5 Traits to Becoming a Leader Worth Following

Everyone wants to be a leader. Every leader wants followers as well. But we have all seen or even worked for a leader that you just don’t want to follow, right? Maxwell would say that individual is only taking a walk, they aren’t leading. I would go a step further and call them a manager but not a leader.

So, what separates a manager from a leader? What separates a leader from someone that is just taking a walk? Well, I am glad you asked…Here are a few traits you need to become a leader worth following. Now, I could have come up with 100, but I chose 5 of the most important ones so here they are:

1. Integrity

Integrity is when your behavior matches your beliefs. It is that moment when there is alignment between what you say and how you behave. Integrity is when your private life and your public life match. I like how one pastor put it, integrity is when those who know you the most respect you the most.

Integrity is so important as a leader. We all have seen a leader fall because of a lack of integrity. Something in their private life came out and it ruined their influence.

Here is why: Ability and talent may get you to the top but integrity will keep you at the top.

No one wants to be one of those stories. No one sets out on a journey looking for that to happen in their lives. Usually, they are blindsided by it.

This is why as leaders, we must work twice as hard on our integrity than we do our ability. Look, get better at your trade, but get even better at your integrity.

2. Transparency

Craig Groeschel says this on every one of his podcasts: People would much rather follow a leader who is always real than one who is always right.

I love that statement, because it is so true. Followers want to follow a leader who is real. One who is authentic. One who they can relate to.

As leaders, there is a tension between being transparent and proving to our followers that we have it altogether.

Listen, live in the tension, but it is okay to allow your audience to see that you are a real human being. It is okay that they know you struggle and make some mistakes.

Be transparent.

3. Teachability

Never stop learning. Be teachable. I don’t care how long you have been leading, you have something that you can learn.

Because here is the big idea: when you stop learning, you stop leading

This is why as leaders, we must keep learning. You can learn something in every season that you find yourself in.

Make the most of it and learn.

4. Emotional Health

Our teams need to see leaders who are healthy, because the health of the organization is only as healthy as its leader.

We all want to build healthy organizations, and the best way to do that is to be a healthy leader.

Be physically healthy. Excercise. Stay active. Eat right. When I am physically healthy, I feel better which helps me lead better.

Be personally healthy. See a counselor (it is okay and really good for you). Find someone who knows you inside and out. Have friends. Be in community.

Be emotionally healthy. Your team needs this from you.

5. Humility

You cannot be a good leader and be prideful at the same time. Here are a few thoughts on being humble:

  • Be more impressed with your team than with yourself.
  • Don’t build the organization around you, build a great team.
  • Work yourself out of a job.
  • Give responsibility away
  • Celebrate the wins of your team, not just your personal wins
  • Listen to your team’s ideas, and not just your own
  • Listen to the team’s feedback and be willing to pivot if their feedback is better than what you think.

Being a good leader is being a humble leader.

Be a leader that is worth following!

Key Behaviors for Multi-Site Campus Alignment

Multi-site church is awesome and many churches have gone multi site. Multi-site is the method used by most of the largest churches in the US. You replicate who you already are somewhere else. What a great idea, right?

Yes, it is a brilliant idea, but multi-site can be messy and there can be tension around multiple campuses. That is why you have to behave the right way to eliminate some of the messiness of multi-site.

Let me say up front that we are learning these principles in our church. We aren’t perfect, but we are getting better at the following behaviors.

Here are a few behaviors to provide campus alignment in your multi-site church:

1. Say The Last 10% In Meetings

Have you ever left a meeting wishing you had of said what you were really thinking? We all have had that feeling. Now, if the thoughts are rude, personal, and judgmental- Don’t say it 🙂 But many times, we leave meetings and what wasn’t said could have made the difference.

In the multi-site strategy, you have to be intentional about saying that last 10% (what is not being said).

Sometimes it provides tension and some confrontation, but most of the time your best decisions and your best teams are on the other side of those conversations.

2. Have The Right People In The Room

There is nothing more frustrating that having a meeting with the wrong people in the room. Seriously. I hate attending meetings where decisions are made, and we cannot finalize the meeting because the person making the decision wasn’t in the room. So, we have to schedule another meeting in order to make the decision.

Have the right people in the room.

Also, if it is a creative meeting, non creatives probably should not attend.

It just makes sense.

Have the right people in the room to get the ball as far down the field as possible.

3. Be Unified When Making Decisions

When the campus leaders leave a meeting, decisions need to be “our decisions,” not “their decisions.”

Campus leaders cannot lead well if every decision is not equally their decision.

You need to push for unity in your multi-site church.

Don’t finalize decisions until the team agrees to own the decision.

4. Use Common Language

In a multi-site church, common language is a huge part in its success or failure.

Figure out what the right language is for vision, strategy, and values. This needs to be the same at every campus considering you are replicating who you already are.

This aligns the staff toward a common goal, purpose, and pathway to get there.

If everyone is heading in a different direction and taking different paths to get there, it will not end in alignment, it will end in confusion and frustration.

