10 Marks of Wise Leaders

November 19, 2013 — 2 Comments

blue-brick-wall-shadowWe’ve all considered the question, ‘Are good leaders born or made?’ It can be argued to some extent that when it comes to leadership, ‘you either have it, or you don’t.’ However, I believe that most leaders, given some honest feedback, encouragement, and experience, can improve even in areas that are viewed as weaknesses.

Solid leadership requires good judgment. Solid Christian leadership demands personal discipleship and prayer as well. So many times I see and hear leaders complaining about the push-back and lack of support they get from those they are elected, appointed, or called to lead. And, to be fair, sometimes those followers are just grouchy or plain mean. More often, however, I think they are responding understandably to the seeming inadequacies, incompetence, and insincerity of those who seek to lead them.

All leaders hit walls from time to time. Christians are no exception. That is to say that they realize their own limitations and ineffectiveness. Unfortunately, those limitations are often realized, if not magnified, by others around them as well. As a minister and therapist, I am a huge proponent of family systems theory, which teaches that even one small problem in an individual can create chaos and confusion for every other member of the family. When you carry that principle over to a more concrete system — an amusement ride, for example — it’s easy to see how one loose screw or one weak link could jeopardize the security, integrity, and functionality of the entire operation.

Lucky for us all, we do not bear the burden of perfection. On the other end of the equation though, we must find within ourselves the grace to extend to those around us who are equally imperfect. Viewed in this way, I believe that challenges, even failures, can provide great opportunities for the kind of self-evaluation that can right wrongs, turn corners, and calm the turbulence of dysfunctional teams and organizations. We’ve seen such scenarios play out through the years in sports, politics, business, and church life — sometimes on TV and sometimes much closer to the action.

So what makes the difference between an exhausted and ineffective leader and an effective one? I think it all comes down to wisdom and a teachable spirit.

Consider these 10 attitudes and practices of wise leaders: Continue Reading…

Thank You, Veterans!

November 11, 2013 — Leave a comment

veterans-day-shadowIf you’re really still and quiet you can hear them in the distance — the sounds of artillery and grenades exploding against the night sky. And every pop represents a person, a man or woman engaged in a battle for our continued freedom in an increasingly hostile and volatile world.

These are soldiers on a mission, just another wave of military combatants building on the legacy of those who have proudly served their country for generations before.

Today I salute those men and women who have served our country so well — our veterans. It has been said many times that freedom isn’t free. And these folks know that all too well, having experienced first-hand the horror and grief of watching comrades die in battle.

Ask most children today who their heroes are, and you’ll likely hear a barrage of names from professional athletes to Hollywood celebrities to cartoon characters.

I love my country. That’s why my heroes are America’s veterans. They represent the best our country has to offer. They have served us well and faithfully. And although they have given so much of themselves for us, I often wonder exactly what we have given them in return.

On this Veterans Day, if you value your freedom, take time out to offer your gratitude to those who have served our country — and your steadfast prayers for those who currently serve.

[Re-posted from the archives, 2009]

IT’S YOUR TURN!
How will you mark Veterans Day?