LEARNING TO SAY NO

Most leaders have to learn similar lessons along the way when it comes to working with people. Jacob’s story had soap-operatic twists and turns, but after twenty long years of service Jacob was prepared to lead – and part of that preparation was learning to say no. When the Lord told Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers, to your family, and I will be with you.” (Gen 31:3) Jacob did not consult with cheating Laban. With God’s help Jacob finally learned to say no.

I believe Jacob learned to say no to temptations that would alter his time priorities. Three questions could determine our productivity today: (1) can you fit me in? (2) Can you fit in another meeting?, and (3) can you fit this into your to-do list today? There’s a lot of fitting in happening in organizations today, and that’s not a good thing. Somehow we’ve come to think, “If I

can fit it in, I should

fit it in.” Life seems cluttered with “should”

Highly effective leaders say no with much more resolve than average leaders do – but love leaders say it in a way that improves relationships. We learn much about a leader’s growth potential base on what he won’t do. Effective leaders make room to make a difference. They don’t fill up a to-do list with more than one thing that must be done today.

“Love Leads” by Steve Greene, 2017



GODLY TIME MANAGEMENT

There is a common collision between our plans for the day and the spiritual appointments set fur us. We often confuse the important with the urgent. The people who surround a leader will rarely understand a decision to move in a spiritual assignment instead of responding to the myriad of highly urgent demands in the workplace.

It’s not hard to discern the spiritual agenda of the day. It is assigned through prayer and daily Bible reading. A spiritual assignment rarely comes by e-mail, text, or voice mail. I comes directly into our hears and likely consumes us.

The more I focus on completing spiritual assignments, the more God is faithful to redeem the time and somehow make the path easier to complete marketplace assignments. Spending the day chasing donkeys is the path of least resistance. But moving toward a spiritual priority requires resisting the temptation to respond to the urgent. Godly time management is spiritual warfare.

Our time is well spent when we cultivate relationships that lead to influence. When we stop being too busy to care more, our relationships and influence will enjoy marked improvement.

“Love Leads” by Steve Greene, 2017



AN HOUR A DAY

i set aside one hour of each day that I call my ‘zero hour’. During the hour I have zero tolerance for distractions. No tech, no emails, no nothing but proactive thinking, writing, or doing. I prefer to have no interruptions during zero hours, but I’m not always able to control my door. Remember, a zero hour happens during work hours within the office is full.

During this time I’m holding myself accountable to get away from my computer screens and phone and shut down for an hour of progress. I do not allow myself any excuses for breaking my rules during zero hour. I’ve been amazed at how one simple hour can make such an impact on progress.

But I also want to mention the most important hour of the day, which occurs before anyone is in the office with me. Most of you have a similar time. Mine is called a “power hour.” It is during this hour that I spend time building the most important relationship of all. During this hour I have my devotions and prayer time. I intercede for those I have committed to praying for, and the list is long. I also pray for every member of my team by name every morning.

I depend upon my power hour to launch my day and receive the spiritual assignments God has for me. I have no distractions and no interruptions. Perhaps a zero hour and a power hour coud be useful in your day.

“Love Leads” by Steve Greene, 2017



RELATIONSHIPS ARE BUILT OVER TIME

When Jacob encountered Rachel at the well, it was love at first sight. Their first kiss was in the field among sheep, and he was soon invited back home to meet her dad. Laban offered Jacob a job, saying, “Tell me, what shall your wages be?” (Gen 29:15). Jacob wasn’t interested in riches. Love inspired him to win Rachel’s heart.

Loving leadership requires setting priorities. Jacob had his priorities in order. His love for Rachel constrained him. Likewise the love of the Lord should constrain us to redeem the time “because the days are evil.” (Eph 5:16) That means setting the right priorities. Jacob didn’t let anything get in the way of his heart’s desire to win Rachel.

