Effective Leaders Remain Accountable

A leader must remain accountable in order to stay on top of being a leader, and follower of Christ.

A leader must remain accountable in order to stay on top of being a leader, and follower of Christ.

Photo by alles-schlumpf

When you think of accountability, you often think of a leader keeping others accountable. That’s one of their roles as a leader right? Well this is true, but a leader also has the responsibility to keep him or herself accountable.

There are two areas a leader needs to remain accountable in: first, they should hold themselves to the same standards as everyone under them: and second, they should recognize their own need to have someone who keeps them on track and accountable for their actions.

As a leader, whenever you set rules or regulations, you must be the first to follow them. It both sets an example for others to follow, and shows that you are really serious about the guidelines that you have set.

I can think of one situation I was in where a leader said one thing, but did another.  I was volunteering for a camp and one of the leaders for the camp told me, and a group of other guys, that we could only have one snack per day. Now, there was an entire room that had tables covered with snacks that had been donated for volunteers, yet for whatever reason, we were not supposed to have more than one a day. This would have been annoying, but OK. However, that leader proceeded to ignore her own rule, and have more than a few snacks per day. That aggravated me and many other volunteers and certainly did a lot to undermine that leader’s character and authority. I am sure you have encountered a similar situation where a leader set standards that they themselves could not or would not follow. So when you are leading, and setting rules, be the first to follow them. And if you cannot, then you think twice about whether they are good guidelines or rules for your group.

Secondly, a leader must remain accountable for their actions. One of the best ways to do this is to have an accountability partner, coach or mentor who is involved in your life and can recognize areas you are slacking especially if they are character areas.  Buddy is on the board of an organization that does not even spend $500 without the approval of the board.  This creates great accountability for leader and engenders confidence in the rest of the people involved in the organization.

Finally make sure that you are really being honest with others in these situations.  Some parents discipline lying that most because if you are OK with lying all other sins become possible.  If you are not honest with the people in your life accountability becomes a game just like everything else.  If you haven’t been honest with someone in your life, go back and apologize and start over and work at being honest with everyone important in your world.

If you do not have someone who keeps you accountable, consider talking with someone who has a similar leadership position or a friend who is not directly involved in your organization. It can be a mutual accountability, or one way, but the key is to make sure you have someone who will keep you on track, both with your organization and with God.

How to Get a Job

Get off the Bench and Play

Do not stay on the bench, get up, and enjoy the life God has made you for.

Do not stay on the bench, get up, and enjoy the life God has made you for.

Photo by Chris Gin

When you think about church you usually also think about the pastor who is in charge of that church. Most people would assume that a pastor is, or should be, responsible for everything that occurs at their church. I mean, how hard is it to be a pastor right? All you’ve got to do is give a little sermon on Sundays and be a good person right? Well, pastors actually have a rather difficult job.

Think about this: a pastor’s busiest work day is Sunday; everyone else has this day off. Pastors usually have to work on every major holiday, such as Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving. Pastors are often expected, or assumed, to be good with children and organize activities for them. Pastors are expected to be available whenever someone has problem to discuss. A pastor is often paid very little, and expected to make do with a small or insufficient house.  How many other people have hundreds of others that they are to serve who often critique how they are doing.  There are a number of other things that could also be said, but I think you’ve got the idea.

Pastors have a difficult job, which brings me to my point. Every church needs to have a group of leaders to run the church. One of them of course, is the pastor, but also in that key leadership group are people who take on the extra tasks that the pastor can not or should not be doing. In the best possible situation, a pastor should only be doing the things that he is gifted of the Lord to do and the rest of the church should be doing the things that God has gifted them to do.  One of my gifts is being able to do things at the last minute.  I told one of my pastors this and I said if you find out Sunday morning that the children’s church teacher is sick or your voice does not work or somewhere there is a whole that needs to be filled let me know and I’ll take care of it for you.  He took me up on it a couple of times.  Never to preach but he did ask me to fill a whole at the last minute on a number of occaisions.

When a pastor is left to lead by themselves, they will soon fail. So if you are attending a church but are not involved, you should strongly consider taking on a few tasks.  Think about areas where you are gifted and would enjoy pouring into.  If you are not sure ask if you can try out a ministry for a season and see if it is something that God blesses.  The better you know your own strengths and spiritual gifts the more accurately you can offer them to the body.

Don’t delay, begin serving today.

Effective Leaders Must First Learn to Follow Well

There are times to lead, but there are also times to Follow. Know when you need to follow someone else.

