Tag: leadership (page 1 of 2)

A Post For Young Leaders

The other night John and I got an email. You know…one of those emails. The ones that make your heart race and your stomach do flip-flops. An email criticizing something you’ve done or said.

In this case it was me being criticized, but they wanted John, as senior pastor to know.

As a first-born rule-follower, people-pleaser with WOO as one of my strengths, this is just the worst. And being in ministry for 35 years, it’s been my biggest area of growth.

When I was younger, my immediate response would be ALL THE FEELS – embarrassment, shame, righteous indignation, anger, and (as a J on the Meyers Briggs)….. IMMEDIATE ACTION!!

Is is darn hard living with people’s displeasure, whether we’ve made a mistake, or there has been a misunderstanding, or we just disagree. There is no way to make all the people happy all the time.

This is the hardest lesson I’ve learned as a leader: It’s not my job to please everyone, but it is my job to pray and pay attention in order to learn from everyone.

This is the challenge for each of us: To allow criticism to teach us more about God, ourself, and others. 

I’ve grown a tiny bit over the years (and I’ve gotten much more used to criticism), so after my brief emotional freak out over this recent email, I settled down, prayed, and went to sleep.

The next morning I prayed again.

  • I listed all the issues I thought the critique-r raised.
  • I listed all the questions I needed to talk to God about, including “What is true? What is from You? How do I please not the critic, but YOU?”
  • Then I went through Scripture typing out any pertinent passage that might inform my thinking about the issues raised.

  • I prayed some more.
  • I wrote a response to the offended person and asked if we could talk face-to-face, but I didn’t send it immediately. I let it sit and came back to it 5 hours later.

 One of our rules is “Never argue in email.” I stand by this because body language, tone, and nuance are so important, and so easy to misinterpret in email, but I also see the value in putting something in writing that others can take the time to read over and process.

  • Before I sent it, I asked myself:
    • “Does this fail of grace?”
    • “Is there pride, resentment, self-righteousness…that I need to confess and deal with before sending this?”

In this case, I was fortunate because the critic who had been offended is someone healthy and well-meaning.

But that’s not always the case. One of the hardest parts of dealing with criticism is letting go.

We do our part. We pray and search for the kernel of truth. We apologize when appropriate, but we can’t control the response of the other. 

As Jesus-followers we’re supposed to be all about redemption, forgiveness, and do-overs. We’ve discovered that many give lip-service to those values, but not all are willing to do the hard work of living them out in real-life relationships.

It takes two to come to understanding and reconciliation. It takes two to truly listen to each other with compassionate curiosity. So it’s deeply disappointing when you feel like you’re doing your part, but not getting the response you envisioned.

This is when we need to do the further hard work of opening our hands and praying: “Lord, if I’ve missed anything that is mine to own, please show me. If I’ve done what’s mine, help me to forgive and let go.”

What about you? What has your experience been with criticism, conflict, and crucial conversations?

5 Important Questions to Ask About Boundaries

“I often can’t get away from work til around 8:00.”

“I make work calls on my 45 minute commute to the office.”

“I’m a stay-at-home mom because I want to invest time in my kids while they are young, but I’m in so many important volunteer positions that I’m exhausted and pre-occupied with all I have to do even when I’m with my kids.”

“I’ve been up til midnight the past few nights trying to get my work load under control.”

“If I go out of town or take a break on the weekend, I’m swamped when I get back. It’s not worth it.”

These are all statements I’ve heard recently.

So many of my millennial friends are in seasons of high stress, high demand, and long work hours. The discipline of setting boundaries while trying to establish a career is tough, and scary.

I know there is no silver bullet, but this ties into my post from Monday on your “The Hardest ‘Yes’ of Your Day”.

What do you have the courage to say “no” to?

Before anything, maybe journal about what values are most important to you.

Family? Faith Community? Spiritual Growth? Balance? Volunteerism? Peace?

Is it possible to prioritize these values within the career you have? Do you have clear expectations and boundaries built into your job description?

“You get what you tolerate.” Henry Cloud

Here are a few questions to consider asking yourself as you are making decisions:

  1. If I say “yes” to this request, what will I need to say “no” to? What will I need to sacrifice? Who will I be cheating?

2. Does saying yes to this (deadline, project, staying late..) tap into an unhealthy sense of “need to be needed” or pride? (Ouch! I know this is an important one from experience!)

