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Giving Guidance, Not Answers (via Dan Rockwell)

Dan Rockwell points out that giving answers gives a wonderful sense of power, but it builds a limiting dependence while guidance nurtures people’s growth and maturity.

At first, giving answers feels powerful, but then you wonder why people beat a path to your door – never mind that they won’t take action without your nod of approval.
Answer-giving creates dependency.
Guidance shows respect, builds confidence, and enables action.
People come to you looking for specific answers. Give them guidance instead.

[Three fruits of guidance:]
#1. Guidance provides a panoramic view.
#2. Guidance enables thinking.
#3. Guidance clarifies responsibility.

Read more at Leadership Freak where Rockwell even provides situations when giving answers is ok.


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Healthy Leadership Is Humbling (via Eric Geiger)

Healthy leadership is a humbling experience. When it ceases to be humbling leadership is heading into dangerous territory.

From Eric Geiger:

Leadership is most dangerous when it ceases to be humbling, when success comes to the leader. When a leader starts to thrive, when the Lord grants success, and/or when things go better than planned, the leader can easily drift toward pride.
And pride always precedes a downfall.
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So how can leaders recognize our drift from humility to pride?
Look for entitlement. Entitlement always rises as pride rises. It is impossible to be filled with humility and a sense of entitlement at the same time. Whenever we feel we are owed something, it is because we have forgotten that God is the One who gives all good things.
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Humble leaders realize the only thing we are entitled to is death and destruction because of our sin. Yet God in his mercy has given us himself, taken away our sin, and offered us everlasting life. In the same way, everything we steward, every opportunity we have, every season we are able to lead and serve others is only because of his grace. To remind us of this truth, the apostle Paul rhetorically asked, “For who makes you so superior? What do you have that you didn’t receive?” (1 Cor.4:7). Humble leaders remind themselves of this truth over and over again.

Read the whole post here.


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Five Common Ways Leaders Undermine Themselves (via Eric Geiger)

Eric Geiger notes five ways leaders undermine themselves.

1. Changing directions continually
2. Not learning
3. Indecision
4. Overpromising
and, lastly,
5. Not living the values
The biggest way leaders undermine themselves is by not living the vision and values they champion. A leader’s lack of commitment to the values that hang on a wall empty those values of any real culture-shaping authority.

Read the explanations of the first four at the original post.

To these I’d add: Trying to spare people the pains and discomforts that always accompany growth and change.


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Build Capital – Spend Capital (via Jamie Brown)

Jamie Brown writes from the perspective of leading musical praise in a local church, but the principle is true for all leaders, including pastors.
There is always a danger of building trust, but never calling on that trust to be expressed; just as expecting trust continually without ever earning it does not build relationships.
Pastors should also be conscious that a reserve of trust should not take the place of faith in God’s power and presence.
Which is to say I think the balance is best kept where the relationship operates from a basis of both parties acting out of trust in God. Don’t try to build up so much capital that trust in God doesn’t seem essential.
From Brown:

Worship leaders must learn the capital equation. Which is: Build capital. Spend capital. Build back capital. Repeat as needed.
When all you do is spend, spend, spend capital, you’re operating out of a deficit. People don’t trust you, they’re worn out, and you’re not going to find them all that adventurous. Too many new songs. Too loud. Too much liturgy. Too many hymns. Too many electric guitars. Whatever it is. You’re spending too much, too soon, too often, and maybe too recklessly. Be smarter.
Likewise, when all you do is build, build, build capital and never take any risks or push people anywhere, then you’re wasting opportunities. Safe choices, same songs, no creativity, no one is upset with you, bored musicians, ho-hum services, and no lost sleep over a risky idea.
Do both. Spend capital! But once you’ve spent it, then ease off the gas and build it back. Feel it out. You’ll almost certainly lean too much in one direction before you realize it and then make a correction.

Read the whole post at Worthily Magnify.


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Seven Classic New Leader Mistakes (via Ron Edmondson)

These seven classic new leader mistakes from Ron Edmondson are not about youth or age. They speak to the need for leadership growing from a relationship, and how certain aspects of being new can lead to mistaken assumptions about preparedness for change.

Here are the seven. Read the post for the explanations.
Assuming people trust you before they really do.
Bashing the past while attempting to get to the future.
Assuming nothing good was done before you got there.
Having the “they need me” complex.
Ignoring unwritten rules.
Not understanding the real power structure.
Not testing the waters before making major change.


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Leader Or Manager? (via Ron Edmondson)

Short post by Ron Edmondson on the differences between leaders and managers, the need for both, and the strain when someone naturally inclined toward one area ends up functioning in the other.

His thoughts are prompted by a book “Reviewing Leadership”, particularly this quote:

“Leadership and management are two distinct yet related systems of action. They are similar in that each involves influence as a way to move ideas forward, and both involve working with people. Both are also concerned with end results. Yet the overriding functions of leadership and management are distinct. Management is about coping with complexity – it is responsive. Leadership is about coping with change – it too is responsive, but mostly it is proactive. More chaos demands more management, and more change always demands more leadership. In general, the purpose of management is to provide order and consistency to organizations, while the primary function of leadership is to produce change and movement.”

Edmondson:

Too many times we ask good managers to be great leaders or good leaders to be great managers. The problem with being in the wrong fit is we tend to burn out more quickly when we are not able to live out our giftedness. In addition, we frustrate the people we are supposed to be leading or managing and ultimately we keep the organization from being the best it can be.

Read his whole post here.


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The Life-Giving Freedom Of Admitting Your Limitations (via Zack Eswine)

Zack Eswine reminds us that we don’t have to feel sorry for John the baptist.
He was not eclipsed by Jesus. He was everything he was meant to be.
There’s liberty in that lesson for all of us.
The freedom in admitting our limitations is that we get to follow John the Baptist’s footsteps and say, “I am not the Christ.”

It means that I don’t have to know everything, I don’t have to fix everything, and I’m not expected to be everywhere at once. I’m one person that God created and dearly loves, and I get to just be that one person.
It’s like what Jesus said in response to Peter at the end of the Gospel of John. Peter said, “Hey, what about John? What’s going to happen with John?” And Jesus said, “Don’t worry about him, I’ll take care of him. You follow me.”
There’s a great freedom in that. I don’t have to carry what’s going to happen to “John” on my shoulders—Jesus is going to carry that. I need to look to him and trust what he’s saying to me. I don’t have to take all of that on. Instead, I can just be the one person that I am, in the one place that I am, at the one time that I am, day by day. There’s great freedom in that.

Source.