Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “Communication”

Communicating with Word Pictures

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.”    Matthew 7:24-25  ESV

Communicating well can be difficult for Kingdom leaders.  “What we have here is a failure to communicate” is heard all too frequently.  As a team leader you are often casting vision and futuristic concepts that for you may seem crystal clear, but for your hearers they are a thick fog.  How can you cut through the fog and help those around you see it as clearly as you do?

One key to good communication, especially when dealing with abstract or complex topics is to learn to speak in word pictures.  Taking the complex and ‘putting a handle’ on it so that it is easy to grasp is a learned skill.  Like all skills, you can get good at it and when you do, you will find yourself being quoted because your communication is memorable.

Note how Jesus ended His most famous sermon – the Sermon on the Mount.  In the reference above He closed with a word picture of a person building a house on two different types of foundations.  The key word is “like” which introduces the simile that follows.  Those who hear His words and obey them are ‘like’ a wise man who built on a rock.  ‘Like’ transitions from concept to word picture that makes the abstract more concrete in the minds of His audience.

As you talk about your mission and vision, learn to use word pictures, similes that will help your audience better understand and remember key points and concepts.  Here’s an example that I use to explain the difference between mission and vision for Kingdom leaders.

Mission Statement –  This answers the question, “Why do we exist?”  This is first and foremost in strategic leading.  It’s like a picture frame on the wall of the Kingdom that separates and defines who we are from what others are.  It is our task and our identity.

Vision Statement  –  This is where we want to go in the future – our destination.  It is the picture of the future of our desired future state that we see by faith.  It’s the picture that is placed into the picture frame of our mission.  It is this future vision that we will begin to work towards and bring into reality by His grace and power.

Train yourself to communicate in simple, easy to understand word pictures.  Your influence will grow and your communications will ‘stick.’

Leadership Jazz – 3

Max DePree has the following to say about leading from beliefs, values, and vision in his excellent work titled, “Leadership Jazz.”

“From a leader’s perspective, the most serious betrayal has to do with thwarting human potential, with quenching the spirit, with failing to deal equitably with each other as human beings.

“Beliefs and values are the footings on which we build answers to the questions, “Who matters?” and “What matters?”  The promises we make as leaders must resonate with our beliefs and values.

“It behooves us, then, to find our voices.  Leaders must speak to followers; we must let them know where and how we stand on the important issues.

“Vision is the basis for the best kind of leadership.  A vision exists somewhere when teams succeed.  Instinctively, most of us follow a leader who has real vision and who can transform that vision into a meaningful and hopeful strategy.

“Another fragile facet of a leader’s character is what I call an eagerness for the fray. The best leaders I know are always anxious to get to the job at hand, to do what they are there to do.

“Real preparation consists of hard work and wandering in the desert, of much feedback, much forgiveness, and of the yeast of failure.

“Moving up in the hierarchy does not confer competence.

“The only appropriate response to a promotion is ‘Good grief, have I got a lot to learn now!’

“Success tends to breed arrogance, complacency, and isolation.  Success can close a mind faster than prejudice.”

A leader’s communication, both verbal and written, will focus those around them on various issues.  Pick and choose your communication topics to ensure that your influence is focused on those issues that are most strategic and important for the mission at this time.

What are you communicating about?  What are your followers focusing on as a result of your communications?

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