Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the month “September, 2014”

Morale – Focus on It!

In the great leadership book by Dwight Eisenhower titled Crusade in Europe, he devotes a good deal of attention to the subject of maintaining high morale among the troops under his command.   You’ll note his number one item:  Morale is the key to success!  Here’s a list of other lessons learned from his experience as Supreme Allied Commander of the European Theater during WWII:

FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO HIGH MORALE

1. Morale is the greatest single factor in successful warfare.

2. The individual is the key to success.

3. Communicate correct information to counteract negative propaganda.

4. Maintaining the initiative not only keeps the enemy on the defensive, but builds morale.

5. Success in reaching a goal or series of victories builds morale and esprit de corps.

6. When the enemy is successfully attacking, calmness, firmness and optimism are essential
to win through to victory.

7. Keep the civilians informed of the progress of the war.

8. Visit the troops frequently in the field.

9. Talk to the troops about everything. Ask them if they have discovered any new trick or
gadget to use in fighting .

10. Mutual confidence, a feeling of partnership, is the essence of esprit de corps.

11. Take initiative to find out their problems. Don’t wait for them to come to you.

12. Men must feel that they are being treated equally and fairly.

13. Men must know their own accomplishments are understood and appreciated.

14. Leadership, discipline, technique, as well as numbers, equipment, mobility, supply and
maintenance are prerequisite to the existence of morale.

15. Morale will suffer unless all ranks thoroughly believe that their commanders are concerned
first and always with the welfare of the troops who do the fighting.

16. Provide recreation and furlough time. Veterans like to return to their own unit. Relieve
units from front-line duty periodically.

17. Higher commanders devote every minute of their time to tactics, logistics and morale.

Moving On to What’s Next

Here’s a second conversation with Lorne Sanny in March 2003 – this topic was on Moving On to a New Leadership Role.

Many make the mistake of rushing to what’s next
o They don’t like to live with the ambiguity of not knowing what they do
o It’s like wading across a stream – don’t rush; take one step at a time
o Hebrews 11:8 – Abraham did not know where he was going when he left

Delayed gratification is key attitude
o It’s about contribution first, then organizational issues second

Don’t be afraid of pursuing dead ends
o Not every road is the right road the first time

Many are so driven to production that they can’t wait to get on with something else
o Rest and hope in the Lord – Ps. 130:5
o Walk with God day by day – Ps. 61:8

Consider your responsibility to your family at this stage of life
o Grandparents role – Ps. 128:6

  •  “see” means get to know your grandchildren
  •  Doesn’t mean that an international assignment is wrong if you have grandchildren
  • But if live away from them, be all there for them when you furlough or are with them
  • It’s the little times together that can really make a difference in their lives

Be sure to give the new leader who follows you “space”

Restrain yourself from offering your advice and opinions after you leave (unless asked)

Don’t “overstay your welcome” as a leader
o Know and determine when to leave your role to another
o Don’t wait until you have to be asked to leave!

Leaders and Love

In March 2003 I had the opportunity to interview Lorne Sanny regarding the topic of Leaders and Love.  The following are my notes from that insightful conversation.

Love means we freely accept others just as they are

o Acceptance is a matter of the heart
o People know whether you love / accept them or not

Love means we always seek their highest good

o This does not mean we tolerate sin
o It does mean we speak the truth to them – Jn. 8 (woman caught in adultery)

Love means we think of others before we think of ourselves

o When returning from a trip, take a walk around the office; not to tell them about your experiences, but to find out how they are doing

Love means we always seek to affirm and encourage others

o Public affirmation goes a long way
o “Praise in public, correct in private”
o “God never gives a hard message to a hard heart to deliver.”
o Affirmation is like making deposits into a bank account, for we know that we will have to make withdrawals (corrections, rebuke) in the future

Love means we give people feedback on how they are doing

o Progress reviews, not performance reviews
o Performance means the work is already finished
o Progress implies work is in progress and we can still affect the outcome
o With my own team sought to do progress review every 3 months
o With international leaders it was once a year
o Based upon agreed upon goals, outcomes, or “focus items”
• Some personalities don’t like goals – use “focus items”
o Have them evaluate themselves by asking questions
• Many are harder on themselves than we would be, so we can affirm them and bring true perspective to them
• “The imagination is often worse than the realization”
o “Is there anything I can do to help you accomplish your goals?”
• “What do you need to accomplish this?”
o End the reviews by asking, “Is there anything you want to say to me?”
o On difficult issues, help them think by asking questions
o Don’t use progress reviews to correct problems!  Do that on day-to-day basis.
o Evaluation – Romans 14:17-18 – outline for progress reviews

Knowing God’s Will

Leaders are often asked for advice and counsel regarding decisions that others are making.  They want to do what is right and know God’s plan for their life.  Here’s a simple outline for advising others on how to find the will of God.  Knowing how to discern God’s will for ourselves and finding His pathway forward can be challenging for us all. With so many options and competing voices, the cacophony can be distracting or confusing at best. How can we know His will for us as we seek to lead others?
The Lord generally uses five means to guide us as we go forward along His path. While He can and does on occasion use other “spectacular” means (angels, visions, dreams, burning bush, pillar of fire, a speaking donkey), these five means are most often used to guide us.
#1   The Word of God – God will use His Word, the Bible, to guide us. It can be as objective as a command or as subjective as a personal promise. But He will never lead us in a way that would contradict His revealed Word.    Psalm 119:105
#2   Personal Peace – When we pray about our situation His Spirit who dwells within us will confirm with our spirit that we are on the right path. This does not mean that we will have all the answers for our questions or that we may not be anxious in wondering how it will all work out. But there will be quietness within our soul that He is leading us.    Isaiah 30:21
#3   Wise Counsel – As we seek counsel from others God will speak through them to help us discern His will. We are reminded that in the abundance of counselors there is much wisdom. Therefore, we are looking for a general consensus from those we ask for counsel. And we choose counsel from those who are more mature in the Lord than we are and hopefully those who want God’s best for us.    Proverbs 15:22
#4   Critical Thinking – Dawson Trotman said, “God gave you a lot of leading when He gave you a brain. So use it!” We are taught not to “lean on your own understanding,” not “don’t use your own understanding.” I’ll often make a pro-contra or plus-minus list regarding the advantages and disadvantages I can see when making a major decision.    Proverbs 3:5-6
#5   Circumstances – The Lord can direct through open as well as closed doors. But just because there is an open door it does not mean that we are expected to walk through it. Our adversary can also open doors of opportunity to get us off track. Paul was directed by God on his second missionary journey by running into three closed doors until he finally arrived in Troas and in a vision directed to Europe.    Acts 18
So what can we conclude? God wants us to know His will. He planned it and designed us to accomplish it. Thus He will direct us if we ask Him. The key is our willingness to obey and do His will. Romans 12:1-3 confirms that we will know His will if we are willing to do it.  And God being God, He has no trouble communicating. These five means will align and point to a common destination. We will know His path for us; that’s not the problem. The challenge is in following the path. For God’s path usually involves faith and often sacrifice and those can scare us.

Are you searching for His pathway for you? Or perhaps you already know His desire for you, but you’ve not yet yielded to that guidance. It’s time to step up and step out by faith and follow Him!

Modeling Balance and Margin

Yes… Still taking a break.

This blog will resume again on 8 September 2014.

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Mark 6:31

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