Tips for 1st Time in a Meeting

We’ve all been there. First time in a one on one meeting with your boss. First time in a brainstorming session. First time in a staff meeting. Whether your 1st meeting ever as a young intern, newly hired greenie, or seasoned pro who is new to the team, there are some keys to how you should approach the environment of a 1st time meeting.

1. Don’t try to be the expert. Reality is, you’re probably not. Make others in the room around you the expert.

2. Ask lots of questions. This is your entry point for any meeting, at any level. Good questions give you instant credibility. And many times are more strategic than the right answer.

3. Don’t feel like you have to give any answers. While asking good questions, don’t feel the need to provide answers in response.

4. Be curious and engaging. Look people in the eye. Engage with everyone around the table and in the room. Encourage others ideas.

5. Take a posture of learning. Take notes. Act like you’re in class. Be the most interested.

6. Get coffee. Or drinks. Or snacks. This shows you are okay with serving everyone else. Whether young or old, you’ve never too old or young to wait on others.

7. Act like you don’t belong, but work like you do. This is a good rule for any meeting, and your overall leadership in general.

12 Churches under the Radar you should Know

Here are a few churches with lots of influence in their communities, and definitely worth checking out in terms of the way they are doing ministry and reaching their cities. But may not be as well known to other leaders around the country.

Check them out, and add any other churches to the comments section that might be under the radar but we should make sure and know about.

1. Reality Church- San Francisco; Dave Lomas

2. Fresh Life ChurchKalispell, MT; Levi Lusko

3. Cornerstone Church- Orangeburg, SC; Artie Davis

4. The Crossing Church- Las Vegas, NV; Shane Philip

5. South Bay ChurchSan Jose, CA; Andy Wood

6. The Church of Eleven22- Jacksonville, FL; Joby Martin

7. The Church at ArkansasFayetteville, AR; Jonathan Beasley

8. Liquid Church- Mountainside, NJ; Tim Lucas

9. Epiphany Fellowship Church- Philadelphia, PA; Eric Mason

10. Hillside Community Church- Rancho Cucamonga, CA; Aaron McRae

11. The Triumphant Church- Hyattsville, MD; Perrin Rogers

12. Substance Church- Minneapolis, MN; Peter Haas

 

Whose Attention are You After?

in Leadership Rules,Misc. No Comments

Who’s Watching you? Who are you watching? Whose attention are you after?

Really.

Whose attention do you crave?

Too many of us crave the attention of the wrong crowd.

Are you chasing the attention and approval of friends, or peers, or those who have “arrived” already? Are you seeking the attention of “celebrities” in your circle? Would it make your day to be noticed by someone? Your boss? The CEO? The Senior Pastor? Founder? That artist or musician? If a certain someone commented on your instagram pic or followed you on Twitter, would that totally make your day and immediately change your attitude?

Or are you content with the attention of your Heavenly Father?

Leaders must be cautious of chasing after the things of this world. Chasing after the attention of others, jumping in on the latest fad, saying yes because of who you are saying yes to, and seeking the approval of the crowd is not acceptable.

Romans 12: 2 warns us against this: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Our attention and focus should be on things that are Eternal, and we should crave the attention of God, not man.

Don’t get caught up in trying to be “noticed by man.” Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Seek the attention and approval of One.

6 Things Leaders should avoid that will poison your Team

in Misc. 1 Comment

I’ve been reminded recently of the constant tension on a team. And…. the Tension is Good. We talked about this and leaned into this phrase before, and actually dealt with it as an event theme back in 2010 at Catalyst Atlanta. The right kind of tension is important for teams, as well as for individuals. It stretches and shapes and allows for growth.

But there are other things that can creep into a team and poison it quickly. Things that sneak up fast and before you know it, start to define the team and take everyone off course. In the wrong direction. Headed the wrong way.

Here are a few of the poisons to make sure and avoid:

1. Arrogance- Pride comes before the fall, and for teams, the same holds true. Jim Collins talks about this at length in his book How the Mighty Fall. Humble confidence is the ticket.

2. No communication- this one is the most common poison for all teams to have some form of. The remedy? Overcommunicate. Be intentional and make sure folks are in the know. For team leaders, this one is tough. I struggle at this.

3. Me first, vs. We first- see this alot on high profile sports teams. Or with celebrities. As they say, there’s no “I” in team. A WE first mentality starts at the top with the leader who has to set the tone in word AND deed. If you are hearing “it’s not my job,” then it’s time for a gut check.

4. Jealousy and Cynicism- many times these go hand in hand and one follows the other. The remedy? Confronting it head on. Don’t allow jealousy or cynicism or cliques to form. Stomp it out immediately. Team members have to confront it with each other, as many times the team leader won’t be aware of this until later.

5. Distrust- either not trusting the leader, or not trusting each other. A killer of morale and momentum. Trust comes with time, but also is fueled by interaction and shared experiences. So make sure you are creating opportunities for trust to be built within and among your team.

