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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.

Source


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Choosing To Address Negative Issues With A Positive Attitude (via Dan Rockwell)

As someone who is not naturally positive a brief post in which Dan Rockwell gave his take-aways from someone called Jon Gordon was very constructive.
One of the points I need to model better and cultivate among our leadership is:

Choose to address negative issues with a positive attitude. Adopt the no complaining rule. Point out problems with forward-facing curiosity and unwavering commitment to make things better.
“Being positive won’t guarantee you’ll succeed but being negative will guarantee you won’t.” Jon Gordon

Read the rest at Leadership Freak.


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How To Stop Defending What Isn’t Working (via Leadership Freak)

New people bring all sorts of observations and questions about things that don’t work and we’ve gotten used to.
Dan Rockwell counters the waste of energy in defending what isn’t working.

Stop defending what isn’t working:
#1. New eyes see and state the obvious.

  1. Gradual development is less effective when you’re stuck.
  2. Bluntness creates tipping points.
  3. A new voice turns the lights on by saying the same things in new ways.

#2. New voices intensify the gravity of the moment.
Business as usual goes out the door when a new person enters the conversation. A little discomfort is a good thing, especially when you’re stuck.

#3. New perspectives reveal what’s important to you.
We lose sight of our values after grinding away for a long time. Reconnect with what you really want by noticing how you judge new perspectives.

#4. New people bring new feedback. What’s working? What’s not serving you well?

#5. New participants often lead to aha-moments. You end up saying, “I never thought of that.”

“A new person at the table is one way to address the issue of defending what isn’t working.”

Read the whole post at Leadership Freak.

I wonder when a new voice will come along?


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On Not Being A Painful Leader (via Dan Rockwell)

From Dan Rockwell at Leadership Freak.
(There are expanded observations about the second five points at the original post.)

The 5 most painful leaders to be around:
1. Nit-pickers. You’re a bad case of heartburn when you belittle the 80% that’s good with the 20% that’s bad. (Enjoy the 80%. Improve the 20%.)
2. Ball-droppers. You’re a toothache when you don’t follow-through and follow-up.
Drama-makers. You’re an empty glass in the desert when everything’s a crisis.
3. Down-in-the-mouthers. You’re a stone in a shoe when you always need a pick-me-up from your team.
4. Hand-wringers. You’re an energy suck when all you see is what could go wrong.
5. Don’t expect success if you’re a constant pain.

5 surprising ways to advance your success with others:
1. Care deeply about relationships. (It’s not just results.)
2. Invite and act on feedback.
3. Advance the agenda of others, without sacrificing your own.
4. Understand the difference between advising and advocating.
5. Say what others fear saying.

Read the whole post here.


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A Question That Challenges Drift Toward Irrelevance (via Leadership Freak)

This self-diagnostic question from Dan Rockwell interested me: “If we were replaced tomorrow, what would the new team do?”

I read it as: If you can identify what a successor would have to do, then why aren’t you attempting to do it?

There’s nine more questions at this post at Leadership Freak.