4 Free Ways to Develop People You Lead

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

There are some common questions I hear from leaders. In fact, they may be some of the most important questions leaders can ask. These questions are the essence of who the leader is and what leaders are to do. One of the more common is something like this: “Ron, how do you develop people you lead?”

Often they are hoping I will consult with their team. I’m always willing to if we can find the time. They will often, however, follow that question by saying they don’t have a lot of money to spend.

Okay, I get that. Really, I do. I should point out that development of your people may be one of the more important investments a leader can make. (In financially hard times, I’ve seen leaders cut the things they need to keep most, such as development and marketing.)

But there are inexpensive – and even free – ways to develop people you lead.

Are there ways to stimulate development of leaders regardless of size of the budget?

I think there are. So, here is some “free” advice.

Here are 4 free ways to develop people you lead:

Be generous with knowledge

It has been said knowledge is power. That’s certainly true when it comes to leadership. It’s been interesting to watch over the years how some of the best leaders have had power simply because they had more information.

Likewise, to help people on our team grow, I know I must share whatever I know. I must communicate fluently. Equally true, I need to ask questions and allow people the freedom to ask me questions. I have to encourage our team to be sharing information with others and continually be seeking input from people outside our organization.

Leaders who stir knowledge with in their organization will see people develop and grow.

Model integrity and good leadership

Character isn’t taught, but it can certainly be modeled. Any leader desiring to develop high character leaders must display the character they wish to develop. I realize my character will greatly determine the quality of leaders we attract. And I can’t develop leaders (with character) without displaying a high character personally.

I know I can impact growth in people on our team if I display a character worth following. The way I live my life impacts the quality of the life of people trying to follow my leadership.

Give ample opportunity to lead

Most aspiring leaders are simply waiting for a break. They are seeking an opportunity; often inwardly screaming, “Give me a chance”.

I know if I want to develop people I must create opportunities for them to experiment by leading other people. And the more opportunities I create the more leaders our team can grow.

Let people develop through good and bad experience 

It is in the tension of being stretched where we learn most. Walking by faith is leading into the unknown – always. And it always teaches us more than we could learn in a “safe place”.

To develop leaders we must give others ample chances to live firsthand in the stress of leadership. I realize one of my roles as a leader is releasing my right to control an outcome to provide people with their own experience as a leader. They need to feel ownership and responsibility for an outcome – even if that outcome is less than they (or we) hoped to achieve. They will develop through the process.

Give those four ways a chance in your leadership and watch the people around you grow.

Join Nate and I for the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. And subscribe now, so you won’t miss the next one.

A 4 Word Outline to Evaluate Any Event

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

Evaluation may be equally important to the planning, which goes into any event. For churches, just as we ask God to direct our thoughts and energies in creating an event, we should ask Him to direct us in evaluating. What worked and what didn’t work is important to know. The way you evaluate any event helps determine how well you do with similar events in the future.

Let’s say you want to evaluate a major event, such as Easter with some of your team. And I think you should.

(I also understand some will struggle with the word “Event” being used to describe Resurrection weekend. You can call it anything you want. I’m using the word so this idea can help you evaluate more than just Easter weekend.)

How do you structure the evaluation process so you capture feedback, which is helpful, but you aren’t just throwing out random ideas you will never implement? How do you gather plenty of information for future use, but keep the conversation from getting off track and becoming unproductive?

You need to script how you evaluate any event.

First, make sure the right people are in the room. I’ve done this in large and small settings, but you want voices at the table who can speak to most of what you were evaluating.

For example, if we were evaluating our Easter weekend, it would make no sense if the only ones evaluating were the worship team and me. We were on the platform most of the time or only in our worship center. You need people who observed how guests were treated, what was happening in our parking lots, if children were cared for and whether or not the bathrooms were kept clean.

Of this group, I also want positive-minded people who love the church and want to continue to see us improve – even if it means changing things in the future.

