Most employees, your self included, want to know what direction they are headed in. Creating a vision is the single most effective way to get people to buy into any proposed change or altered direction. Employees can lose sight of and will need to be reminded of, your organization’s core values and purpose during periods of uncertainty. Leaders need to construct an envisioned future by describing what the future will look like and how you will get there. Be sure to share the plan with everyone. Set goals and objectives that describes the milestones along the way and set benchmarks with the vision in mind. Employee participation may help re-define the benchmarks because of their unique perspective within the organization. Communication throughout the entire process is the best way to keep the vision out in front of everyone. Tell people where they are headed and watch them work toward achieving that goal.
“…He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.” Zechariah 9:10
The Old Testament is the visioning process of the bible. God gave us a look into what He could do and what He wanted for us. God spoke through angels and in some cases; He spoke directly to ordinary people telling about His vision. Jesus continued to set the vision of “everlasting life” and the promises of God our Father. Some people have a hard time reading the Old Testament. When you read it now, read it like a vision of what was to come and as a description of the power that God possess. He was able to overcome armies, flood the earth and cast famines to ultimately overcome Satan. We have a simple responsibility now; stay connected to Him while believing that Jesus is our one and only savior. The goal is simple – everlasting life. The vision is beautifully described throughout the bible, be sure to take the time to find where.
How many times have you heard “Knowledge is power”? Webster’s defines knowledge as the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association. Leaders use their knowledge in a variety of ways. Some will hold it up like a great scepter for all to see while others will work to share it with everyone; like a farmer plants seed. Knowledge can be shared and learned. How do we achieve understanding? Do we get to understanding through our experiences? Again, according to Webster’s, understanding is the power to make experience intelligible by applying concepts and categories. We can share our knowledge and understanding with others to help them grow and learn. Some people call that management perspective. It is hard to define management perspective but we all know when someone doesn’t have it! The difference between managing and leading is what you do with your knowledge.
Proverbs 16:22 “understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it…”
“Understanding is the fountain of life to those that have it…” Many of us read the bible and study it but do we have knowledge or understanding? Do you see God’s hand in everything that happens? Do you live your life by His ways or your own? There are a number of things that we can do to improve our understanding of God’s word. For instance, consider a small bible study group to learn from the experiences of others or spreading the news of Jesus Christ to others. There are a number of tools available for you to use as a guide in your studies; take time to search the shelves of your local Christian book store. You will be strengthened in your faith and knowledge when you spend time reading and learning from the bible. There are several ways that you can share your experiences and your understanding with those that don’t know it or at least don’t see it clearly. The best way to strengthen your understanding is to teach. Your goal is to achieve understanding; do not be intimidated because you fear your knowledge is not strong enough, with God anything is possible. God puts opportunities and challenges before you, take advantage of them to gain knowledge and understanding.
As leaders, we have the responsibility to give others strength – strength to get through difficult times, strength to accomplish move than they thought was possible and the strength to carry on everyday. A leader’s job is to inspire those around them, be a source of encouragement, a resource for guidance and a cheerleader for them as they go beyond their limits and try new things in their own personal growth. When your people speak of you, do they say “He’s always encouraging me, helping me figure things out and giving me opportunities to stretch myself”? I’ll never forget a very special leader I used to work for. She saw things in me that I never did. She was always there with a smile and a “good job!” when I completed something that I’d never done before. She’d tell me what she wanted and let me get it done, this sounds a lot like great delegation but it was always more than that, it was great mentorship.
Philippians 4:13 “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”
So, where do you get your strength? This passage reminds us to find our strength in God – “Him who gives me strength”. In our fast paced lives sometimes we forget that! We can do everything through Him because God is our strength, he is with us all day – everyday. Our privilege to lead is a gift from God; He has put us in this place at this time to achieve greatness. We too, have had a great mentor – Jesus Christ. He taught us to have compassion, patience and to be encouraging to those around us. You can be the source of strength for those you work with by being a positive role model. When people ask you “Where do you get the strength to lead from?” You can answer quite easily: God gives me the strength. In order to maintain your strength, like in any good workout routine, you need to work at it daily. We’ve all experienced a few days off from the gym; it gets harder to go back the longer you are away. Remain Strong!
Do people know where to find you at work? Do they refer to you as approachable and accessible? Many people in “leadership” positions have an open door policy but their door is often found closed or worse yet; the door is open but the mind is closed. There is an old management theory called the “Seagull Theory of Management”. It is when the leader flies in, leaves droppings everywhere and then flies out. I hope that this doesn’t describe you or at least not how your people do. There are a lot distractions in today’s working environment: e-mail, cell phones, instant messaging and last minute demands. We work in what I call the microwave world – everything is ready in less than two minutes. Leaders need to take a few minutes to examine how these distractions are affecting their relationships with the people who count on them. The main purpose of leadership, as opposed to management, is to motivate and encourage others toward a common goal. In order to achieve this, we must spend time with our people, find out what their needs are and provide them a vision that they can see. We can’t do this is we aren’t accessible.
Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
God knows we are easily distracted; look how long it took for Eve to get distracted/tempted from the one rule they had “Don’t eat from the tree in the middle of the garden”? God set in our minds and hearts that we will find Him when we seek Him with all of our heart. This isn’t a “microwave” solution: fast and when we want it. The lesson here is that we need to become immersed in God’s word, seek him with all of our heart; not just a minute or two but spend time with God, everyday. If you are like everyone who receives e-mails, you’ll read 15 minutes of “funny” e-mails or check the stories and scores on ESPN.com or another favorite website. Are you devoting that much time to seeking the Lord with all your heart? God is always accessible to hear your prayers, accept your thanks, receive your praise and forgive your sins. He just asks for you to do it with all your heart.