Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the month “November, 2014”

What a Leader Does – DO

We continue to reflect upon a good way to organize our understanding of the complex subject of leadership.  Using the simple outline of Know – Be- Do – Reproduce we can categorize the important functions of this vast subject called leadership.  Today we will address the category of “Do – What a Leader Does.”

1. Leading and your family

Offices in the home can create unusual stresses

  • Regarding your spouse when your both are at home – respect each others ‘turf’ when working at home
  • Put in a good day’s work; discipline yourself to focus and stay on task
  • Set ‘office hours’ when working at home and actually do your work during these times as planned

Love your kids and help them love God and God’s work

  • Involve your children in prayer for people in the ministry
  • Have people in your home as guests and ask your guests to tell stories to your kids about their walk and experiences with God
  • Give your kids responsibilities at ministry activities, when appropriate – it can be as simple as greeting people at the door or serving refreshments
  • Build a positive identity and a sense of ‘being special’ because they are children of a staff who is serving in this ministry
  • Avoid building a child-centered home – see Mark 10:29-30; Luke 18:29-30

2. Leading meetings

Learn to lead a better meeting!

  • Meetings are a part of organizational leadership, so learn to lead good ones!
  • A nice outline for setting meeting agendas is to remember that good meetings have 3 parts – ‘business,’ development, relationships
  • Leading your team in development does not mean you have to be the development expert – just bring some intentionality to this function and lead your team in seeing that all are being developed

Have fun together with your team!

  • Don’t be so serious all the time!
  • If you are not creative at having fun, ask as team member to lead the team in this area with your oversight

Set realistic agendas and schedule with a margin when you lay out the meeting plans

Help others accomplish their work by including them in your meeting plans, but remember that it is your meeting, not their meeting

Be sensitive to time zone changes for those who travel, need for  regular breaks, free time, recreation needs, individual sleep patterns (individual rooms for those who snore?), and personal dietary needs

3. Increase your leadership capacity

Work with an administrative assistant

  • A good assistant will greatly increase you capacity to lead
  • Personal chemistry is very important in your ability to work together with your admin assistant
  • Know what you need and want in an assistant before selecting the person
  • Do you want someone to keep you organized, or are you by design well-organized and you want someone to implement your ideas and plans?
  • Be sure your assistant knows your calendar and schedule so that they can assist others who may need to contact you
  • Keep an on-going Action List with both short-term and long-term action items to be focused on and scheduled when appropriate
  • Review your calendar and Action List weekly with your assistant and update it as needed

4. Additional ‘How To’ Leadership Ideas

  • Seek to “ruthlessly eliminate hurry” from your daily life and schedule
  • Prepare to transition your leadership well – be intentional in the transition and plan ahead; don’t wait to be forced to transition your leadership in a crisis
  • Operate with “Planned Neglect” – you can’t do it all now; so decide what will have to wait in order for you to give your attention and effort the most important things now

The Leader – BE

We continue to reflect upon a good way to organize our understanding of the complex subject of leadership.  Using the simple outline of Know – Be – Do – Reproduce we can categorize the important functions of this vast subject called leadership.  Today we will address the category of “Be – Who a Leader Is.”

1. Develop personal depth

Lead from an overflow of your walk an intimacy with Christ

  • Your intimacy with Christ grows as you spend time with Him in the Scriptures
  • Seek to know God’s ways, not just His actions
  • Develop depth and breadth in the Bible!
  • Bible reading plans can be very helpful – repetition is the key to learning

Read more and read selectively

  • Read and re-read good books!
  • Good books are tested by their continued influence over a long time
  • Read critically – always compare what you read with the Scriptures to insure alignment with Kingdom truth
  • Just because a book is popular today does not mean you should spend your precious reading time on it
  • Often our egos get involved because we want to seem “with it” by saying that we have read the “cool and current” rather than the “tried and true”
  • Create a “To Be Read” bookshelf and a folder for  current articles

We lead more from who we are, rather than from what we know

  • Lead from the inside out!
  • Lead from the strength of your God-given design and gifting
  • Lead from your ‘life messages’ given to you through your life experiences
  • Speak truth to those you lead, but always tempered with love

2. Develop Christlikeness

Be intentional about your character development

  • Leaders are like toothpaste tubes, when you squeeze them, what’s inside comes out!
  • We default to who we are when we are under pressure
  • Foundational areas for Christlike character development – love, humility, integrity, courage
  • Remember ‘The Golden Rule of Leadership’ – “Lead others the way you would want to be led.”  –  see Luke 6:31

3. Recharge your batteries – even the Energizer Bunny runs out of power!

Get some time away from your leadership responsibilities

  • Insure that your daily and weekly schedules have margin
  • Turn off your cell phone – you’re really not that important
  • You don’t have to answer every call immediately – use voice mail to your advantage to maintain your daily work efficiency and flow
  • Limit the number of times you check your email each day – you’re really not that important

Get a life outside of your ministry / work

  • Develop friendships with people outside of your work or ministry circles
  • Recreation and hobbies – know yourself and do what ‘fills your tanks” not what others think or do to fill their tanks
  • Take a break / take a vacation  –  you’re really not that important
  • Push yourself to learn something new!

