I once had the opportunity to watch Dave Ramsey speak. He is a financial leader, host of a popular national radio program and a best selling author. He shared some basic principles at a seminar designed for business people and he hit a huge home run. I realized while watching him speak, that although his principles were basic, they were desperately needed among the leaders he spoke to. I am sure they are needed for you as well.
Here are the five basic principles he shared:
1) Live on less than you make
Keeping up with the Joneses is a popular term but can still be applied in our lives. Whether it is your personal finances or even your business or organization, we are often guilty of spending more then we have. Cars, boats, clothes, office furniture, expenditures and the list goes on and on. It comes down to our desire to look like we have more then we really have. Learn to live on less in your business, church, organization and your personal life. If you are a leader you must do this by example. Furthermore, if you are a leader you must teach this to your team. The less stress they have about money, the more effective they will be.
2) Save money
A survey done by Parade magazine indicated that the average person in America has less than $100 saved. That is horrible! Here are some realities that you need to face. It is going to rain. There are going to be bumps in the road. Your business will have ups and downs as well as your personal life. Saving for a rainy day is an old traditional saying but it still applies. As a leader, model discipline through your savings.
3) Get out of debt
7 out of every 10 Americans live check to check, because they have created such large debt. Imagine what you could do if you had no debt. Imagine what your organization could accomplish if it had no debt. Start tackling your debt one at a time. Start with the small ones and work your way up. Getting out of debt and staying out of debt gives you great leverage as a leader to speak about self-discipline. On the other side when you are in debt, your words of self control are quicker to fall on deaf ears.
4) Develop a written cash flow plan
We have now reached the dreaded B-word, the BUDGET. I love what John Maxwell says about budgeting “A budget is people telling their money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” Get help if you need it but make a plan and know where the money is going.
You can only do three things with money: Spend, Save and Give. Be a model of great leadership by becoming a giver. Give from your organization and give from your own personal finances. There is a powerful lesson in life that when you give it will be given back to you. Learn to be a giver. Find the joy in giving to people, organizations and churches. You will never go wrong when you develop generosity in your life.
The hardest person to lead is you, and the hardest area for many is our finances. START NOW by getting a grip on your money. Help those in your organization to get a grip on their money as well. Maintaining healthy finances is a great step toward leading yourself.
Until next time,
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“What does it take to succeed on a big scale? A tremendous God given talent?
Inherited wealth? A decade of postgraduate education? Connections?
Fortunately for most of us, what it takes is something very simple and accessible;
clear written goals.”
- Brian Tracy
Author and Speaker
One of the many qualities of a good leader is having a realistic view of your influence. You should assess how much influence you truly have verses how much you think you have. You should also be aware of your God given gifts, and know that it is not always the person on stage every week that has the greatest influence. The following is an article from Dan Reiland (one of our Celera Group coaches) regarding true influence.
“Gaining and Losing Influence Part 2″
by Dan Reiland
Do you Twitter? If yes, you can follow me @DanReiland. If you don’t Twitter, you may want to check it out and give it a try. www.twitter.com If Twitter is new to you, let me tell you about it. It’s a social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and receive messages of up to 140 characters known as Tweets. Most Twitter enthusiasts do this with their cell phone, but you can also use your computer. You set up your own profile page and blast away. Some who twitter annoy the tar out of others by tweeting 30 – 40 – 50 times a day. Get a life! But most just send a few blasts a day and its great. I’ve received some great quotes, book recommendations, news updates, websites, blogs, in the moment pictures, and of course fun factoids from my friends on what they are doing in the moment that day.
Now this is where it really gets fun. Your subscribers are known as followers. Yes, followers! And it’s easy to get addicted to increasing the number of people who follow you. But let’s be clear on something, just because you have an increasing number of followers on Twitter, that doesn’t mean your influence is on the rise as a leader! I hope you are smiling with me, I’m having some fun here. But I do want to make a point. You may be an influential person. That can gain you a large following on Twitter, but let’s stay solidly connected to the idea of real influence with people who know you, and you lead them in your local church!
Again, I think Twitter is fun and can be very useful. On most days, I post a few Tweets, hopefully some add value to you and others are just for fun. But there are things in life like Twitter that can give a false indication of your real influence. For example, when people stand in line after church to shake your hand, and tell you how great the sermon was, that might not be a true indicator of your real influence! Or, in contrast, you may have a board member stirring up trouble for you and that too is not an accurate picture of your true level of influence in the church. As a leader you are responsible not only to understand the level of your influence but why you are gaining or losing it.
In Part 1, I dealt with losing influence. In this article I want to offer some thoughts on gaining influence. It’s difficult to surpass the insightful and practical teaching of John Maxwell in one of his classic lessons on leadership called “The Five Levels of Leadership.” It progressively shows what larger influence looks like and why your influence increases. I’ll list them here for a quick review.
Level 1 Position People follow you because of your rights.
Level 2 Permission People follow you because of your relationships.
Level 3 Production People follow you because of your results.
Level 4 People Development People follow you because of your reproduction.
Level 5 Personhood People follow you because out of respect.
In Positional Leadership people follow you because they have to. In Permission Leadership, people follow you because they want to. In Production Leadership people follow you because of what you have done for the organization. In Leadership that Develops People they follow you because of what you have done for them. And in Personhood Leadership, people follow you because of who you are and what you represent.
That’s a brief review of John Maxwell’s teaching. If you’ve never studied it, you may want to get a copy of his book, Developing the Leader Within You. It’s a great book.
It’s difficult to improve on the five levels as a framework for assessing and increasing influence, so I’d like to take the five levels and deliver similar ideas with a slightly different twist. I’ve gained so much from John’s leadership, I’d love to make a contribution by passion these thoughts on to you.
