Browsing: Continual Learning

Leadership Is… An Ideal Leader #303

Ever wondered about the ideal leader? What skills, behaviours and attitudes would be lived daily? Would the ideal leader be a people person, a number cruncher a Christian servant leader or someone different?

During leadership seminars and personal interviews I’ve asked hundreds of employees and volunteers what skills or attributes they expect, appreciate and want most in a leader. The skills cited are not difficult, but in combination provide a dynamic quality, yet enjoyable working experience. Here are four characteristics to strive for.

The consistent response to my questions, backed by research, is that leaders must be honest. Good news or bad, followers want leaders to tell the word straight. The leader who is honest sets a standard for the organization. Staff will follow the example.

The ideal boss is consistent. The leadership style is predictable. No ups and downs of good and bad days. No favourites. Staff and volunteers can enjoy the work knowing the style of their leader.

The ideal leader works from defined set of values. These values guide decisions, goals, plans and working strategies. Every decision could be traced back to a basic value. These values depend on the individual, but benefit the organization both above and below the leader. The employees can assess their best fit with the leader, and the leader can assess a best fit within the organization.

The golden rule has been around for centuries, but is as current to today’s business and customer service as it was in Christ’s day. “Here is a simple rule of thumb for behaviour: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them!” (Luke 6:31 MSG) Think of it in today’s terms. The satisfied customer, follower, supporter always comes back. Every leader has followers. The associates, suppliers, front line staff and volunteers or customers want quality service. The ideal leader treats each of these with the same high quality respect, dedication and service. People will respond to quality service and come back for more.

The ideal leader, could be you? How do you rate on these points?

Leadership is … following Christ’s example of service.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is… Knowing and Following God’s Call #296

Do you have a Damascus Road experience? Paul did. Did God ask you to join Joshua and visit the Promised Land? Caleb responded. Did God challenge and train you to lead upwards of a million people through strife, complaining and a dry land experience in the Red Sea? Moses accepted the challenge. Your experience may not have been as dramatic as these. But, you have been called to a unique role.

My High School experience was not positive. I graduated, attended Bible College then University for my degree in clinical Psychology moving toward a career in Family Counselling. I envisioned my career dealing with individual, family conflict and addictions.

My family and friends consistently told me I’d have a career in administration. My response was ‘no way was I going to push a pencil for my career’. I wanted to do real work with real people. Hmm! Our Bible College President and mentor confided in me that he felt I would be heading to the secular world and ministry later. He encouraged me to read about Caleb. I’ve identified with Caleb ever since.

Throughout this awesome career it has been a privilege to follow God’s calling and plan. As the Western Coordinator with a National Organization of Evangelical churches I was leading and counselling Pastors and church leaders across Western Canada. In my current role I coach leaders in person and by phone having the privilege of touching faith based leaders worldwide. It is an awesome privilege to follow God’s plan.

“It is as great and as difficult a spiritual calling to run the factories and the mines, the banks and the department stores, the schools and government agencies for the kingdom of God as it is to pastor a church or serve as an evangelist.”  (Crane and Hamel, Executive Influence)

Throughout a fascinating career in the secular and ministry worlds it was obvious that God had a plan and we are thankful.

Leadership is … joining God’s call.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is… Listening to Understand #291

Our most effective leaders are amazing listeners. These are the people who listen thoughtfully and carefully. They want to hear our words, our heart values and struggles. Good listening is more than being quiet while the other person talks. Great conversations are interactive. The best listeners ask questions to discover and share insight, aiming for a common understanding.

The best listeners ask questions that promote discovery and insight. Good listening is a cooperative and interactive conversation allowing feedback to flow smoothly in both directions. The best leaders encourage conversations instead of directing. Use what or how questions to get people to open up. Then, ask open-ended questions to help group members answer with more than a simple yes or no. Questions like, what did you learn from the verse or chapter of the book, will bring up more illustrative inquiry. As you listen and interact, watch for nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions, gestures, posture, and other subtle body language signals.  It is estimated that 80% of what we communicate comes from these non-verbal signals. We listen with our eyes as well as our ears.

The focus of a conversation is not just covering the material. It is prayerfully focusing on God’s plan. Pray before, during and after an individual or group meeting.

“The single greatest attribute of an effective leader: (is) the ability to listen. Keep in mind that for most people, listening is about the hardest work they’ll ever do.”  (Brian Billick, Competitive Leadership: Twelve Principles for Success)

We are naturally biased to speak our minds. Ineffective leaders are poor listeners and treat conversations as chances to talk about themselves increasing their perceived status.  They spend more time planning their next response than listening to others.

God invites us to be quiet and listen. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10 NIV)

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”. (James 1:19 NIV)

Leadership is … listening and caring to build relationships

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is Wise Counsel

 

Laurie KennedyOne of my Mentors shares a very meaningful story. I assume it is for illustrative purposes with no reality behind it. I have searched for the original author but to no avail.  So, with due apologies to the originator, I’ll list this as author unknown.

As the story goes, a young girl became sick. Her parents cared for her, family and friends gave advice and the family hoped and prayed she would get better. In time the parents took her to the Dr. and received advice and medication.  As my mentor tells the story, the sickness could be fatal, but with the Dr.’s advice and medication, she should be fine.

Family and friends would call, drop in to visit, and express their concern about the young girl’s health. The parents would thank them for their advice, concern and prayers. Then, would confirm that the Dr. said with the medication and advice, she would be fine. They would point to the medication sitting on the shelf and repeat the instructions.

As the story goes, the girl died.  Family and friends came to visit and express concern. Noting the medication still sitting on the shelf, one enquiring visitor asked about the medication. The parents confirmed they had tried the medication, but since the youngster didn’t like the taste, she didn’t take it.

Ok, this little story has more illustrative value than reality. I can’t imagine it happening or could I. In my Coaching Practice, Leaders tell me story after story from other organizations. The stories involve their friends or associates facing challenge, difficulty and fear. Later, I hear some of the organizations died or closed, not for lack of information and help, but for lack of follow through on wise counsel.

What Leadership challenges are you facing today? Please take time to pray seriously, seek God’s face and find the professional expertise that you need.

Leadership is prayerfully seeking and implementing wise counsel.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is Leading and Following

Laurie KennedyThe story is told about a Jewelry Store Owner and a Factory Worker. Every morning the Factory Worker would stop, wind and set his watch by the old Grandfather clock in the Jeweler’s window.

One day the shop owner asked the Factory Worker what he did. The Worker finished setting his watch and said he was the official Timekeeper who blew the noon whistle to let the Factory employees and townspeople know it was lunch and quitting time. He came by the Jewelry store each morning to set his watch, by the grandfather clock, to be sure he blew the whistle on time.

The Jeweler hesitated then said, “That’s remarkable, I’ve been setting my Grandfather clock by your noon whistle for years.”

Are you leading or following?

This old story indicates a common situation. Two people are following each other, both believing the other is a competent leader.

The tragedy of this story, involves not only the two men, but the hundreds of others who follow them. Unknowingly, these followers were leaders. They were leading a great number of people. Each assumed a higher standard existed somewhere and their lives were being shaped unknowingly.

As a leader, or follower, look carefully. Who or what are you following? Who is following you? What influence are you having on others? Each individual, student, elected official, employer or employee is both leading and following.

If you are not satisfied with your progress on the job, you may be following the wrong leader. Consider who or what you are following and take steps to change

Your life may feel like a giant jigsaw puzzle, don’t let just anyone fit your pieces together.

Leadership is like Moses. He followed God and the people followed him.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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