Have you ever been in the grocery store when a mother has told her toddler “No, you cannot do that!” All I can say is that the picture is not normally very pretty after that, right? For the next several minutes, if she is lucky, the toddler pitches a fit and throws a tantrum in an effort to convince her otherwise. Unfortunately, we often react the same way!
If you are in business then you have been frustrated, even all-out angry! Things happen so often in business that can cause frustration. Whatever the cause of the issue, we have all felt our blood boil and we start looking for a way to take action. We have to do something or we will explode! Today, I am going to give you a list of things you should NOT do when you are angry!
I am an idea thief. I am very good at taking someone else’s bright idea and applying it to my own business, my parenting practices, or even my hobbies. There are many ways I do this, but one of the main ways is simply finding those who are successful and mimicking their practices. Obtaining godly counsel from others who have proven track records is a skill that all leaders need to learn.
I have written often about seeking God’s wisdom before taking action. I am a strong believer in going first to God in getting our marching orders, regardless of the circumstances. However, I think there are some situations in which it makes no sense at all to ask God for guidance. In these cases, I believe we are on our own.
In my last post, I talked about how God wants all of us on a great adventure with Him. He is not looking for us to play it safe (2 Chronicles 16:9). I made the case that He wants us fully committed to Him, willing to risk it all for whatever unknown adventure He has in store for us. If that is the case, why would anyone NOT experience this great adventure?
I recently wrote an article that was structured as if my future self was writing a letter back in time to my present self. Just going through the exercise of writing that article was extremely helpful (and convicting!) to me and caused me to make some significant changes in my priorities and routines. In an effort to help others in a similar way, I thought I would write another letter of advice. This one is from the present me and I am writing to my younger self!
I was raised to believe in free will. I was taught that God gives us complete and total choice in our actions and behavior – therefore no sin is unavoidable, right? Well, evidently this is not completely true. It appears that there is unavoidable sin.
According to Proverbs 10:19, this unavoidable sin comes into play when we talk too much. Take a look at the verse and see what you think:
When there are many words, sin is unavoidable,
but the one who controls his lips is wise.
The way I read this verse, some sin is unavoidable. At the same time, I think this is really more about timing. If you think about it, the author is saying sin becomes unavoidable WHEN there are many words.
Warning: when anyone tells you something is simple, don’t assume it is easy! There is a big difference! I have 9 “simple” (not easy) hacks for anyone that is committed to seeing themselves more clearly for the purpose of being a better leader. Gaining perspective in these ways is not complicated, but neither is it easy. You are warned!
In his devotional book, The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge, former professional football coach Tony Dungy describes how coaches watch a lot of game films to critique past execution and develop future strategy. In doing so, he always made sure he was watching the game film that had been recorded by two different cameras – one set at a mid point on the sidelines of the field and the other between the goalposts at the end of the field.
He described how the goalpost camera had some advantages, but would not allow him to see yardage gained or lost like the sideline camera would. The sideline camera also had advantages, but would not give perspective on the spacing of his players like the goal post camera would. With only one perspective or the other, too much information is missing. True performance assessment is impossible and good decisions cannot be made without both perspectives.
The same is true about you and me as leaders. Quite simply, we must not trust our own perspective as our only gauge of our performance or effectiveness. There is just too much missing from our perspective to rely on it as our only source. Instead, we must seek out other perspectives if we want a clear, honest picture.
Below, I have listed nine different ways that you and I can gain perspective on how well we are (or are not) doing as leaders in our homes, businesses, and communities. None of these “hacks” are fool-proof. None give the entire picture. None can be relied upon by themselves.
Just like the multi-camera game films, we need a minimum of two or three of these views if we want any semblance of the truth! Take a look at each and determine which will work best for you.
Simple, Not Easy
Keep in mind, you may not like what you hear from some of them. In some cases, you will need to face feedback that is difficult to hear. In other cases, you may need to exclude feedback that may be contaminated with less-than-pure motives. You have to be the judge of which is which…or you could get some help with that as well!
#1 – Coach or Mentor
A coach or mentor is someone likely older than you that has more experience and wisdom than you in certain areas. You meet regularly with them on certain topics and pick their brain, learning from their wisdom.
If set up correctly, this relationship will bring to the surface some areas where you need to improve. If you are willing to be open to this person, you can get great perspective and advice from them. Finding the right person(s) for this relationship can be tough. Accepting what they say might be tougher!
#2 – Accountability partner
This person is likely closer in age (though its not necessary) and might be in a similar stage of life as you are. Meeting on a regular basis, you share victories and struggles. You hold each other accountable to commitments you have made together.
Again, openness and transparency with this person is the key. If you give them permission to call you out on anything they see, you gain the most perspective. This is the only way you max your odds of growing as a result of this relationship!
#3 – Peer Group
These groups are usually centered around a common theme. Some are based on age of children. Others are business-based. Small Bible study groups also fall into this category.
In the regular meetings, everyone shares what they are learning and how they are struggling. Through this process, members get to know each other well and are able to give each other perspective that can’t be found elsewhere.
#4 – Employee survey
Unlike the first three hacks, an employee survey is more likely something you would do once every 6-12 months, depending on the need at the time. Spend time on the questions and make sure you include some that get to the heart of the perspective you are seeking.
Sure, some of the results might not be dead-on, but you should gain perspective from the overall results and the trends over several iterations of the survey. Tip: don’t completely ignore the outlier results. Dig to determine whether or not there is something in your leadership that is helping to create the feelings represented.
To Be Continued!
Once again, I have run out of room in this post! Rather than making it one that you stop reading due to its length, I have broken it into two posts. In my next post, I will go over the remaining five hacks for better leadership perspective. I hope you are eager to see what they are!
Are you currently using some of these hacks?
Do you value the additional perspective you gain from them?
Do you lack the perspective you need? How will you change this?