Lead from an overflow and from a reserve!  How’s your leadership ‘gas gauge?’  Are you running on fumes?

Leadership Thinking – KNOW

Using the simple outline of Know – Be – Do – Reproduce we can categorize the important functions of this vast subject called leadership.  Today we will address the category of “Know – How a Leader Thinks.”

How we think as leaders directly influences how we act as leaders.  Here are some practical ideas on thinking well as a leader.

1.  Take personal responsibility for your development as a leader
–   Focus on developing your strengths, not weaknesses, unless it’s a ‘career stopper’
–  “Maximize your strengths and staff to your weaknesses.”
–  Find a mentor to help you grow in specific areas
–  Ask them to help you in a specific area for a specific time
–  Guide your learning from them with good questions on topics you are interested in

2. Communication is key to good morale – your morale and those you lead
–  Dwight Eisenhower – “Morale is the greatest single factor in successful warfare.”
–   Ask questions of your leaders – know ‘why’ you’re doing what you’re doing; know the next 6 months events that you will be expected to attend and plan accordingly
–  Keep those you lead informed about upcoming events, organizational changes, personnel changes, etc.
–  Keep your family informed

a. Travel schedules – goals; itineraries; prayer requests for the trip
b. Help your children communicate what you do to others
c. Help your children feel special regarding the ministry of their parents

–  Help your extended family communicate what you do to others
–  When returning from a trip; set some guidelines for communication

a. What will your spouse need to hear from you?
b. When will you debrief and reconnect?
c. How will you re-engage with your children?

3. Relationships are key to the breadth and depth of your influence

–  Spend individual, personal time with those you lead

a. Get individual time at meetings
b. Phone calls without a reason other than to say ‘Hi’ and catch up
c. Birthday cards or personal email notes

–  Visit those you lead in their homes as often as possible
–  Focus on the family, not just the ministry

a. Go with them to family events (i.e. sporting events, school activities)
b. Take the family out for dinner; let them choose the restaurant

–  Get into the Word together
–  Pray together
–  Listen much, talk little; seek to understand, rather than to be understood

a. Be an active listener; give feedback and ask probing questions to really understand what God is doing in their lives

4. Bring intentionality to your leadership

–  Pray, Teach, Model – 3 primary means of influence
–  Never underestimate the power of your own example; you are being watched!
–  Travel with someone – the ‘apprentice model’ for developing others
–  What you speak on or write about is what you will become known for; therefore choose your topics carefully!
–  As a leader you speak at a volume of 2, but are heard at a volume of 10!
–  Be sure you’re setting a spiritual tone for the work of the ministry!

Organizing Your Leadership Thinking

Leadership is a complex and challenging subject to grasp the whole of the topic.  All one has to do is to look at the shelves of leadership books in the local bookstore to see that few are attempting to address the entire subject.  They each take a slice of broad subject, dissecting their particular piece of interest, but failing to address where this fits within the whole.

Some time ago in a brainstorm session with a colleague we attempted to address the subject of leadership as a whole, breaking the topic down into its major components.  After much thought and debate we came to these four big categories as a way to think about the subject of leadership.

Leadership Outline

  • Leadership Thinking – KNOW
  • The Leader – BE
  • Leading – DO
  • Developing Other Leaders – REPRODUCE

The US Military Academy has some of three of these components in their outline of the subject as described in the book, The West Point Way of LeadershipTheir outline of Know, Be, and Do is a great developmental model for general leader development.  But as Kingdom leaders we must add one additional topic – Reproduce.

By looking at the perfect Kingdom leader, Jesus, we now see the complete outline of the subject of leadership and leader development.  Jesus spent a great deal of His leadership developing the next generation of leaders who would carry on the movement after He was gone.  It is the responsibility of Kingdom leaders to develop more leaders.

As you think about your own development as a leader you will want to focus on these four general areas of leader development.  As you think about developing other leaders you will also want to think about these four areas.

When mentoring another leader often their felt need is for leadership skill development.  Perhaps the main reason for this felt need is the fact that new leadership responsibility often comes with deadlines.  Thus the pressure to grow in a previously unknown skill to meet our deadline.  That’s why the bookshelves are full of ‘how-to’ leadership topics, for the authors are often addressing the felt needs of the readers.

While leadership skills are important, we must not neglect the other three areas of a leader’s development.  We can have wonderful leadership skills, for example, but no character to support them and end up with tyrants or dictators.  All four areas are necessary for good leaders and leadership.

How’s your thinking about leadership?  Can you point to the gospels and identify where Jesus demonstrated these four areas of leadership?  Can you also see where He addressed these same areas as He developed The Twelve?

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