Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “Holy Spirit”

Leading iGen People – 1

Every generation tends to be reactive to the generation immediately before it.  Or, in another way of looking at it, every generation tends to be more like their grandparents than their parents.  Now obviously, these are broad generalities and every person individuates.  But, broad categories can be helpful in conceptualizing our leadership thinking and methodologies.

Thus, in general, GenX has more in common with Builders than their parents who were Boomers.  Millennials (GenY) has more in common with Boomers than GenX.  And today, GenZ, (iGen), is more like GenX than the Millennials.  Wise leaders are aware of these generational differences and adapt their leadership styles accordingly.

Ken Blanchard’s seminal concept called Situational Leadership reminds us to adapt our leadership style to the situation of those we are leading.  It requires an understanding of the needs and experience of those we are leading, with a balance between being both directive and supportive in our leadership approach.

Wise leaders today will also have to take into account not only the situation they lead into, but also the generational differences of those they are leading.  For Baby Boomer leaders to lead a mixed team of Millennials and GenZ, requires a basic understanding of their uniqueness.  Adding in differences in gender or culture and you can quickly see how complexity multiplies.

For Kingdom leaders there is good news.  We have the Holy Spirit within us to give us the wisdom needed to lead into this complexity with confidence.  Yes, pay attention to these generational traits.  Be aware of your team’s experience levels as well as cultural or gender differences.  But, in the end, listen carefully to the Spirit within you.  He knows and He will guide you.

He promises, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.””   Isaiah 30:21  (NIV 1984)

Are you aware of your default leadership style?  Are you aware of the needs of your team and their individual differences, or are you expecting them to adapt to you?  Are you listening to the voice of His Spirit within you as He guides you in your leadership?

God’s Help in Generations

The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you.       Deuteronomy 7:22    (NIV  1984)

These are the nations the LORD left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience) … They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the LORD ‘s commands, which he had given their forefathers through Moses.        Judges 3:1-2, 4   (NIV  1984)

The Lord’s promise to deliver the land to Israel was a sure thing.  When God makes a promise, He backs it up with His unchanging character and His ability (omnipotence) to do whatever He says.  But, what His promise does not include is the process for handing the land over to Israel.  The ‘how’ of the fulfillment will be different than thought or imagined.

The Lord’s promises and purposes have a long time-horizon.  He was preparing Israel for a long-term occupancy.  Certainly, He could have wiped out all the occupants with the wave of His hand or the breath of His mouth.  But, knowing what was best for His people long-term, He chose to deliver it ‘little by little.’

The Lord’s ways and thoughts are not our ways or thoughts (see Isaiah 55:8-9).  Therefore, as Kingdom leaders, we must be filled and led by His Holy Spirit who indwells us to know how to execute our leadership in alignment with His purposes.  Learning to turn our hearts and minds to the Lord’s voice within us will enable us to do what He desires.

While this may seem a very subjective process, there is a very objective component.  The Holy Spirit will never lead us in ways or thoughts contrary to His Word.  Thus, our own familiarity and depth in the Scriptures enables the Spirit within to guide and direct us.

So, is it your ways and thoughts or His that you are executing?  Are you sure?

Wisdom to Lead

The need for wisdom in leadership is a very easy case to make.  Anyone who has led at just about any level knows the complexities of issues that you feel unprepared to handle.  Before entering into the role, issues seemed so black and white and easily solved.  But, once you sit in the seat of leader, suddenly those easy issues turn gray and the complexities of their reality push you accept that there are few ‘easily solved’ issues.  Thus, Kingdom leaders find themselves praying for wisdom from the Lord.

For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.    1 Corinthians 1:25   (NIV  1984)

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.                   Ephesians 1:15     (NIV  1984)

Paul contrasts the wisdom of man with the wisdom of God.  Man’s wisdom is based upon experience and perhaps intuition and training.  But, in comparison to God’s wisdom, it is foolishness.  We are reminded to trust in the Lord, not our own understanding (see Proverbs 3:5-6).  Now, note that it does not say to ignore your own understanding.  But, just don’t lean upon it totally, for God’s ways are not man’s ways (see Isaiah 55:8-9).

