Tag Archives: leadership

Holler Warnings and Encouragement

Story of the Day for Monday September 10, 2012 

Holler Warnings and Encouragement

 

 

                   If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall in a pit.

                                                                                       Matthew 15:14

 

 

Leaders are the nucleus of any organization. “Nucleus” is the Latin word for “nut.”  So, if you want to be a leader, it means you have to be . . .

You know something? This isn’t exactly the direction I had hoped this conversation would take. But, since we’re here, we might as well stir things up a little.

 

The Leadership Movement has been a major theme in recent years – both in the corporate world and in the church. We have learned that leaders must “have a vision” and must confidently guide the masses through “paradigm shifts” into the future.

I’m all for this. Yet, it misses the central core of true leadership.

 

Stuart Briscoe tells of the time a military veteran died. Some of his fellow vets wanted to have a part in the service at the funeral home, so they asked the pastor to lead them down the aisle to the casket for a solemn moment of remembrance, and then lead them out through the side door at the front.

The service went well until the pastor led them away from the casket. Instead of leading them out the side door, he marched them all into a broom closet – in full view of all the mourners.

 

What is a leader? Someone who inspires others? Someone who communicates clear goals and motivates others to follow him? Is a great leader someone who can rally the masses around a central vision?

If this is what makes a magnetic leader, then one of the greatest leaders in history is Adolf Hitler. He galvanized a nation, yet, tragically, led them into the darkest days of their history.

 

The primary requirement of a leader has nothing to do with charisma or “casting vision.” The foremost quality of a leader is that he knows where he’s going.

Jesus warns us that, whenever we follow someone who doesn’t know where they’re going, we’ll all wind up in the broom closet.

We shouldn’t follow leaders who are blind, because, sooner or later, we’ll all stumble into a pit. But the responsibility of avoiding pits and broom closets doesn’t rest with the leader; it rests with us. Jesus doesn’t want leaders to be blind, but he doesn’t want followers to be blind either. It’s up to us to see where the Lord wants us to go, and then find the leader who is willing walk at the front of the line and holler warnings of potential hazards and encouragement until we reach the next watering hole.

 

To follow a leader who isn’t doing this for us is . . . nuts.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

 

Bad News As a Precious Gift

Story of the Day for Friday March 30, 2012

Bad News As a Precious Gift

“Do not rebuke an arrogant man or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you. Instruct a wise man and he will become wiser still.”
Proverbs 9:8-9

If you were the head of a large organization, would you be most receptive to subordinates bringing you good news or bad news?

We would all prefer to hear good news, right? But great leaders realize that an organization’s health depends on the leader’s openness to receiving bad news.

Colin Powell, in his book, My American Journey, says, “The day people stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them.”  Problems cannot be dealt with unless leaders are aware of them.  And leaders will not be aware of them unless subordinates feel free to share their gripes with their leaders.

Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, shares the same sentiment as Colin Powell.  He says, in Business @ the Speed of Thought, “Sometimes I think my most important job as CEO is to listen to bad news.” He goes on to explain that if you are not receptive to people bringing you bad news, and if you don’t act on it, they will eventually stop bringing you bad news. When that happens, it’s the beginning of the end.

I tend to get frustrated when people complain about me and how I do things.  But that puts me in a dangerous place.  If people anticipate a cold reception when they bring their complaints or suggestions to me, they will stop bringing their concerns altogether.  To no longer have people complaining and criticizing me would feel so good that I would be tempted to encourage them to keep their mouths shut.

But once we are unreceptive to hearing bad news about ourselves, we lose invaluable opportunities to grow in wisdom and character.

A wise man wants to be informed when others see him acting in a way that is unadvisable. He views criticism as a way to grow in wisdom, and encourages others to be honest in pointing out faults in his behavior and decisions.

It’s not fun to be criticized. (Did I say it was fun?  It’s not.)  But we do need to make clear to others that we welcome their rebukes.   We may not agree with all of them, but even if we don’t, we have at least gained the knowledge of how someone else feels about our behavior.

So, how do we let others know that we are open to being corrected?  For starters, if someone corrects you, DO NOT immediately retaliate by correcting them. Secondly, thank them and let them know that you appreciate their honesty and the courage to tell you bad news.  And, finally, take the attitude of great leaders like Colin Powell and Bill Gates and view the delivery of bad news as a precious gift – as a way to be aware of problems and make things better.
(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Able to Spot Their Priests

Story of the Day for Friday February 10, 2012

Able to Spot Their Priests

                    Remind everyone to submit to leaders and those in authority, to be obedient, and ready to do whatever is good.

                                                                   Titus 3:1

 The silence was eerie.  After the Korean War, about eighty American prisoners of war were recovering at the army hospital in Tokyo. The former POWs would talk to the doctors, but even though these soldiers had spent three years together in prison and knew each other intimately, they wouldn’t talk with each other.

Why?

The treatment of POWs by the communist Koreans was insidiously effective. The prison camps had no guard towers, no electric fences, no search lights or guard dogs. A prison camp holding between 500 to 600 American prisoners was guarded by a mere half dozen guards. Yet, not one American soldier ever escaped.

The North Korean’s strategy was to demoralize their prisoners, and to accomplish their objective, they began by isolating the leaders. Officers were removed from their men and put in “reactionary camps.” After the officers were segregated, they kept a keen eye out for anyone assuming a leadership role and removed them.

Once the leaders were gone, they created distrust among everyone else. Informants who reported the misdeeds of fellow prisoners were rewarded with cigarettes, candy, or special privileges. But those who were tattled on were never punished. Everyone seemed to profit.

Soon, however, everyone became psychologically isolated. No one trusted anyone else.

The communists knew well what Americans can easily forget: the loss of leadership can devastate a group. When no one exists to encourage, inspire, and maintain a spirit of unity, group members attack each other and look to their own self-interests.