There are times to lead, but there are also times to Follow. Know when you need to follow someone else.

photo by mctheriot

To become a great leader you must first learn to follow well.  Even if the person that God has placed in leadership above you is a poor leader, you must honor them.  In every situation you go through it can be used to soften your heart and draw you closer to God or it can be used to harden your heart.  Each situation is a new test and many times it’s harder than the one before.

When you are led by someone else, and take the time to learn from them, you become a much wiser person and leader. All too many leaders today think that they have arrived and do not need to continue learning, but as I talked about in my video series in January, one of the greatest leadership assassins is plateauing.  (You can check out that series here:

http://xtrep.com/2009/01/


To avoid this, make it a point to always learn, to always take advice, and to always be open to suggestions. As you grow in your leadership people are less likely to offer negative feedback to your unsolicated.  You need to be asking for it if you want to grow.  one of the things that set Ganges Khan apart as a leader was that he was one of the first to demand positive and negative updates from those under his command.  Though it seems to go without question that you can be a better leader with honest feedback in a field of battle we often do not ask for it in our organizations.

Also be sure to make observations of others as they lead.  What works well?  What encourages people to do their best?  What causes people to see the image of God within them?

We have all been in situations where we have had to serve under bad leaders.  While those times are difficult to be sure, God often uses those times to strengthen our character.  Think of David with Saul.  Hopefully your boss or leader that you have to follow hasn’t tried to murder you or sent an army after you to take your life.  Through that situation David grew in character as he learned more deeply to trust the Lord with his life.


David wasn’t a perfect leader to be sure.  In fact, he did not even finish strong.  Most leaders do not.  How can you follow today to help you lead well and finish strong tomorrow.

Seven Benefits of Life Coaching

Life is full of twists and turns but a life coach can help you stay on track

Life is full of twists and turns but a life coach can help you stay on track

Photo by MASON(alex555)

In a sports game, where there is a specific amount of time and a clear winner, the coach’s influence is pretty easy to see.  A great coach can take a good team and mold them into champions.  Like wise sometimes you have a team filled with champions that are unable to even make it to the playoffs because they don’t work well as a team.

Benefits from life coaching can be immediate and often last a life time.  Often a coach will offer a valuable suggestion or ask a question in a way that changes your thinking immediately.  A few years ago I was talking to my life coach about my struggle with desiring to work on business and ministry at the same time and how I felt guilty when I would work on business dreams.  He asked me a question that immediately changed my outlook.  “Buddy, who do you think put the desires in you?”  Obviously it was God but immediately it made it alright to have those dreams and desires instead of something that I always had to be fighting.  That has been a lasting change.

Just a few weeks ago I was talking with a life and leadership coach about the possibility of coaching for our entire organization.  I thought it was going to be strictly business but he opened it up as if it was a coaching call so before we got off I asked him, “Do you mind if I ask you a coaching question to help with my leadership.”  He said to go ahead and with a few quick questions I had a game plan to proceed with a meeting that I had schedule that day.

Here are Seven general benefits that you will probably see if you invest in a life coach.

Seven benefits from life coaching:

1. Life Coaching helps you to figure out your real priorities in your life.

2. Life Coaching helps to shorten the time frame to achieving your goals.

3.     Life Coaching helps to give you an outside viewpoint to allow you to see how God has worked in your life and some of the possibilities for the future.

4. Life Coaching facilitates organization and structure in your life, and encourages you to do above and beyond what you would normally do by yourself.

6. Life Coaching provides you with self-assurance, support, certainty, confidence, encouragement, motivation and inspiration depending on your needs and the situation.

7. Life Coaching helps you to walk in the good works that God has prepared in advance for you so that you don’t go through life aimlessly.

Life Coaching is an investment in yourself that will benefit you for the rest of your life. It can have such positive lasting effects that many see it as a necessary activity for any individual who desires to make their life count.

The key difference that a good life coach should make in your life is to help you reach your goals faster and easier than you can on your own.  A good coach will help you with questions, encouragement and short cuts that you might not have known on your own.  A good life coach can be the difference between living an OK life and living the life of a champion.


10 Leadership Principles from Bill Hybels

Little Ducks following their Leader

Little Ducks following their Leader

Photo by pedrosimoes7

10 Top Leadership Principles

Bill Hybels, in his book, Axiom, has collected a treasure of leadership principles he calls leadership proverbs. Here are the top ten leadership principles that can help you become a better leader.  As with all proverbs some of them may apply to your situation today and some tomorrow but it will help you to be familiar with them when you are in a leadership situation where you can call on them.

