Default Leadership: The Presumptuous Leader


 presumption

The “presumptuous leader” sounds like an oxymoron. Well, it actually is one! Leaders who are presumptions think of themselves a little higher than they actually are and think they know more than others. Allow me a short illustration:

I was recently promoted to a new position and took hold of my new branch which had a lot of potential for growth and profit. However, after a quick appraisal of the store’s metrics I soon discovered the store also had some areas that required immediate attention and improvement – most noticeably its leadership presence. This particular branch had been on the decline for some months with the present management who was feeling the pressure from top brass concerning some alarming numbers. During my first few days in the office, my objective was to get to know my team members by simply interacting with them and observing how they worked with each other, but most importantly how they perceived me as their new leader. On the onset I detected some resistance from the store manager, the second in command. At first he was a little distant, cold and “short” with me. One time, during a brief interview, he must have presumed we were done with the conversation, so he got up and walked away. I sat on my seat stunned thinking, “Does this guy have any social skills?” Over a period of two weeks, I knew I had a lot more to work on than getting the store to operate at peak performance. I needed to groom my store manager with the right leadership skills for personal, team and corporate success. Throughout my interactions with the store manager I soon found three default characteristics of a presumptuous leader:

1. Previous work experience does not add up to competent leadership

After spending some time with my store manager, I noticed how he would keep bringing up his previous employment experience, “In my previous job I supervised fifty employees.” And the time I asked him to do the schedule he made a point to say, “It’s easy, doing a schedule for four people is nothing compared to what I used to do.” My first thought, “Wow, I have a great leader working with me. We are going to turn this store around quicker than I first anticipated.” Soon enough, within a matter of days, I noticed the incompetence surface. He lacked the basic skills of supervision, delegating responsibility and holding his direct reports accountable for their work performance. My initial thought was, “Now, how did this guy get to a position where he supervised fifty people?” It just didn’t add up.

2. Layered expectations is a form of controlling others not leading them

There’s nothing more I dislike than someone saying, “They are not allowed to do that!”, or something similar, “The previous boss would only let me do that.” After a few comments like these I had to put a stop to that kind of managerial thinking. In a learning environment managers must relinquish some control and trust others to learn and do the job. After all, we must advance not only the agenda of the organization but also employees to their next level of operation. So I asked myself, “Where did he get this learning?” After some brief dialogue, it was the previous General Manager who would not allow certain people to do some basic things, such as count the cash drawer upon opening or closing the store. My style of training is a “cross-trainer” approach where everyone gets to participate and learn a new aspect of the operation. This happens gradually when someone is willing and ready to learn the next new thing. A working environment must be empowering not controlling others based upon one’s position or title.

3. Leading from behind is not authentic leadership

After a week or so I noticed the store manager was not leading his direct reports properly. So I asked him, “How do you lead your team?” He responded, “Oh, they already know what to do. I just let them do it.” I then asked, “How do you know they are accomplishing tasks on time and being effective in their jobs?” He just stared at me. His style of leadership was laissez-faire, from a French term meaning laid-back leadership. When I questioned his style of leadership he simply replied, “I’ve always done it that way.” Presumption – yes or no? As a leader, you have to engage your direct reports with vision and responsibility, and responsibility with accountability, and timed tasks that are measured by effective performance and results.

What did I learn in the first two weeks of this encounter? First, I learned that the more someone is “experienced” the harder they are to train, because “they just seem to know so much” more than you. Employees who brag about their previous work experience must embrace new learning experiences. Second, bringing correction to a leader who seems to “know it all” is difficult to do but it’s a must. A leader must have the courage to have transparent and regular discussions. What kind of discussions? The one’s where you tell your direct report to “push the refresh button” and to start all over by learning how to lead effectively.

Spring into Optimism


“Optimism is an attitude that shows up around springtime.” –Joel Garcia

The Spring season is my favorite time of year. Have you ever noticed how people’s attitudes change around springtime? It’s a time to enjoy better weather and sunshine, to get into that garden to plant your favorite plants or vegetables, to hike or work out in the open air. Most certainly, springtime has a way of changing people’s attitudes.