So, after the right people are in the room, here is a simple format I’ve done which helps the process move along to evaluate any event.

It’s simple, but it works.

I’ve often gone to the board and written an outline for us to follow – a script if you will – to guide our thoughts to evaluate effectively.

Write down each of the words in bold, ask the questions. You can think of better questions to add than I have. Feel free to list some in the comments of this post. Let people talk through each one.

Duplicate –

  • What did we do well?
  • Of all the things we did, what worked best?
  • What do we know we want to do again next time?

The goal here is to talk about and discover those things, which need to be repeated next time. These things worked. They fully helped you live out your vision and the goals for the event. These are often the “no-brainers” and are usually easily drawn out from the discussion. Give people plenty of time here. This is part of the celebration.

Develop –

  • What was good, but could be better?
  • Where did we see the greatest energy, that with a little more effort could be huge?
  • What do we know is a part of our values for the event — or for our church (or organization) — but it didn’t get enough attention?

This is one of the most important parts of the discussion. Here you want to discover things, which have the potential to really take your event to the next level – next time. Try to keep discussion centered only on the development of existing things you do at this point. You will get to new things in a minute.

By the way, you don’t want to add a ton of new things to an event unless what you did was terribly bad and you need to start completely over with all new. Most of the time developing what you currently do and making it better is easier for people’s tolerance to change and is more effective.

Dump –

  • What do we not need to do again?
  • Be honest, what didn’t work at all?
  • What was the most draining effort, but produced little or no return for the investment?
  • Simply put, what is tired, worn out, ready to be laid to rest before we do this again?

If dump is too strong a word for you, maybe use the word “delete”. The idea here is what do you need to not do next time? You need to discover what needs killing. Don’t be shy here.

This could be the hardest part of your discussion. This is where turf wars develop and feelings can come to the discussion, but you have to do it. If it didn’t work and it was expensive or labor-intensive, (and you have the leadership ability to navigate the change), consider getting rid of it next time.

The reason it’s so important is you can use the energy to pour into things you listed under the develop heading. You can’t do everything. Also, you don’t want to take too much away from people without giving them something back, which is even better.

Dream –

  • What’s the wildest idea we could think of to do next time?
  • If money was not an option, what would we do to make this better?
  • What could we add next time that has the potential to be a “signature” aspect?

This is sometimes my favorite one. I wouldn’t suggest you put a ton of time into it – and don’t do it at all until you’ve done the others, but give some time to dreaming about the future. Honestly, I prefer the Develop one over this one as far as sustainability and productivity goes. Yet, some really great ideas can originate here.

Perhaps time this and stop when the ideas begin to turn really crazy. Allow people an opportunity to stretch the event into something no one has ever even imagined. You might even schedule a whole other meeting just for this one sometime in the near future. You should also create an atmosphere where wild, stretching ideas are welcome to be thrown on the table.

Also, the senior leader doesn’t have to be the moderator as you evaluate any event.

Depending on the group someone else may be better at this and let you participate more in the discussion.

Make sure someone is the recorder in the room. We sometimes write ideas under the words and take a picture of the board, but I always suggest someone record these ideas into a document of some kind. We frequently create a Google Doc, which we can share with others and store for later use. The more organized you are with your notes the more useful they will be next time you’re ready to do the event again.

Bonus idea: You can give out this form before the event begins so people can “evaluate an event” as they go.

Finally, I’d limit the time on this whole process. Maybe allot time to each one and then come back to them if you have time. It can grow stale if you linger too long in one of these discussions.

I hope this helps you evaluate any event. I’d love to hear from you if it does.

Join Nate and I for the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. And subscribe now, so you won’t miss the next one.

7 Things Which Weaken My Leadership

By | Church, Innovation, Leadership | One Comment

There are times I’m a better leader than other times. Over the years, I’ve observed that many times there are things that simply weaken my leadership. When I allow these things to get in the way I am less effective as a leader.

