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Lead Like A Leaky Faucet

Some leaders are either really hot or really cold. They either lead like a faucet turned on full blast or absent like a faucet in the off position. Leaders should lead like a leaky faucet. Leadership, vision, direction, values and development constantly drip like a leaky faucet.

The value of Leading Like A Leaky faucet is the treasure found in the constant drip. No time to rest after a huge win, because another drip is coming. No time to get down on yourself after a big loss, another drip is coming. If you want to grow, just wait another drip is coming. Looking for vision, a vision drip is around the corner. Need a little reminder of the core values, a value drip is coming.

Drip, Drip, Drip… Lead Like A Leaky Faucet. 

The Nurturing Leader

When people hear the word “nurturing” they tend to think of “mothering.” Their minds go to positive places, delightful places and encouraging places. When people hear the words “Nurturing Leader” their minds may go to a totally different place and think of a leader who is: soft, too nice, a mother figure and a push over.

Lets start by defining nurturing and jump into what being a nurturing leader is all about:

nur·ture [nur-cher] verb, nur·tured, nur·tur·ing.

  • 1. to feed and protect: to support and encourage, as during the period of training or development; to bring up; train; educate.

Nurturing Leaders are some of the best kinds of leaders as they are focused on feeding, protecting, encouraging and developing those they lead. They are focused on developing individuals personally, professionally and holistically. They care more about the individual than they do what the individual brings to their organization.

Nurturing Leaders don’t see people as an ends to a means, they see people as a gift to steward, a life to shape, a person to encourage and a leader to release. Just like a mother loves to see her offspring grow, develop and reach amazing heights; the nurturing leader loves to see those they lead grow, develop and reaching amazing heights.

Plain and simple, “Nurturing Leaders” nurture, enhance and develop more leaders.

What do you think? Share your thoughts and experiences with the concept of a “Nurturing Leader.”

6 Steps To Effective Leadership

Leadership is an art and it’s an art that anyone can learn for the most part. Just because someone learns an art doesn’t mean they will be good or effective. Just think about all of the painters, musicians, communicators, or artists of any sort; although they have learned an art very few get through the threshold of simply being an artist, to being an effective artist. That same statement is true for the art of leadership… there are many leaders who never become effective leaders.

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” ~Jim Rohn

6 Steps To Effective Leadership:

  • 1. Recognize- Recognize that leadership is a gift, an art, a craft… that has to be continually developed.  Seek out and be willing to learn from effective leaders who have developed this craft we call leadership.
  • 2. Realize- Realize the fact that although leadership is a craft, it is not rocket science.  STOP MAKING IT SO DIFFICULT.  I repeat, unless you are a leader at NASA, your leadership role is not rocket science; chill-out and quit making things so hard on yourself and others.  BTW- If you are a leader at NASA or a rocket scientist, you should probably be asking the tough question: “Is what we do still necessary or relevant?”
  • 3. Remember- Remember The Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you!”  Most leaders’ barley remember the bronze rule, let alone The Golden Rule.  As a leader it’s important to care about your people, to love your people, to care about their interests, care about their success… to treat them how you would want and expect someone to treat you.  Remember in order to become an effective leader you have to understand that “Relationships Matter!”
  • 4. Replicate- Replicate what works and don’t force things that don’t work.  Don’t try to be a replicate of another leader or simply replicate what you have read in a book, but rather replicate the effective “What Works” concept into who you are and what you do!
  • 5. Resurrect- Resurrect a dying team member; an effective leader has the ability to take a dying team member on the verge of being fired and help resurrect them into a story that begins with this sentence… “There was a time when so and so team member was on the verge of being fired and so and so leader believed in them… Wow, Look at how successful they are now!”
  • 6. Reinvent- Reinvent the way leadership is carried out!  Break the box, find a new way, figure out what works for you, don’t be scared to be different, reinvent what might has been seen as irrefutable.  Reinvent out of hunger, creativity, thinking, believing, seeking etc.; don’t reinvent for the sake of reinventing!  “Don’t reinvent the wheel” applies to those who reinvent for the sake of reinventing!