Latino Townhall’s Top 25 #LatinoQuotes of 2011


These are Latino Townhall’s Top 25 Quotes of 2011, which are provided to inspire you to stimulate your thinking, and help you through times of difficulty. I have provided my name at the end of each quote in case you want to copy and paste on social media sites. Thank you for your support in 2011:

Fear is the sure beginning of failure, eventually leading to one’s demise. –Joel Garcia (January 2011)

Every Christian should aspire to a leadership role because the Spirit of God within them is constantly moving and creating change, and this is what leaders do. –Joel Garcia (April 2011)

Leading with love is the most excellent way. –Joel Garcia (April 2011)

To overcome incompetence do not stand-alone rather deepen your pool of knowledge by standing alongside others. –Joel Garcia (April 2011)

Listening provides the context you need to ask the right questions. –Joel Garcia (May 2011)

Your personal gifts prophesy to your future. –Joel Garcia (June 2011)

Hope is the assurance of a release date from your wilderness journey. –Joel Garcia (July 2011)

Leaders who reinvent themselves see things in a whole new way, therefore, driving needed change in their environment. –Joel Garcia (Aug. 2011)

A comprehensive Christian worldview must instill belief, power and the ability to transform culture. –Joel Garcia (Aug. 2011)

If you keep hope alive, you stay alive. –Joel Garcia (Aug. 2011)

A gospel with power adds wonder. –Joel Garcia (Aug. 2011)

Ideas have a better chance of life in a community. –Joel Garcia (Aug. 2011)

Complaints measure your ineffectiveness, while solutions measure your effectiveness. -Joel Garcia (Aug. 2011)

Creativity rebounds during moments of rest and solitude. –Joel Garcia (Sept. 2011)

Every action you take sets in motion something greater; transformation begins with enough of the right actions. –Joel Garcia (Aug. 2011)

When a man loses his moral compass, he lands in desolate places. –Joel Garcia (Sept. 2011)

There’s no transformation without a struggle. –Joel Garcia (Sept. 2011)

The gift of change is loss; if we don’t learn to let go we’ll never change. –Joel Garcia (Sept. 2011)

Servant leaders inspire others to be and do their best by their lifestyle. –Joel Garcia (Oct. 2011)

Tension and misunderstanding go together; get understanding and watch tension gradually release itself. –Joel Garcia (Oct. 2011)

You can’t “cherry pick” your character, it’s cultivated through time, choice and action. -Joel Garcia (Oct. 2011)

The primary objective of parenting is making a child beautiful on the inside. –Joel Garcia (Nov. 2011)

Wisdom triumphs over experience. –Joel Garcia (November 28, 2011)

Submission doesn’t come when you ask for it; it happens when you’ve work for it. –Joel Garcia (November 28, 2011)

Learn – Live – Love – Lead


Early in 2011, I began contemplating upon our organization’s fundamental pillars… What would Latino Townhall become? What would be our defining pillars? Eventually, I would sum up the character of Latino Townhall by the following four words: Learn – Live – Love – Lead. Here’s why?

LEARN

We all need to learn, especially the emerging Latino community, since a growing number of immigrants come from other countries where education is limited, or inaccessible in many rural areas. The Latino community’s existence and perpetuity depends upon adopting a learning posture for life. According to statistics, Latinos who attend higher education to acquire a four-year degree actually graduate at a dismal ratio of less than 1 out of every 10 students. This is an embarrassing statistic; we can do better. Latino Townhall is a learning community using the varied tools education has to offer, such as mentoring, leadership development, and coaching to help our community prosper. It’s crucial to use these tools and others to support a community in need of development. Learning equates to prosperity; those who take time to learn are better off than those who cut their eduction short. Learning is one of the central features of our organization.

LIVE

Learning adds value to our lives, and to those we share life with. As a matter of fact, the quality of life stems from the acquisition of knowledge and the application of wisdom in everyday life. Actually, the ultimate goal of learning is the pursuit of truth. As a matter of fact the quality of your life depends on the truth you follow. Misguided multiculturalism, especially in our post-modern world, seek equality as a virtue but in reality, not all cultures are the same. There are those who are living life to the fullest, and those who do not. Life is all about choice based on truth.

LOVE

Latinos have a deep love for helping their own community. Latinos are civic minded; and care deeply about their follow man. They hate injustice since they’ve experienced or witnessed it in their own Latin American homeland. When they see an act of injustice in America they emerge with passion to right a wrong. Love is a major feature of the Christian-Judeo faith. Since Latino Townhall has a faith-based lean, love must be its central theme, which must be taught, cherished and practiced in daily life.

