Leadership Rules

8 Signs You're too Big for Your Britches

This post ties in directly to the issue of Accountability. Having someone in our lives who will shoot straight with us is incredibly important.

Many times as leaders we start losing a sense of reality and get "too big for your britches," as my grandmother used to say when I was growing up. When that happened as a youngster, my grandmother would go grab a switch from the tree outside and I would quickly shape up. Or at least start paying more attention. 

Here are a few warning signs of this potentially occurring for leaders. The pitfalls of becoming too much of a prima donna.

1. You feel like you need an entourage. Everywhere you go.

2. You're unreachable. You have so many systems and handlers in place to shield you from the outside world that not even your closest friends can get in touch with you.

3. The only people who get any time with you are those who you need something from or who you see as further up the ladder of success. Anyone "below" you gets pushed off to someone else. Along with the only people you want to interact with are peers at your level. 

4. You speak and give advice WAY more than you listen and ask questions.

5. You quit laughing consistently, especially at yourself.

6. There are certain jobs or projects that you feel are simply "below" you. You would be offended if someone asked you to do some of these tasks.

7. Nothing is ever good enough or done well enough. A standard of excellence is one thing. But when nothing ever meets your approval or is good enough for you, you've crossed the line to being way too wrapped up in your own world and in your own sense of hero status.

8. You quit learning, growing and innovating. You focus on being the expert, the hero, the speaker and the teacher, instead of being the learner, the guide, the platform, the shepherd,  and the aggregator. Your posture becomes the arrogant loud 1st instead of the confidently quiet and humble 2nd. 

Any of these consistently showing up in your world? If so, I recommend you take a chill pill, make some adjustments, and lighten up!

10 Ways to Elevate your Leadership Level

It's middle of the year, and as such, here are 10 reminders and ways to raising your leadership level. Hopefully these motivate you as well as inspire and challenge your team.  

I would recommend talking through each of these with your team, and challenging your team to live these out with intentionality over the next few months. 

1. Lead with Authenticity. Be Real. Human. approachable. Guard against hubris.

2. No sideways energy. Communicate. Focus. Guard against silos and wasted energy.

3. Stewardship. Each of us embracing and understanding our role in what we've been given and required to manage and uphold through the current platform we have.. Not just the leader, or the person in charge. 

4. Expertise. See myself as an expert, both in Individual responsibility and organizational responsibility.

5. Receive what we create. Become our own customer. Be passionate about allowing what you do to actually be something that you appreciate being the customer of. Guard against the mundane.

6. Guard against cynicism. Behind the curtain we have to guard against this. Fight it at every turn. And call it out if we see it.

7. Excellence. We are the best in the world. Confidence not arrogance. Act like it. Maintain a standard. Guard against being lazy and pessimistic.

8. Serve one another. Jump in and help. Get it done mentality. Not just at events or special occasions. All the time. Be willing to do whatever it takes.

9. Protect and maintain a "make it happen" culture. Guard against the phrase "it's not my job." and guard against creating clicks.

10. Get better every day. Guard against complacency. Keep learning and leaning into constant and continuous improvement. 

Be a Finisher

I love leaders who execute. Leaders who get it done.

Leaders who can take a project across the finish line.

Leaders who know how to finish. And are motivated towards completion. 

When it comes to hiring new employees, no other characteristic is more important than someone who can finish. It is the #1 trait related to work ethic that I look for in a new hire.

Anyone can come up with a new idea, a new concept, a new pithy word, a new organization, or a new perspective. "Ideators" and idea people are fairly easy to locate and include in your organizational process. What ultimately matters is whether you can take an idea from concept to completion. And to do that, you have to have finishers on your team.

The folks who are intrinsically wired to make things happen, and bulldog their way to the finish line. Those who find joy in checking things off the list. But not just a task machine. What matters is whether you can carry the ball all the way down the field and cross the finish line.

Take a moment and think about who that is on your team. If you don't have someone in this role, go find them immediately. This is incredibly important if you are the leader- you have to have someone on your team in whom you have ultimate confidence that if you hand them a project, they will get it done... and without your constant management of them. The answer can't constantly be "we're still working on it....". You're either moving forward or backwards.

Ultimately, my recommendation is that everyone on the team plays the finisher role. Now some have to more than others, but no one can or should only be the "idea" person. Everyone is required to execute and own projects from start to finish. It's a non-negotiable. As a team, take incredible pride in being able to take a concept and turn it into a finished project. Make it a distinctive part of your culture. Make it part of your DNA. 

Be a finisher.

Leaders- Let your Ego Leak

As leaders, one of our biggest struggles many times is our Ego.

Those of us who are Type A Leaders really struggle with Ego. With pride. Being boastful about our own accomplishments. Arrogance. Untouchable. Always talking about ourselves and making sure everything revolves around us. Can I get a witness???

No one sets out to be arrogant or to have a larger than life ego, but it just usually happens slowly over time, without us being aware.

And once everyone notices, many times its too late because we have so many things in place allowing our ego to flourish uncontrollably.

Reality is- The more influence you have, the more you are pulled away from reality and usually lack at this point having those around you who will keep you humble.

Here is a simple solution: LET YOUR EGO LEAK. 

Ego leak is the practice of ridding oneself of pride through the pipeline of praising others around you.

Practice purging pride by praising people. 

Ego Leak is a GOOD THING, when it's focused in the right direction.

Squelch your own ego by focusing ALL of your bragging, arrogance, pride and boasting on and around OTHERS. Talk constantly about your team, about your children, about your spouse, about your family, about your friends, and about your staff.

Brag on God, on Jesus, on the Church. On His goodness and grace.

Let your Ego leak freely on behalf of building others up.

If you are like most of us who consider ourselves to be leaders, your ego will leak out regardless, so you might as well put it to good use, bragging on those around you.

6 Simple Ways to Grow as a Leader

Leadership can be overwhelming, especially in regards to the daunting task of "continual growth as a leader." 

So here are 6 Simple Ways to Grow in your Leadership:

1. Read- Leaders are readers, pure and simple. I recommend business books, Christian living, historical biographies/autobiographies, and magazines. And of course the Bible as your #1 source. I've written several blog posts over the last couple of years that list out some of the most important books I've read. 

2. Serve- Jump in and help wherever needed. Ultimately, just keep leading, more and more and more. Action and repetition leads to growth and wisdom. The more you lead, the better leader you will be. And believe me, if you keep asking to take on leadership in your organization, you will continue to have more responsibility piled on you.

3. Watch- Learn from those around you, especially those who are more experienced, wiser, and have something to offer. Find a few leaders who you want to learn from, and seek them out. Ask them for advice.

4. Listen- Never before has so much content and conversations been available to us to glean from. Podcasts are now my "go to" for sitting in on conversations with leaders I admire and want to learn from. 

5. Pray- The prayers of a righteous man/women accomplish much. Pray for wisdom, pray for favor, opportunities, connections, new platforms, and also pray that your influence will be expanded. And pray for humility.

6. Connect- Hang around other leaders. Go where other leaders are. Catalyst, Leadership Summit, Leadercast, Hillsong Conference, etc. Local gatherings. Small roundtables. Large conferences. Lunches. Receptions. Whatever. Osmosis really does work when it comes to growing as a leader. And getting outside of your "norm" is essential to growth- many times just hearing how another leader is handling a situation will bring great clarity and perspective.