3.  Who might benefit from me sharing this opportunity or delegating this task?

4. Am I letting urgent things crowd out the important things in my life?

 

5. Who am I coaching or mentoring on a daily basis so that not everything will be dependent on me? 

Whether you’re a boss or not, there are some great strategies here:

The One Thing All Great Bosses Do Well

Remember, your true self will never change. You are beloved child of God with nothing to prove. Your false self is based on titles, paychecks, and awards that will come and go.

At the end of the day may we, like Jesus, be able to say:

 I brought glory to you here on earth by doing everything you told me to. John 17:4

That’s a Great Question

Yesterday John and I and a few staff from our church attended the Catalyst One Day in Minneapolis.

This is a day-long conference where there’s worship and Andy Stanley and Craig Goeschel take turns sharing leadership lessons.

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They are both amazing leaders we admire, so we were ready to learn more about the secret sauce that makes them that way.

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Don’t you love days when you sit back in a workshop, and take ALL THE NOTES, and are “fed” til you feel like it’s Thanksgiving evening and you’re in a turkey coma?

You feel like you’ve done AN IMPORTANT THING when you take home your little notebook crammed with GREAT IDEAS. You’re sure it will make you a better leader just by holding it close. Am I right?

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So yesterday my favorite session, the one I was sure was going to transform me into “AMAZING ANDY LEADER” was his first talk, entitled “That’s a Great Question”.

The big idea was that great leaders ask great questions and one of the most powerful, clarifying and disturbing questions a leader can ask is:

What would a great leader do?

Andy fleshed it out with a lot more, but that was the basic idea. At the end, he added, “If you’re married, what if, when you go home and are going through your day and come to a decision point, you ask yourself, ‘What would a great husband do?’ or ‘What would a great wife do?'” Continue reading

How to be a Hero

This is one of my heroes. Roger Anderson.

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He turned 90 last week.

When we moved to Minnesota for John to become the lead pastor at “our” church, it had been “his” church for 34 years. Yep, he had planted the church. He was leaving “his baby” for us to steward for the kingdom.

What if we mucked it up? What if we KILLED it, for Pete’s sake?! Or worse, (gasp!) changed the music???!

And yet, Roger has been our biggest cheerleader. Our most fervent prayer warrior. Our baton-hander.

Leadership is like being in a relay race. Succession is important. We need to pass on the baton to the next generation because our part in the race is not the end, and Roger knew that. Continue reading

Is There a Safety Cone in Your Tree?

The other day a friend and I were walking around Lake Harriet and all of a sudden I stopped. Something weird caught my eye. Something was not quite right.

I looked up, and this is what I saw.FullSizeRender-32

So many questions!

Who? Why? How come?

And did anyone else notice, or just walk by, oblivious?

It made me think of a talk at the Global Leadership Summit and wonder how many cones are in my tree that I’m unaware of. Continue reading

One Thing to do in August we Promise You Won’t Regret

John and I really don’t endorse many things. We don’t endorse political parties or candidates. We don’t don’t recommend realtors we know, and rarely endorse movies. We’re kind of like Switzerland.

But there is one event over the years that we have enthusiastically, unequivocally endorsed and guaranteed as a “sure thing”. We have said, “If you do this, we pinky swear promise you won’t regret it.” (Gulp.)

Every year we have invited folks from our church to attend the Global Leadership Summit  at Willow Creek Church in Barrington, Illinois. And we have promised them that it will be well worth the sacrifice of time and money it will take to make it happen. That’s a big promise, but we have never regretted it, and neither have those who come with us.

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Each year, Bill Hybels, along with world-class leaders from around the globe, speak on teamwork, vision, significance, conflict, motivation and more. We take notes like crazy, but more importantly, we gather to process and contextualize.

This isn’t just for church leaders. It is for business people, soccer coaches, soccer moms, and influencers in every environment. We have friends in business who bring their whole management teams.

The investment in this time of equipping, inspiration, worship, and fellowship has paid off big time for our church.

It has changed our vocabulary. “Umbrella of grace”, getting from “here to there”, “crucial conversations”, and “true north” are part of our shared leadership language.

It has changed our sense of ownership. When we process as a group, we don’t ask, “What should John do?”, but “What can we do in partnership with God to be more effective kingdom-bringers at CPC and wherever we are?” We all become share-holders in kingdom vision, not just the senior pastor.

It has changed our yearly rhythm. Each summer we look forward to this time, knowing we will get a re-charge that will energize us for the upcoming year.

Here’s the thing…This year, August 6-7, for the first time ever, we’re not taking folks down to the GLS. Instead, we’re going to be a satellite host church. If you are in the Twin Cities, this is your chance, for a smaller time and money investment, to take advantage of this amazing opportunity.