LEAD

In the present moment, and most certainly in the immediate future, Latinos have no other option but to lead. The 2010 Census revealed Latinos are the largest minority group in the nation boasting 50 million strong and growing. Their projected growth in the next ten to twenty years is even more staggering. With these explosive numbers, they have no other option but to lead a nation, or to siphon its resources by its dependence upon entitlements. Leadership is our mantle; it’s our destiny. Latinos are called to be leaders, not followers, contributors not takers, influencers not inferiors. Latino Townhall is dedicated to raising up a generation of Latino leaders by concentrating on the young and the immigrant alike.

NOTE: “Learn – Live – Love – Lead”, in this particular sequence, was claimed by Latino Townhall on Facebook on March 3rd 2011, and it was used previously on a Power Point presentation to 130 Latino youth February 2011.

The Four Seasons of #Leadership


Your leadership development will go through four stages of change, much like the seasons of the year. This means that leadership development is cyclical in nature, changing with the times. For instance, how many of us have experienced a “dead end road” when leading others? No matter how we attempt to lead others nothing seems to work. It’s like we’ve exhausted our old methods of leading others, and need to reinvent our leadership style to meet the emerging challenges in the workplace. The reason for this leadership makeover is you have ended a leadership cycle, and a new way of thinking and leading is now required. This is why leadership seminars, Webinars, summits and conferences draw thousands of hungry leaders seeking new ways to reinvent themselves and their leadership styles. Allow me to use the four season’s metaphor to make my point:

Autumn:

This season represents the beginning of the end of your leadership cycle. In this season you begin to notice the leadership paradigm you once embraced and practiced is all the sudden becoming obsolete. Therefore, it’s time to shed your old leadership practices through a process known as pruning or shedding. A good example of this season is found in John 15:2, where Jesus notes, “My Father cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” The process of pruning is often times a painful process because what we used to know and do, is no longer needed for the next season of our lives. It pains us to shedd what we know, but the upside to pruning is moving into a new place of spiritual and leadership growth and fruitfulness.

Winter:

This season of your leadership cycle represents a dormant time when nothing seems to grow. This feeling of nothingness thrusts you into a time of deep introspection where you begin to reassess and recalibrate your inner being. In this dormant cycle you what you are really doing is redefining your new leadership style. We may think nothing is happening during this season but you are simply setting yourself up for what’s going to bud in the near future; it’s just taking a little longer than what you expected to enter into a new life cycle. The waiting in this season actually allows you to stop, mediate and recreate yourself.

Spring:

This season represents emerging growth, new life and vitality. The things you learned in the previous season are now taking root, and budding; a whole new understanding of leadership is opening up to you. A world you never thought possible. You may be a little hesitant at first to show your true colors because others will think, “Wow, what’s going on with him (or her). I never seen this attribute in him before.” However, good change is always contagious, and others are drawn to your newness of being and doing. You are re-establishing the Law of Attraction once again in a new way.

Summer:

Summer is the peak season of your new leadership performance. Your fruit as a leader is now evident to others. You must be careful, however, not to over do it in this season because growth is happening fast, and you could make mistakes along the way. Just as fruit takes some time to ripen before it is harvested, you must take strides to produce in conjunction to your growth. In other words, don’t over step your bounds because you may seem too cocky to others. Just know, in this state, you have received a new identity, and that identity is desired by others around you. You are now walking in a new stride.

Which season describes you at the moment?

The 5 Danger Signs of Compromise


A mentor is a catalyst for change in a young person’s life.” -Joel Garcia

A person seeks out a mentor for many reasons. In my experience, the most common reason is a person desires change but can’t achieve it alone.  The role of a mentor is to be a catalyst for change in a person’s life. They must first understand the struggles and obstacles in a mentee’s life, which are usually associated with what I call the Danger Signs of Compromise. Therefore, most mentees’ under your care will be going through some “trouble spots” in his or her life.

Once you have acquired a mentee, how do you go about discerning these trouble spots? The following “five danger signs” are examples of my mentoring experiences where I learned these danger signs. A mentor must understand the five “signs” of compromise if the mentoring process is to have some measure of success. A mentor is like a seer who perceives the danger ahead through:

1. Conversation – The first danger sign is evident by listening to a person’s conversation.

People will disclose vital information about their life if you just let them talk. A mentor must listen carefully by picking up on subtleties critical to a mentee’s journey. For example, if a person is disgruntled about their marriage, and speaks openly about it often, then a potential door opens to flirtation, followed by an emotional affair, and eventually consummating an adulterous relationship is highly possible. Adultery doesn’t happen over night; it’s a subtle process. An experienced mentor can perceive the possibility of this taking place.