Almost forty percent of the American POWs died in prison — the highest death rate of American prisoners in any war since the American Revolution. The reason for the high mortality rate was neither torture nor malnutrition, but a lack of morale. The prisoners called it “Give-up-itis.” Without leadership, no one chose to resist the enemy. No one worked together. No one took responsibility for his comrade.  After their release, they wouldn’t even talk to each other.

 

Fighting alongside the U.S. in the Korean War were the Turks. They, too, had many POWs. They, too, had their officers isolated. Yet, none of them died of natural causes. As soon as one leader was taken to a “reactionary camp,” another soldier filled his position of leadership. The leaders held the troops together.  As a result, they shared their rations, cared for their sick, and remained loyal to each other.

Years ago, Christians in Uganda were being purged. A missionary society in England asked an Episcopal bishop in Uganda what they could do to help. Did they need food? Medicine?

The bishop replied that they didn’t need food or medicine; they needed 250 clerical collars. “You must understand,” he said, “when our people are being rounded up to be shot, they must be able to spot their priests.”

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

 

Holler Warnings and Encouragement

Story of the Day for Saturday June 4, 2011

Holler Warnings and Encouragement

                   If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall in a pit. 

                                                                        Matthew 15:14

Leaders are the nucleus of any organization. “Nucleus” is the Latin word for “nut.”  So, if you want to be a leader, it means you have to be . . .

You know something? This isn’t exactly the direction I had hoped this conversation would take. But, since we’re here, we might as well stir things up a little.

The Leadership Movement has been a major theme in recent years – both in the corporate world and in the church. We have learned that leaders must “have a vision” and must confidently guide the masses through “paradigm shifts” into the future.

I’m all for this. Yet, it misses the central core of true leadership.

Stuart Briscoe tells of the time a military veteran died. Some of his fellow vets wanted to have a part in the service at the funeral home, so they asked the pastor to lead them down the aisle to the casket for a solemn moment of remembrance, and then lead them out through the side door at the front.

The service went well until the pastor led them away from the casket. Instead of leading them out the side door, he marched them all into a broom closet – in full view of all the mourners.

What is a leader? Someone who inspires others? Someone who communicates clear goals and motivates others to follow him? Is a great leader someone who can rally the masses around a central vision?

If this is what makes a magnetic leader, then one of the greatest leaders in history is Adolf Hitler. He galvanized a nation, yet, tragically, led them into the darkest days of their history.

The primary requirement of a leader has nothing to do with charisma or “casting vision.” The foremost quality of a leader is that he knows where he’s going.

Jesus warns us that, whenever we follow someone who doesn’t know where they’re going, we’ll all wind up in the broom closet.

We shouldn’t follow leaders who are blind, because, sooner or later, we’ll all stumble into a pit. But the responsibility of avoiding pits and broom closets doesn’t rest with the leader; it rests with us. Jesus doesn’t want leaders to be blind, but he doesn’t want followers to be blind either. It’s up to us to see where the Lord wants us to go, and then find the leader who is willing walk at the front of the line and holler warnings of potential hazards and encouragement until we reach the next watering hole.

To follow a leader who isn’t doing this for us is . . . nuts.

                                       (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Walk on Water and Doubt

Story of the Day for Wednesday May 25, 2011

Walk on Water and Doubt 

                    Live such good lives among the pagans that. . . they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.  

                                                                                  1 Peter 2:12

Paul Mason is writing a book on losing weight.  He has lost some pounds of late and is eager to share his insights with others.  Yet, what makes us admire his chutzpah is that, at 686 pounds, Paul Mason is still considered the heaviest man in the world. He grew so enormous that, to get him to a hospital, firemen had to knock down a wall of his house and lift him out with a forklift.

We wish him well – both on his book and his diet.  (One witty journalist thinks his book will be a “vest-sweller”). But you do have to wonder, don’t you — who would buy a diet book from the fattest man on earth?

The apostle Peter talks about our lives being a creditable reflection of our faith.  He believes that our behavior serves as a witness to unbelievers and helps lead them to the God of grace.

So, do you wince when annoying busybodies like me talk about being a witness for Christ?  More often than not, this topic dredges up painful memories.  We recall some of our spectacular failures to live a Christ-like life, and know, sometimes, we’re not a good witness at all.

If you’re feeling pretty cruddy about how you’ve behaved lately, maybe you need to remember Peter.  He pledged his loyalty to his Lord and declared he was willing to die rather than disown Jesus. Hours later, he vehemently denied any knowledge or allegiance to Jesus.  Not once, but three times.

Peter knows what it is like to fail the Lord.  And, unlike your failures or mine, Peter’s sin got stuck in the Bible for the whole world to see.

Are you embarrassed because you have fallen flat on your face?  Well, this is not the time to talk about being a witness.   We first must go to the one who covers our shame.  Jesus didn’t come into the world to pat good people on the head; he came as a doctor to care for our spiritual sickness.  Only Jesus’ forgiveness can get us back on our feet again.

Look at Peter’s life.  He tried to walk on water and doubted.  Jesus grabs his hand and lifts him up.  Peter gave the misguided advice that Jesus would never need to suffer and die.  Jesus called him Satan. But he kept him as his disciple.  And, around a campfire on the shore of Galilee, the risen Lord confronted Peter after his denial, and restored him to a place of leadership.

We are not fooling unbelievers when we try to deny our failures and hypocrisy.  Our witness to the world will sometimes be the wonder of Christ’s mercy when we fail.

But the real goal is still that the world would observe us rising from the ashes and — even though fuzzy at the edges — they would see a reflection of the goodness of our Lord. It’s never too late to be a positive witness for Christ.  Just ask Peter.
                                                          (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)