Direction and Need

I read an article this morning about the leadership needs of the Millennial Generation. The styles of leadership that worked well in the past will not work today or at least in the near future. Millennials view leadership in a new way, believe that a leader’s personality is important and they believe that businesses should have a bigger impact on society. They are not concerned about the hierarchy that comes with traditional leadership but value a leader who uses more collaboration and cross-functional teams. They desire employee/personal growth, making a positive contribution to society and their own well being.

One thing that has not changed: Leaders have a responsibility to challenge their people to grow. Employee growth, personally and professionally, help improve their creativity and morale. It is possible to push people too far or into a direction that they are not interested in or prepared to perform. A good leader will find people’s limits and their desires through employee coaching. Good coaches will listen to the employee more than they talk, paraphrasing their desires to ensure that they understand what the employee wants and will set goals with (not for) the employee. This ensures that they are part of their own destiny. Once an employee knows what they want to achieve, a leader can help them reach and achieve more.

1 Corinthians 10:13 “God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear…”

God also is concerned about our personal growth and as a good coach, He will be faithful to us; God keeps His promises. The struggle between God and Satan remains strong and the old Adam in us can be tempted quite easily. We know God loves us and that despite our free will to choose, He will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. Our sin and our inability to follow the Ten Commandments is why God had to send His only Son to be our savior; with Jesus Christ we are free from the bondage of our sin.

God is active in our lives, providing options for us to choose from in how we live. God is working His plan in our lives despite our free will choices. God wants us close to Him and, through the Bible, has given us the best plan to live this life. Our faith in Jesus and God’s grace is what allows us to be tempted and fail at times but to still have forgiveness of our sins. God is faithful! He kept His promise of salvation for us through Jesus. We all sin and may at times feel unworthy; God’s grace and the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross makes us all worthy regardless of our own actions.

What’s on your heart?

There is a saying “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” What is in your heart will reflect on your leadership style. If you are caring for your people, deflecting stress from all angles, sincerely working with them so they can: achieve more, learn more and, reach their goals then your heart is in the right place. Do you say, “I want to develop my team so that they can take my place” but are too busy to spend time with them in one on one career coaching?

I’ve read several articles in the past week about doing away with annual performance reviews and replacing them with regularly scheduled coaching sessions so that employees know how they are doing on a more regular basis. As the workforce changes, supervisors and leaders need to change. The challenge this puts on leaders is that they are required to interact with their people more frequently and that might expose what is really on their heart. If a leader really only cares about his numbers, his department’s goals or his promotion, it will all be revealed in regular interactions. So if you really want people to be successful, you must ensure that your words and actions match. It takes far more time to recruit, train and develop new employees than it does to coach them and help them be successful. The results will reflect on everyone.

Proverbs 27:19 – “As water reflects our face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.”

This verse is about our hearts as Christians. What is on your heart? Do you attend church weekly and sing the songs but go out on Monday and terrorize your workplace by showing no compassion for others or “steal time” by putting in less than a full day so that you can get what is coming to you? God knows what is your heart! Putting God in His rightful place on your heart may take time and it won’t be easy, but God is understanding and has compassion as you work toward it.

For many of us, putting God first is a hard transition. As humans, tend to be so self-centered that we often consider God’s word as an afterthought. Try to introduce God into your conversations at home, it may feel uncomfortable at first but it quickly goes away. Remember the love that God has shown to all of us and be extra forgiving when someone really disappoints you. Daily devotional reading will help you understand the depth of God’s grace and love for you. As God comes into your heart, He will be reflected outward in how you treat others. You’ll be more understanding, have compassion and show forgiveness. Think about what your reflection looks like today and ask, is this what I really want to show to others?

Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism. Just the name makes me think “what an oxy moron”; what can be constructive about criticism? Having given out my fair share of it, I’m sure that it was an oxy moron to the person receiving it too. I had always believed that it should be given as gift and received as one too. It takes courage to tell someone how they might improve or try something differently. It was when I started studying the concept of employee coaching that it really made sense. In coaching, the supervisor is not criticizing the employee but they are offering constructive observations about behaviors, seeking to understand the goals of the employee and attempting to align those goals with those of the organization. Effective employee coaching can go a long way toward building up an employee, not criticizing them. What does the word “praise” mean to you when you hear it? For many, it’s only something you do at church. Our society has become so negative that all we seem to hear are criticisms. We should be throwing around a little more praise for people and the things they do. Think about the last time you told a server at a restaurant that they did a good job. You may have tipped well, but saying something will make it mean much more. I’m not suggesting that you walk around all day telling everyone “good job” but more often than not, they never really know if they doing a good job. The next time that the chance presents itself; tell someone how much you appreciated their work or advice. Not only will you make someone’s day but you’ll also be surprised how good you will feel about yourself.

“Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done.” 1 Chronicles 16:8

During the sermon in church today, we heard a verse from St. Paul in one of his letters to the Corinthians that essentially says – we cannot understand the wisdom or the timelines of God. We don’t understand why things happen and we become frustrated when our prayers are not answered right a way. Last week I wrote about bad things happening to good people. We cannot understand His ways. I also suggested that we seek to understand why these things happen. We should not criticize what is happening but give praise and thanks for all that He has done. The person who is sick has been given another day to experience; the person who is financially struggling is being prepared for something greater or perhaps being drawn to God. We need to give more thanks and praise. In prayer, God can handle our requests and our questioning His wisdom but He can also handle our moments of praise and thanksgiving. Our praise should not remain silent in prayers but they should be shared with the “nations”. Spread the good news about what God has done, He deserves it.

In it for the long haul

Reliability. I’ll bet that when you hear that word, the first thing that will pop into your mind is a product of some sort. It is either a car or an appliance that we generally associate with the word reliability. What about people, do we consider them reliable? We might use dependable but reliable? People will let us down and are flawed from conception; I’ve even heard others quip that “you can depend on people to let you down.” The difference is very subtle; being reliable means that you will be able to get the same result over and over and dependable means worthy of reliance or trust. How reliable are you? Do people seek you out for help or advice? If you are in a leadership position, you need to be both reliable and dependable. Being reliable takes a toll on your time management. You will find that when people seek you out for help, you spend a lot of time with them and your own “work” takes second place yet still needs to get done. When people seek you out, you are actually functioning as a coach for them. Good coaching can turn into mentorship, which is a great professional development tool for both parties not mention a huge source of personal satisfaction. Whom do you rely on? Do you have someone reliable in your work life? We are sometimes too proud to ask for someone to help us or give us advice. Finding someone who is reliable enough to be a coach is rare; be sure they are willing to help at this level. If you are fortunate enough to be someone whom people consider reliable, consider sharing your gift with them at this higher level.

“And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” Acts 2:21

It’s ironic that when I hear the words reliable and dependable, I don’t immediately think of the Triune God. As I reflect on it, I have to assume that it’s because I never have to think twice about God’s reliability and just writing that, makes me smile. There are millions of people in this world that don’t see it that way. They will base their assessment of God’s reliability on the number of answered prayers they receive, the quality of their life or the types of works they perform – trying to gain God’s favor, so that He’ll be more reliable and dependable. Our LORD and Savior is Jesus Christ, He intervened on our behalf to gain God’s favor. “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be Saved” (Acts 2:21) means eternal life for everyone calling, no strings attached. God is reliable and dependable. He keeps His promises to his people; we just have a hard time seeing them because His time and our time are not the same. God always listens and comforts us; we simply don’t always recognize it. It’s the unexpected coffee that a co-worker brings you when need it or the refund check that arrives the week that your rent is due. Turning your life over to God and trusting in Him means that you never have to think twice about whether He’s reliable; He did send His one and only Son to suffer for us so that we can share eternal life Him. It certainly sounds like He’s in it for the long haul, how about you?

Coaching

As a leader, one of our responsibilities is to challenge our people to grow. We need to get them to grow personally and professionally which will help improve creativity and morale. It is possible to push them too far; perhaps into a direction that they are not interested in. Another pit fall in pushing people to grow is that you may push them into a position that they are not prepared for or are not prepared to perform. A good leader will find their limits and desires and we can do this through employee coaching. Coaching takes time, especially initially, but once you’re both (the employee and leader) efficient in the process, the results far outweigh the time investment. Good coaches will listen to the employee more than they talk, paraphrasing their desires to ensure that they understand what the employee wants and will set goals with (not for) the employee. This ensures that they are part of their own destiny. Once you know what they want, you can help them reach and achieve more by challenging them to set higher goals.

1 Corinthians 10:13 “God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear…”

God will also challenge us and as a good coach, He will also be faithful to us; God keeps His promises to be faithful. The struggle between God and Satan remains strong and the old Adam in us can be tempted quite easily. We know God loves us and that despite our free will to choose, He will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. Our sin and our inability to follow the Ten Commandments is why God had to send His only Son to be our savior; with Jesus Christ we are free from the bondage of our sin. Our faith in Jesus and God’s grace is what allows us to be tempted and fail at times but still have forgiveness of our sins. God is faithful! He kept His promise of salvation for all by sending His son to die for our sins. We all sin and may at times feel unworthy; God’s grace and the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross makes us all worthy regardless of our own actions.