Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the month “August, 2015”

Taking Time Away

I’m seeking to model leading from an overflow of my own walk with the Lord.  In doing so I’m taking time away from the routines of leadership in order to refresh my soul and body.

What fills your tank?  When was the last time you had an intentional break from your routine responsibilities?  Are you leading from an overflow or is your tank near empty?

Don’t think you need a break?  Ask your spouse?  🙂

 

Balance and Margin

As leaders we must be living and leading from an overflow with plenty ‘in the tank’ from which to influence others.  This means that we take regular times away for refreshment and refilling the ‘tank.’

Even Jesus reminded the Twelve to, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” [For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.]” (Mark 6:31).

I’m taking a break for restoration and refreshment.

How about you?

Leadership is an Art – 3

Here’s a final thought from Max DePree’s classic leadership book, “Leadership is an Art.”

“In addition to all of the ratios and goals and parameters and bottom lines, it is fundamental that leaders endorse a concept of persons. This begins with an understanding of the diversity of people’s gifts and talents and skills.

“Understanding and accepting diversity enables us to see that each of us is needed. It also enables us to begin to think about being abandoned to the strengths of others, of admitting that we cannot know or do everything.

“When we think about leaders and the variety of gifts people bring to corporations and institutions, we see that the art of leadership lies in polishing and liberating and enabling those gifts.”

One of our primary leadership functions is the development of those we lead.  This development must be intentional, seeking to maximize a person’s contribution to the mission.  This development must be individualized, with forethought given to opportunities and personal needs.

Are you developing those you are leading or just hoping that with the passing of time and more experience that they will be developed as better leaders?  It has been said, “Experience is not the best teacher, but it is evaluated experience that truly develops leaders.”  Give feedback to those you lead and they will be better leaders.

 

Leadership is an Art – 2

A friend reminded me of the following, “Tom, there comes a time in everyone’s life when you become the one who gets to tell the history.”  With aging comes responsibility to pass to the next generation the stories that represent the values of the community.

Here are some additional thoughts on communication from Max DePree is his great leadership book, “Leadership is an Art.”

“Every family, every college, every corporation, every institution needs tribal storytellers.  The penalty for failing to listen is to lose one’s history, one’s historical context, one’s binding values.  …without the continuity brought by custom, any group of people will begin to forget who they are.

“We intend to make a contribution to society.  We wish to make that contribution through the products and services we offer, and through the manner in which we offer them.  In an era of high technology we wish to be a “high-touch” company that makes the environmental connection between persons and technology in the markets we choose to serve.  We intend to be socially responsible and responsive…

“Good communication is not simply sending and receiving.  Nor is good communication simply a mechanical exchange of data.  No matter how good the communication, if no one listens all is lost.  The best communication forces you to listen.

“The right to know is basic.  Moreover, it is better to err on the side of sharing too much information than risk leaving someone in the dark.  Information is power, but it is pointless power if hoarded.  Power must be shared for an organization or a relationship to work.

“Plato said that a society cultivates whatever is honored there.  Let us make no mistake about what we honor.

“An increasingly large part that communication plays in expanding cultures is to pass along values to new members and reaffirm those values to old hands.”

How’s your storytelling?  How’s your communication skill?  Are you intentional about the stories you tell that will reinforce key principles and values that you wish to pass to the next generation?  Are you self-aware when talking to others you are influencing about the principles and values you are communicating?

Leadership is an Art

Max DePree in his classic work titled, “Leadership is an Art” had the following thoughts regarding a basic definition of leadership.

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.  The last is to say thank you.  In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor.  That sums up the progress of an artful leader.

“Leaders don’t inflict pain, they bear pain.

“The measure of leadership is not the quality of the head, but the tone of the body.  The signs of outstanding leadership appear primarily among the followers.  Are the followers reaching their potential?

“Leaders are also responsible for future leadership.  They need to identify, develop, and nurture future leaders.

“Leaders owe people space, space in the sense of freedom.  Freedom in the sense of enabling our gifts to be exercised.  We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity.

“Another way to think about what leaders owe is to ask this question:  What is it, without which this institution would not be what it is?  Leaders are obligated to provide and maintain momentum.  Leadership comes with a lot of debts to the future.

“Leaders are responsible for effectiveness.  Much has been written about effectiveness—some of the best of it by Peter Drucker.  He has such a great ability to simplify concepts.  One of the things he tells us is that efficiency is doing the thing right, but effectiveness is doing the right thing.

“To be a leader means, especially, having the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those who permit leaders to lead.”

Leadership is an art to be developed over time.  It is attention to  development of ourselves, seeking to be the best leader we can be.  And the amazing thing is that the Lord allows us to ‘practice’ on His people.  This should serve as a good reminder that we are not that important in the total equation.

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