6. Lack of Vision, and Lack of reality- this usually shows up in the form of a team lacking self awareness. And starts at the top with the team leader. One of the roles of a team leader is to constantly cast vision, but also to confront reality head on and make sure everyone is aware of reality. Don’t allow your team to live in fantasy land. You should cast vision constantly, yes, but you should also deal with reality constantly.

What else would you say poisons teams in your experience?

8 Keys for Leading Musicians, Designers, and Artists

Okay, so alot of us who run organizations, or manage teams, or have staff direct reports, are leading those who consider themselves to be ARTISTS of some sort.

Whether it’s musicians, or designers, or writers, or entertainers, or worship leaders, or those who sketch/paint/draw, I’m going to lump them all together for the sake of this conversation and my thoughts on how to best lead them.

Disclaimer: we are ALL artists. In regards that we all are called to create things of excellence. Some of us are way more “Artistic” at our core than others. That is who I’m talking about here. You know who they are on your team. Guaranteed.

I’m also VERY INTERESTED to hear from you on how you best lead/manage artists. Please comment below and share your thoughts.

Here are a few of my thoughts on effectively leading Musicians, Designers, and Artists:

1. Start with reality. Artists are different. Not in bad weird way. But in a great weird way. So just begin with this, and it will help tremendously.

2. Lead, don’t manage. Share vision, inspire, and let them loose. Managing an artist type like you would an accountant, or a project manager, or a typical hard charging type A, is not a good idea.

3. Be very specific on areas that most think are ambiguous. Most leaders think that because artists are spontaneous and spatial in their thinking, that they don’t want specifics. So alot of leaders will be totally ambiguous in their interactions with artists. But just the opposite. Most artists need and desire very clear, focused and specific direction. They don’t mind boundaries; in fact, they welcome them (more insight on this from my friend Tyler Reagin here).

4. Give them room to dream. This might mean they need to spend an afternoon at a coffee shop or in the park or at the lake. Let them do that.

5. Include them in the process. If you simply tell them what you want once you and everyone else have decided, you’ll probably get it. But including them in the creative process will create more buy in and probably a better outcome.

6. Allow them to decorate and make their area “their own.” Their office or cube or space needs to reflect who they are. Otherwise, finding inspiration could be tough in the office.

7. Release them into their areas of greatest strength. Don’t burden a great artist with tasks and responsibilities outside their strengths. If it’s a money thing, pay them less but let them do what they are great at. Most artists care way more about doing their “art” anyway.

8. Aggregate artists in “pairs” and team lead them. I like to always have at least two artists in a meeting, on a team, working on a project, sitting together, and ultimately working together. It gives them more energy and allows them to vent to each other. Also, if you have personality conflicts with artists on your team, then “team” lead them. Don’t take it personal, but figure out the best way to release them and inspire them. It might be that you are not the best person to do that, and it’s okay that someone else on your team is.

Look at me when You’re Talking to Me

in leadership,Leadership Rules,Misc. 1 Comment

Because of my role with Catalyst and other organizations, I get the chance quite often to hang with leaders who I really admire. Folks who are high profile and well established. At the top of their industry. Influencers in the truest sense. I’m always honored to be in the room with folks who are well-known and considered experts.

One thing I’ve noticed about those who have “arrived” in terms of influence, and stature, and credibility, is that they are usually the kind of leader who authentically takes an interest in you when you first meet them. They ask good questions, and are genuinely interested in talking with you and learning more about you. They look you in the eyes. They don’t gaze around the room looking for someone else to talk to- they truly engage in conversation with you. Very authentic. Very real. Interested and eye to eye.

Then there’s the “posers.” John Maxwell categorizes these kind of folks as “climbers.” You’ve met them before. So have I. They arrive at any gathering, party, function, or event, and immediately want to see who else is in the room. Especially those who aren’t as “well known.” They are way more interested in climbing than connecting. Talking to you is just simply a step in the right direction to someone else who is way more important.

That really bothers me. And I know I’ve been guilty of doing this before. And that bothers me even more.

So let’s all commit to truly being present in conversations, especially with new folks. Let’s look each other in the eyes. I am reminded today of how important it is to focus on who and what is in front of you. Being present. Whatever environment you are in, it’s way more important to be a concerned connector rather than a conceited climber.

New Stuff Wednesday

Here are some new things you need to know about and go get!

1. Take it All – brand new worship album from Passion

2. Diamonds- brand new music album from JohnnySwim

3. Crimson Cord- brand new hip hop/spoken word/rap album from Propaganda

4. You Make Me Brave- brand new worship album from Bethel Music

5. All Sons and Daughters- new worship album from All Sons and Daughters 

6. Home Behind the Sun- brand new book from Jason Locy and Tim Willard

7. Moment Maker- new book from Carlos Whittaker 

8. The Art of Celebration- fairly new worship album from Rend Collective

9. The Worship Initiative, Vol 1- brand new worship album from Shane and Shane

 

One of the great Leadership Corruptors

in Misc. 1 Comment

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?