Have you seen any of these steps carried out?  Share your thoughts on these steps or what it means to be an Effective Leader.

Ray Lewis’ Inspirational Post Game Interview

Above is Ray Lewis’ Inspirational Post Game Interview after the Ravens defeated the Broncos in a double overtime 1st round playoff game… He wore a shirt with Psalm 91 on it last week and this week’s Post Game is laced with scripture and God inspiration all over it.

Ray Lewis inspires me and I think his retirement season is going to inspire many, as he leads the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl victory. There is something special about what’s going on with the end of his career and the beginning of his life post football. Every time I hear him speak, I learn a lot and walk away inspired. There seems to be a special anointing on his life.

What do you think? Share your thoughts on this interview and the miraculous nature of this post game since his retirement announcement.

“Rule 31”

For those of you that have followed me online for awhile, there are a few things that I hope you have come to know about me… I Love Jesus, I Love My Family, I Like Developing Leaders, I Love Encouraging My Boys, I Love Helping Others Win, I Like Sports and I Used To Be A Prison Warden. Speaking of sports and my boys, I love watching their games, teaching them and watching them grow as athletes and more importantly as young men.

One of the things that I have always had to balance when it comes to my boys and their athletics is atta’boys and encouragement vs. outlining areas for improvement. I have always tried to strike a balance of making sure I give enough encouragement and highlight the good before the bad. The natural bend can easily be to focus on the areas of improvement.

To combat that negative tendency my boys and I came up with the rule that has evolved into what we call the “Rule 31.” Rule 31 is basically this:

  • After a game, practice or competition, before anyone says anything about performance other than “Good Game,” our boys have to first point out “3 things they did well and 1 thing they can improve on.” They must start with the 3 positives first.
  • As parents if we agree we simply say “We agree” or if we saw things a little different then we can do the same thing, offer “3 things they did well and 1 thing they can improve on.”

Rule 31 was actually inspired from my days as a prison warden and specifically when I ran a Maximum Security Juvenile Facility. We tried to make sure that we had 3 times as many rewards as we did consequences. The 3-1 positive ratio seemed to be some sort of magic potion.

What “Rule 31” has done for us is allowed space to not say anything until our boys can self-evaluate. It gives us the opportunity to simply agree with their assessment and it allows all of us to accentuate the positive and call attention to the area of development.

Rule 31 is a great concept for leading teams, families, interactions with a spouse, teacher/pupil relationships, pastor congregants, trainer/trainee and the list goes on and on.

Accentuate the positive and allow individuals to self-assess, you’d be amazed the growth you will see both them and yourself.

What do you think? How do you see “Rule 31” working in your life?  

Nick Saban and The Difference Between Winners and Losers

Many of us grew up hearing the phrase, “It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.” The reality is that statement isn’t totally true. Winning does matter and deep down everyone has the desire to be a winner, including: the business that you work for, your church, your children’s school, your favorite sports team, your daughter’s gymnastics club and even those who don’t like winners.  As much as I don’t like the Alabama Crimson Tide and Nick Saban, I love the fact that Nick Saban is a big time winner.

Many people say that Saban is too hard on players and doesn’t like to have fun. His response to those that don’t hink he’s a happy person or doesn’t like to have fun is, “Winning is fun, I’m happy and have fun when we win… I’m a very happy person.”

If winning is fun and it keeps Coach Saban happy, he’s probably one of the happiest people you could ever meet. All he does is win, Coach Saban has led his teams to win 3 out of the last 4 BCS Titles and straight up put a beat-down on top ranked Notre Dame 42-14 and it wasn’t even that close. One of Coach Saban’s mantras is this:

You can’t feel entitled if you want to stay on top.”

Coach Saban’s response after last nights BCS Beat-down pretty much sums up his philosophy and the difference between Winners and Losers:

“I feel great for our players, fans, administration, and the people of Alabama. Our guys maintained their focus and played through the adversity of winning during a tough season and difficult schedule. My job is to put the players in position to win. I want them to be able to look back 25 years from now and say they won the national championship… We will take a couple days to celebrate this, and then it will time to start a building toward a next season. “

The Difference Between A Winner & A Loser is the desire to win and the desire to keep winning. Vince Lombardi said it best when he said, “Winning isn’t everything, but the will to win is everything.”

