3 Reasons Why Leaders Must Delegate

Do not try to go it alone - A leader must rely on others to lead succesfully so try delagating

Do not try to go it alone - A leader must rely on others to lead succesfully so try delagating

Photo by Hamed Saber

Empowering delegated leadership is as important to leading as baseball mitts are to baseball. You can still play without it, but very soon you will notice significant decreases in your effectiveness.

When a leader delegates, he or she is allowing others to take responsibility and experience what it is like to lead. A leader can use delegation for a number of reasons; to relieve themselves of a certain task or role so they can focus on larger ones, to let someone else gain some experience, or even just to work more in line with the way God has created them and allow someone else to use their God given gifts.

There really are three key reasons why a leader should delegate in a way that empowers others. The three reasons are:

1.  No one person can do everything.  The more you are able to delegate the closer the organization is to reaching its goals.

2.  To help the leader stay focused on what is really important

3.  To raise up and build up new leaders.

As a leader, it is very important to share your vision and plans, and one key way to do that while leading others is to delegate. When you delegate your leadership, the people who you delegate to will have their own ways of doing things, often times better if they are gifted in that area but they will probably catch a lot of your values. The old saying goes, “The Speed of the leader is the speed of the team.”  So if you have a vision that you want shared with others, simple give certain people specific tasks or roles and the ability to help accomplish your organizations goals.

Can you think of a time when someone you looked up to gave you a task to help complete a bigger project, and because of that you became much more interested in the whole project? Well, now it’s time for you to use that same idea. I can think of a time when my dad was to be involved with a big Franklin Graham revival. As a kid I wasn’t all that interested in it, but he asked me to help by being in charge of parking cars. Because he delegated that responsibility to me, I got involved and interested in the success of the entire event.  Bringing others into the loop of what you are doing and asking them to get on board is a great way to increase ownership.

To help you stay focused on essential activities, it is sometimes useful and even necessary to delegate certain tasks and jobs to others. In doing this, you make it possible for you to be completely focused on a few vital jobs, while letting others do more menial tasks or things that you should not be focusing on.

A leader must be able to recognize when they are getting overloaded with extra tasks and when they need to start delegating. If you, as a leader, allow yourself to get bogged down with tons of tasks, you effectiveness will drop dramatically.  One of the reasons for the great success of the E-myth was the idea of working on your business or ministry and not just in it.  If you are only doing the work and not focusing on how to increase the work or do the work more effectively or involve more people in the mission you are not likely to grow.

Finally, delegation helps build up new leaders. You will not be around forever, so you need to start building up a few people who could take your place or take on other leadership roles. No one can just jump right into a leadership role, so you must start slowly and delegate certain small tasks first, and then move on to bigger and bigger jobs for the new leader to do. Eventually, you will have a very competent and useful co-leader to help you accomplish more and lead others better. Don’t let your fear of being replaced stop you from building up new leaders.  In fact, if insecurity only plays a negative role in your leadership.  Make sure you deal with that head on and speak the truth to yourself.   Instead, instill every bit of knowledge you have and do everything you can to help a new leader succeed.

Are there some areas of responsibility that you could be delegating to others?  Over and over again I have seen the joy that others have when you delegate and area of responsibility and they are able to be involved with the organization’s goals in significant ways.  Frequently, you should take a step back from your problems, tasks and to do list to gain some perspective and see if there are things you can pass off to others.  Even the earth looks small from a distance.  :-)

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A Leader Must Depend on God

There are 3 areas in every leader's life that they should be relying on God for.

There are 3 areas in every leader's life that they should be relying on God for.

photo by Pandiyan

Many leaders rely on worldly things to help them lead. Things like computers, other people, or any other of a number of things. They think that they will lead better if they have something to rely on. But all of those things are imperfect; they fail, they break, or they just do not help.

There is only one thing you can rely on that will always be perfect, that will never fail, and that is God. He is the source of every leader’s authority, whether they know it or not. God wants us to rely on Him, and as a leader, we should in three key areas.

First, we should trust in God. God is the only being that is perfect. Do you not think it would be wise to trust in the only perfect being in existence? God desires, and created us for that purpose. As a leader, our authority comes from God, so we should trust in his judgment. When we are faced with difficult situations or tough people, we must trust in God to help us get through them.