Sometimes this is my fault. Other times the cause is unavoidable.

If we can identify what interrupts the effectiveness of our leadership, we can become better leaders. One of my goals is to consistently find ways to guard against them.

7 things which weaken my leadership:

Needless Distractions

As leaders, we do our best work when we are pointing people toward worthy visions. Some would say this is precisely what leadership does. It’s easy to get distracted with things which, while they may be good things, don’t help move the organization towards the vision. In fact, they delay progress towards the vision.

I’ve also learned I need to be leading in my strengths. If I ever get weak in my courage to say no to some things, the quality of my yes will be far less valuable.

Personal Lack of Discipline

It matters not if there is a great vision if I don’t discipline myself to help the team reach it. This includes making sure we have good plans and goals. We need good objectives and results, with the proper systems and strategies to accomplish them.

Granted, I don’t have to do all of this – and I can’t but it is part of my role to see that this is happening.

Ceasing to Learn Something New

Leading others to grow requires leaders who are growing. When I stop creatively feeding my mind, I cease to have anything new to offer our team. And life (and our organizations/church) can become stale – quickly. Whether through books, podcasts, conferences or other leaders, I must find ways to continue learning and stretching myself.

Allowing Negative Influences to Rule

It’s hard to be the only positive in a room full of negatives. Sometimes as a leader, I’ve felt like more cheerleader than coach. It’s one reason I like to surround myself with people who have a good outlook on life. I don’t want all “yes” people, but if everything is always an immediate “no” – or “I don’t like it because it’s not how we’ve always done things” – it is draining. Eventually it is only going to bring down the strength of my leadership and ultimately the rest of the team.

Living in Fear

Risk is involved in every leadership decision. And I meant every. Leadership is taking people to an unknown. This always involves risk. Every time. And every risk involves a certain level of fear. This is completely natural.

Fear keeps leaders from moving forward when they allow the fear to dominate the decision more than the opportunity of the risk.

Personal Pride

Pride goes before the fall. Pride destroys. I would offer that absolute pride destroys absolutely. Okay, I embellished this popular saying to further a point.

Prideful leaders are always weakened by their pride. No one truly follows a prideful leader. They may obey, may even be infatuated for a season, but they don’t follow.

Complacency and Contentment with Status Quo

Leadership involves a sense of urgency. When we lose this we lose the inner drive to lead well. We become weakened by our own loss of personal momentum.

Resting on Past (or current) Success

All of us love to succeed. I think attempting to is a pretty good goal. We might even plan for it – what a novel idea. Sadly, though, sometimes a little success can usher in complacency. We can begin to think we’ve figured out a system to success.

Before long, we don’t think we have to be intentional anymore – maybe not even have to try as hard as we used to try. We can become weak quickly by our own delusions of grandeur.

Those are a few things which weaken my leadership. I try to guard against them.

Join Nate and I for the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. And subscribe now, so you won’t miss the next one.

7 Suggestions for Pastors When You Lose a Good Team Member

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

I have some suggestions for pastors (or leaders) when they lose a good team member. This post came to me the hard way. It came after hanging out with one of my favorite people I had ever worked with. I hated when we parted ways professionally.

Let’s be honest, pastors. When you have great staff people, the team is set and everything is going well, it’s hard when someone leaves. Even when they are leaving for a better opportunity – it often stinks.

Replacing quality people is one of the hardest things we do as pastors and leaders.

How should you handle things when a team member leaves for other opportunities?

7 suggestions when you lose a good team member:

Pause and think bigger picture.

You’re a Kingdom builder. You are on a mission and called to be part of a grander plan – God’s plan – more than you are to one local church. Every team member (volunteer and attendee) in the church (including you) are simply part of this plan.

Grieve the loss.

