Browsing: Leadership Development

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… A Servant Led Church #302

Paul uses a practical construction analogy, “In him, the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord”. (Ephesians 2:21 NIV) You wouldn’t want to live and work within a building that is poorly constructed. The risks are obvious. Yet, many of us work in organizational environments that are ineffective.

The corporate world has been shaken with CEO’s and CFO’s who re-arrange budget and resources for their own benefit. “People value honesty and integrity in a leader more than anything else. Virtually every person they talked with placed integrity at the top of the leadership wish list.”  (James Kouzes and Barry Posner, quoted by Perkins in Awaken the Leader Within) The Servant led church integrates a service philosophy with integrity. Every member is encouraged to live a life of honesty, truthfulness and integrity. This is a church the world will notice.

The Servant led church is a learning and growing organism. It is characterized by a collective unity and interdependence of each individual and team. The teams define their goals, are delegated a budget and resources, and are accountable to each other and the overall Vision. Leadership, decision making, planning and goal setting are shared, not held by the faithful few. The Servant led church knows its own strengths, weaknesses and the gifts of its people. It also knows the power of people working tougher effectively, “Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9 TLB)

The Servant led church reduces the emphasis on the power hierarchy while encouraging team work and a service role for each leader. Each leader would interact within a team. The teams would be composed of divergent thinking people, different ages, different occupations, and ideally different cultures. Each would be committed to the Vision, working independently, yet supporting each other. Although the teams may appear leaderless, the leader is the Vision and the team works the mission as a group of equals.

Is your church a Servant led church?

Leadership is … serving individually and collectively. 

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… Standing in the Gap #295

“Leaders are found everywhere. Demographics pay no role in whether or not someone is going to become an exemplary leader. Leadership is not a birthright. It’s not about position or title. It’s not about power or authority. It’s not about celebrity or wealth. It’s not about being a CEO, president, general, or prime minister. It’s not about being a superstar. And it’s most assuredly not about some charismatic gift. Leadership is not about who you are or where you came from. It’s about what you do.” (Kouzes, Posner, The Truth about Leadership)

Leadership is for today. The skills, abilities and character traits are readily available for those who choose and are willing to challenge the status quo and stand up to be counted.

Leaders are informed. They read, listen and learn. Their skill, knowledge and expertise increases as the topic moves closer to their area of specialty. When recruiting staff and volunteers, they look for competence in skill, character and personality. Leaders are motivated and excited about the future. They guide their people, followers and organizations towards a positive outcome. They realize talent is scarce and will encourage others to achieve success in their own lives. They strive for a balance where employee/volunteers receive a personal benefit by working with an organization and the organization receives a similar benefit by employing the individual.

The effective leader follows an ethical standard. Their personal values are consistent, supported and integrated within the organization they lead. They are strategic in their decisions. They evaluate risks depending on the outcome to their people and for the organization.

They serve on Boards to make a lasting contribution. They create job satisfaction.

God is looking for effective leaders. He wanted effective leaders in history, “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” (Ezekiel 22:30 NIV). He is still looking for effective leaders today.

Leadership is, knowing your calling and standing in the gap with God.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is… Getting It Right #290

Are you adrift with ineffective leadership? Many Christian leaders have adopted leadership styles without a Biblical standard. They don’t lead by serving. They may set goals, monitor performance, counsel, recruit, motivate and discipline. But, following the latest guru or fad of the month club doesn’t work.

“Much of the church is spiritually impotent-void of vital, personal and intimate walk with God. Having fallen into the cult of the comfortable, the church, for the most part, is no long a power to be reckoned with. It has largely lost the respect of the masses; it is often no longer a power to be reckoned with. It has largely lost the respect of the masses’ it is often the object of ridicule. Tragically, it has become the last place our nation would turn for help.” (Bill Bright, The coming Revival America’s Call to Fast, Pray and “Seek God’s Face”)

“Jesus shrugged it off. Every tree that wasn’t planted by my Father in heaven will be pulled up by its roots. Forget them. They are blind men leading blind men. When a blind man leads a blind man, they both end up in the ditch.” (Matthew 15:13-14 MSG)

“Good leaders can make a small difference; bad leaders can make a huge negative difference”. (Fortune Magazine)

We’ve all heard the phrase, “History repeats itself’. To state it another way, the future will be the same as the past, unless something changes. As Christian leaders, if we want to have any impact on our future, we need to change. I’m not recommending a change in theology, values, prayer or Bible study. I’m suggesting as Christian leaders, we need to follow Christ’s example and exude Servant Leadership. We need to follow the blueprint.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2 NIV)

Are your followers growing in their relationship to their Heavenly Father? If not, why not?