1. “The three C’s’ – Character, competency, and chemistry. When you, as a leader, are looking for team members to join your organization, you should follow the three C’s rule. First, look for and find people who have character. This is sometimes difficult to judge from one interview, so take some time to really get to know prospective team member’s character and values. Once you find people with great character, look at their competency. Can they do the tasks required? Be sure that you hire or recruit someone who can accomplish the tasks they need to do. Finally, ensure team dynamics by selecting someone who matches with the chemistry of your group. This is the most overlooked key to a good team and it is such a strong factor in good teamwork. If your new team member simply does not fit with the chemistry of your group, then you must look for someone else.

2. “First tested” – when you find someone new for a high leadership or staff position it is very important to test them in their new role. They might be a great person with all the knowledge but if you don’t test them you might be setting them up for failure with their new job. This ‘test’ is supposed to give both you and them an idea of whether or not they can complete the job successfully. If they don’t do very well, that might simply mean that they need a little training and guidance before you have them start working.

3. “DNA Carrier” – great leaders create and then pass on enthusiasm for their ideas and vision. A key role of a leader is to be the example for others to follow. So if you want people to share your values and enthusiasm, you must pass on your DNA, or core ideals. When a leader has a central focus and specific values, and then they share these with their team members and followers, it creates an entire organization that is dedicated to one objective and can achieve it that much faster.

4. “How are you doing…really?” – In our current American society it is easy to ask how someone is doing, and get the generic response of, “Fine, how are you?” You might spend an entire day with someone, asking that they be focused and turn out results, all the while not knowing they are going through some significant tragedy or event. How hard is it to build relationships with your team members by asking, ‘How are you doing, really?’ The results of developing a relationship can be wide ranging and extremely beneficial. It’s an amazing fact that when you start caring about people, they will start caring about you, what you want from them, and what they should be getting done for you.

5. “Know who’s Driving” – in any situation, any circumstance, or any event, there should always be one, and usually only one, person in charge. Hybels explains that when he starts a meeting, he always asks, “Who’s driving?” in order to assign one person the task of leading the meeting. That way, this person will keep the conversation on track, focus the group, and eliminate wasted time. This principle of ‘who’s driving’ can be applied generally so that there is always someone who is responsible for organizing and accomplishing the tasks or events at hand. Often, as a leader, you will be ‘driving’ and it might be good to clarify this occasionally. Other times, someone else will be put in charge and at that time they need to assert their leadership and position over everyone else, in order to carry out the mission.

6. “Deliver the bad news first” – many leaders will go into meetings and spend the whole time talking about the good points, and then at the very end they will blast their team members with some bad news. What happens when everyone leaves? They leave thinking about the bad news, feeling unsatisfied or guilty. Instead, always make it a point to give the bad news first. Give adequate time, address it clearly, and then move on. Then, when you share the best news last, people will leave feeling motivated and excited.

7. “Just say it” – often, people think that they must say things nicely, that they shouldn’t put things bluntly, or they will be judged for being rude or offensive. Instead they waste time by beating around the bush trying to avoid being impolite. Thus, you as a leader must allow people, and even force people, to speak their mind clearly so that everyone understands what they are trying to say. You also need to ensure that your team won’t judge each other, and that they can freely share their mind.

8. “Leaders call fouls” – with the last principle in mind, at times things do get out of hand. Someone says something that is a little offensive and someone else takes offense. As a leader, you must be able to step in and call ‘foul’ when things start to get out of hand. Recognize when a situation is becoming unproductive or even destructive and then stop it, and get things back on track.

9. “Give me an A, B, or C” – consider this situation; you are in charge of someone who has consistently been doing subpar work. After a month or so, you finally decide to call them into your office and fire them. Upon hearing your thoughts on their performance, the individual exclaims something like, “I had no idea what your expectations were, if you had told me how I was doing, I could have worked a little harder. I thought I was doing good work.” To avoid situations such as this it is important to give some sort of evaluation to let people know how they are doing. Maybe something as simple as giving them a letter grade. Whatever you do, be sure to take time to explain your thoughts, and share ways that they could improve if needed. Don’t simply give them a poor grade without and explanation.

10. “We got to do this together” – when you and your team face a tough task that eventually is accomplished, be sure that, in the same way that you shared the work to get the job done, you share the joy and praise for after the task is accomplished. This is one of the biggest things that could break down a team; only one person getting the glory from finishing tasks.

Now what can you do with these? Take them, use them, and start doing an even better job at leading. Maybe you don’t want to try using every one of these principles, maybe start with the top three that seem most important to you, and then once you are good at following them, select another three. However you want to do it, the key is to start taking steps towards leading more effectively and successfully.

Spiritual Growth Software

Spiritual Growth Software Screen shot

Spiritual Growth Software Screen shot

I have read that all good things take longer than anticipated.  Our Spiritual Growth Software is no exception.  :-)   Just today, my intern Alex was asking, “What is the latest on the spiritual growth software?”  With the final changes and then some time for our initial testing it is still probably about two weeks out.  Subscribers to the Leadercast Edge will get a free advance copy.