You likely invested a lot personally into the person. Most likely you are going to miss their friendship, as well as their work. Whoever replaces them will not be the same. (They may actually be a better fit for the season you are in now, but it will be different either way. Change is hard for the church – and it’s difficult for us too at times. Believers don’t grieve like the rest of the world (1 Thessalonians 4:13), but we do grieve. We grieve with hope always in mind, but grieving is a healthy way to deal with loss.

Don’t take it personal.

Most likely it is a reflection of what God was doing in the team member’s life – and possibly in the life of the church. It may have nothing to do with you. If it is personal then it is a good time to evaluate where and who you are and why someone felt they needed to leave.

See the opportunity in something new.

I used to have a boss who when someone would threaten to quit he would call them in and have them stick their hand in a bucket of water to see how much the difference one hand made in the level of the water. It didn’t make much. I know, because I once had to do it.

I’m not saying it was the gentlest of approaches – and I have never used it personally, but it was certainly humbling. I never forgot it. The point he was making was everyone can be replaced. Everyone. Sometimes new can even be better. Transitions are difficult, but afterward new can create opportunities for the church you never dreamed of – but God did.

Whenever a team member leaves our team I like to step back and reevaluate the entire team. We don’t get those opportunities often.

See yourself as an investor in people.

You have to see your role as a people-builder more than a position builder. It’s great to have the best student ministry in the history of the church. Far better, however, is to have a student minister you believe in and invest in personally who is open, just as you should be, to being wherever God may lead. Rejoice in this with them. (As much as it hurts, this includes the worship pastor, the small groups or discipleship pastor, and the key volunteer leaders in the church.)

Keep in touch with the person leaving.

Stay in touch, as much as the other person will allow, in what God is doing in their life in this new season. Chances are you and your leadership were a part of this season also. Rejoice in what God allowed you to be a part of doing in someone else’s journey.

Celebrate what God is doing new.

Celebrate the work God is doing in the person’s life who left and what He is doing in the church for the future. On the way out celebrate one person leaving and on the way in you’ll get to celebrate for another team member replacing that person. The more you can celebrate the healthier the environment will be you are trying to lead.

These are just a few suggestions when you lose a good team member. I’ve been there – and, I’m sure I will be again. Saying goodbye can be difficult. It shouldn’t be devastating if we approach it correctly.

Join Nate and I for the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. And subscribe now, so you won’t miss the next one.

10 Biblical Characters and Their Leadership Tension

By | Church, Leadership | No Comments

Throughout my time in vocational ministry I’ve encountered people who shy away from terms such as leadership when talking about the church. Christ is the leader of the church and we are simply servants under His command. While I agree with their assessment of Christ’s ultimate leadership, I see all kinds of examples of biblical characters with their own leadership tension.

I see leadership throughout the Bible – through people. God’s greatest servants were leaders – with significant examples of leadership challenges I face everyday.

And, as I read their story, I learn great Biblical principles – and also leadership examples.

10 biblical characters and their leadership tension:

David – Have you fought a giant? Do you ever feel like unqualified?

Esther – What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to do? You sensed it was up to you to do it, yet the outcome was unpredictable and scary?

Joseph – Have you ever prepared for a potentially bleak future? Have you ever been accused of something you didn’t do? Also, have you had to reconcile a broken relationship?

Paul – Has a changing culture ever impacted your leadership? Did you ever have problems getting the established leaders to trust you?

Gideon – Do you ever feel you are not prepared to fulfill what you know you have to do? Did you land in a position and – honestly – you’re not sure why?

Rahab – Has your “history” been a deterrent in some people’s minds – thinking you shouldn’t be in the position God has afforded you?

Moses – Is the weight of your responsibility ever overwhelming? Is someone else getting to complete the work – and enjoy the benefits – of something you started?

Abraham – Have you led a team into an unknown? Do family situations often distract you from what you feel you must do? Also, do you ever have to wait?

Noah – Does the task in front of you seem impossible? Ever feel no one understands what you’ve been called to do?