What’s The Difference Between Winners & Losers?

You tell me… share your thoughts on winning, losing and the success of Nick Saban.

Seth Godin Shares “How To Change The System”

What do you think? Why do so many people overlook the brilliance and reality of this process?

We Need To Stop Recycling… In The NFL

There seems to be lots of talk about the coaching carousel that’s happening in the NFL and most sports for that matter. It happens to a degree in both college and pro sports; however the NFL is the King Of The Recycling Carousel. Simply take a look at this year alone: 7 coaches and 6 General Managers fired.

I want to start with a definition of recycling:

re·cy·cle [ree-sahy-kuh l] verb, re·cy·cled, re·cy·cling, noun.
Recycle – to treat or process (used or waste materials) so as to make suitable for reuse, to alter or adapt for new use without changing the essential form or nature, to use again in the original form or with minimal alteration: to cause to pass through a cycle again, repeat a process from the beginning.

I am all about giving coaches, leaders and individuals from any spectrum a second chance and a new opportunity. I’m a firm believer in the 1 man’s trash is another mans treasure, environments matter and people are successful under different regimes and new cultures. I just think it’s important that organizations look to renew and refresh and not simply recycle.

It feels like there is a lot of settling on the recycling front when it comes to NFL Head Coaches. Many chalk the “settling” up to the fact that the NFL Head Coach is an elite and Exclusive Fraternity. Because of this elite fraternity perception/reality, the day a coach gets fired, he’s on the shortlist to get hired by another NFL team that currently has a vacancy sign in the window.

Below are a few of the 7 NFL Firings/Recyclings:

  • Arizona Cardinals ask Ken Whisenhunt to fly away… so what? The Bills will be interviewing Whisenhunt to replace their recently fired Chan Gailey. Gailey’s record: a sad 16-32 over the last 3 NFL Seasons.
  • After 14 years of coaching and a crazy year both on and off the field, The Eagles dropped Andy Reid like some roadkill… so what? Before Reid could even get his office cleaned out the Cardinals swooped in like an Eagle grabbing some food and appear to be down the road on finalizing a deal. And they aren’t even the only team he’s interviewed with.
  • Probably the most controversial was the Bears dropping Lovie Smith like he was hot, although the Bears were a Minnesota loss/Adrian Peterson not making a Big-Time run away from making the playoffs… so what? There are many teams trying to scoop Lovie away from the windy city.

I spoke of this Elite Fraternity known as NFL Coaches earlier, well the 3 coaches that were fired above all are a part of an even more Elite Fraternity… coaches that have taken their team to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, they are also part of a Fraternity of coaches that have been to the Superbowl and didn’t win.

Apparently the Cleveland Browns are not going to go the Recycling route as they have their eyes set on a coach from the college ranks. The up in coming, no huddle, pro offensive, spread master mind Chip Kelly from the Oregon Ducks. I’m all for 2nd chances; however when it comes to the NFL Head Coaches, there may be some better solutions out there. How about taking a risk on an up in comer and giving them a first chance. If you don’t think taking a risk on the up and comer works, look at Jim Harbaugh and the success he’s had with the San Francisco 49ers in just a couple seasons.

I’m all about recycling when it comes to preserving the environment, but when it comes to recycling to preserve the status quo – Not So Much. We Need To Stop Recycling… In The NFL.

What do you think?

Just Because You’re The Boss Doesn’t Mean You Have All The Answers

Sometimes leadership success sends individuals down the highway of “I have all the answers.” Why wouldn’t they speed down that highway? The leader has demonstrated success, their organization is thriving, people are coming to them for advice, other leaders are always asking them questions and everyone looks to them for solutions. The result – The leader who thinks they have all of the answers.

Leadership success does equate to knowing some things; however it doesn’t equate to having all of the answers. Leaders must be willing to learn from those around them, those with less experience, those that work for them and those they think that they can lead circles around.

The one thing that great leaders all have in common is the fact that somewhere along their leadership journey, they realized that they didn’t have all of the answers and more importantly they were happy to get answers from others.