At the same time I am more excited about it than ever as I have shown the early beta version to a bunch of people and received awesome feedback.  In fact, it encouraged me enough to spend a little more money and create a product that I think will be a category leader.  Thanks for your patience those of you that have been waiting for it.  I think you will find it worth the wait.  I know in the time that I have been getting it developed I keep thinking, “I wish it were done today.”

Lead By Example

Blaze a new trail and lead by example

Blaze a new trail and lead by example

photo by Ozyman

Lead by example; you have probably heard that before. Maybe your parents or some other person in your life chided you at some point saying, ‘you must lead by example first’. Now, you might consider it good advice, but nothing really important. However, in reality, it is a very important factor for instilling key values in those under you, plus it is essential for a leader to set a good example.

Every organization usually has several key values it sees as significant for the employees to adhere to and follow. But how can you actually get people to live by these key values? You might impose rules, or incentives, or any other of a number of options and some may have slight success, but there is one option that is double-edged and rather easy to implement.

To set the key values of your organization and get people to follow them, you must first follow those values and be the example for everyone else to follow.

There are two key benefits that come from leading by example.

The first benefit is that the example you set, the key values you follow, will then be followed by those under you. If you want your organization to have certain key ideals, start living them yourself and soon people will notice, and start following those ideals as well.

The second benefit is that you will be a much better leader because you lead by example. People, even those outside your company or organization, will see how you are genuine and real, and will want to follow you.

So have you been setting a good example? Are you leading others by first doing whatever it is that you ware trying to make them do? In what areas can you do a better job of following your own rules and requirements? If you haven’t been setting a very good example so far, that’s OK, you can start today and begin leading by example.

Leaders Must Make Bold Moves to Succeed

Sometimes we most make a bold move and take a leap of faith

Sometimes we most make a bold move and take a leap of faith

Photo by aftab.


When was the last time you took a risk? When was the last time you made a bold move and jumped out into the unknown? Many people today spend their lives avoiding the unknown, avoiding risks. But when you take a big risk, you often reap a big reward. Many great inventions came about because of people who stepped out into the unknown. Many businesses have suddenly boomed because of a leader who took a risk.

At times, God will call you to take a leap of faith. He called Abraham to leave his home, his country, the land of his ancestors, and travel to a new land, a land that God would provide. And what did Abraham do? Did he say, “No God, it’s too risky”? No, he simply followed what God said, and went into the unknown.

It is easy to become safety minded, to avoid risky situations or opportunities because its ‘smart’ to not take chances. This is somewhat true, but there are times when each of us must jump out and see what’s in the unknown, see what God has for us.

What kinds of opportunities have you passed up because they seemed too risky? Think of the great benefits that could have transpired as a result of some of those situations. What opportunities do you have in the future that you could take advantage of, although they may be risky?

When you, as a leader, start taking risks and making bold moves, other people in your organization will notice and then follow your example. Imagine if an entire organization were making bold moves, their accomplishments would be incredible.

It is vastly important that you be willing to take a bold step at times in your life. If you hold back, you will miss many wonderful things. Think about this; You can’t cross a big mountain without taking big steps.

What can you do to take advantage of an opportunity that before seemed a little too risky? Trust God, and make a bold move.

A Leader Must Have Vision

Leaders need to have vision to avoid being in a fog

Leaders need to have vision to avoid being in a fog

Photo by Philipp Klinger (No sun anymore on Cape Cod)

A leader’s primary objective is often simply to lead and direct people. But it is vital to recognize other aspects a leader must also focus on. One such important area is having a vision. Having a vision means planning ahead, it means having a goal or idea for the future. It means that there is an overriding objective that the leader is trying to attain.

Every leader, no matter what occupation they have or role they play should be working towards their objective. Having a vision gives reason for their leadership.

A vision can look like a variety of things. It can be a soccer coach’s goal of reaching the final with his team, or the CEO’s goal of making 100 million dollars.

What long term goals do you have that you should be focusing on? What is your vision for the people you lead?

Leaders need to be constantly setting, and evaluating their vision and goals for the future. They should be planning their long term vision, along with several mid-term type objectives, and a bunch of short-term goals.

Setting a range of goals will help you, and the people you lead, focus and stay on track with what you are trying to do. Be sure that any short-term goals match up with your vision.

Once you have a plan and vision, it is important to communicate it to those who are following you. Be enthusiastic and get them onboard with you. Don’t keep them in the dark about what your plans are and what you want to do, let others know and they will probably be even more willing to follow.