One of the great Leadership Corruptors

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POWER. One of the great corruptors of leaders.

We all deny it in public, but struggle with its pull over us in private.

If you recall, it was one of the temptations of Jesus while in the desert for 40 days. Actually the 3rd temptation he faced.

“I will give you all the kingdoms of this world in their splendor,” the demon said to Jesus (Matthew 4:9).

Power is intoxicating. Throughout history, leaders have given in to the temptation of power- whether political, military, economic, or even moral and spiritual power- even though many continued to speak and lead and influence in the name of Jesus.

But when looking at Jesus, we see a different example. Jesus did not cling to power, but instead emptied himself and became as we are.

Henri Nouwen writes so eloquently in his classic leadership book In the Name of Jesus that the reason power is such a strong corruptor is “it seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life.” BAM.

We are constantly confronted with the temptation to replace love with power. Ruling over vs. leading forward. Control vs. love.

Leaders are naturally given power when they are in charge of something. It comes with the territory in leadership. So it’s a given that with leadership and responsibility, you are given the power to influence.

The question is “What do you do with it?” Do you leverage it for your own gain, or steward it for the benefit of others?

10 Must Haves for Leaders

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1. Community- can’t be isolated. Friends and people you can do life with are paramount. Surround yourself with friends and team members who aren’t impressed by you.

2. Credibility- you must be believable. And a leader who is trustworthy. Above reproach and constant integrity. If you say you’ll get it done, you will. Your word is your bond.

3. Hunger- leaders are learners. And always want to get better. Constant posture of improvement.

4. Hope- vision for tomorrow. A belief that tomorrow will be better than today. And constant encouragement to those around them, giving them hope to tackle what’s in front of them.

5. Self- awareness- know who you truly are. And lead from that authenticity. Do all you can to understand the true you.

6. Confidence- confidence, not arrogance. In a shaky, insecure world, you must be confident and secure. Thanks to Louie Giglio for this one in a recent message.

7. Humility- understand and realize that it’s not about you. A bigger story is going on. Always make it about someone else on your team. Hand it off. Pass it on.

8. Competence- be the best in the world at what you do. A level of excellence. The expert in your field/industry/niche.

9. Passion- Jesus focused. A contagious love for what you do, and overall passion for life. You are your best customer, and would actually purchase or attend or be part of whatever you are creating.

10. Courage- leaders take risks. And are willing to step out in front when no one else will. And make constant decisions. Bringing certainty to uncertainty.

 

9 Ways to Truly Connect in a Conversation

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Connecting in a conversation is very important. Whether someone you are meeting for the first time, or everyday greetings in your office, close friends.a follow up meeting, or a longtime business associate, it’s important to properly connect.

So here’s your cheat sheet for connecting in a conversation.

1. Start with a proper greeting- We’ve talked about this before. Handshake, bow, hug, etc. Figure out what is appropriate and then stick to that.

2. Look them in the eye. It’s amazing how many folks still can’t do this. Here is a post with more about this.

3. Listen more than you talk. Ask more questions than you give answers. Listening is an art.

4. Find at least one area of common interest. Look for the area you all have common interests in. Food, cooking, sports, church, family, hobbies.

5. Make at least one valuable connection for them. Might be that you commit to introducing them to a friend of yours, or you heard about a business opportunity they might be interested in, etc.

6. Create one simple action item. Could be a follow up call, another meeting, an email they need to send, an email you need to send, or a simple reminder to connect again soon.

7. Ask great questions. Here are a few:

What are you learning lately?

Who has had the greatest impact on you?

What gets you up in the morning and keeps you awake at night?

What do you love most about your family?

What do you love most about your job/profession?

What are you most excited about right now? 

8. Look for opportunities to provide encouragement. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like to be encouraged. Find places in the conversation where you can provide some “ego biscuits” (as my good friend Steve Graves always told me).

9. Give plenty of “conversation exit ramps.” Always give opportunities in a conversation with someone new the ability to exit quickly. Options to jump out of the conversation and into another one. This is paramount in environments where there are lots of other folks- dinner parties, weddings, social gatherings.