Second, we should put our faith in God’s plan. After all, He is perfect, so He has a perfect plan for your life. This does not mean that your life will be without pain, suffering, trials, and difficulties; it means that God has planned these things to help you grow and know Him more. So as a leader you must recognize that when unexpected events happen, they happen for a reason and you should make the most of them. When you trust in God and have faith in His plan for you, your life will gain meaning and purpose. You will start to see all the little things God does for you, and then you will be able to help lead others and show them these things as well. But there is one last key area in which we should depend on God.

Lastly, we must not worry. God wants us to trust in Him and have faith in His plans for us and when we worry, we show our doubt for his supreme power and planning. Jesus says in the New Testament, “Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself” (Matthew 6:34). He is saying don’t worry! I have a plan and you should trust me with this. Yet not only does God call us to not worry, it will actually benefit us to not worry. Worry and anxiety are one of the big causes of stress. So when you give your worries to God, you will help decrease the stress in your life.

So how can you depend on God more? Have you been trusting Him in all areas of your life? If you have not been, do not worry, it is a slow process to change years of patterns and habits, but do not try to change on your own, ask God for help, and seek out someone else who is also willing to support you.

If you would like help in this area, leave a comment or contact us directly. We would be happy to help you start leading better today.

Trust in God, have faith in God’s plan, and do not worry!

3 Critical Leadership Actions

Follow these 3 critical leadership points to help you start leading iothers better

Follow these 3 critical leadership action points to help you start leading others better

photo by paul+photos=moody

Every leader, no matter what their position, should be doing each of three key actions. They should be setting a good example, delegating responsibility, and taking responsibility.

Setting a good example as a leader can be so powerful and effective.  As you seek to become a better leader you want to make sure that the example that you are setting is one that you want others to emulate. When you set a good example for others to follow, you inspire people, and instill in them whatever key values you are living out. People want to follow someone they look up to and respect, and if you do not set a good example, then you will lose the respect of those you are trying to lead.

When you are trying to start setting a good example, you do not need to do some huge kind of transformational leadership change, you should just start by thinking of a few important ideals or values you want to start following. Then, work on a few more once you begin to live out the first of your values.  Eventually, you will be setting a fine example for others to follow. But remember, none of us here on earth is perfect, so you might struggle at times, but God can help you so rely on Him.

Delegating responsibility is the next key action you should take. You have to realize that you can’t do everything. If you try to, you will soon become burned out and depressed. So work on sharing certain tasks and leadership positions with others. In doing this you will help yourself, and also help build up other people’s leadership experience.  Think through the areas of your life and responsibility and see if there are areas that you could pass off to someone else who is better gifted to do those thigns.

Finally, the last action you must do is take responsibility. You are the one who must take the heat when something goes amiss, you must be the one who answers when questions arise, you must be the one who takes the blame. It can be easy to want to shirk the blame or pass it off when things do not go well, especially when you weren’t directly the one who messed up. But, as a leader you are the one in charge and need to be willing to accept responsibility when things go wrong and pass out the praise when things go well.  Those above you will probably recognize you for the success but either way you need to be the person who is encouraging others.

There are lots of other characteristics a leader could or should have, but these are three key actions that you can use today to start leading others better.

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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.

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.

What Should I Look for in a Life Coach?

Taking a closer look

Taking a closer look

Photo by massagetherapyfoundatio n

If you know that you need a life coach then the next step is to figure out what type of coach will be right for you.  If you are not sure whether or not you need a life coach you can check out the Do I need a Life Coach post?

First, write out and define your needs and goals and what areas you would need coaching in. Do you need help with a business? Do you have personal strengths or weaknesses that you want help with? What areas of your life do you feel you are neglecting to succeed in? Find your top need or goal and use that as a guide when searching for your life coach.  You will probably find spill over between your areas of life that you need coaching in.  That is completely fine.  You want to make sure if you are looking for specific areas of growth that you coach has that knowledge.

Take a quick look online at some of the different life coaches.  Some people do fine with meeting with people online.  Others really prefer meeting face to face.  I myself enjoy both.  I am able to envision the person.  One time someone was asking about a mutual friend and I mentioned that I had just seen her a few months back.  When they asked about it further I realized that her brother had handed me his cell phone and we talked for 45 minutes while the group I was with was shopping.  I was thinking I had met with her in person when in reality it was a phone call.  If you really need to be face to face with someone do a search for Life Coach and your city.

