RELP – Episode 15 – 5 Guarantees For Your First Year In Senior Leadership

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In this episode of The Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast with Ron and Nate, Ron shares some things he guarantees leaders will experience in their first year of senior leadership.

I have transitioned into a senior leadership position numerous times in my career. When I was in my mid-twenties, I began leading a large division for a major retailer. In my early thirties, we purchased and I began leading a small (large to us) manufacturing company. I took over as a vice-mayor of a medium-sized city when there were other more qualified people around me. And, since surrendering to vocational ministry, I have been the new senior leader in several churches and a nonprofit.

I am not always an emphatic speaker, unless I’m quoting a Biblical truth. Yet, in every one of these scenarios as a new senior leader, these guarantees have come true.

And many of these will remain true throughout your leadership career.

In this episode, we discuss 5 guarantees for a new leadership first year in senior leadership.

I hope this episode helps you be a better leader.

Would you do me a favor? If you enjoyed listening to this episode of The Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast would you subscribe, share and leave a positive review about this podcast? We are enjoying doing this together, but it is especially encouraging when we know it is helping other church leaders. Thank you in advance for doing this. It is a great help.

Also, we will be recording more episodes soon. Let me know leadership issues you would like us to cover on future episodes.

And be sure to check out all the great podcasts on the Lifeway Leadership Podcast Network.

A Leadership Pet Peeve – People Doing the Work

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I must admit I have a good number of pet peeves in leadership. If I had to name my top leadership pet peeve – it would have to be the one I share with you here. 

Like many of my leadership principles, this one starts with a personal story. 

Early in my career, I led a small sales division for a company. My boss told me who to place on my team, how to conduct sales meetings (even writing out my meeting agenda), and what each person’s assignment would be on the team. Understand, he lived in another state, so he wasn’t at the meetings. In fact, he didn’t know the people on my team.

I was held accountable for results in sales, yet he gave me a script for how to do my job. 

It only lasted a season (I eventually quit), but it was one of the most hated seasons of my career. In fairness, I was young and probably not trusted, but I felt so controlled. My team was frustrated. My team and I had ideas we couldn’t even incorporate. And, when I could, I secretly altered things and scripted my own way.

Even as a young leader, I thought he was practicing poor leadership. 

The pet peeve that developed from this experience:

If you aren’t doing the work, don’t script how the work is done.

As a leader, cast vision of what you want accomplished. 

  • Fuel creativity by giving people reasonable boundaries.
  • Share thoughts and ideas.
  • Monitor activity. 
  • Check-in to see how you can help. 
  • Set accountability for progress.

But let people doing the work:

  • Those working the plans 
  • Getting their hands dirty 
  • Being held responsible

Determine how the work gets completed.

That’s my number one leadership pet peeve. 

Nate and I have launched a new season of the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast, so subscribe now. You don’t miss the next one.

RELP – Episode 14 – How I Lead Meetings

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In this episode of The Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast with Ron and Nate, Ron shares how he likes to lead meetings.

I am frequently asked about how I conduct staff meetings with teams I lead. They are looking for some sort of basic meeting structure to incorporate with their team. 

But I have always had a difficult time answering the question for two reasons: 

1. I don’t always lead staff meetings for the teams I lead. Typically, I let other staff members lead them. In previous churches, I usually let the bulk of staff meetings be led by the executive or associate pastor. I even like to float some leadership in meetings between different team members. It adds a fresh perspective and gives other people experience. 

2. I don’t like doing the same thing every time. Just as I like to see variety in our worship services, I like to see changes in the way we conduct meetings. I get bored easily. It could be that we move rooms. We might change up the setting and go off campus. Sometimes we start with prayer/devotion and sometimes we close with that time. We eat together at times and other times we get right to business. I never want to keep the same pattern long or things get stale. 

So, I want to change things up frequently. Different locations. Even different people in the room. 

But, as I have been asked the question so many times, I reflected on an answer. Regardless of the size of the room – whether it is leadership team meeting or an entire staff, there are some things I’m trying to accomplish every time we meet.

In this episode, we discuss how I like to lead meetings.

I hope this episode helps you be a better leader.

Would you do me a favor? If you enjoyed listening to this episode of The Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast would you subscribe, share and leave a positive review about this podcast? We are enjoying doing this together, but it is especially encouraging when we know it is helping other church leaders. Thank you in advance for doing this. It is a great help.

Also, we will be recording more episodes soon. Let me know leadership issues you would like us to cover on future episodes.

And be sure to check out all the great podcasts on the Lifeway Leadership Podcast Network.