Deborah – Have you ever landed in a position you weren’t necessarily trained to do?

Look over the list. Which of these are most representative of your current leadership tension. Finally, discover things these Biblical leaders did wrong or did right in handling their challenge.

Perhaps some of the best leadership advice is closer than you think.

Join Nate and I for the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. And subscribe now, so you won’t miss the next one.

4 Ways to Process The Emotions of Betrayal

By | Business, Church, Encouragement, Leadership, Life Plan | No Comments

There is a Bible passage that often causes a weird emotional response as I read it. Scripture should impact not just our minds, but our emotions. When I read this text there is often a stirring in my stomach. The Scripture reminds me of a few very painful experience in my own leadership and life. It forces me to reconcile again the emotions of betrayal.

All of us know what it feels like to be betrayed. It’s more common in leadership than you might imagine.

To understand the passage, it helps to be able to count to twelve. (Or at least eleven.)

Here’s the passage:

And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. Acts 1:13

Do you see what jumped out at me?

Count them. There are eleven names. Eleven. Not twelve.

One name is missing. One person was no longer in the group. I know enough Scripture to know why.

For three years there were twelve. They had been Jesus’ disciples. His closest companions. His trusted friends. Jesus had invested time, energy and life into them. Now there were eleven. One was missing.

The betrayer.

If you don’t know the story, another named Judas betrayed Jesus. For a sum of money he handed Jesus to the authorities where He was arrested, beaten and crucified. Of course, it was used for a divine purpose, but one of the disciples betrayed the others and Jesus.

Let that sink in.

Have you ever considered the emotions of betrayal for the remaining disciples? Did they miss their friend? In spite of his betrayal, he was a close companion on a mission. A team member. There must have been some attachment. Would there have been moments of bitterness, anger, or rage? Were they sad? Was there one in particular who got hurt most? He was closest to the betrayer, perhaps.

I don’t know. But I do know people and team dynamics so it prompts me to ask the questions.

As I reflected on their experience, I couldn’t help remembering some of my own times of betrayal. There have been a few significant, very painful times in leadership (and life) where I was severely disappointed by people I trusted most.

Have you ever experienced the emotions of betrayal?

We don’t talk about it much in leadership or ministry, but maybe we should. Those emotions are real. They are heavy. And, they are common.

Have you been hurt by your own betrayer? You trusted him or her. You may have even called them friend. They let you down. Disappointed you. Betrayed you.

Anyone who has served in any leadership position has experienced betrayal at some level. It could have been the gossip started by a supposed friend or a pointed and calculated stab in the back. Either way it hurts.

Learning to deal with, process, and mature through the emotions of betrayal may be one of the more important leadership issues. Yet we seldom deal with the issue.

How do you handle betrayal?

A few suggestions to battle the emotions of betrayal:

Grieve

Give yourself time to process. Be honest about the pain. Confess it to yourself and perhaps a few close friends. (I’m not suggesting you spread the pain farther than you have to. It only creates more drama. Unless there are legal issues involved it is best to keep the circle small.)

Don’t pretend it didn’t matter. It does. You were injured by someone you trusted – maybe someone you love.

Forgive

As much as it hurts, refusing to forgive or holding a grudge will hurt you more than the betrayer. (If you are a believer you have no option. It’s a command of God.) Embrace and extend grace. In the now cliche-ish words, “Let it go!”

If there are realistic consequences you can let those occur – and may need to for the protection of others. But in your heart let it go. Forgiveness is a choice not dependent on the other person’s response. It is the most freeing decision you can make. It may take time to do this, but the longer you delay the more you are still held captive by the betrayal.

Analyze

It is good at a time of betrayal to consider what went wrong. Was it an error in judgement? Do you need stricter guidelines for yourself or those you lead? Would it have happened regardless?

You can’t script morality but you should use this as a chance for a healthy review of the parameters in which the betrayal occurred.

