LEADERS LOVE A FISHBOWL

The clarion call for leaders today is to become increasingly transparent. Those in the baby boomer generation seemed to accept the fact that leaders would tell them what they needed to know when they needed to know it. Their need to know wasn’t as fierce as it appears to be today,

The apostle Paul was about as transparent as they come. He shared personal thoughts such as, “For the good I desire to do, I do not do, but the evil I do not want is what I do” (Rom 7:19), and “I am in a difficult position between the two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless, to remain in the flesh is more needful for your sake. Having this confidence, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your joyful advancement of the faith” (Phil 1:23-25). He even called himself the chief sinner (1 Tim 1:15). That’s transparency!

Trailing generations are cranky and demanding about wide-open leadership. The workforce today seems to have a need to know everything always – and right now, please. Transparency seems to be defined as, “Tell me everything you know the minute you know it.” Our teams today seem to demand that every can of worms be opened.

I’ve settled on business transparency in this way. I shed full light on relationships with people. If I’m asked questions about personal job performance, I won’t dim the light. If I am asked questions about corporate plans and activities, I will shed appropriate light. If I’m asked questions about business matters by people who are simply nosy, I will shed no light. Employees come and go in every organization. Some corporate information simply doesn’t belong in the marketplace.

From Love Leads, by Dr. Steve Greene, 2017



LESSONS FROM JOHN THE BAPTIST

Consider the leadership of John the Baptist. First, we note that he was an excellent communicator, as is evident by the way John was introduced in Matthew 3:1-3. His message was clear and oft repeated: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 3:2). John the Baptist had many followers, and they all understood his powerful and convicting message. His clarity produced instant results.

Second, John was not focused on his personal image or how others viewed him. He wore camel’s hair and ate locusts. John didn’t appear to be the type of person who could energize a crowd. Yet he attracted the masses for baptism in the Jordan River. He did not lead with his external images. People wanted what John offered even though he didn’t dress for success.

Third, in the face of visitors sent to determine what John was up to, he maintained his integrity and strong convictions. The Sanhedrin body of Pharisees, Sadducees, and town rulers came to the river to investigate John and do the baptism thing. He greeted them powerfully, sayings, “Who warned you to flee from the [divine] wrath and judgment to come?” (Matt 3:7, AMP). John made it clear that baptism would do them no good without repentance. He was not intimidated by ruling authorities. Yet we learned that John was ready to submit to Jesus.

The final point about John’s leadership character is that he knew how and to whom to submit. He told Jesus, “I need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” (Matt 3:14). Notice the radical difference in how John spoke to Jesus and how he spoke to the ruling Sanhedrin. Then John submitted to Jesus and baptized Him.

From Love Leads, by Dr. Steve Greene, 2017



Carnal vs Spirit-Led Leaders

A Spirit led leader is different from a carnal leader in almost every way. Consider these seven indicators of a Spirit-led leader.

  1. Displays a continual flow of gratitude. A grateful leader expresses thanks as a matter of course. It is not a once-in-a-while thing. Gratitude comes easily because the leader lives in contentment.
  2. Believes the best in people and know there is a reasonable explanation for unusual behavior in others.
  3. Welcomes healthy relationships. A Spirit-led leader regularly displays the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
  4. Demonstrates a teachable spirit. Spirit-led leaders display humility in the way they remain open to learning. They are avid readers and can learn from anyone at any time without prejudice.
  5. Walks by faith. The “evidence of things not seen” doesn’t rattle a Spirit-led leader. He knows with an inner peace that God is in control of every situation.
  6. Considers the opinions of others but tests and considers the leading of the Holy Spirit above the opinions of man.
  7. Has the name of Jesus forever on his lips. This leader speaks of the Lord throughout his day. He gives glory to God in his speech and is quick to invoke the name of Jesus in any environment.

People want to be around Spirit-led leaders because of what they have to say. A godly leader inspires people to come up higher. Their words give life to the hearers. They don’t speak to tickle the ears of hearers but rather to exhort, correct, encourage, and build up. A Spirit-led leader is single-minded about his love for his team.

Love Leads, by Steve Greene, 2017



Demonstrating Christ’s Compassion

Jesus was the greatest leader who ever walked the earth and His disciples became great leaders by following His example. The disciples learned Jesus’s language as they walked with and talked with Him. They gleaned from His words of comfort and His words of rebuke. They learned by watching as much as by listening. In the end, they saw Him walk alone down the Via Dolorosa, the “way of sorrows,” without complaint. Jesus loved and served consistently, even when walking a difficult path.

As His followers we are called to do  the same. We may have positional authority, but we can’t be averse to grabbing a towel and wash basin. We must be willing to get our hands dirty. Loving leaders know servanthood is not top down and function best in organizations where authority and responsibility flow horizontally. Service to one another is horizontal.

After a couple of long days of ministry the disciples were worn sick. They had been so busy they hadn’t even had a chance to eat. Jesus responded as a servant-leader would. He told them, “Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31)

Such a response can come only from the heart of a servant. Leaders are never lonely when they serve with the compassion of Christ in their hearts.

Love Leads, by Steve Greene, 2017



Leaders Aren’t Loners

How many times have you heard the expression “It’s lonely at the top”? I believe there is a fundamental problem with this claim. A leader who knows Christ should never feel alone.

A feeling of isolation or desolation should never overtake a Christian. The essence of our belief system is that God is with us. He came and dwelled among us, and now our bodies are His tabernacle. To feel close to Him, we need only to call upon His name and know Him as the great Shepherd. He never abandons us; He makes us to “lie down in green pastures” and restores our souls (Ps 23:2-3).