2. Drifting Eyes – The second method in reading the danger signs is by watching your mentee’s eyes.

The eyes are the window to a person’s soul. A mentor should be look into the eyes of their mentee during every conversation. You can read a lot by watching someone’s eyes. Wandering eyes are a clue to what is steering them inside. A person with loose or wandering eyes has a lust problem and lacks self-control. Eventually, this problem can lead to poor relational boundaries or moral failure; it happened to a friend of mine.

3. Body Language – The third method of detecting a problem is by watching body language.

I learned this method by watching how teenage couples touch each other in public. The more intimate the touch in public the greater the likelihood of having consummated sexual intimacy in private. If they are showing physical demonstrative signs in public, like petting in the lower parts of the body, then how are they acting in private? I have seen this on two separate occasions but I was too late to warn them. A few months after observing these young couples I discovered, in both cases, the young female was pregnant (A lesson I learned the hard way. I won’t make this mistake anymore). Observation requires a degree of discernment to read the non-verbal language of others, and take appropriate action.

4. The Absence of Passion – The fourth sign to watch for is the loss of passion.

Watch for people who can’t find their passion or have lost it. When I teach at our weekly men’s Bible study I am looking around to see who is present and who is missing. This is my duty as a pastor to watch and discern what men are going through. When men lose their passion for righteousness they are not too far off from being consumed by other things.

5. Withdrawing – The fifth danger sign is withdrawing from others.

When you withdraw from others you tend to be vulnerable because you are less accountable and open to attack. God created us to be part of a community and not to live in isolation from others. Proverbs 18:1 (NKJV) reveals:

A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment.”

Those who withdraw from the safety of the group are really sending a message: they are withdrawing from key relationships, accountability, and wise counsel. Deep inside their soul they are devising their own agenda. Unfortunately, it leads them down the wrong path.

As a mentor you must have the courage to speak up when you perceive a potential problem. When you perceive a potential problem, communicate it in a fashion that others will pay attention. You may have to speak about it more than once. If your mentee does not heed your words, write them down and date your journal. If the problem surfaces down the road you will be able to show them that your input was overlooked. Maybe next time they will listen more closely.

Is there another “sign” that leads to compromise?

3 Vantage Points of Leadership


Leadership is a dynamic process requiring a leader to adjust his or her personal leadership style depending on the situation he or she encounters. For this reason a leader needs to learn “how” and “when” to lead from the three vantage points of leadership. For instance, most of the time leaders will lead their followers from the front by exerting their influence and authority. Then there are moments when a leader needs to be among his or her followers to take a pulse of their wellbeing, connect and build relationship. Other times a leader empowers followers through delegation and encouragement, this is leading from behind. A good leader knows when to adjust his or her leadership style to fit the moment. The three vantage points of leadership are:

1. Leading from the “front”

How does one lead from the front? Frontal leadership requires one to lead with character and competence, then communicating an inspiring vision that instills purpose, which motivates followers. A leader in this phase is decisive, and displays courage. Leading from the front is not always easy; many times people will not agree with your decisions. A leader takes risks no one else is willing to take and takes responsibility for his or her actions.

2. Leading from “among” your people

Leading from among your people requires a leader to be highly interactive, engaging followers with questions, being personal by caring for their needs, showing genuine compassion, and at times following up to ensure team members needs are met. Leaders take on a “shepherding” role during this phase of leadership. Great leaders purposefully set out to know their team’s strengths and weaknesses then train each one accordingly. A leader is highly interactive at this point and makes purposeful connections, while building influence and loyalty.

3. Leading from “behind”

Leading from behind does not mean that one abdicates their leadership role, authority or becomes a passive leader. Rather a leader from this vantage point empowers through delegation, encouragement, and following up by providing honest feedback that redirects followers in a positive way. Leaders who lead from this vantage point empower by providing what their team members need to do an effective job.

How do you lead others? Have you led from anyone of these three vantage points before? Reflect on them. Which vantage point do you feel more comfortable leading from? List your strongest suit? Weakest? How can you improve as a leader?

Default Leadership: The 4 Insidious Killers of Leadership – Part II


Part II of II

3. Intimidation – The risk is too great

Intimidation, the third insidious killer for leaders, is the menacing giant facing you down, keeping you from advancing and accomplishing your objective. When David, the shepherd boy, faced Goliath on the battlefield he courageously invoked a powerful faith declaration and took action steps to overcome the giant’s intimidation tactic. David said to the Philistine:

“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:45-47 NIV)

David’s courage was key in overcoming Goliath’s intimidation. Therefore, building courage minimizes, even eliminates the intimidation factor. Courage is not the possession of physical strength, or size. David surely did not possess these qualities during his encounter with the giant. Courage is simply strengthening one’s mind by speaking forthrightly to the problem, then taking actions steps to ensure victory. Speaking a faith declaration engages a person’s total physiology, increasing adrenaline and the rush of blood to the brain. It’s the rush of blood to the brain that makes the difference, a rush of belief into the brain stimulating a “can do” attitude. A positive faith declaration rushes blood to the head stimulating action, while negative emotions tend to rush blood away from the brain to the legs igniting our flight mechanism.