Continue

You can’t allow a betrayal to distract you from the vision you have been called to complete. Equally important, don’t allow this time to build up walls where you never trust again or unnecessary structure which burdens the rest of the team.

There will always be betrayers as long as there are people. Jesus had them. They show up unexpectedly at times. And, if you read on in Acts, they replaced the twelfth person again. They moved forward in spite of betrayal. Eventually you will have to take a risk on people again. It’s the only way to lead in a healthy way.

Betrayers will come. The way we deal with them often determines the future quality of our leadership.

Join Nate and I for the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. And subscribe now, so you won’t miss the next one.

7 Ways to Earn Trust as a Leader

By | Church, Leadership, Team Leadership | No Comments

People follow people they trust. And there are ways to earn trust as a leader.

I’ve found trust develops over time and experience – as we witness trustworthy behavior. Honestly, as a leader, I’ve felt a delicate tension in maintaining trust. People look for a leader to be strong, independent and confident. Yet, we trust people who are approachable, inclusive and humble.

Jesus is the perfect model of this type of trusted leader.

How do we combine those traits to be trusted leaders?

Here are 7 ways to earn trust as a leader:

Display confidence, but never cockiness. People will trust a competent leader, but one who is arrogant will be dismissed quickly.

Follow through, which means you never over-commit. When a leader does what they say they will, people gain trust. When the leader always bails on responsibility – when they have a new idea every day, but nothing ever comes to reality – people begin to doubt everything the leader says.

Put trust in others, so you’ll have an opportunity for them to put trust in you. Trust is a mutually exclusive commodity. People won’t extend you trust they don’t feel they receive from you. This means you must not be controlling, micro-managing, or negative towards every new idea they bring to the table. It means you must empower, delegate, and give authority to people.

Extend grace but be firm in some non-negotiables. I have written previously about the non-negotiable things for me in leadership – things such as responsiveness and mutual-respect – and I share them often with our team. We should have some standards which are not open to discussion. Those should usually be issues of character, vision or values. But, we need to allow people the freedom make their own way, including the freedom to fail, make mistakes, and be assured we will forgive them if needed.

Try to be knowledgeable and aware by constantly learning but realize you don’t know everything and you’ll know far more with a team. People trust a teachable leader. They are leery of a leader who knows it all – or pretends they do. We must ask questions, allow others on our team to teach us at times, continually seek wisdom and develop individually, just as we expect those we are trying to lead to do.

Exhibit humility but have courage to do the hard things. A trusted leader is humble enough to share recognition, but diligent to do the things everyone expects of the leader – such as lead through the hard seasons, remain calm in crisis, and encourage others when they need hope.

Value people more than you value progress. This is especially difficult for driven leaders. We want success and this often is measured in numbers. But, people trust people they know genuinely care for them. We must see people as individuals, get to know them, and genuinely love the people we are trying to love – considering their interests even ahead of our own.

What other ways would you add to gain and keep trust as a leader?

Join Nate and I for the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. And subscribe now, so you won’t miss the next one.

RELP – Episode 19 – Antiquated Leadership

By | Church Planting, Church Revitalization, Leadership, Podcast | 2 Comments

In this episode of The Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast with Ron and Nate, Ron talks about antiquated leadership.

Many leaders in senior positions these days developed their leadership style in another generation. This has produced a plethora of what I (Ron) call antiquated leaders.

What’s important in leadership has changed from when I entered the field of leadership.

Leadership principles and practices have had to change because organizations and people have changed.

These leaders create tension in many organizations, including many churches today.

In this episode, we discuss antiquated leadership.

We are hearing from many leaders who are enjoying these podcast. We know they are simple. It is intended to be a quick listen to a conversation between father and son – who are both struggling to figure out leadership in our individual contexts.

As always, 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.

We will be recording more episodes soon. Let us know leadership issues you would like us to cover on future episodes.