We show love by our nos as well as our yeses. Leaders who love are intentional about carving out time to develop relationships with teammates. It is never a waste of time to make time to listen to teammates. It is never a waste of time to make time to listen to teammates. If Jacob had shifted his priorities at any time and given up his plan, what would have happened to Israel? God gives us the time to do His will. He expects us to demonstrate good stewardship with our choices on how to use the tie we’ve been given.

“Love Leads” by Steve Greene, 2017



Relationships Precede Influence

The essence of leadership is influence. Without influence a leader will resort to using fear and intimidation as a means to an end.

Influence begins in a leader’s heart. I don’t know if it is possible to influence anyone in the long run without demonstrating a wheelbarrow full of care and compassion. The abundance of my heart is demonstrated in the manner in which I speak and take action. It is a combination of words and actions that builds a relationship.

To be a person of influence, I must first be willing to be influenced by the needs of those I hope to lead.

Leader’s don’t say: “Let me influence you. See how hard I work and how much I care? Now follow me!” Meaningful care is demonstrated more than spoken.

Leaders must focus on the needs of work teams. There is a time and place to focus on the efficacy of the work, but the antecedent of a highly effective work team is a leader’s influence on the group. A matrix of influence exists because a leader birthed a culture of meaningful relationships. The leader’s care must be felt within each work station. Every member of a team must feel the flow of his leader’s concern over time.

“Love Leads” by Steve Greene, 2017



LOVE SACRIFICES

When we read or hear stories of faithful sacrifice, the stories usually include some terrible loss of life on behalf of another. Somehow it seems to motivate us because one person had the courage to die for another.

Author and pastor Bryan Chapell tells the story that happened in his hometown. Two brothers were playing on the sandbanks by the river. One ran after the other up a large mound of sand. Unfortunately the mound was not solid, and their weight caused them to sink in quickly.

When the boys did not return home for dinner, the family and neighbors organized a search. They found the younger brother unconscious, with his head and shoulders sticking out above the sand. When they cleared the sand to his waist, he awakened. The searchers asked, “Where is your brother?” the child replied, “I’m standing on his shoulders.”

Love begins with giving up something of value. It may be time, money, or personal preferences that are first sacrificed for the greater good. When a leader stops to listen to the plea of a line worker, the leader is sacrificing other work to demonstrate love by listening to a team member.

Leader love finds ways to sacrifice anything other than people who are doing the work of the organization. Leaders are called to “die to self” in almost any meeting. Leader love must set aside personal preferences to allow others at the table to try things the leader doesn’t really want to do. Sometimes it’s more important to allow a team member to grow than it is to launch pet projects.

Faith involves more than belief. A leader who is full of faith will be note for taking actions that require personal sacrifice. Leaders die daily for the good of the vision and mission. Loving leaders lead in faith and are willing to die to self.

“Love Leads”, by Steve Greene, 2017



COVER YOUR TEAM

God desires leaders who will seek His face. Common leadership principles are useful to accomplish temporal goals. Leading a team to accomplish spiritual goals requires a dependence on hearing the voice of God. I have heard from the Lord throughout my career. The Lord said in Ezekel 22:30, “ I sought for a man among them who would build up the hedge and stand in the gap before Me for the land so that I would not destroy it, but I found no one.”

Isn’t it sad that God was seeking but could not find anyone to stand in the gap to protect His people? Not one man would demonstrate the faith to build a hedge around the land. Love-driven leaders are the first to stand in the gap to protect their team. Leader love takes hits without hesitation. The promise of covering is implied in the job title.

Love-driven are quick to pray for the needs of the team. Leader love intercedes.

Covering includes a willingness to correct and coach. To leave a team untrained and vulnerable shows a measurable lack in leadership.

Serving others is perhaps the best form of covering. A leader with a servant’s heart sees gaps and creates action to meet needs. There are many gaps in the workplace. Many hedges need to built, including a hedge of prayer.