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Our church site, CPC, is located at 70th and 100 in Edina, Minnesota. Sign up now! Or if you live elsewhere around the world, you can find a satellite site near you.

You won’t regret it. I guarantee.

For those of you who have attended the GLS, what have been some of your “take aways”?

Three Ways to Fight

My husband John has been in the leadership boxing ring with a maddening challenge for the past couple years.

I’m on the sidelines, literally jumping up and down, shadow-boxing in our kitchen and yelling “Go to the mattresses!” when he reports the latest crazy atrocities at the end of a day.Unknown

I’m a DO-er!!  I want to take out an Uzzi and FIX this now!  Ok, as a Jesus-follower that might not be the best plan, but for the love of justice!!!

Trying to ratchet back the passion and put on the mantel of patience John seems to wear so easily, I’ve been reflecting on the different responses to THE ROCK AND A HARD PLACE LEADERSHIP CHALLENGES I see in Scripture.  Here are three I’ve come up with: Continue reading

Coming up For Air

This morning I sit across from John at Starbucks early.  I keep hearing deep sighs as he sips his skim white mocha.  There’s a mixture of snow and rain coming down outside.  The fire is on in the fireplace, which is the reason for my sighs, but not his.

We just returned from several days of meetings in one setting and he is heading into a long day of meetings in another.  New place, new set of challenges.  He’s trying to ignore the clamoring emails and choose the daily disciplines of devotions and journalling.  It’s a struggle because… there’s just.so.much.

I’m privileged to have a lot of close friends who are world class leaders.  They are humble but brave.  They are wise and trust God for great things.  They are kingdom bringers.  And somedays they make mistakes, and most days they’re praying like crazy for discernment, and many days they are under a tremendous amount of pressure.  Lately it seems even more stressful than usual.  And they’re facing a lot of situations that feel “between a rock and a hard place-ish”.

“World class leader” may not describe you or me, but we all get into seasons when we’re in over out head.  Whether you’re a student or a CEO or a mom or you just feel like you’ve been holding your breath for too long, I want to stand up and shout Continue reading

6 Sentences Jesus Followers Need to Learn to Say in the Midst of Controversy

It’s an unusually cool morning in Florida and the wind is blowing.  As I rode my bike to Starbucks I thought of one day when Katy was little and came in from outside.  She said, “Mommy, the wind struggles me!”

Yep, Katester, the wind has been struggling us this week.  Winds of uncertainty and criticism and emotion and drama all stirred up out of a desire to serve God well and make wise choices that honor Him in a complex world.

Wind-struggling weeks (that we all have) are made more difficult when the decisions we’re making are public and impact thousands of people, like the one the World Vision Board announced this week. The stakes go up and it seems that no one wants to let any critical thought go un-tweeted or un-commented or un-updated.  Even the headline of a balanced article is mis-leading and inflammatory.

We, as Jesus followers, love (I love!) black and white.  We love clear-cut, “thus sayeth the Lord”, and “Bam! Take that you spawn of Satan!”  Ok, maybe not the last, but some responses feel that way – gleeful in their self-righteous put-downs.  And is this what Jesus desires of someone following Him?

This morning Michael Hyatt had an excellent post on 5 difficult sentences leaders need to learn to say.  It made me think that there are several sentences we Jesus-followers need to learn to say in the midst of controversial conversations (what the Bible calls “disputable matters”). Continue reading

Is there Room in Your Chariot?

This past summer at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit I had the opportunity to live blog for Engage Churches, a part of the Willow Creek Association.  I was blown away listening to the teaching of Chris Brown, a pastor at North Coast Church in California.  Here’s some of what I wrote that day…

This afternoon, Chris Brown (not that Chris Brown, a different Chris Brown) started with the story of a man approaching a campfire.  Creeping forward, and then walking back into the shadows while others by the campfire gossip about his failed leadership around the issue of a certain giant named Goliath.

The man is King Saul.  For over a month Saul has been called out and he knows he doesn’t have what it takes.  His ministry is  paralyzed.  His leadership is paralyzed.  He’s a leader in trouble who is bailed out by a kid named David.

And then it goes out on Twitter (as it were).  1 Sam. 18:5-9 “Saul has killed his thousands.  David his ten thousands.”

Huh??  Big gasp.  How is Saul going to react?

“From that time on, Saul kept a jealous eye on David.”

Saul didn’t have room in his chariot for David, the young twerp who bested him.

Leaders struggle with jealousy and comparison.  Pride and ego.  It’s in the Bible.  A lot. Continue reading

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