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Imposed Preferences Suck The Life Out Of People (via Dan Rockwell at Leadership Freak)

Dan Rockwell extrapolates on the observation that he knows exactly the right way to make a taco to illustrate the distinction between procedures based on preference and those that need to be regulated in a particular way.
Making a leader’s preferences into rigid regulations will strangle the organic life of a group.

Read Dan Rockwell’s tips on taco construction and leadership at Leadership Freak.


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The Difference Between Feedback And Instruction (via Dan Rockwell)

Reading this post by Dan Rockwell provided a moment of clarity on the difference between feedback and instruction.
Good feedback energises performance, it doesn’t discourage effort.

In a recent workshop, I invited a participant to knock a small box off a stool using a cookie. She stood with her back to the stool and tossed the cookie over her shoulder – without looking. (The cookie was wrapped.)
The audience was instructed to remain silent. The first toss hit the ceiling and dropped about two feet behind her.
Her second attempt flew about half way to the stool. But she couldn’t see where it fell.
I asked the audience to give her feedback. Someone in the second row said, “Throw it harder.” Another said, “Hold your hand a little higher.”

Stop:

I stopped the process and said, “That’s not feedback. That’s instruction. Let’s try again.”
Another participant said, “You were about half way to the target.” I asked her to try again.
The cookie fell short by about a foot. “Give her feedback.”
“Your line is perfect,” someone said. Another responded, “You were about a foot short and too low.”
On her fifth try, she knocked the box off the stool. Everyone exploded with applause.

Read the whole post at Leadership Freak.


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The ‘I’ And ‘We’ Of Leadership Responsibility From George H.W. Bush (via Dan Rockwell)

Dan Rockwell reflects on this quote from the late George H.W. Bush: “I think history will point out some of the things I did wrong and perhaps some of the things we did right.”
He notes that some who refer to the quote overlook Bush’s use of the pronouns ‘I’ and ‘We’, so even misquoting and changing the ‘we’ to another ‘I’.

When it comes to failure, be like President Bush. Use “I.” When it comes to success, use “we.”
“I” reflects personal responsibility.
“We” respects others.
The shift from “I” to “we” is the heart of humble leadership. A side benefit of taking responsibility is trust.

Read the entire post at Leadership Freak.


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Stop Solving The Wrong Problem (via Dan Rockwell at Leadership Freak)

It was mostly this quote from Peter Drucker that pulled me up:
“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”

Dan Rockwell always value adds though and points out some helpful ways of identifying what the problem actually is, so that you can then invest time and energy into trying to create effective solutions.

Read more at Leadership Freak.


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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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Leading And Managing (via Leadership Freak)

Dan Rockwell provides some helpful insight about the qualities of leaders and managers.
Pastoral ministry isn’t either of these, but it does involve aspects of each.
An observation in general is that those who carry out management roles well can often find themselves in leadership roles without having the needed skills to do that role well.
An observation about churches is that people with leadership capacities can find themselves being expected to carry out management functions without having the aptitudes to perform that role well.
Personally I feel the management functions are more natural to me than the leadership functions.
It’s a constant struggle.

From Dan Rockwell:

Manager or leader:
John Kotter’s book, “That’s Not How We Do it Here!” is a fable that addresses tension between the divergent functions of management and leadership. The following lists are inspired by his work.

You’re managing when you:

  1. Plan and budget.
  2. Solve day-to-day problems.
  3. Track processes and measure results.
  4. Hire, fire, and concern yourself with job descriptions.

You’re leading when you:

  1. Set direction.
  2. Align people.
  3. Inspire.
  4. Seize opportunities.

Insights from Warren Bennis:
“Failing organizations are usually over-managed and under-led.”

  1. You’re managing when you concern yourself with how and when questions.
  2. You’re leading when you concern yourself with what and why questions.

Over-led organizations end up chaotic.
Over-managed organizations end up bureaucratic.

Read more insights at Leadership Freak.


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Growth Requires Connection (via Dan Rockwell at Leadership Freak)

Dan Rockwell observes that: “Building an environment of growth is one of leadership’s greatest challenges and opportunities.”
From his post:

Community:
Growth requires community. We stagnate and die in isolation. Everyone needs seclusion to refresh and reflect. But growth requires connection.

  1. Who knowingly participates in your growth?
  2. Whose growth are you actively encouraging?
  3. Who knows your growth goals? Whose goals do you know?
  4. How might you establish and nurture growth-connections between team members?

Confrontation:
Growth is a myth in environments that tolerate deceit, backstabbing, malevolence, and hypocrisy. Leaders who tolerate offenses against community – in the name of delivering results – destroy growth and limit results.

  1. Never tolerate a high performer who destroys community.
  2. Eliminate hypocrisy by practicing transparency regarding strengths, weaknesses, and development. Teams can’t pull for each other if they don’t know each other’s growth-goals.
  3. Remove people who work to undermine others.

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