Thankfully many coaches offer a free trial session.  I would recommend trying out at least one session with someone just so you know what the experience will be like.  When it comes down to deciding who to choose you’ll need to depend on your strengths.  Do you generally do best when you make a logical decision?  Then maybe you want to line up the pros and cons of a couple of coaches.  Can you trust your gut to be right most of the time?  Then go with your gut.

Finally, take action.  Choose a coach or at least a trial session with a coach and make an appointment to get started.


Ramifications of Burnout

The Ramifications of Burnout

The Ramifications of Burnout

Photo by Adam Fick

What are the Ramifications of Burnout?

Now that you know what burnout is, and what the signs of stress and burnout are, it’s important to learn what the ramifications of burnout could be if left unchecked. Stress can start off small, but then grow to impact how we act, think, speak and even live. It can cause huge problems in relationships with people, and even God. Here are some of the ways stress impacts people’s lives:

(Stress impacts lives in a dramatic way)

:)

  • About one half of Americans say that stress has a negative impact on both their personal and professional lives.
  • About one-third (31%) of employed adults have difficulty managing work and family responsibilities.
  • Over one third (35%) cite jobs interfering with their family or personal time as a significant source of stress.
  • Stress causes more than half of Americans (54 percent) to fight with people close to them.
  • One in four people report that they have been alienated from a friend or family member because of stress.
  • 8% connect stress to divorce or separation.
    Source: American Psychological Association study, 2007. www.helpguide.org

When you think about it, this information is astounding! Fully 8% of Americans attribute stress as a reason for their divorce! That is hundreds of thousands if not millions of people. Along with that, stress also causes huge relationship problems for more than half of all Americans. How have you felt stress in your life recently? Have you been drifting away or avoiding close friends? Are you having other relationship problems? Take a minute and think about what kinds of ramifications in your own life have been the results of stress or burnout.

Now, you might be trying to figure out if you are stressed or burned out, because they do sound like the same thing, but they do have certain differences that you should know. Below is a chart showing the differences, results, and ramifications of stress and burnout.

Stress vs. Burnout

Stress

Burnout

· Characterized by over engagement

· Characterized by disengagement

· Emotions are over reactive

· Emotions are blunted

· Produces urgency and hyperactivity

· Produces helplessness and hopelessness

· Loss of energy

· Loss of motivation, ideals, and hope

· Leads to anxiety disorders

· Leads to detachment and depression

· Primary damage is physical

· Primary damage is emotional

· May kill you prematurely

· May make life seem not worth living

Source: www.helpguide.org

Now you might be thinking that stress and burnout only affect you and your life, well they do in a huge way, but they also affect others such as your family, friends, coworkers and church members. Here are a few statistics about stress in people’s lives:

  • Workplace stress costs more than $300 billion each year in health care, missed work and stress-reduction (American Institute of Stress, NY).
  • Workers who report that they are stressed incur health care costs that are 46 percent higher, or an average of $600 more per person, than other employees (Steven L. Sauter, chief of the Organizational Science and Human Factors Branch of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
  • Workers in the United States already put in more than 1,800 hours on the job a year: 350 hours more than the Germans and slightly more than the Japanese (International Labor Office).
  • More than 30 percent of workers say they are “always” or “often” under stress at work. A quarter of those surveyed in 2002 said there often were not enough co-workers to get the job done (National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago).

Clearly, workplace stress and anxiety can cost millions or even billions of dollars each year. And that’s just with health care, what about in your personal life? What has it cost you personally? Well, as shown by some of the other statistics, stress and burnout also have significant effects on personal relationships.

So stress does have ramifications in both yours, and the lives of others around you. It is not something to be ignored, and if you ever have, or are experiencing stress or burnout, you know just how serious it is.

Maybe take a minute now to think about what is going on in your life and ponder how your stress level or burnout is affecting those who are close to you.

Since you now know what the signs of burnout are, and what the ramifications can be if left unchecked, it’s time to learn what the steps to healing are. The next article will help you by giving you the 13 steps to healing from burnout.

