Archives For wisdom

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…

Texas BluebonnetsThis past Tuesday was a different kind of Tuesday for me. Rather than the usual staff meeting, our church staff took a roadtrip to Galveston to look at a beach house for a possible student ministry event.

When the e-mail first came, inviting me to take the trip, I was excited about the possibility. Then reality began to set in. I had some difficulty rescheduling clients. There were plenty of things needing attention at the office. And we would be on the road for twelve hours. Twelve hours!!

As I wrestled with juggling schedules and making my decision, I eventually asked and applied what Andy Stanley describes as “the best question ever”: What is the wise thing to do?

Several things crossed my mind as I pondered the wise thing to do. After all, I had lots of e-mail and phone calls to return. The mess on my desk was getting deeper. A day out of the office would mean getting even more behind. With those things in mind, I felt my naturally serious self turning toward scrapping the hurried trip to the Texas coast.

And then the gravity of the question really hit me. Essentially, I began to look at it this way: What matters most?

A new perspective. . . a different angle. . . a fresh approach. That’s what I needed in order to reach the wisest choice.

I decided that the e-mails could wait. One more day wouldn’t kill me. The mess on my desk would still be there when I returned from the trip. Perhaps I would get further behind. . . but I could still get caught up. So I decided to go on the journey.

What made the difference for me? Well, I decided that it was better to invest in the relationships with my friends and co-workers than to focus on the mundane — although generally meaningful — stuff that typically characterizes my work week. Continue Reading…