5 Bible Verses of Encouragement for Church Planters

By | Church, Church Planting, Church Revitalization, Leadership | 4 Comments

This post is titled “5 Bible Verses of Encouragement for Church Planters”. However, these verses could encourage those attempting church revitalization.

Even those those starting a nonprofit ministry or attempting to operate a small business might be encouraged by them. I don’t want to abuse Scripture, but there are certainly Bible principles which have multiple applications.

Here’s my story. Since surrendering to vocational ministry in my late 30’s, we started our own nonprofit, have been involved in the starting two churches and the revitalization of three churches. Plus, through our ministry, we have assisted a dozen or so nonprofits get off the ground.

I have learned there are days when you simply need outside encouragement. The idea for this post came after a conversation with a very stressed and frustrated planter. (Imagine launching in the middle of a pandemic.)

At times I simply don’t know what to say to someone. In those moments, the best I can do is point them back to truth. These have been encouraging verses to me in my work. If you need it, I hope these reminders help.

5 Bible Verses of Encouragement for Church Planters

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin.” Zechariah 4:10

Every living thing begins somewhere. Jesus talked about the “life” contained in the smallest of seeds. Sometimes small has advantages. Don’t compare yourselves to others. Contentment is being satisfied where God has you today.

“Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young.” 1 Timothy 4:12

Of course, this was written to a young pastor, not to a local church. And you may not be considered young anymore. I love those who are still involved in new things when they are my age. But the principle here is still encouraging. Continue reading the verse and see how you can set yourself apart even in these early days of the work.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6

Here is another verse that can quickly be taken out of context and misapplied. But I am confident of this. If God called you to it He has a plan. It may or may not look like what you imagined, but it will be good, because God is good.

“And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” Acts 15:19

Don’t over complicate things. Everything doesn’t have to be elaborate. You shouldn’t compare yourselves to the bigger, more established churches – who also have more staff and a larger budget. Sometimes simple works.

Stick with the basics. People need the hope of the Gospel.

Nevertheless, I have reserved seven thousand in Israel. 1 Kings 19:18

I can’t tell you how encouraging this voice has been over the years. Elijah felt alone but he wasn’t. God already had a people prepared for his support.

I have learned by experience that if God is calling me to it he is already preparing others. Sometimes it is hard to find them among a sea complainers but they are there. Part of my leadership is to find them.

Nate and I have launched a new season of the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast, so subscribe now. You don’t miss the next one.

4 Words of Advice for a New Leader

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Someone once messaged me on Twitter to ask, “What words of advice do you have for a new leader? I’m beginning my first pastoring role after years in student ministry.” In my opinion, the opening days of any job are some of the most important. As a result, part of my coaching ministry is to work with new leaders in the beginning days of a leadership position. 

With several transitions in my career, several in the last few years, I speak with more passion and authority on the subject. I Tweeted him back, “Learn the people first. Go slow with change. Think intentional in all you do. Pace yourself.”

That was plenty for Twitter. This is a blog post, however, so I assume I should expand on these. (We might expand even more some day on our podcast.) 

4 words of advice for the new leader:

Learn the people first, before making major changes.

Relational leadership is always most effective, but especially for a new leader.

The people need to learn to trust you. They need an opportunity to feel you are committed and connected to them. People want assurance you have the best interest for them and the organization they’ve loved and served longer than you have.

They need to experience you listening to them for their input. Value – and love people – first and foremost. It’s not only effective – it’s the right thing to do.

Go slow with change when it’s time.

The older the church or organization – or the longer they’ve needed change – the more important it will be you take time to implement change.

Know the key players, communicate, communicate, communicate, and help people understand why the change is needed.

All change is resisted. Let me say this again – ALL CHANGE IS RESISTED.

At some level, someone will not like every change you propose, but fast change is most powerfully rejected. Understand every change comes with an emotion. People are resisting for a number of reasons – anger, fear, uneasiness, uncomfortableness.

This doesn’t mean don’t change. Most likely they’ll expect and even want some change, and some of this change may need to come very fast, but listen and learn the things you can change immediately and things where you’ll need to move more slowly.

Get lots of input from others. Collaborate. A healthy change process takes time to do well.

Think intentionally in all you do.

The more you can strategically plan your moves, especially in the early days of a new leadership position, the more you can help steer them to a positive outcome.

In every area of your leadership, take time to think through the best way to handle the situation. Again, get input from key people. I love a good whiteboard strategy session. When you have to make changes or implement your vision, invite key, trusted people into the room and brainstorm the best way to approach it.

Plan your approach. Prioritize. Strategize. You’ll have plenty of surprises along the way, but if you’re intentional in the decisions you have control over, you’ll be better prepared to handle the unexpected.

Pace your leadership for long-term success.

