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.

7 Ways to Make Yourself Invaluable On A Team

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One of my first managers frequently reminded us no one is irreplaceable. He would use the illustration of placing your hands in a bucket and then pulling them out. The level of the water doesn’t change much when one or two hands is removed. While I’m not quite sure that was a healthy demonstration for building team morale, I think there ARE ways a person can make themselves invaluable on a team.

Here are 7 ways to make yourself invaluable to a team:

Be a chief encourager.

Great team members help people feel better about themselves and their contribution to the team. So, be a cheerleader – positive-minded – willing to do whatever it takes to help others, bring enthusiasm and show support for the team and its mission.

Support the vision and direction.

Be a verbal proponent of the overall objectives of the team and where things are going. Develop a reputation of being a team player. Have more good to say about the place than you have bad. Everything might not be wonderful – in fact many things may need changing – but if you can’t support the vision and direction you’ll have a hard time being seen as valuable by others. (And it might be time to consider other opportunities.) 

Respect others on the team.

Always be respectful in the way you treat and respond to everyone on the team – regardless of their position. Recognize everyone is not like you. People like different things and respond differently than you would respond. Value other people’s opinions and viewpoints.

Give more than is required of you.

This doesn’t mean you have to work more hours. It might. But it might mean you work smarter than everyone else. Plan your day better. Be better at setting goals and objectives. Hold yourself accountable.

Be an information hub.

Be well read and share what you learn. Not in an arrogant way, but information is king. Be a king of it. Understand trends and be current in your field with new ideas and innovations that might make the organization better.

Celebrate other people’s success.

Send notes or encouragement when someone does something well. Brag on other people. Tell others what you admire about them. (Without being creepy – of course.)

Be a good listener.

Everyone loves the person they can go to and know they will be genuinely listened to. A good person to bounce ideas off of or who lends a caring ear is invaluable to the team. (And be sure to keep every confidence afforded to you.)

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

Copy THIS in Organizational Leadership

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In organizational leadership, I have learned the hard way. It is easy to try to be some other organization we admire or that appears to be successful. So, we attempt to copy what they did in our organization. Wrong. It seldom works. Therefore, I have learned that if you feel the need to copy anything, copy principles not practices. 

Having a systematic planning process, which keeps the organization moving forward – Copy that.

Productive meetings that don’t waste time but rather spur ideas and collaboration – Copy that.

Celebrating wins so that what you’ve done well gets repeated – Copy that.

Embracing healthy conflict so the team remains healthy – Copy that.

Utilizing short-term, mini-teams to tackle unique opportunities or challenges and break-down organizational silos – yea, Copy that. 

When you learn a good principle of leadership, feel free to copy that into your own organization. 

But at the same time, 

Staff meetings every Tuesday maybe, but maybe not. You need productive meetings, but Monday might be your best day. Or, you may not meet but every other week in your context. You may change the people in the room from who another organization would include. 

An annual volunteer banquet featuring an outside speaker? Perhaps, but maybe that’s not the best way for your organization to celebrate volunteerism and victories. Copy the principle of doing so, but find what fits better with your style.

Quarterly reviews? Well, it is a good practice to give continual feedback to people and let them know how they are doing. But maybe your organization prefers a less-rigid approach to this. Copy the principle of giving feedback, but adapt the practice to what works for you. 

Copy Principles, Not Practices. 

This is true in organizations and with individuals. You can be like someone in principle. You can copy their morals. You can be like them in character. But, individually, you should be who God designed you to be. Independent of how others were designed. You have a unique role to play in God’s plan.

So does your organization.

You can copy principles. In fact, why not? You may need to in order to be a healthier team.

Be careful, however, trying to copy practices. Your context will likely be different from where you copied it. What worked elsewhere may not work exactly the same in your context. And you shouldn’t feel guilty about that. 

Have you ever been guilty of copying a practice that didn’t work?

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

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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.

A Constant Challenge: Whether to Initiate Change or Not

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Whether to initiate change or not is a constant leadership challenge all leaders face on a regular basis. 