5. Org Chart clarity

When working in a multi-site church, who you answer to matters. A lot. It matters in every organization, but in this case, you have so many hands in the mix. Questions such as:

Who makes the final decision?

Who are you to tell me what to do in my department?

Am I being told to do this or are you suggesting I do this?

These questions are so important and if you do not have answers to the org chart, dominant personalities will constantly reign and rule.

This behavior just gives your team the ability to say “no” to certain things if they need to.

These are just a few behaviors that I have noticed in our multi-site church. How about you? What are some behaviors you would add to the list?

Leadership Lessons From Star Wars

Ok, I am very very very late to the Star Wars party. Very late. I watched my first Star Wars film, the original, several months ago, and I didn’t like it. It was too geeky for me (sorry, Star Wars fans). I started with episode IV (the original).

Well, my family decided to give it another try this quarantine season, and we are into it. In fact, I’m tempted to stop writing this and go watch another right now.

This time we started with episode I, and that was a much better experience for us. We started last week, and we have watched, episodes I, II, III, & IV. We are binge watching them as a family. It’s fun and everyone is into it. I actually like Star Wars now. I never thought that I would say this.

I have noticed some interesting leadership principles in the movies that got me thinking. So here goes…

1. All leaders need honest feedback

What is interesting to me is Yoda. Yoda has so much wisdom, and does not sugar coat how he feels. He expressed his concern about Anakin from the beginning. He held off giving his support. He gave feedback to others about Anakin, and he gave Anakin feedback directly to his face. He did not sugar coat it.

Yoda and several others out of love and concern shared with Anakin their concerns about him moving on in leadership.

I think about my own leadership today. Honest feedback is essential to growth. In fact, you cannot grow in the weak areas if you have not given anyone in authority the means to speak into those areas.

2. All leaders need an apprentice

Star Wars had a leadership pipeline in place (on the dark side and the good side).

They identified leaders and made them their apprentice for the means of training them to take their place. If Obi-Wan Kenobi gets killed, he has someone ready to take his place.

This is how our organizations should be led today. We should be constantly working ourselves out of a job by developing someone under us.

Evaluate your own leadership. God forbid, but if you were taken out of the organization right now, could the organization function? If not, then you need to start leading someone to take your place.

Every leader needs an apprentice.

3. Leaders rise and fall with their integrity

The rebellion of Star Wars reminded me that every leader can rise based on their integrity or fall based on their lack of integrity.

Anakin lost his personal integrity. He became infatuated with power and pride that he gave an ear to the dark side.

In leadership, there are many things that can pull our personal integrity right out from underneath us. It can be pride, fame, respect, or a personal private fault of yours that is never dealt with.

Your ability may get you to the top, but your integrity will keep you at the top.

4. Leaders need someone that they can be honest with

Anakin had his wife, Padme, but that was not enough.

He needed someone where he could share the depression, anger, and frustrations that he was feeling. He was angry about losing his mother. He was depressed about it. He was frustrated about the council not allowing him to lead and quite frankly, he did not think that they were treating him like the chosen one.

These are real emotions. Emotions that left not dealt with can cause deep depression and bad behavior, because we behave out of what is in our heart. That is why our hearts must be clean.

Who knows the real you? Who knows your frustrations, depression, and things that you struggle with.

If you do not have a name of someone, find someone who you can be completely honest with. Every leader needs someone.

5. Leaders are human beings (they make mistakes and have feelings)

Last is simply this, leaders are human beings. They make mistakes and they have feelings.

Too often, leaders are placed on this pedastel, and revered as “above mistakes.” Listen, I don’t care who you are following in leadership, they are human and make mistakes.

Every leader makes mistakes. That is why I appreciate what Craig Groeschel says, “people would rather follow a leader who is always real than one who is always right.”

The people that you lead do not need you to be right all of the time, they need you to be real all of the time.

Don’t approach your day to day job and think you have to “have it all together.” That you cannot make a mistake. That you cannot admit that you do not know the answer. Listen, people appreciate your transparency more than you proving you are right.

Well, I am finally a Stars Wars fan. I never thought that I would say this, but I am into it, and cannot wait until we watch the next one tonight.

Working From Home Without Losing Your Mind

7 weeks ago, everything changed! Schools went virtual. Most work places went virtual. Restaurants closed. Stores closed. Life kind of shut down, and we began to realize that everything we have been told could not be remotely done is now having to be remotely done.

I like most of you began working from my home office. Two kids interrupting my zoom calls and assisting the wife in the homeschooling department as much as possible. Also, a dog who is so attached to me that he wants to jump into my lap while I work. It’s been interesting.

I have had to learn to work with a tv close by. With my son’s video games not too far away, and so many other distractions right in front of me.

I have finally gotten into a rhtyhm and I believe I have found out how to work from home without losing my mind! Praise God 🙂

1. Get up before everyone else

Listen, it is much easier to fall into the “sleeping in” trap when working from home. In fact, last week I stayed up super late to catch up on ESPN’s documentary, “The last dance.” I am ashamed that I fell behind so don’t judge me. I stayed up until 1:00 AM catching up. I was exhausted the next morning so I slept in, but found that my morning was not near as productive as other mornings. I learned my lesson.