8 Reasons why Joseph was a great Leader

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Joseph is one of my favorite personalities in the Old Testament. The story of Joseph in Genesis is one worth reading again and again.

In regards to Joseph, here are some leadership qualities I admire in him:

1. Principled- he had character and integrity. He was honest. He was tempted at multiple times, and he resisted.

2. Humble- the power and prestige of his position working for Pharaoh never changed him.

3. Disciplined- Joseph had the proper long term perspective, even while in jail for a crime he didn’t commit.

4. Faithfulness- while in jail and throughout all of the turmoil, Joseph remained faithful to God and never wavered from his commitment to follow Him.

5. Grace- Joseph showed grace and mercy to his brothers, even though they had sold him into slavery.

6. Competence- he did his job with excellence. Whether as a servant, or the interpreter of Pharaoh’s dream, or as the manager of the family sheep flock.

7. Wise- Joseph was wise beyond his years. He was 30 when he stepped in to help set up Egypt for the famine, and demonstrated a seasoned perspective with decision after decision.

8. Strategic- Joseph was a planner. He instructed the officials to prepare for a famine, even though it was years away, gathering up food to store up, even during the seven years of “plenty.”

14 Organizations worth a Year-end Gift

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Okay, I wanted to recommend a few organizations that I think are worth a year end gift. All of these organizations are ones that I’m invested in- both in terms of giving gifts and supporting them, as well as knowing the staff and the people behind these organizations.

So as you think about year-end giving, I would recommend any of these organizations as a great place to invest.

1. Red Eye Inc. - my friend Justin Mayo heads up this “under the radar” community of young influencers and creatives in some of the leading global cities (LA, NYC, Sydney, London) that are using their talents to make a difference in a positive way.

2. Compassionsponsor a child. I sponsor several. I’ve seen their work up close in Rwanda and Ecuador. Your money is being stewarded well.

3. Young Lifebeen involved with Young Life since college. No one creates better experiences for teenagers and introduces the Gospel in such a compelling and loving way.

4. Gift Card Giverfull disclosure on this one- I serve on the board so I’m a bit biased. But there is very little overhead and you can give a gift or a gift card to help out.

5. Convoy of Hopethey’ve brought their trucks to Catalyst the last several years, sponsored the Present: Hope Bike Tour a couple of years ago, and are the official Disaster Relief partner of Catalyst. Their disaster relief and community development is amazing.

6. International Justice MissionGary Haugen and the team at IJM have been fighting sex trafficking and human slavery for the last 19 years. Rescuing victims as well as bringing justice to areas where no justice exists.

7. HOPE Internationalrun by good friend Peter Greer, HOPE Int provides micro-finance loans all over the world, helping give dignity and lift people out of poverty. A $100 gift goes a long way.

8. charity: waterperhaps my favorite non-profit organization in the world. Scott Harrison and team have revolutionized the concept of providing clean water globally, and are only getting started.

9. One Days WagesEugene Cho makes it easy to see the impact of giving up one day of your salary. And he leads by example.

10. First Response Team of Americagood friend Tad Agoglia and his team provide help and hope at times when communities need just that- following disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and floods.

11. Atlanta Mission- an amazing organization focused on ending homelessness in the city of Atlanta. One of the best run homeless missions in the country.

12. A21 Campaign- headed up by Nick and Christine Caine, rescuing those trapped in human trafficking and modern day slavery all around the world, their goal is to end injustice in the 21st century.

13. Word Made Flesh- I love what they do in serving the poorest of the poor around the world.

14. Your Local Church- make sure you are giving regularly to your local church body. That is the place to start!

Treat Your Customers Like Celebrities

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It’s important you treat your customers, your tribe, your clients, those you do business with like celebrities and VIP’s. What do I mean by this?

If Tom Hanks, or Denzel Washington, or Will Ferrell, or Beyonce or Oprah showed up at your office, what would you do? How would you talk to them? What would be your body language? Would you be too busy with other things to say hi to them???….