4. Incompetence – The knowledge pool is not so deep

The last insidious killer for leaders is incompetence, which is the inability to take action for one’s lack of knowledge or inexperience to do the job. So what do you do when you’re summoned to do something but you sense your knowledge pool is not so deep? In my opinion, this is the time for collaboration. Collaboration is working with others to tap into another’s knowledge and insight. Incompetence rears its ugly head when we hit a dead end road; you know the place where awareness sets in so we can see our limitations for the first time. This isn’t a time for reclining into pity rather a time of recruiting others into action. Collaboration is about tapping into the knowledge pool of those with greater skill sets, talents and experiences necessary for you to accomplish your objective. To overcome incompetence do not stand-alone rather deepen your pool of knowledge by standing alongside others.

Confronting the Four Killers

The four C’s that overcome the four insidious killers are building internal capacity, gaining confidence, walking in courage, and seeking collaboration. Let’s go back to our story. After the pastor exhausted all leads, and upon my prompting this person finally stepped in to preside over the funeral. Was it difficult? Yes. Did the pastor overcome initial fears? Absolutely, but it wasn’t easy. Confronting one or more of these insidious killers of leadership won’t be easy but confrontation is necessary if leaders are to emerge victoriously. Leaders must ask themselves “Do I want to stay the same?” If so, they’re actually moving backwards instead of maturing into a larger leadership role. New challenges will confront emerging leaders. If leaders want to advance they need to understand these four insidious killers will confront them at each move. If you adopt these four counter actions you’ll be more apt to move forward, surmounting the odds to set yourself on the course of becoming the great leader you were destined to be.

How do you deal with intimidation? Is intimidation common in your life? How has incompetence stifled you in the past?

Default Leadership: The 4 Insidious Killers of Leadership – Part I


Part I of II

Have you ever wondered what keeps people from stepping out into a more pronounced leadership role? Perhaps the following example will help you see an insidious killer at work. A few weeks ago I received a phone call from a fellow minister responsible for organizing funerals. This person was looking for a staff member to conduct a funeral the following Saturday afternoon but every eligible pastor on the list was not available due to previous calendar commitments. I was the last person on the call list, yet I too declined due to a conflict in schedule. This person, who was very qualified to do a funeral, was trying so hard to farm it out. I sensed a nervous tone in her voice. During our exchange I finally challenged this person to step out of the box per se. As I sensed the subtle panic in this person’s voice I advised, “There’s a first time for everything. And at one point in my ministry – I had to step out of my comfort zone and do my first funeral. You can do it.” The assignments we are summoned to do the first time around maybe overwhelming at times since we are treading upon unfamiliar ground. For most people, the thought of making a mistake, appearing incompetent or foolish in front of a crowd can impede a potential leader. While contemplating this scenario, the four insidious killers of leadership suddenly emerged before me. All four killers begin with the letter “I”, the first one is:

1. Inadequacy – A person feels the task is too big

Most of us with extensive workplace experience have been challenged more than once to step outside our comfort zone. Many times would be leaders fail to emerge because as soon as they are asked to stretch a little the feeling of inadequacy sets in. The reason for feelings of inadequacy is the overwhelming sense of being unequal to what is required at the moment. In our limited minds we see a huge gap between what we know and the task at hand. So how do we overcome the insidious killer of inadequacy? You start by building internal capacity. Capacity is the space we create within ourselves to hold and sustain something greater. Building capacity is accomplished by perceiving and taking advantage of learning opportunities. It’s a proactive-learner who perceives an area of possibility and takes the initiative to learn about it in advance. For example, a pastor in the opening paragrah should know that funerals are part of the job description. Sooner or later he or she will be called upon to conduct one. So how should a pastor prepare? During a funeral a pastor should listen attentively, take notes, and at the appropriate time interview the presiding pastor. So when the next funeral occurs one can assume a greater leadership role. The key to enlarging internal capacity is learning at every opportunity in an effort to diminish inadequacy.