But there is an additional troubling aspect to the expression that it’s lonely at the top. A leader is only lonely if he is not a follower. Leaders have in most cases been excellent followers. They learned to lead by modeling other leaders.

When Jesus called His disciples, they had no concept of what they were getting themselves into. Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew were throwing a net into the sea when the Lord came with an invitation – “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt 4:19). They didn’t hesitate to follow.

Love Leads, by Steve Greene, 2017



When Things Don’t Go as Planned

I became a big believer is lifeboat expense planning. It is simple contingency planning: if the planned revenue doesn’t come in and we launch the lifeboat, what expenses will we allow into the boat? We have lifeboats attached to our ships because we love the people on board. Leaders who love will make plans to save the crew with the addition of lifeboats.

It’s much easier to devise an expense-cutting plan before we need it. There is much less emotion involved. Then in a bad season when the captain calls for a lifeboat to be launched, the only thing necessary is to execute the plan. There is no need to make the hard budget-cutting decisions in the midst of a crisis. You will be amazed at how clearly you will be able t think when a lifeboat is launched. And the team will adapt more easily when a contingency has been planned and previously communicated.

If the winds don’t blow, make sure the sailboat has a motor. Consider Proverbs 19:21: “There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the counsel of the Lord will stand.”

When things aren’t going well, effective leaders are the first to know it. A delusional, wannabe leader may never realize that the ground is approaching at an increasing rate of speed and his “plane” is about to crash.

Love Leads, by Steve Greene, 2017



Leader Love that Inspires

Mothers learn the essence of leadership from the first time they hold their babies. Moms know thre is always something that needs to be done. I believe it was a busy mom who first said, “I’ll take care of it.” While effective leaders must certainly develop the art of delegation, careers are built by getting things done.

It’s not just the busywork that gets done; leaders are focused on getting the Right” things done. It’s easy to be busy being busy. But at the end of the day the story of progress is told by leaders who “take care of it.”

The best surprise to a leader is when “it” is finally taken care of. An organization functions best in a culture of execution – getting the  right things done. If execution is difficult in your organization, text a mom. Expect her reply to be, “I’ll take care of it.”

Inspiration doesn’t occur with pom-poms and morning cheers. A leader charges a hill and inspires a team with actions rather than words. God calls us to come up higher. Revelation 4:1 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”

Love Leads, by Steve Greene, 2017



LOVE VISION

It’s much easier to cast a vision than it is to secure buy-in and engagement. Many pastors cast vision for the ministries they lead during the previous year. Business executives remind their team of goals and milestones to be accomplished. Parents speak to their children about hopes and dreams for family unity and goals for the year.

Casting vision and speaking messages of hope are not replacements for action. As we cast vision, we must be very intentional about securing buy-in. Gaining support for a vision requires much more than verbal approval from the amen corner. Pep rallies for the vision end at the point that work begins.

Why does a good vision from a competent leader often end in disappointment? Why is support for a vision often short-lived? Sustainable support is achieved with engagement measured in execution. Execution is what occurs when the excitement for a vision wears off. Getting things done requires much more than a desktop full of apps and to-do-lists. Our teams must be filled with intention.

The job of a leader is to couple vision with intention. When our teams become intentional, progress ensues. Love-driven leaders create intention in an atmosphere of training. I may want to contribute to the vision but not know how to do it. Training is the single most important ingredient to execution. And vision becomes reality with execution.

Love Leads, Steve Greene, 2017



ROOTED IN PRAYER

I once read a quote that said, “We can’t do more than pray before we have prayed but we can do more after we have prayed.” Prayer is the weapon of choice for effective leaders. Prayer must precede the steps of a leader. But after prayer, action becomes our mandate. Prayer is necessary but not sufficient. Likewise, action is necessary but not sufficient.

We see a powerful demonstration of prayer followed by action in the Book of Nehemiah. In chapter 1 Nehemiah prays the leader’s prayer: “Hear the prayer of Your servants, which I now pray before You, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against You. Both my father’s house and I have sinned” (v.6)

We know that after offering a prayer from his heart as a leader, Nehemiah set out to rebuild the wal around Jerusalem. Prayers for the wall to be rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. Prayers for the wall to be rebuilt were surely offered by others who did not build. But Nehemiah prayed and hen too action. It was his love for the Lord – and His love for his fellow Israelites – that propelled him to prayer and action.

Love Leads by Steve Greene, 2017



A Selfless Leader

Leaders give up something of value to wear that mantle. Consider the sacrifices you have seen leaders make What personal sacrifices have you made for the greater good of your team? It seems certain to me that all leaders sacrifice. The essence of sacrifice appears to be a matter of the heart. David cried from his heart, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart. . . (Ps 51:17)

I don’t believe a leader who demonstrates brokenness is one who is weak. It is quite the opposite. Roaring leaders aren’t around long. It’s the leader with a contrite heart and quiet confidence who enjoys completed missions.

As we consider a broken spirit to be at least one definition of sacrifice to God, we must look inside our own hearts to consider our degree of brokenness. Certainly, leaders will be more effective when leading from a position of humility and with a contrite heart. A love inspired leader’s inner strength should not need to be a matter of roaring or engaging in public demonstrations of power.

As I observe highly effective love-driven leaders, I am reminded that their powerful demonstrations of quality came with great personal sacrifice. They didn’t achieve competency through a Google search. The foundations of their success were not poured with fanfare or in the presence of fan clubs. They sacrificed, put in the really hard work, and committed themselves to preparing for what was to come. Now their hard work and sacrifice make competency seem easy. They don’t have to roar.

Love Leads by Steven Greene, 2017




 

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