Personally, I love continual improvement. I am someone who actually enjoys change. If things stay the same too long I get bored and begin looking for a new challenge. I even stir things for fun sometimes – just to keep life interesting around me. (This is not always a positive characteristic. Ask my wife.)

Personality aside, however, the truth is not everything needs to be tweaked. Some things are probably working okay, achieving great success, and are best left alone for the time being. Change for the sake of change sake is not always good. When Momma said “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” and the other cliché about “the grass is always greener”, she was speaking from some life experience.

There is a fine line between making things better and messing things up. One of the great challenges for the leader is carefully considering the balance intention between instigating change for the good of the organization and allowing things to continue without interference.

Determining when to make change and when to leave things the same is one of the most delicate decisions of leadership, but I know one thing for sure:

It’s working” should also never be the primary reason to avoid change, either.

It could be a reason. But it should not be the fallback reason or used as an excuse not to change.

Here are some indicators whether to initiate change or not:

  • When energy is starting to wane with the status quo
  • If potentially damaging variables are beginning to impact the organization
  • When change can result in greater efficiency or realization of the organization’s mission
  • If it is clear a change will be needed soon to remain competitive or relevant
  • When there is pent up energy for something new (people are waiting for leadership to what’s next)

Organizations and teams need change. (Churches are included here.)

Change keeps momentum going. At times change is needed simply to build a culture of change. And you often discover something wonderful you would have never discovered without change.

Plus – and this is a big one for me – I am always reminded leaders want to be in environments of change. I want to be surrounded by leaders – people who think big, have bold visions, and want to move things forward. Leaders are most comfortable when they can explore, take risks, and keep things stirring. There’s a reason marketers are always changing things – it’s not just leaders who want change – people tend to like change too, even when they don’t think they do. (Apple has made a fortune knowing this.)

Sometimes a little change, even a little drama, will motivate a team into action. Need some momentum? That can be an indicator whether to initiate change or not. 

There is an example which illustrates a change principle of organizational dynamics. You’ve seen it happen many times. Your ball team is behind in the game. The referee makes what you and the rest of your team’s fans believe is a bad call. It energizes the crowd and the team and helps spur your team on to victory.

If things are becoming dull or routine in your organization, as the leader you may need to stir up some change, even if it seems disruptive at the time. There are times to change just for the sake of creating more energy.

This doesn’t mean you change your overall vision and your attempt should be to make a positive change, but if things are stagnating some change may be needed. It would almost be better to have a change that didn’t work than to allow things continue at a standstill.

So while change isn’t always necessary, “it’s working” shouldn’t keep us from considering whether to initiate change or not either.

Which makes the decision of when to change that much more difficult, doesn’t it? I almost need a default zone for when to make change and when to leave things alone.

One rule of thumb for me:

If there hasn’t been any change recently – chances are good it’s time.

What change are you attempting next?

BTW, our latest podcast addresses some specific ways to know it is time for organizational change. Speaking of podcast, Nate and I have launched a new season of the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. Subscribe now so you don’t miss the next one.

RELP – Episode 11 – How to Know It is Time for Organizational Change

By | Church Planting, Church Revitalization, Leadership, Podcast | One Comment

In this episode of The Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast, Ron and Nate discuss how leaders can know it is time for organizational change.

If the structure is impeding the accomplishment of the vision it is time to make changes.

Healthy organizations maintain an unchanging vision that they sustain long-term. One way they do so is with a willingness to change their organizational structure as needed.

How do you know when organizational structural change is needed?

In this episode, we discuss ways leaders can know it is time for organizational 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 on how to know it’s time for change, 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.

Fast or Slow – Making Decisions as a Leader

By | Church, Leadership, Organizational Leadership, Team Leadership | No Comments

As a leader, or even as a team member, we constantly have to make decisions. Great leaders understand the power of decision-making and learn to use this power wisely.

In simple terms, leaders should consider two methods of decision-making. Some decisions can be arbitrary decisions and others need to be calculated decisions. Knowing which type of decision making to use at a given time will help you be a better leader.

I know leaders who make very quick, instant decisions only to grow to regret them. (This leader being one.)

Here are 7 characteristics of each type decision-making process:

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