2. Insecurity – The person feels too small

In one of the episodes of the sitcom King of Queens, Carrie Heffernan is preparing to leave the office but feels uneasy going home without first finding out how her boss felt about a report she turned in earlier in the day. As Carrie carefully approached the office she carefully brings up the matter. To Carrie’s surprise her boss loved and valued her input, and asked Carrie for more. A surprised Carrie responds, “Wow, I never had my input valued before.” Insecurity is the second insidious killer for leaders. Insecurity starts when we don’t feel secure about ourselves, eventually this attitude spills into our performance. So everything we produce has a glaze of insecurity sprinkled on it. Like Carrie Heffernan, when our work comes under scrutiny we get a sense it will be shot down or returned for a rewrite. We must learn to grow out of this mental game. So how do we do it? The key is to build up confidence to a level that overcomes insecurity. Confidence occurs when a person builds trust in his or her own ability to act or perform over a course of right actions and small wins. When Carrie left her supervisor’s office she felt more secure, and confident in her ability to perform slightly better in the future. Leadership plays a key role developing staff members by making a “small person” seem a lot bigger than they actually are. Confidence increases when leaders closely monitor work performance, provide regular feedback with positive reinforcement, and celebrate small wins.

Have you ever encountered these two insidious killers of leadership in your own life? How did you overcome them?

Read Part II of this blog

Default Leadership: 2 Significant Gaffes Leaders Make


Leaders are responsible for many things; acquiring and shaping vision, personal and corporate communication, strategic planning, budgeting, training, supervision, executing the plan, and the plan’s results. These are basic functions that all leaders can identify with. But there’s a missing ingredient from this list. What is it? It’s the way leaders treat and relate with team members, a key indicator of one’s ability to lead effectively. This is why most people in leadership positions are not leaders; some are more focused on tasks but limited in people skills. Some in positions of leadership lead for selfish reasons, to achieve a personal goal or to advance themselves. Then there are those leaders who don’t know how to lead because they’ve never been trained properly. Leadership is not that complicated; it’s simply being a genuine person who connects well with others on a personal level, then leverages followers talents, skills and energy to achieve organizational goals.

Organizations today are in desperate need of good leaders who prioritize relationships. There are times when leaders get so busy in the daily grind of work schedules that they fail to build relational value with their followers. As a result relationships wane, even dissolve substantively because the mission becomes more important than developing community. Leaders cannot allow relationships to suffer; they must learn to be intentional and diligent to work on their people skills continuously. In the thirty years of my workplace experience I have personally seen leaders, default in many areas but these two stand out the most. This article addresses two significant gaffes leaders make. As leaders try not to make the mistake of being…

Long on Vision, Short on Relationship

A leader who has a lot of vision but lacks the skills or time to build solid relationships will eventually live alone in the future. Leaders need to have a vision for where they’re taking a project or organization, this much is true, but they also need relationships to bring the vision to fruition. Leaders who “drive” hard tend to make this mistake; they don’t take the time to value and build meaningful relationships, which empower the vision for the long haul. In turn, the vision suffers a dose of malnutrition because the synergy required to build and sustain momentum becomes sluggish, in some cases nonexistent. It is not good to toss out idea after idea without building meaningful relationships nor is it wise to hurry people to get things done quickly and miss what’s truly important; relationship.

Neglect: Love Gathers – Inattention Scatters

A second default is when leaders fall short in loving their followers unconditionally. When this happens people become disengaged and eventually “scatter.” Employees and followers will leave your organization, and find an alternate place where they can be nurtured, developed, appreciated and celebrated. People will tolerate a leader to a certain point, especially when the relationship never seems to advance from superficial to deeper levels.

There is nothing worse than a neglected employee who carries his or her workload everyday but is relationally deprived. You cannot neglect your team members for too long. In The Way of the Shepherd, authors Dr. Kevin Leman and William Pentak offer this advice:

You have to really care about your people. You can go through all the right mechanics but if you don’t genuinely care about the people who report to you, you’ll never be the kind of leader they’ll drop everything to follow. If they’re nothing but stinking sheep to you, they’ll never do their best work for you and they don’t stay in your fold for long.”

As a leader you have to take time for your people, and at times deal with their problems if you’re going to be respected and followed. Love is the relational tonic that soothes, heals and restores, at the same time, possesses the potency able to increase relational capacity. Neglect, on the other hand, causes relationships to become lean. In time people will look somewhere else for a leader who will lead them with love.

What can you do as a leader to avoid the two pitfalls mentioned in this blog?