When I get up before everyone else, I make my breakfast and get the chance to read. I spend time with God first through a YouVersion Bible reading plan and then I briefly journal a few thoughts. Then, I read all of the news happening around us for that day. I feel so much better when the kids get up, and I my mind is in gear.

Mornings are important to your leadership (even if you do not recognize it). Trust me, you lead better when your day starts the right way.

2. Have a work space

I tried the living room. I tried the kitchen. I finally got comfortable sitting in my home office. Sounds dumb that I did not start there, but the internet was not as strong in that part of the house. We now have a wifi booster since I am using it every day.

Before I get off track, here is the point: You need a space that is yours. At the office, you have your space and you need that at home to be at your best. There are way too many distractions in the living room, kitchen, or bedroom.

Find a place that you can retreat to.

3. Get a shower and get dressed

Don’t fall into the pajamas trap and be that zoom call employee who isn’t ready and looks like you just rolled out of bed.

Get up. Get a shower. Treat it like a work day, and on a normal work day, you get a shower, brush your teeth, and comb your hair (at least I hope you do).

4. Start a schedule with your kids and stick to it

Our kids started with a schedule, and it is noticeably different in my productivity when we stick to their schedule.

My kids are 8 and 6 so they need me quite a bit still for school. So sticking them to a schedule gives me some allotted time for myself to be productive and get tasks done.

There have been days where the schedule goes out the window, and I feel less productive. My son plays fort nite for 5 hours, and my daughter watches every episode of Jesse from the Disney channel that exists. Those days may be fun to some, but they are not ideal.

5. Take breaks

This is a game changer. It is a beautiful thing about home. At the office, I get less breaks, but at home, I get some “recharging breaks” that are incredible.

Take a walk

Take your kids for a ride on the bikes.

Take a 30 minute power nap (not longer).

Eat lunch with your family.

Whatever takes your mind off of work and gives you the energy to get back to it in 30 minutes or so.

This has worked wonders for my mind. I love it and hope to do more of this when I get back into the office.

These are some tips that have helped me, but I would LOVE to hear from you. How are you staying sane while working from home? Let me know in the comments below.

Leaders: Your attitude is a difference maker

I am convinced that those that we lead need our attitude way more than they need our education, knowledge, or ability.

Attitude is not a personality trait, it is a decision that we make every single day. Regardless of your position, you can affect the climate of your team with the attitude that you bring every single day.

So, what kind of attitude should we bring to the table each day. Glad you asked 🙂 Here are some of the traits of the attitude that your team needs from you:

1. Hope filled

Few things inspire people more than hope. Hope that things will get better. Hope that the future is brighter than the present.

This is why so many people are attracted to the Christian faith, because it brings a great deal of hope.

So think about your organization and those that you lead. Do you lead with hope or do you lead with doom and gloom?

2. Forward thinking

Have you ever been caravanning and the person in front of you has no idea where they are going. They turn around time and time again and seem to intentionally do it in like the most impossible place to turn around? It is frustrating and confusing. In fact, it makes me want to go my own route and figure things out on my own.

It works the exact same way in leadership of a business, church, or organization.

People want to follow someone who knows where they are going, not someone who is confused and spends most of their time pivoting, turning around, and questioning their direction.

So, how can you get better at this leaders?

Well for starters, spend a lot of time praying about direction and vision. Spend time on your strategy, mission, and values.

Your people do not need to look at you and question you are headed. If they do, they probably won’t be following you.

3. Can do

Have you ever followed those leaders that believe no mountain is too high for them? They can either be very frustrating or super intriguing.

There is a balance. Don’t be stupid and go after something you cannot achieve no matter what happens, but leaders, you have to be willing to take risks.

Risks inspire people (seriously).

I am a leader in a church so that is my world. When we look at other mega churches out there, I think one of the reasons that they are growing is that they are not afraid to take some risks in their church.

If your vision can be done with you only, it is not big enough.

You need some faith in your leadership.

4. Views circumstances as opportunities

It is refreshing to view people who view a difficult circumstance as a opportunity rather than an obstacle.

It is refreshing when we view people as opportunities rather than obstacles.

Life is all about opportunities, not obstacles. Sure there are bumps in the road, but the way that we approach and view those bumps don’t have to be obstacles, they can be viewed as opportunities.

5. Do whatever it takes

I get frustrated when I hear things like, “we have never done it that way before.” Or, “that seems like way too much work.” Look, I want to do whatever it takes, and if something hard comes along that will reap some incredible results, you better believe we should go after it.

I think people want to be challenged to do more. To be a part of something bigger than themselves.

Think about this: What is keeping you from fulfilling the dream that is in your heart? Maybe it is starting another campus. Maybe it is purchasing a piece of property. Maybe it is starting another service or hiring a staff member. Whatever it is, if God placed it within you, you need to go after it and do whatever it takes.

Some of the toughest decisions that we make can lead to the biggest results we could ever experience.

So, leaders, what kind of attitude do you bring to the table every single day?

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