This is so critical. You won’t often know the length of your tenure as leader, but you should script yourself to be there for the long haul. This means you shouldn’t try to accomplish everything in the beginning.

Spread some of your enthusiasm and energy over the first year or more. It will keep momentum going longer, keep you from burning out and the church or organization from wearing out, and introduce an expectation of change – which will make change easier to make in the future.

Also, think for the church or organization beyond even you – this is the honorable thing to do for any leader – don’t make it all about you.

How can things keep building, healthy, vibrant and growing for the years ahead? When you set worthy visions and goals which carry people forward, help them dream and give them hope, they will want to follow your leadership.

Finally, protect your soul. As the Scripture says, “Above all else guard your heart.” You will have lots of obstacles – all leaders do – you want to weather them to remain effective. And get help when needed. (Which for me is pretty much daily.)

I’m pulling for new leaders! Of course, my best advice – Go with God! He knows best. For another post on advice if give to young pastors – look at THIS POST

Have you ever been the new guy? What would you advise?

Nate and I have launched a new season of the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast, so subscribe now. You don’t miss the next one.

RELP – Episode 13 – Values for Teams I Lead

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In this episode of The Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast, Ron and Nate some values for teams Ron leads.

After years of leading in different contexts, I (Ron) realized there were common things I have to have in order for teams I lead to be healthy and effective. Regardless of the setting – in business, government, nonprofits or church, I want our team to have these values. So, I began to put them in a list and share them with our team.

I even title them my non-negotiable values, which I explain in the podcast.

Your values may not be my values. And that is perfectly okay. I do believe, however, that your team will benefit from knowing what is important to you as their leader.

In this episode, we discuss values for teams I lead.

I hope this episode helps you be a better leader.

Would you do me a favor? If you enjoyed listening to this episode of The Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast would you subscribe, share and leave a positive review about this podcast? We are enjoying doing this together, but it is especially encouraging when we know it is helping other church leaders. Thank you in advance for doing this. It is a great help.

Also, we will be recording more episodes soon. Let me know leadership issues you would like us to cover on future episodes.

And be sure to check out all the great podcasts on the Lifeway Leadership Podcast Network.

7 Actions Which Can Limit A Leader’s Potential

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I have been in leadership roles for over three decades now. I’ve led large and small teams in business, government, church and nonprofits. Along the way, I’ve learned there are some actions which can limit a leader’s potential to lead well. 

My heart is for leaders. One of the primary purposes of this blog (and our podcast) is to share simple leadership principles I have learned; many the hard way. Often a simple idea is powerful when put into practice in your context.

And it’s easier for me to think logically in lists.

Do you want to be successful as a leader? Of course, anyone who leads has this as a goal. There are some actions which can limit your potential to lead well. 

7 actions which can limit a leader’s potential:

Trying to plan or control every detail. 

Ecclesiastes says you won’t plant if you watch the wind. Risk is always necessary for meaningful success. Is there something you feel certain you need to do – or there is a passion on your heart – but, for whatever reason, you’ve not taken the risk?

Leadership by definition involves guiding people into an unknown.

Lack of flexibility in leading.

Things change. People change. Times change.

Have a great worthy, God-honoring vision – make sure it’s grounded in truth and don’t steer from it, but realize the road to accomplish it may change many times along the way.

Changing the way things are done to be more successful is not a bad reflection on leadership. In fact, it’s a characteristic of good leadership.

What changes do you currently need to encourage?

Shunning or controlling some of the people on your team.

You can’t do it alone. No leader has all the good ideas. You need help.

One of the default actions of leaders is to isolate themselves and/or to control the actions of others. Many times this is out of fear, lack of trust, or sometimes even pride.

Leadership involves knowing people. It involves utilizing the knowledge, skills and talents of others – actually people better equipped to do some things than you are at times. And this should exclude no one on your team. Every person can bring value to the organization or they shouldn’t be there.

Who on your team is just waiting for you to get to know them, believe in them and let them go?

Holding on to a grudge or attempting to get even with those who hurt you. 

There’s no time for it. The wasted energy of an unforgiving spirit slows you down from meaningful achievement.

When people feel you are placing them in the proverbial corner because of something they did or didn’t do they become defensive, bitter, or checkout from trying again. Does this sound like a healthy plan for a team?

I’ve learned over the years that leaders should be willing to go first in extending grace if they want to have a healthy team atmosphere.

Worrying more than trusting by faith. 

Leadership is full of unknowns. There will rarely be a major decision where you are a hundred percent certain it’s the right decision.

When God appears silent, as to the next course of action, you have to go with your experience, your gut, and the wisdom of others. Faith goes without seeing. Take your pick between worry or faith, but you can’t pick both.