Signs of Burnout

burnout, stressed

Burned out

Burned out

Photo by Rockin’ Rob

Are you feeling overcome by the stresses of life? Do you feel like you are about to burn out? Tired of people, ministry, even life? Do you have a hard time getting up in the morning? If any of these make you stop and think, you may be well on your way to feeling burned out. Burnout occurs more often than one might expect with stress being the main cause. You are not alone though; here are some statistics and facts relating to stress and burnout in America.

  • One-third of Americans feel they are living with extreme stress.
  • About half of Americans (48%) feel that their stress has increased over the past five years.
  • Money and work are the leading causes of stress (mentioned by three quarters of Americans).
  • Clergy, Pastors and Religious workers lead some of the most stressful lives, along with doctors and lawyers.
  • Stress has been directly linked to disease and death.
  • Stress can have huge effects on physical and mental health.

Source: American Psychological Association study, 2007. www.helpguide.com

Now you might be feeling even more stressed, but don’t worry, the point of all this is to help you realize and recognize and then remove the stress in your life and prevent burnout.

Now, what are some of the reasons for feeling burned out? Well, there could be a number of reasons why you are feeling depressed, tired and stressed or maybe just one or two. It is important to identify them, and then to try to start cutting back or avoiding those things that cause burnout in your life. Read the following to learn what the 7 major burnout signs are and if you notice them in your life.

The 7 major signs of Burnout:

  • Constantly busy with “Important” things that cause you to feel overwhelmed. This could be due to an inability to say no to things, or simply a difficult and demanding job.
  • Feeling tired or constantly staying up late at night and not getting enough sleep. People might tell you that you look tired or you often fall asleep in meetings or church.
  • Reacting negatively to people or getting angry over little things. This doesn’t mean just getting angry with close friends and family, it also means you ignore or respond harshly to people you normally have to work hard at being nice to.
  • A sense of being spiritually drained or uninterested in the Bible and church. You might find yourself being distracted at church or simply wondering why you bother going.
  • Spiritual stagnation, no motivation to grow in your relationship with God.
  • Neglecting personal needs and those of your family. You might feel that you are already spending all of your energy on ministry or other ‘good’ things and when you come home you have nothing left and you just want to sit and be left alone or do whatever you want to do.
  • Work or ministry has become monotonous and you feel no enjoyment in what you do. This could be from working in the wrong kind of job.

Do you see these signs in your own life? Even small parts of these signs could be an indicator that you might be getting burned out from your ministry or job. And when you get burned out, your effectiveness in your job or ministry drops to near zero.

Now that you know what signs of burnout might be in your life, its time to look into what the ramifications of burnout are. Read the next article called Ramifications of Burnout to learn what happens when you get stressed, depressed, and burned out.

It is important to note that stress at times in some small amounts can be good. It can help motivate, and encourage you to get things done. But it is easy to go from a reasonable amount of stress to way to much, stress in your life. It can sometimes be hard to tell when you have a reasonable amount and when you are overloaded but if you notice any of the signs, it probably means you have to much stress in your life.

Burnout on the other hand, is not something you want any amount of in your life. It is important to realize the difference now so that you can deal with it and recover as soon as possible.


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The Best Leadership Question Ever

best question for leaders

A few weeks back in an email exchange with Dr. Ray Wheeler, found of Leadership-Praxis.com, he told me to ask this question to the people I was responsible for leading.

“Based on the time you have known me…what do I believe about you?”

As I asked the members of my team this question it reavealed a lot of things both about my leadership and their beliefs.  I found for the most part they were worried that I viewed their perceived weaknesses as larger than I actually did (in some cases I did not even see the issue they were concerned about or if I did, didn’t see it as a weakness)  Also they were reticent to share what they thought I thought of their strengths.  It is a little bit of an awkward question to ask but it was very valuable for my own insight as well as being able to correct the misperceptions that others had.

Since most of what people believe comes from what we say I realized I need to do a much better job of encouraging my team.

So next time you have the opportunity with a team member, close friend or someone else that will be honest with you ask them,  “Based on the time you have known me…what do I believe about you?” and remember no matter what they respond with don’t be defensive or you’ll probably never get a truly honest answer from them in future.