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

1 Critical Leadership Error and 4 Ways to Avoid It

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

There is one critical leadership error most leaders make at some point. I make it frequently. If you’re leading you probably do also.

The critical leadership error:

We forget people are trying to follow.

We get so caught up in our own world we forget people we are trying to lead are trying to follow us. We “think” we know where we are going and we assume they do also – almost like they can read our minds.

Have you ever tried to follow someone in a car?

Some are good at this kind of leading and some aren’t. I have followed people who take quick turns without using a blinker. Some dodge in and out of traffic – forgetting the person behind can’t react as quickly. Others fail to tell you a general direction or give you an address in case you get separated. Some don’t have their phone handy where you can call them if you fall behind.

Do you understand the analogy?

In a similar way it is with a team or organization when the leader forgets people are trying to follow.

The leader sets the pace for the organization. As the leader goes, so goes the organization. And some leaders get so passionate about what they are thinking and doing they forget others are trying to keep up with them.

Good leaders frequently evaluate to make sure the current pace doesn’t leave someone behind – unless it is intentional – which would be the subject of another post.

What can a leader do to keep from losing those who are trying to follow along the way?

Here are 4 suggestions to avoid this critical leadership error:

Ask questions.

Granted, most people are not going to call out the leader. This is true regardless of how “open” the leader’s door might be. So, good leaders ask lots of open-ended questions. They are continually evaluating and exploring to discover what they wouldn’t know if they didn’t ask. They check in with people often to make sure they understand where they are going, have what they need and are able to continue the pace healthfully.

Be vulnerable.

While the leader ultimately sets the speed of the team, good leaders allow others on the team help set the pace. They share leadership across the team. It’s more difficult to argue against the pace when the team helped to set it. It takes humility, but good leaders allow the decision-making process of the organization to be spread throughout the team. They are open to correction – giving people permission to speak into their life and are not easily offended when someone challenges them – or even sometimes corrects them.

Be systematic.

One way to control pace and overall direction is to operate under well-planned and executed written goals and objectives. These are agreed upon in advance. Of course, things still change quickly – that’s part of life – and we must be flexible to adapt, but having even a short term written plan gives people a direction which keeps them making progress without chasing after every whim of a leader. (Creative leaders tend to have lots of whims.)

Keep looking in the mirror.

Back to the car illustration, if someone is trying to follow you frequently look in the rear view mirror to see they are still behind you. In the organizational setting it is ultimately up to the leader to self-evaluate frequently. Clueless leaders push and pull people with no regards to the impact it is having on organizational health or the people trying to follow.

(By the way, we are all clueless at times – we only know what we know.) Good leaders attempt to be self-aware. They know their tendencies to push too hard or their struggle with contentment – or they’re lack of clarity in details. Whatever it is that makes them difficult to follow at times they try to minimize the negative impact on their team. This requires intentionality.

Here’s a hard question every leader should consider:

Are you allowing those attempting to follow you a fair opportunity to follow?

Join Nate and I for the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. And subscribe now, so you won’t miss the next one.

7 Ways to Lose Favor with Leadership

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

There are some common ways to lose favor with leadership.

Now before that sounds arrogant, please know I can be pretty hard on senior leadership. Having been in such a position for over 30 years, I know the bad side of senior leadership. I’ve witnessed it and, in full candor, I’ve been it.

My goal is always to improve senior leadership for all of us, which has been a chief goal of this blog. When I’m coaching other leaders, predominately I’m coaching senior leadership.

But what about those who follow leadership?

Any good leader knows he or she is nothing without the people on their team. Without people to lead there is no need for leadership. And a huge part of good leadership is having confidence in the people on is trying to lead.

So, a good leadership question might be: What causes leadership to lose confidence in the people they are trying to lead?

How do you lose favor with leadership?

7 ways to lose favor with leadership:

Give half-hearted devotion to the vision.