Leadership is, following a Biblical standard of Servant Leadership.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is… Shepherding #288

Eagles fly solo to an altitude of 10,000 feet. With excellent eyesight they can see up to five kilometres. Horses are strong, trainable, can work alone, in pairs or lead effectively. Sheep herd, prefer to be together, need direction and get upset easily.

All of our churches have a few eagle leaders. They are the independent thinkers. They are comfortable in a variety of situations. They know what they believe, what their spiritual gifts are and are willing lead us into a Kingdom focused future.

Our churches also have work horse leaders.  These individuals know their skills, are willing to learn new ideas and when motivated and encouraged will work in a team.

Our churches also have sheep. These are the quality, dedicated people who are comfortable and relaxed in a variety of group settings. They respond to a volunteer request as they feel skilled, involved and accepted.

“When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon son of John, do you love me more than these? Yes, Lord, he said, you know that I love you. Jesus said, Feed my lambs. Again Jesus said, Simon son of John, do you love me? He answered, Yes, Lord, you know that I love you. Jesus said, Take care of my sheep. The third time he said to him, Simon son of John, do you love me? Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time. Do you love me? He said, Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you. Jesus said, Feed my sheep”. (John 21:15-17 NIV)

An effective God directed leader cares about all the people and their unique skills and needs. The scriptural example is to lay down our lives for the sheep. Whether, characterized as the Eagle, the work horse or the sheep, they are all valuable and the priority is those who are lost.

“The truth is that the church will grow automatically when a Kingdom focus is exercised by your church members.” (Kent Humphreys, Shepherding Horses)

Leadership is, finding and caring for every lost individual.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is Mentoring And Being Mentored #287

A mentor is a wise and trusted counsellor. Some mentors are formal, others casual. The “Mentoring discipline comes from the same root word as disciple.  Disciple means to teach or to train.” (Hunter, James C. The World’s most Powerful Leadership Principle) Each of us are challenged to choose a faith focused mentor to lead and guide.

I have the very unique privilege of having four mentors. I worked for three of them in their various Board Chair roles and the other is a very trusted friend.  They are each Christian Leaders, active in their churches and successful in their families and careers. All our discussions are scripturally based with the prayerful goal to be more effective, Christ-like Servant Leaders. We pray, share, learn from the books we read, the speakers we listen to and those we have consulted with. The best part is we learn from each other.

“The best leadership training program ever designed was a day-by-day mentoring, in which twelve students watched their Leader and then did what he did.”

Kevin A. Miller Leadership Journal

Note this fascinating illustration and paraphrase of the power of Christ’s mentoring. “The church in Jerusalem grew overnight from about 120 to 3,000. (Acts 2:41 NLT) Soon the number of men in the Jerusalem church had grown to about 5,000, so with women and children, the total was up to 15,000 or so. (Acts 4:4 NLT) After that, the number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem. (Acts 6:7 NLT) All the explosive growth took place without a single building program.” (Ray Bowman & Eddy Hall, When Not to Build An Architect’s Unconventional Wisdom for the Growing Church).

Scripture tells us to: “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:20-21 NIV)

Take a minute to think and pray for those who mentor you.  What have you learned? What are their qualifications and why did you choose them to be your mentors? Then, take another minute and ask yourself who looks to you as a mentor.  Why did they choose you and what are you teaching them?

Leadership is being a mentor and receiving mentorship from a trusted friend.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is Taking Prescriptions #285

Here’s a frightening reality of our attitude to personal and church health.