In my journey it seems many times God has given me freedom to move and it’s my own fear which keeps me from going forward. Peace often comes through obedience.

Being stingy with your time, money or influence. 

The more you try to control what you hold in your hand the stingier your heart becomes. Stingy hearts are burdened by unnecessary distractions.

(The one who loved money is never satisfied with his wealth. Ecclesiastes 5:10)

Why is this in a leadership post? Because leadership at it’s heart should be improving the lives of others – not just the leader’s life.

When the last chapter of your leadership is written, your real success will ultimately be measured by how you blessed others with how you led.

Having to do things “your way”. 

You got into the leadership position – most likely – because you knew how to do some things. People trusted you enough to follow you. 

This doesn’t mean you don’t need to depend on the input of others.

When you limit the input of others you rob the team of expanded imagination and you discourage potential leaders from rising.

Success flourishes in collaboration.

Are one of these keeping you from accomplishing all you could?

Nate and I have launched a new season of the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast, so subscribe now. You don’t miss the next one.

Leader – Address the Elephant in the Room

By | Church Revitalization, Leadership, Organizational Leadership, Team Leadership | One Comment

Sometimes, as the leader, you must address the elephant in the room. If you don’t, you’ll have a hard time leading well moving forward. 

The elephant is the issue/person/thing that is obvious to everyone, but no one has done anything about it yet. 

Everyone is thinking it, but no one is talking about it – at least out loud. 

Years ago, I was serving on a team where there was a consistent idea killer. Whenever anyone on the team presented an idea, regardless of the idea’s merit, this person would shoot it down. He always saw the glass as half-empty and was negative about anything new.

It’s okay to have someone who asks questions to make things better. We actually should encourage these people, but this guy was a doomsayer in the room. He never saw any positive in anything – regardless of the conversation, so, for example, we would be brainstorming and he would kill the momentum. Just when everyone thought we had a good plan in place, he would poke more holes in it. He never had new ideas to improve things and simply didn’t like anyone else’s idea.

It wasn’t helpful and was, therefore, actually disruptive.

Yet, as annoying as it was, leadership allowed it to continue. Everyone talked about it outside of meetings. No one respected the idea killer. Our senior leader insisted even he had counseled with this person privately, yet it never seemed to improve.

This guy was the elephant in the room.

It led me to a conclusion I have selectively practiced in leadership:

Sometimes, as a leader, you have to address the “elephant in the room” – in the room.

  • Everyone knows it is there. (You can’t miss an elephant.)
  • It keeps being repeated. (You’ve handled it individually. Nothing has changed.)
  • It likely will keep getting worse if unaddressed. (At least that has been my experience.) 

At some point, the leader has to address the elephant. 

You can’t ignore an elephant in a room. Elephants take up a lot of valuable space.

With everyone in the room, leader, address the elephant.

You may have to call out the person causing the disruption in the presence of everyone else in the room.

Yes, it’s hard, uncomfortable, and, frankly, you don’t want to do it often. You should never address it until you have attempted to handle it privately, but it may be necessary to continue leading the team well.

If you don’t:

  • Everyone will assume this type performance is tolerated.
  • The negative actions will be copied by others.
  • Team dynamics will never be healthy.
  • Respect for the leader – with this issue and others – will diminish.

Leader, when you know in your gut it’s time to address the elephant!

You must, because the best excuses won’t hide an elephant. Plus, elephants don’t often leave the room on their own.

Have you ever served on a team where the elephant wasn’t addressed and it negatively impacted the team?

Nate and I have launched a new season of the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast, so subscribe now. You don’t miss the next one.

RELP – Episode 12 – Hidden Objections to Change

By | Church Planting, Church Revitalization, Leadership, Podcast | No Comments

In this episode of The Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast, Ron and Nate discuss some hidden objections to change.

Ron has learned from experience that there are some common – often hidden – objections to change. These are secret objections.

No one admits to these, but they are real. In fact, they may be the biggest obstacles you’ll have to face in implementing change.

Show me an objection to change and you’re almost guaranteed to find one of these hidden in the crowd somewhere. And you’ll probably find multiples of them.

These are often hard to admit, but they are true. Understanding them can help you better lead change. Not understanding them can derail the changes you are trying to make.

In this episode, we discuss 5 hidden objections to change:

I hope this episode helps you be a better leader.

Would you do me a favor? If you enjoyed listening to this episode of The Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast would you subscribe, share and leave a positive review about this podcast? We are enjoying doing this together, but it is especially encouraging when we know it is helping other church leaders. Thank you in advance for doing this. It is a great help.

Also, let me know leadership issues you would like us to cover on future episodes.

And be sure to check out all the great podcasts on the Lifeway Leadership Podcast Network.