God Himself, in the presence of His Spirit who indwells all believers, can give us His wisdom.  “…But we have the mind of Christ,” we are told in 1 Corinthians 2:16.  (NIV  1984)  It is this wisdom from above that is needed today to solve the complex challenges of our generation.

God’s wisdom is given to all who ask.  James reminds us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”   James 1:5  (NIV  1984)

So, are you in need of wisdom in the issues or decisions that you are facing today?  Why not stop right now and ask God for the wisdom He has promised you?

Listen carefully to His voice within you and to His wisdom He has placed around you in the form of team members or advisors.  He will guide and direct you to see a way forward.  It may not be the entire solution, but at least you will know the direction to head.  And as you move forward, He will continue to give light for the next step afterwards.

Depend upon Him and you will see that He is faithful to do as He has promised!

Becoming a Wise Leader – #1

Becoming a leader who is wise is a noble pursuit.  The complexity of leadership demands wisdom from above.  But where to begin?  How will I know if I’ve attained it?

It would seem that the place to begin is with the definition of terms.  As we study the book of Proverbs (the book on the subject of wisdom), it becomes apparent that there are three words used frequently in connection to each other.  These three are:  knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.  For a long time I searched for good definitions on these words and their interrelatedness, but was not able to discover it until a few years ago.  Here’s what I currently understand them to mean and how they relate.

Knowledge is the accumulation of facts.  It is the foundation from which understanding and wisdom arise.  There is much knowledge in the world and today, and with the Internet, we have access to amazing resources for accumulating vast amounts of knowledge.  Our challenge is how to keep from being overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge now available and how to search it and categorize it well, so that it becomes useful for us.  Knowledge is helpful (especially for Trivial Pursuit games), but it alone will not help us in leading a life that is pleasing to God.  An example of knowledge (facts) would be:  We know that water is made up of two elements, hydrogen and oxygen.  A water molecule is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom.

Understanding is the ability to see the interconnectedness and relationships between a series of seemingly unrelated facts (knowledge).  Once one has gathered a variety of knowledge, these facts must be connected in our minds to give us understanding of how things work or how they impact each other.  Scientific research seeks to demonstrate this through repeatable experiments that demonstrate the relationship of various elements.  Once this is shown to be repeatable, we arrive at understanding.  For example, when we combine heat and water, we know that the water will boil at 212º F.  By combining the facts we know about water and heat, we understand that by turning on a stove and applying heat to the bottom of the pan of water, it will boil at 212º F, given enough heat and time.

Wisdom is the application of knowledge and understanding to life.  All wisdom is a gift from God that allows humans to live lives that are pleasing to Him.  All humans have the ability to understand wisdom on some level.  There is “common wisdom” and then, “spiritual wisdom.”  All have access to common wisdom, but only those who have the Holy Spirit living within will have the ability to understand the deeper things of God and what I refer to as spiritual wisdom.  This type of wisdom must be pursued, it just doesn’t happen by experience.  We can ask for it (James 1:5) and it will be given to us by God.  This wisdom is the secret to life and is the key to success in the eyes of God (I’m defining success as living a life pleasing to God).  We can always grow in wisdom, for we are learning about God Himself, who is infinite, and therefore we will never exhaust the source of this wisdom.

An example of common wisdom is this, following our example above.  I know and understand that water boils when heated on a stove and also that if I touch it, I will be burned.  Then, if I’m in the kitchen heating some water, I decide not to put my hand in the pan of water when I see it bubbling.  That would be a very wise decision!

Spiritual wisdom springs from the knowledge of God, His character, and His Word.  This spiritual knowledge leads to spiritual understanding on how God works – the ways of God.  And spiritual wisdom is the application of our knowledge of God and His ways into our daily decisions.  It is this spiritual wisdom that God gives to Kingdom leaders to help us accomplish His purposes in us and through our leadership.  We will continue this discussion next week.

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