Let me illustrate. You don’t feel well. You feel unhealthy, lethargic and know that something isn’t right. Something hurts or maybe a bone is broken. Maybe we need surgery. The next logical step is to visit a trained professional for advice, recommendation or solution. You visit your Doctor, Health Clinic or Hospital. We receive the prescription, exercise routine, referral or plan for surgery. What happens next?

Here’s the reality. Thirty percent of us don’t follow through on the advice and don’t bother going to the Pharmacy to pick up the prescription. A further thirty percent of us run to the Pharmacy to pick up the prescription but don’t take it correctly or consistently.  Another thirty percent buy the prescription but leave it on the shelf. That leaves ten percent of us that follow through and implement the advice.

Let’s consider the typical church. Internal surveys indicate that 70% of churches do not consider themselves to be healthy. The power of an internal culture (the way we do it around here) can be so strong that the church is unaware or unwilling to implement a solution or change strategy.

Denominational Executives concur that typically only 30% to 40% of churches are healthy. Denominations assess the health of a church or a region of churches with a variety of methods. Some look at financial standing, others count attendance, percentage of volunteers or staff turnover. One of the most fascinating stats is to look at the percentage of the annual budget that goes to missions and outreach activities compared to what is spent internally. The most biblical way to assess the Spiritual health of a church is to count salvation decisions.

Leaders have a lot of dedication, and enthusiasm. However, just like people taking a medication or professional advice, we sometimes lose our enthusiasm, dedication and follow through.

At your next Leadership meeting, ask yourself and your associates to prayerfully consider what you and your team could do to improve the health of your church.

Leadership is praying and implementing God’s plan.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is Realizing We Are Broken Mortals #281

The Boy

Before they left, they gathered supplies. Tools, firewood, and provisions for the journey. The young boy watched the preparation. His family gathered the things they would need, lashing them to the animals for the trip. His people had moved before, some would say often. City to city, town to town. Moving to where there is food, or work, or relatives, but the boy had never been anywhere but here. Today he would see. Today he would be traveling with the adults.

He had his own pack to carry. His mom had packed up some berries, dried meat and bread. They were heading off on a three day journey. The boy wondered if they would make him walk the whole way? He wondered if he could walk the whole way. He determined at that moment that he would do whatever was asked of him. It was a privilege to be a part of this journey.

The man looked at his son, with his pack. He struggled to keep his emotions at bay. It was going to be a long journey for the boy. They would have to keep up their pace or this journey would take a week. There would be some amazing things for him to see. Sunsets, rivers to cross, hills to climb. Enough adventure to keep his young mind occupied. There would be campfires and stargazing. Camping in crazy places with the sound of wild animals just beyond the reaches of firelight.

Like all Fathers, he wondered to himself. What will we talk about? Will he have questions I can’t answer? Should I be looking for ways to fill the long hours? What wisdom do I hold that could hold his attention? I am a simple man. My whole life has been rather dull. There was that one time, maybe that’s not a story for him yet.

The boy stood as they gathered at the edge of town. It was the time for goodbyes and hugs. He thought to himself, Mom’s hug seems especially long. She is crying a lot. Why didn’t she hug Father? She didn’t even look at him. Girls are weird, I’m never getting married.

With that thought, he turned and began the journey.

An excerpt from Broken Mortals: A Journey of Hope, by Rev. Chet Kennedy

Leadership is seeing God at work in us as broken mortals.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership is God’s Plan or Burnout #275

Coaching Ministry Leaders is fascinating. We all believe God has a plan for us as individuals and churches. His plan is desirable and achievable. However, when it comes to implementing the plan, we often rely on our own resourcefulness. Think through your schedule. We have family, church, work and community responsibilities. What does God want you to do and who can help?

Moses, like many of us, had challenges keeping up with his work load.

“The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”

Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.”

Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave.  But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you.  If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.” (Exodus 18:13-23 NIV)

Moses relied on God’s direction, implemented the advice and led a million people through the wilderness.  Now, put that concept into today. Just imagine the world wide impact for Christ when our Leaders prayerfully lead with God’s direction.

Leadership is learning to rely on and share God’s direction.

Yours in Service,
Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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