What Every Leader Needs to Succeed

It’s one thing to lead people or a team. It’s another thing to lead leaders. What do you do if you’re in charge of an organization and have developing leaders who answer to you? It’s the difference between leading people directly and leading through others. And often those leaders have great potential and are in the process of development.

One thing that is helpful to me is to see examples of this in scripture. Jesus, for example, did more than lead disciples. He developed them to lead others as He prepared them to advance His kingdom.

Another great example is the way the Lord prepared Joshua to advance into the Promised Land. After 40-plus years of floundering and wandering, it was time for a new day. But before the Lord prepared the nation, He prepared the leader!

In the Lord’s instructions to Joshua, He addressed issues every leader needs to succeed. Some of those issues are personal; others are organizational. Take a look:

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Imagine your life as various points on the highway.  Fast Lane, Slow Lane, Shoulder, Ditch.

And at any given time, in any given area, you can be in one of those four.

Living in the Fast Lane means you’re getting where you’re going. You’re fulfilling your purpose.

In the Slow Lane you have a lot of movement, but you never quite seem to get there, wherever “there” is.

On the Shoulder, your “engine” is running, but you’re not moving ahead at all.

In the Ditch means you’ve crashed or are stuck, and without help you aren’t going anywhere.

Having punched my card in all four locations, I can tell you we’re all a mixed bag. You can be idling on the shoulder in one area, cruising in another, and crashed out in a third. So let’s break it down a little more. [click to continue…]


Complex Problem

The world is full of complex, overwhelming problems.

It’s also full of all sizes and shapes of problem solvers. [click to continue…]

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SoapboxLast summer I was sitting in a meeting of professors and academics discussing a tricky issue at this Christian university.  The issue:  What do we do about the fact that the back half of the full auditorium crowd spent their entire time in chapel texting on their phones? Beyond discussing rules for courtesy and maturity, I remember blurting out something like, “What they’re telling us is that whoever they’re connecting to is more interesting and relevant than whatever is happening on the stage.”

I was reading a web site not long ago about a product or service or something that somebody wanted me to “invest” in. I kept wishing whoever wrote it would get to the point. What is this? What can it do for me? What do I need to do to get it and how much is it going to cost me? Instead, in true sales letter form, I kept reading stuff like, “But first, let me tell you about so-and-so’s experience.” After a while I found myself screaming on the inside, Stop trying to get me interested! If I wasn’t interested I wouldn’t still be reading! Just give me the message and get to the point!

Years ago I went to a seminar for professional therapists called “Crossing the Line.” It was an ethical seminar about counselors who got romantically or sexually involved with their clients – totally a no-no. Yet statistics say something like 33% of therapists do it.  They presented the facts to a huge room filled with people, and shook their heads and talked about how terrible it was and how to avoid it.  But if the stats were true, a third of that crowd were perpetrators – and nobody offered them anything as a solution other than more guilt and shame. I left angry and frustrated. Is that what four hours of my time was supposed to produce?

I don’t care who you are or how you choose to communicate, please tell me that on the other end of that is somebody you expect to be interested, gain understanding, take action or dare to dream. Whether it’s an email message, a speech, a sales pitch, or even a sermon to a captive audience, please tell me you’re not going to waste somebody else’s time and your credibility with communication that doesn’t communicate!

Before you hit the send button, seal the envelope or walk up to the podium, here are four questions you need to be prepared to answer, and then actually answer them: [click to continue…]