• Who you are
Leadership always begins and ends with you who are. I mean just you, at the core, undressed from all the world’s cloaks, titles and trappings. On the outside you may receive a title, but your character will determine if you earn the title and use it well. If you are weak in discipline you will soon surrender your title to someone who really wants it. Your motives will determine how long you last in leadership. I doubt that you lead out of a need for popularity or power. But you may lead from insecurity, a need to please, or perhaps a need to control. When you relax in a self-aware, self-loving, and self-disciplined life, the “who you are” that God made you is exactly as it should be. This will allow you to get out of your own way, and the person God created you to be will blossom into the leader you need to be and your influence will naturally begin to rise.
• Your relationships with other people
In the local church environment we all know that relationship rules. If you don’t pay attention to relationships you won’t lead large or long. Volumes are written on getting along with people, but none of it is rocket science. The list goes like this: “Listen, smile, know people’s names, see life through their eyes, give more than you take;” you could easily write the list yourself. These things are true and important, but they all wrap into the big idea of whether or not you really care and if you are willing to put others before yourself. Honestly, that’s tough. It’s not tough for an hour or a week, but year after year after year can wear on you. It’s easy to start resenting everyone taking, until you remember that’s what you signed up for. Here’s the key insight, people aren’t so much taking as you are giving. That perspective matters because it’s your choice. You chose to be a leader. Give freely for the best interests of others and people will want to follow you, and your influence will increase.
• What you accomplish
This is easier to discuss and measure than the first two, but certainly not easier to achieve on a consistent basis. You can be a good person, and have great relationships, but at some point you have to get something done. Leaders make things happen and what you make happen matters. What does the church need? What is the vision? What are your responsibilities? What are your strengths? What are the available resources? What does God say? The convergence of the answers to these questions is not so much like a treasure map that you just figured out, but more like a divine appointment in the process of your ongoing leadership journey. Your journey is made up of dozens, hundreds, literally thousands of these divine appointments where your efforts align with God’s power. That is the process of getting things done that matter. When you go after progress like that your influence begins to grow like crazy. No excuses, just progress.
• How you invest in others
You can’t leave any of the five points out, and since they are in sequence it’s not smart to rank them, but for me, this is where the process really comes alive. When I invest in the development of other people – other leaders, it all begins to make sense. It’s a reciprocal process, it’s full circle, not one direction. We don’t become good leaders for the sake of becoming a good leader. We become good leaders so we can help others become good leaders and together we build a church that is faithful to God’s purpose. When you know what it takes to lead, it’s all but a miracle to see someone come to Christ, mature in their faith, choose to give themselves away and lead for other than their own gain. That is radical, period! When you invest yourself into others in such a way that helps them rise up and effectively lead for life-change, the influence you are given is huge. This is not rock-star influence, its influence that is gained in the trenches helping people become “bigger, better, and stronger” people.
• Who you are
We’re back to where we started, who you are. When I was a young leader I thought it was all about the people discovering who you are as a leader and deciding if they will follow. I now think it’s more about the leader discovering who they are as a person and leaning into that Divine design. Not in a narcissistic way, but in the way of a servant learning how to give. When you fight God’s intended purpose you waste so much time. I see church leaders who want to be on a stage and speak and God wants them to sit with a small group and teach. I see others who want to lead a staff and God wants them to organize plans in relative obscurity. I know that is over-simplified, but what I’m trying to say is that being yourself is the most freeing experience you can imagine and there is no end to what God can do in you and through you. People have such profound respect for leaders like that because, frankly, it’s just not that easy. The pressures of long term successful leadership are tough and leaders often throw in the towel in one way or another. So hang tough. Keep leading. Be yourself and don’t lose heart.
- The Pastor’s Coach is written by Dr. Dan Reiland and is available via e-mail on a free subscription basis. You can subscribe by going to www.injoy.com/newsletters/aboutnews/
Until next time,
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.
- Ken Blanchard
In parts one and two of, “How well am I leading the church” we addressed several of the areas needed to be a great leader in your church. In part one, I showed you that as a pastor/leader, having a consuming passion to build a thriving church should be the center of everything else. In part two, I pointed out that as the leader of your church you must have a commitment to personal growth and a commitment to add value to others. This time we will address the final two areas that you should consider when asking, “how well am I leading the church?” They are…
- Character that builds influence
- Clarity of heart and mission
First we will look at “character that builds influence”. It is a fact that if leadership is influence then you cannot successfully lead without it. In order to successfully lead you must have positive influence both with your staff and those who attend your church. How then do we have or increase influence? Below is an adaptation of an acrostic found in the book Becoming A Person of Influence by John Maxwell. These basic principles are a good starting point when seeking to increases your influence.
I ntegrity with people
N urtures other people
F aith in people
L istens to people
U nderstands people
E nlarges people
N avigates for other people
C onnects with people
E mpowers people
R eproduces people
Finally, in order to successfully lead your church, you need to have clarity of heart and mission. Ask yourself two questions…
- What has God called me to be?
- What has God called me to do?
When you have answered these questions, and you are convinced you are on the right path, it is time to evaluate the two sides to your life and how they relate to your team. The two sides of your life are…
- The Person
- The Pastor
As the PERSON the team needs to see in you:
- Confidence in the calling
- Single mindedness
- Clarity of purpose for your life
As the PASTOR the team needs to see in you:
- Unwavering commitment
- Clear Direction
- Heart, strength and ability to get it done
Remember, it is a CONSUMING PASSION TO BUILD A THRIVING CHURCH that will drive you. The desire to see your church growing by reaching your community, and to see your members drawing closer to Christ will fuel your fire to continually improve on your own leadership.
Until next time,
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” John 10:11-14(NLT)