitude is everything, especially in overtime.

 

5)     Outwork your team. In OT great captains and managers rise to a new level of commitment, energy, and focus. You cannot push others to stretch while you operate at the normal pace and level. Let the team see that you are willing to do the extra work to get the job done. It is demoralizing to serve on teams and staffs where you outwork the leaders, and get none of the perks, notoriety, vacation time, or income their leaders receive. It is sad.

 

6)     Finally, play to win, not just survive. Yes, look at the potential for a long overtime. You might need 6 pitchers in extra innings, so be strategic in their deployment. But don’t settle for survival. Get the team together and determine what the goal is, what “victory” looks like and then get after it.  If it just drags on, then energy wanes, the team gets distracted, and the victory goes to others.

 

The captains and coaches of the Blackhawks led well in OT. They rotated players on lines, using shorter shifts, called time outs, worked a clear strategy, and led by example. It was a winning combination.  A 4-3 victory well into the 3rd overtime.

 

Imagine how good that must feel today!

 Photo Credit: http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=673963

Creating Margin in your Leadership

Dr. Donahue works with catalytic leaders and leadership teams to help leaders maximize their leadership capacity, sharpen missional clarity, build transformational groups and teams. He is a growth coach to senior leaders who act as catalysts for change personally and organizationally.

Carving out space for refreshment and renewal is essential for lasting leadership. Here is a great way to monitor your life and create space in your schedule.

 

 

 

Creating Margin in your Leadership – Transcribed

One of the challenges we face as leaders is creating margin in our lives and I want to talk to you just for a couple of minutes about having margin and space in your schedule and in your leadership to refresh and renew yourself.
A friend Shared a tool with me over 20 years ago that served me quite well along these lines. I would like you to take the seven days of the week and put them across the top, on a piece of paper, so Monday through or where ever you would like to start list out the seven days. And then down the left side put three blocks of time morning, afternoon, and evening.
You’re creating 21 boxes, 7 across the top, 3 down, 21 boxes in a grid. I want you to place an X in every box you have a commitment that you have to fulfill. It’s not optional, you have to do something go to work, maybe you go to church, maybe you go do part of civic duties, you’re on a board, you have to travel, you have to do something with the family, not choose to things these are have to things, these are demands placed on you.
Put an X in every box that has even the smallest meeting in it, it could be one hour, it could be middle of the afternoon or 8 o’clock in the evening you’re going to meet with someone X the whole time zone out, that whole block. Because what happens is emotional energy is spent, physical energy is spent, time is spent. And sometimes there is the meeting after the meeting, or even if you have phone calls you have to make, you think it’s gonna be 20 minutes it turns out to be 2 hours. It’s a block of time you have an obligation in, so X it out.
Here’s the key: if you have more than 19, week after week after week you’re headed to burn out. If you have obligations in 20, 21 of those boxes week in and week out, that’s a tough deal.
Now, sometimes we all have seasons like that or short seasons like that and I hope that the end of a season like that you have several days or some time to pull back, renew, refresh, restore.
But on a regular basis you should be probably in that, if you are active, probably in that 16 to 17 range. Were you have at least three or four blocks in the week, not that you are doing absolutely nothing, but that no one is making you do something. You don’t have to be somewhere, you get to choose what to do. You want to take a nap, you take a nap, you want to read a book, you read a book, you want to get the family and go out, you go out. But you’re not obligated.
So take a look at your life on that grid and see what a month looks like. Are you running constantly in that 20 to 21 zone? Then find blocks of time that you can guard, and create margin. You going to do some phone calls? Stock them all one night of the week. Put everything into one block and free up another block. Instead of having four one hour commitments in different areas maybe you can cluster those two areas so you free up a couple spaces on the 21 block grid.
Leaders need margin, you need some space, you need to build it regularly, and you need it at the end of a tough run. I’m just finishing a tough run, I’ve got some space built in for that but I am very aware that on a regular basis I need to create margin.
You need to do that in your leadership, you’ll thrive if you do.

Are You Ready for Shared Leadership?

Dr. Donahue works with catalytic leaders and leadership teams to help leaders maximize their leadership capacity, sharpen missional clarity, build transformational groups and teams. He is a growth coach to senior leaders who act as catalysts for change personally and organizationally.

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?

 

Leadership Destroys Community

Dr. Donahue works with catalytic leaders and leadership teams to help leaders maximize their leadership capacity, sharpen missional clarity, build transformational groups and teams. He is a growth coach to senior leaders who act as catalysts for change personally and organizationally.

Leadership Destroys CommunityWhat kind of leadership destroys community and fractures a team? What role do leaders play in the process of fostering (or inhibiting) a sense of unity among team members, group leaders and staff? Here are some pitfalls to personally avoid and to confront in others when individualism trumps community. I have seen too much of this kind of leadership lately, and so I decided to revisit this topic.

 

Blinded by Vision

A vision is only as good as the reality it produces. Leaders obsessed with an ideal picture of what could be, fail to embrace what truly is. They live on vision fumes. Teammates and followers become frustrated and soon trust in the leader vaporizes. Activist and Pastor  Bonhoeffer famously observed “the one who loves his dream of community more than the community itself destroys the latter.” We could paraphrase: “The who loves his or her personal vision more than the people being envisioned, alienates them.”  It is easy to idealize our cause, mission, product launch, set of values or our service to a needy community, while ignoring the impact of our self-centered vision on the very people we are called to help.