Thoughts? Experiences?

7 Mistakes Church Leaders Make

Often times leaders are not always measured on their wins or successes, but rather their mistakes and failures. A leader is supposed to have wins, therefore they are often times overlooked; however those mistakes stick out like a sore thumb.

I have had the opportunity to both work in leadership positions and provide leadership consulting for publicly traded corporations, political entities, correctional organizations and ministries. In recent years I’ve had the opportunity to speak at conferences and consult with churches all around the world. Over these years, I have made and witnessed many leadership mistakes. As I look at mistakes in the the context of ministry leadership, there are 7 common mistakes that seem to be prevalent among ministry leaders:

7 Mistakes Church Leaders Make

  • 1. Blame It On Ministry- Ministry leaders will blame their unwillingness to make tough decisions on the fact that “It’s Ministry” or “I know they are not doing so and so, but we are a church.” Yes it might be a church or a ministry role; however that’s no excuse for not holding people accountable, expecting excellence and demanding a high level of performance. If secular leaders are expected to perform, shouldn’t ministry leaders be held to even a higher standard… Not only perform, but perform w/ integrity! Don’t Blame It On Ministry!
  • 2. Copy Cat- Often times ministry leaders try to replicate what they see popular churches, ministries or pastors doing. Don’t get me wrong it’s important for ministry leaders to learn from what other successful ministries are doing and apply those ideas, concepts, practices, systems and theories contextually to their ministry. The problem with Copy Cat’s is they listen to a pastor at a conference or see something another ministry is doing and try to 100% replicate it, without understanding the history, context and DNA behind those decisions, practices or systems. Don’t be a Copy Cat!
  • 3. Only Learn From Within Christian/Ministry Circles- Ministry leaders make the mistake of limiting their learning circles; they only learn from other christian leaders, christian books, other pastors, church leaders etc. Ministry leaders should open up their arsenal to learn from what industry and major corporations as well.  Specifically, as it relates to leveraging technology, leadership principles, HR practices, talent search and understanding customer service.  In most cases, industry is normally 10+ years ahead of the strategies/practices that ministries are implementing.  Industry, including the sports industry can teach ministry leaders a lot of valuable information; ministry leaders must be willing to seek and learn.  If we open our eyes, we can find those God moments an learning all around us. Don’t Exclusively Learn From Within Christian/Ministry Circles!
  • 4. Hire The Wrong People- Just because Johnny was successful at so and so church and has so and so seminary degree; doesn’t mean he or she is the person that is going to take your ministry to the next level.  Don’t limit your hires to individuals that only have ministry experience. Don’t hire someone simply because they have a good heart or because they were a good volunteer. Every hire is of extreme importance to the success of the ministry, take your time and give each hire the time and effort they deserve!  Don’t Hire The Wrong People!
  • 6. Think They Own Their Staff – Just because your staff members have signed on the dotted line and accepted their calling to work for your ministry doesn’t mean they can’t leave and go somewhere else. Often times ministry leaders can get bent out of shape because a team member decides to leave their ministry for another ministry. The reality is this – the staff are not yours in the first place, you must learn to live with an abundance mentality and God will send you more than enough great team leaders. If someone wants to move on, create an environment where they can come to you openly about their decision without repercussion. If God is the one doing the “calling,” He can pick up the phone and call a team member to a different ministry at any time. The staff are not yours, they’re God’s, your ministry is not yours, it’s God’s. Don’t think that you own your staff!
  • 6. Trade Success For Learning – Success can be the greatest impediment to future success. Success overshadows failures and covers up blind-spots. As ministry leaders have more success, they tend to have the attitude of: “What can I learn from so and so? What can so and so teach us, look at where we are?” Ministry leaders must be lifelong learners and not allow their success to be a substitute for learning, development and growth. Don’t trade your success for learning!
  • 7. Don’t Seek God- This one should be common sense; however many times a leader will make a huge decision without taking any time to seek God.  Seeking God Should Always Be Part Of The Equation!

Share your experiences or thoughts on any of these 7 mistakes! Feel free to add more to the list.

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