“Love Leads”, by Steve Greene, 2017



STEP OUT AND CROSS OVER

Abraham set out on a long journey of love. The Bible alls him a Hebrew (Gen. 14:13). The root of the Hebrew word for “Hebrew” is “Ivri”, which literally means “to cross over.” Abraham, left his comfort zone, crossed boundaries, and set out on a voyage with Jehovah.

When we make a journey of any significant distance, we will certainly notice a change in terrain. We will cross boundaries real and imagined. Love-driven leaders must be prepared to cross difficult paths. The days of “I lead, you follow” are all gone. Few leaders work in an environment of isolation. Today’s leader must be a bridge-builder across multiple teams, functions and geographies. Abraham’s faith build a bridge to bless not only the Hebrews but also the Gentiles (Gal 3:14).

Networks are created by design. Is any network more important than the one among our internal teams? Some leaders miss this concept so badly that each team is given different-colored T-shirts to magnify allegiance to one department over another. Homesteading and isolationism have gone the way of dinosaurs and eight track tapes.

We celebrate our differences while embracing alignment. We must connect the dots without losing the beauty of each individual dot. We must produce today while empowering vision. We must share our identity while stimulating the individual. Like Abraham, love driven leaders adapt to a new terrain. Boundaries must blur.

“Love Leads”, by Steve Greene, 2017



THE RISK OF LOVE

Love-driven leaders must not be risk-averse. We’ve been instructed to “take up our cross and die daily.” (See Matthew 16:24; Luke 9:23) What has more risk than dying daily? When we fear isk, we present a selfish motive. We fear loss or embarrassment. Even if we rationalize our unwillingness to take risks for fear of how it might affect the organization the fear of risk still seems to indicae a crisis of faith.

Why do we tend to welcome less risk as we age? Could t be that we are fearful of losing something we have stored in our moving trucks? Are we in asset-protection mode? Opportunities to serve are filled with inherent risk. We fear criticism, rebuke and isolation. Mostly we fear exposure to the elements.

After Elijah humiliated the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel, he fled into the wilderness when Jezebel threatened to kill him. He went a day’s journey then lay down under a juniper tree.

Elijah’s juniper tree offered peace and only the risk of the bite of a bug. But just when the rest became comfortable, an angel of the Lord appeared and asked, “Why are you here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:13).

That’s what God in His mercy does to us. Just when we get comfortable, He’ll ask us, “What are you doing here? Are you afraid of Jezebel? Has the risk moved you off mission: I thought I heard you singing just last week “I shall not be moved.”

Attacks often follow a big win.

The Holy Spirit will keep you moving. Think new thoughts. Pray new prayers. Ask God to give you a fresh anointing within your calling.

“Love Leads” , by Steve  Greene, 2017



DISCOMFORTING LOVE

When leaders reach a plateau in their personal growth, he organization also will tend to flatline. Leaders must be open to hearing the voice of God directing them to “go from your country, your family, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you” (Gen 12:1). Abraham heard this message at age seventy-five.

We cannot conclude that God requires only young people to pack up the moving truck. The trip from Haran to Canaan for Abram and his wife, Sarai (their names before God changed them to Abraham and Sarah), must have been difficult. The aging couple didn’t have a comfortable trip for their tired bodies, and they weren’t bolstered by bottles of nutraceuticals.

But God loves to lead us out of our comfort zones. The Lord seems to draw us into places and situations in which learning will be a necessity. Leaders, take note. If we aren’t struggling with opportunities, projects, or people, it’s possible that we have reached a plateau. How long will a team follow a leader who has dropped anchor into the safety of sameness?

One of the problems with a leader plateau is recognizing that fact. Leaders stuck on a treadmill may believe they are headed somewhere. Their legs are moving, their breathing is elevated, and it feels as if progress is being made. Unfortunately the scenery isn’t changing. Everyone is doing what he has always done.

The organization has become comfortable and probably resistant to change.

“Love Leads” by Steve Greene, 2017




 

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