 

Pre-occupied with Structure

When the model becomes the master community building’s a disaster (a cute rhyme but a deep truth). I have witnessed this in too many places—model-driven versus value-led leaders get obsessed with “the way” instead of looking at the values and processes that get you there. The structure serves the people; the people don’t serve the structure. Fluent teams and shared leadership mitigate against this. Top-down, top-dog leadership models tend to reinforce ineffective structure and promote unhealthy leaders.

 

Decidedly Irresponse-ible,

Any initiative requires strong leadership from the leadership team designated to carry out the venture. Leaders are “the voice” for the initiative and the guide to others seeking to build it. But there’s more. A leader who shuns the input of others and fails to consider their collective wisdom and insights is no longer responsible, leaving followers disconnected and devalued. This lack of response is the result of a failure – or a desire – to listen with empathy, respect and for the purpose of learning. Michael Hoppe’s Active Listening is a big help here. It takes some humility – and that goes a long way.

 

Focused on “Self”- Improvement

The inclination to use people instead of empowering them kills any team or community. When leaders make decisions from self-interest or self-promotion others lose respect for those leaders and then passion for the shared mission fizzles. Team leaders design meetings to meet personal needs or interests; staff members focus mostly on numbers and the success of big events; senior leaders make decisions to enhance personal agendas, and all this happens at the expense of the people we are called to lead.

 

Let’s look at our own leadership approach and style – are we killing the very thing we are working so hard to bring life to? If, so it’s time to change.

Leading for the Long Haul

Dr. Donahue works with catalytic leaders and leadership teams to help leaders maximize their leadership capacity, sharpen missional clarity, build transformational groups and teams. He is a growth coach to senior leaders who act as catalysts for change personally and organizationally.

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.

Leadership Transitions – 4 Realities to Navigate

Dr. Donahue works with catalytic leaders and leadership teams to help leaders maximize their leadership capacity, sharpen missional clarity, build transformational groups and teams. He is a growth coach to senior leaders who act as catalysts for change personally and organizationally.

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

Dr. Donahue works with catalytic leaders and leadership teams to help leaders maximize their leadership capacity, sharpen missional clarity, build transformational groups and teams. He is a growth coach to senior leaders who act as catalysts for change personally and organizationally.

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

Dr. Donahue works with catalytic leaders and leadership teams to help leaders maximize their leadership capacity, sharpen missional clarity, build transformational groups and teams. He is a growth coach to senior leaders who act as catalysts for change personally and organizationally.

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

Dr. Donahue works with catalytic leaders and leadership teams to help leaders maximize their leadership capacity, sharpen missional clarity, build transformational groups and teams. He is a growth coach to senior leaders who act as catalysts for change personally and organizationally.

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.

The Power of Vision: Walking with Buddy the Elf

Dr. Donahue works with catalytic leaders and leadership teams to help leaders maximize their leadership capacity, sharpen missional clarity, build transformational groups and teams. He is a growth coach to senior leaders who act as catalysts for change personally and organizationally.

Power of Vision Image of a Man Flying Dreams and Visions. That is what we are made of.

 

Really. We are.

The power of vision starts when we are small, and we want to be a firefighter, or when we build a glorious castle from a life-less cardboard box, so amazing that even MacGyver would be proud of the transformation. We are filled with awe and wonder and an ability to embrace the unthinkable and envision the impossible.

 

I want to be seized by the possibility of a grand adventure, and I long to join Buddy the Elf and say to a wide-eyed audience of fellow visionaries, “I traveled through the seven levels of the candy cane forest, past the sea of swirly-twirly gumdrops, and then, I walked through the Lincoln tunnel.”

 

Wow! Can I do that, too? Can I travel with Buddy? Sign me up for “The Buddy Vision Tour.”

 

I have a confession to make. Something inside me wants Buddy as my travelling companion. Yes, I know it is childish. But I’ll take a trip with Buddy over a Carnival Cruise any day of the week.

 

Because Buddy believes. He unashamedly, unwaveringly, “foolishly” and enthusiastically believes! He radiates joy, humility, wonder, risk-taking, self-denial and an others-focused lifestyle that wins the most ardent skeptics to his vision and the he cruelest critics to his cause.

 

It’s always Christmas with Buddy, 365 days a year. It is not an event – it’s a lifestyle. Contrast his effusive, obsession with all things Christmas with Lewis’ White Witch who leads her naïve wanderers to a colder, darker destination where it is always winter, and never Christmas. (That would be Narnia, not Chicago in February.)

 

I want a room full of Buddy’s. I’d rather have overly idealistic, possibility-thinking, belief-obsessed, Elf-like leaders than the woe-is-me, “we are all just losers/sinners/failures” Eeyore-like sad sacks that too often populate our institutions, grad schools, churches and organizations.

 

I want to be with visionaries.

I want to be with let’s-take- the-hill zealots.

I want to be with let’s-light-this-candle types.

I want to be with fishers of men, not keepers of the aquarium.

 

I want to be alive…And that means I want to dream!

 

 

There is much to be said about the power of vision!  Are you open to it? Do you use it? How has this mindset helped you accomplish a goal or lead a group to accomplishing what they thought was unreachable?

 

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.