Speaking for those in senior leadership, who feel the weight of completing the vision before us, there’s little time to waste on people who don’t share the same vision. It’s one thing not to understand it, to have questions about it, or need development. Everyone has bad days and bad seasons, but, it’s a completely different story when the person has lost passion – or never had passion – for the vision. Especially when they demonstrate it by their work.

Sometimes the best thing for the rest of the team – and the person – is for them to find a vision they can support. These are tough decisions leaders often have to encourage.

Work for a competing vision.

This one is slightly different. In the previous one, the person has lost heart. This person has plenty of heart – but for a completely different vision. Any team will crumble under competing visions. When a team member starts competing, it is hard to maintain the support of senior leadership.

Eventually, competing visions cause others on the team to choose sides. The division results in ineffectiveness and poor morale. Again, hard decisions may have to be made.

Always bringing surprises.

As a senior leader, there’s a surprise everyday. Something is always coming we didn’t see coming. It’s part of the job – and honestly – it keeps most leader-types energized, even when the surprise presents a new challenge. But, because they are so frequent, a healthy team helps limit them.

If someone on the team, for example, knows there is a problem brewing, and doesn’t share it with senior leadership in a timely manner, there is the potential for a bigger, more complicated challenge. It might have been avoided with prior information.

Whether in the person’s area of work or in their personal life, if there are frequent “surprises” the senior leader begins to lose confidence in the team member. The key here is good team members practice good communication. It’s paramount to a healthy team. It’s much easier to address an issue with advance knowledge. We can get through almost anything if we handle it together.

Never learning from mistakes.

Everyone makes mistakes. Good leaders actually expect them as a part of the development process. It’s easy to lose the confidence of senior leadership, however, when mistakes made never produce improvement – or when there is an attitude of indifference towards them.

Failing to follow through.

Work has to be done. And, every great idea is just an idea until someone follows through with a plan of accomplishment. This is what separates great teams from mediocre teams. When team members never complete the tasks assigned, they lose the confidence of senior leadership.

(This one deserves a sidebar. If there are more tasks assigned than possible to complete, there could be a problem on the senior leaders side. This is another post, but sometimes you have to “lead up” to help senior leadership understand this, but make sure the problem is too many tasks and not a need to develop as a task master. Make sure you’re doing all you can to get better at time-management, for example.)

Act disrespectfully towards leadership.

This one will raise eyebrows, but it’s true. Obviously, this requires a vision worth following and a leader worthy of following. But respect (and even an amount of loyalty) towards leadership is necessary to complete the vision.

Of course, respect (and loyalty) must start with leadership and go both ways. Mutual loyalty and respect – from leaders and team members – is necessary to carry a team forward in a healthy way.

Say one thing. Do another.

There’s no place where letting our “yes be yes and our no be no” is more important than on a healthy team. And every good leader knows this. People-pleasers don’t earn respect on a team once they are exposed. Yes, this starts with leadership, but it must be carried through at every level of the team.

These are meant to be helpful. I work with a lot of ministry leaders who report to a senior pastor. I have never met one who didn’t want the support of the senior pastor, even if they didn’t necessarily agree with everything the pastor did. They want to be supported.

When you want to be a team player, this is simply a gut honest look at some common ways to lose their support.

Again, to be clear, the same goes for senior leadership. We want people we can support, believe in, and want to work with on our team. Every senior leader I know is trying to build such a team. And that culture starts with us – the leaders.

Granted, some leaders are better at this than others. Frankly, there are lots of senior leaders who aren’t worthy of much of the items on this list. They are difficult to follow, because they are difficult to trust. They may be incompetent, lack drive and be very controlling. Those are subjects of other posts – subjects I write about frequently. If you’re in one of these situations there may be a natural push-back to a post like this. This post assumes at some point you believed in leadership.

(If not, that too is a subject of another post, but maybe this post serves as another reminder to you it’s time for a change.)

Leaders, anything else you would add?

Join Nate and I for the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. And subscribe now, so you won’t miss the next one.