Category Archives: ABC’s of Leadership

Leadership is: Questioning

Your questions are on the hot seat.

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. – Albert Einstein

Imagine being able to have a firm grasp on a situation. You know what to do in just about any given situation and are calm, cool, and collected as you share your strategy for success with others. This may seem impossible, and for most it is, but a good great leader can achieve this level of confidence through questioning. This isn’t because they have more talent or are better suited for the position, but rather because they ask great questions! When a leader asks questions, and is willing to be asked questions they are much better equipped for what lies ahead. This is an Inc. Magazine article that describes specifically the power of questions.

As a leader we must:

1. Question assumptions: Assumptions keep us operating at the current status quo. They cause us to believe that nothing is wrong and nothing needs to be fixed. If we as leaders operate under assumptions we will believe that things are good even when they’re bad. Assumptions are lethal to any group. And you know what they say about them! Here is what Forbes has to say about them.

What assumptions do you have that need questioning?

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Leadership is: Purpose

Don't roll the dice, just start off by asking "why?"

The secret of success is constancy to purpose. – Benjamin Disraeli

“Fail to plan, plan to fail” is one of my all-time favorite sayings. However, this is an incomplete view of success, this saying is more focused on the “what” rather than the “why.” In order for leaders to effectively lead, we absolutely must have and focus on the why before we can focus on the what! This is called purpose. I wish I could say this articulation of purpose was mine, but it is not. I heard this from Simon Sinek in an EntreLeadership podcast.

Related: Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action (Ted Talks)

Everything breaks down to purpose. It may often annoy many of our piers and leaders to ask “why, what’s the purpose,” but the truth is: purpose matters! Purpose gives meaning to responsibilities that would seem pointless with out it. This is actually the topic of Sinek’s book, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action.

When it comes to purposeful leadership we must make sure we are purposed in two areas:

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Leadership is: Opportunity

If only recognizing opportunities were that easy!

“I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one.” – Mark Twain

As I was graduating college Marla and I were faced with choosing between two great opportunities. We had been through two interviews, for two different churches, and had been offered both jobs. Choosing the opportunity that was right for the both of us was one of the most difficult decisions we have ever had to make. Through much praying, weighing of the options, and getting Marla’s take on the the opportunities (Dave Ramsey talks about the benefit of seeking your spouse’s input in his book EntreLeadership), we made a decision.

We are no longer serving at that church, but we do believe we made the right choice. We learned so much in the two years we were there, and it help set us on the path we’re on today!

When it comes to opportunity we must be able to do 3 things:

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Leadership is: Not-giving-up

Hang on, tie your knot, then use it as a platform to climb up!

“When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

One of the most impacting quotes I’ve heard is, “the most valuable ground is the grave yard because of all the dreams, desires, and goals that are buried there.” That got me thinking: how many ideas, ambitions, and goals will die with me because I couldn’t push through and finish? 

As leaders we must be able to persevere through those difficult or seemingly impossible circumstances (especially if they are essential to our success).

HERE ARE THREE WAYS TO NOT GIVE UP:

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Leadership is: Multiplying

Do you divide, add, or multiply as a leader?

And what I’m interested in is investing in people.” – Arthur Rock

When my wife and I were getting married we met with some counselors to do pre-marital counseling for roughly six months before we wed. One of the most impacting admonishments I received was that “a husband should divide his wife’s sorrows and multiply her joys.” Ever since then I’ve kept this motto in the back of my mind, striving to divide sorrows and multiply joys as I lead my family.

Leadership outside of the home isn’t much different. This is not to say that our team’s happiness is our job, rather we should  help them find joy in their accomplishments and growth, and to learn from their failure.

When it comes to this concept there are three types of Leaders:

  • The Dividing Leader: This type of leader believes that a paycheck or “thank you” is enough thanks. The problem with this perspective is that there is no personal investment in the members themselves. The leader will continue to ask and the team members will continue to give, until another leader will ask less from them or give more to them.

With out any real investment, a leader’s mistakes or misgivings will multiply against them, in essence, they will divide the team.

  • The Adding Leader: This type of leader believes that a paycheck is not enough! In fact they believe if a team member adds value to the organization, they will add value to the team member by giving them public praise or rewards. This shows team members they are valued by the team and organization.

It is important to recognize that extrinsic motivators and thank-yous will add value to your team members, but they will not be enough to over come consistent dividing from the leader. 

  • The Multiplying Leader: This type of leader knows that a paycheck is equal compensation for the team member’s time and effort, and if they’d like more out of their team they must invest in its members beyond extrinsic motivators. These leaders create intrinsic value by investing in member’s abilities and strengths, helping them multiply their successes and learn from their failures.

Leaders, who invest in their members, will multiply their value and will have invested enough to survive a dividing moment.

Investing is work, here is a SHORT blog post by Scott Hodge on how to prioritize investment.

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