I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that every time I turn around there is another book or blog post telling me what a good leader looks like. I like to read a lot so I usually jump at the chance to read something else about how to be a good leader.
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?
I get many opportunities to talk to other Christians that own or operate a business. When I try to explain to them why they should be using their business to impact people for eternity, I sometimes get a blank stare. They often ask me questions that indicate they have significant misconceptions about Christian business. Today, I want to dispel 5 of the most common myths I have encountered regarding Christian business.
The problem is that many people, even Christians, misunderstand what the Bible says about being a Christian. This is even more true when it comes to being a Christian in the business world.
As a result, they often associate Christianity with weakness, laziness, and blind faith. If you have been in business for any length of time, you know these qualities don’t add up to business success. So when I explain my efforts to run a Christian business, the response is not always very positive!
Let’s take a look at the 5 most common myths you might encounter or even believe yourself. Once we dispel these, I think you might have a much better picture of what your business should look like (and what it shouldn’t look like!).
Myth #1 – Christian Businesses should hire anyone!
This is a very common myth and it is rooted in the desire to be kind and fair to everyone. Do unto others what you would have them do unto you, right? While that last statement is true, it does not equate to a wide open hiring policy!
First of all, it is not fair to the applicant to hire them if they are not a good fit for the job. They will never get fulfillment from a job that does not fit them. By not hiring this applicant, you will “help” them move on to find the job that IS a fit for them. You may even choose to assist them in this search if you see enough potential in them.
Not only is it not fair to the applicant, it is not fair to the other current employees to make them work with someone that does not fit the job. This will only increase their load and cause other issues. Of course, the final damage is to the business itself. It is tough enough to run an efficient business without having to work around those not fit or qualified for their jobs.
Myth #2 – Christian businesses should say yes to any request!
I cannot specifically say where this myth originates, but it certainly exists. Sometimes you get a local sports team looking for a sponsorship. In other cases it is a customer looking for an excessive amount of free products or services. You will even have employees ask for difficult exceptions to company policies.
I certainly believe we should try to accommodate requests to the extent that we can and when it makes good business sense. Sometimes, we might do it even when it does not make business sense (but we know it is the right thing to do at the time)! However, for us to say yes to (virtually) every request is impossible.
There are times when the only wise answer is, “No.” A Christian business owner must accept this and not let guilt take over. Jesus did not say yes to every request. Neither should we. Do the best you can, but don’t fall prey to this myth!
To Be Continued!
I have run out of room for today, but will finish with the last three myths about Christian business in my next post. I hope these have been helpful to you.
Have you believed either of these myths?
Do you see how accepting these myths as truth can limit (or destroy) your business?
What are some other myths you have encountered?
We recently hired some new employees in the sales department. As part of their orientation, I spent a couple of hours talking with them about the history and philosophy of our business. Of course, I went into detail about our Mission Statement, Core Values, and Vision Statement. In doing so, I tried to give them a clear picture of the vital part we believe we play in our community.
Community Is Crucial
I don’t know about other companies, but we see our community as a crucial part of the answer to the question, “Why does this business exist?” You probably already know this, but this question is the one you are answering when you create your company’s mission statement. For us, this question also influences our core values and our vision statement as well.
See, we believe we are simply stewards of this business and that God is the actual owner. As a result of this belief, we see our roles as running the business in a way that brings honor to Him and impacts others for eternity, pointing them to Him. For our family, that is why our business exists.
When looking at the purpose of the business through this lens, it becomes clear that our community is a huge part of our mission. No, we are not a church and could not fill that role if we wanted to. However, we still feel our business practices and our involvement in the community can impact everyone around us in a way that leads them to Him.
Execution Will Be Different
The execution of this kind of mission will be different for one business than it will for another. A business with 10 or fewer employees will carry out this mission differently than one with 100 employees. A service business may approach this from a completely opposite angle than a manufacturing business. The “How” is not as important.
What is important is that we strive as Christian business owners to make our businesses such a vital part of the community that we would be sorely missed if we were to disappear. Can you imagine what that would look like? Is your business already there? Even if so, can you now relax?
Pray For Wisdom
If this is new to you, then I encourage you to stop and pray about it. Ask God to show you how to start down this path. Ask Him to give you insights as to how you can leverage the influence of your business to bring Him honor. Pray for wisdom in starting down this path.
If this is not new to you, then I would suggest you stop and take an inventory of what your business is doing to accomplish this mission. Is there more you could do? Are there new and creative ways you could impact the community and earn customer loyalty at the same time? Have you asked your employees for ideas? How are they involved?
In my next post, I will describe for you an example of how our business attempts to do this in our community. We certainly don’t have it all figured out, but maybe our idea will spark something with you that will turn into a successful effort. Until then, take some time to brainstorm this.
What are some ways your business impacts your community?
Does your community recognize your business as one involved in the community?
What would your community miss the most if your business were to disappear?