A few thoughts:

1. Make your customers feel important. Shower them with encouragement and act like they are the only person in the room. Listen to them, and look them in the eye.

2. Show an amazing attention to details. Remember their names, their kids names, their favorite color, where they went to college, favorite movies, favorite snack, etc. And when they request something, even if very small, make it happen and execute.

3. Create a “customer rider.” Celebrities have riders, that provide demands on quirky stuff. Same with customers. Allow your best customers to create a “rider,” thus providing a way for you to get to know them better. A form they can fill out that will allow you to serve them well.

4. Truly be interested in what they are interested in. If they like the ballet, then learn about ballet. If they like sports, take them to a game. If they like art, give them a painting for their birthday.

5. Be eager to serve them. Your mindset should be to drop everything you are doing to take care of them. If Denzel or Beyonce walked in your house or your office, you would get them a diet coke and not be worried about the spreadsheet you are working on…..

6. Provide them swag. Celebrities get swag all the time. So should your customers.

7. Refer them to your friends and make connections for them that are win/win. Celebrities get tons of opportunities many times because people are always willing to introduce them to their friends. Make those same connections for your customers.

8. Respond immediately. Call them back the same day, return their emails in 24 hours, those kinds of things.

What are you afraid of?

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What are you afraid of? What are you scared of? What frightens you?

Let’s face it. We are all scared of something. And all of us need a dose of courage to confront what currently is making us afraid.

Courage is facing up to something that frightens you. Looking at it straight on and dealing with it, straight up.

Reality us, we all need courage. Especially leaders. Courage to overcome. Courage to break through barriers. Courage to charge and climb the next hill. Courage to face fears. Courage to conquer and control fears. Fears. Yep.

Many times what holds us back is fear. Being scared. Living scared. Leading scared.

But take courage. Be FEARLESS, not fearful.

Boldly step into all God has created you to be. 

Today, what are you scared of? What is holding you back from all that God has created you to be?

For me, my biggest fear is failure. Occasionally it creates some very unhealthy leadership landmines and roadblocks that I have to work through. And is paralyzing, because when a leader is afraid to fail, taking risks then gets moved to the side, and maintaining status quo is the focus. Reality is, for many type A leaders, we are scared to death of failing. Afraid of what our friends will say, what our families will say, and how it will impact our next career season. And afraid of potentially losing what we “feel” like we’ve helped build or create.

And many of us incorrectly assume that in failure, the leader should take all the blame and is responsible no matter what. Not true, but something that still evokes fear.

Fear and failure don’t have to go together. Failure is not something to be scared of. We should respect failure, but not fear it.

Take a bold step. Today.

 

Bonus: here are some random things I’m been scared of over the course of my life:

1. Storms- up until I was 13 0r 14, I was absolutely petrified of storms. I mean scared out of my mind. If there were clouds in the sky in the morning with a chance of storms, I would get physically sick I was so scared. And have to stay home from school. Literally petrified. And in Oklahoma, storms are for real. Tornadoes all the time.

2. Certain Dogs. This one still haunts me because of being bit by a pit bull when I was 5 or 6 years old. Still have the scar on my shin to prove it.

3. Bugs and Snakes. Not a fan at all of spiders or snakes. Actually, pretty much all small bugs shake me up a bit. Bees and wasps as well. I’m sweating just thinking about it…..

4. The Elevator in the St. Louis Gateway Arch. If you’ve been, you know what I’m talking about!!

5. Jellyfish. Hello. Who’s with me?

Who’s the eight at your dinner party?

in Friends and Links,Misc. 6 Comments

Okay, you’ve got 8 spots at your dinner table for an upcoming gathering at your house. Invitees have to be alive. And has to be people you’ve never met. Who’s getting the invites?

Here’s my eight:

1. Nelson Mandela

2. Will Ferrell

3. Beyonce

4. Denzel Washington

5. Jase Robertson (Duck Dynasty)

6. Oprah Winfrey

7. Richard Branson

8. Bono

 

Who’s at your dinner table?