5 Rules of Healthy Leadership

5 Rules of Healthy Leadership

LEADERSHIP MATTERS by Roger Yancey, D.Min.

Who taught you to be a leader?  November is a month we gather with family and friends to express Thanksgiving for the many blessings of God in our lives.  Why not take a moment to reflect on those who taught you about leadership and how to serve well the body of Christ, those who invested in you and showed you by example the impact of a life yielded to the Holy Spirit and transformed by the pursuit of knowing Jesus?  I am grateful for the many friends and mentors I have enjoyed in my life.  One of those is Eric Gieger.  I came to know Eric more than a decade ago as the author of Simple Church.  We brought Eric in to lead a Ministry Staff Retreat and he did an outstanding job.  We then came into regular contact with each other when I served for 8 years as a LifeWay Trustee where Eric led various divisions and was the driving force behind the Gospel Project curriculum.  While Eric is now the Sr. Pastor of Mariners Church, he continues to be someone who challenges my growth through his writings. 

That’s why when Eric posted recently about a book authored in 2009 by Dave Ulrich, The Leadership Code, I was prompted to revisit the book and bring you the core highlights I have gleaned from it.  You can find Eric’s article on this book at https://ericgeiger.com/2023/09/the-leadership-code-a-framework-for-the-transferable-tasks-of-a-leader/.

A major takeaway of the book is that the core elements of good leadership are transferable from one role to another.  While there is a percentage of leadership that is “domain specific to an industry” and has to be learned over time, the essentials of leadership are the same from role to role.  Ulrich shares 5 Rules for leaders to be mindful of and to intentionally develop in their lives.  All leaders will have areas they are more easily competent in but all 5 are needed for effective leaders.  I encourage you to read the list and identify the area(s) you are the strongest in and the one you might need to grow in.

Rule 1: Be A Strategist – Shape the future. Deliberate leaders anticipate the future and work through the answer of “Where are we going?” looking at different possibilities and time frames.  They create a sense of urgency and work with their team to advance the ministry from where it is to where it is heading.

Rule 2: Be an Executor – Make things happen. Intentional leaders are focused on the question “How will we make sure we get to where we are going?” How will we achieve the change needed, build in accountability, create the plans, coordinate our endeavors, share information, and build a strategic outcome?

Rule 3: Be a Talent Manager – Engage today’s talent. Forward-thinking leaders answer the question, “Who goes with us on our business (ministry) journey?” They choose the right people for the right role and make sure they are equipped with what they need to succeed. 

Rule 4: Be a Human Capital Developer – Build the next generation. These future-focused leaders who are committed to discovering the next generation of leaders.  How we integrate them into present opportunities often provides the impetus for their personal growth.

Rule 5: Be Proficient – Invest in yourself. While this is the 5th rule it is critical to the other 4 areas as you can’t take people further than you are willing to go yourself.  You need regular time to self-develop and grow in your leadership capacity.  Unless you create the time and space for your own growth, it will never happen. 

I trust you will find the concepts in this book as helpful as I have in your own leadership journey.  While written from a business perspective, the leadership principles it exposes are found in the book of Proverbs.  May we all endeavor to grow in our own capacity for the greater glory of God’s Kingdom!

In Kingdom service,

 Executive Director, AMS

6 Soft Skills of Effective Leaders

6 Soft Skills of Effective Leaders

LEADERSHIP MATTERS by Roger Yancey, D.Min.

Do you want to be a more effective servant leader?  I believe most church leaders want to be growing leaders.  We know the scripture is the foundation for building the ethic and character of true leadership.  Many times, I have been reading a secular book on leadership and have seen principles from the Bible referenced directly or indirectly in the pages of the text.

 That came to mind when reading an article online by Larry Buhl regarding “Soft Skills” which employers find valuable in candidates for open positions in their companies.  As I reviewed these qualities, I saw they would be desirable in our church leadership too.  As you read the information below reflect on how you’re doing on your “Soft Skill” development. 

Leadership/Team Building. Can you build a team?  Servant-Leaders need to be able to recruit and equip a team to “do the work of ministry” so the ministry can grow to its full potential.  Too often leaders will falter in creating a team and try to accomplish all the work themselves.  This solo effort will often cause a loss of effectiveness and leader burnout.

 Team Player. Do you know how to play well with others in the sandbox?  Servant Leaders must model good team behaviors including shared leadership if we are going to build strong team members.  It is important to let others lead out in the areas of their expertise and to not be a “minimizing” expert on everything.

 Goal-Oriented Self-Starter. Do you work hard without direct supervision?  More importantly, do you work on the right things at the right time or do you just stay busy without effectiveness?  Servant leaders stay focused on the “main things” so they don’t lose sight of the goals which move the ministry forward.

 Excellent Communicator. Everyone in ministry needs to be able to “write a coherent memo or email, give clear verbal instructions, and help meetings run smoothly” not to mention present information in a clear and precise manner.  The only thing worse than pointless preaching is “long” pointless preaching.

 Flexibility/Multi-Tasking Ability. Can you handle the varied duties of ministry?  Most of us will never be in a place where all we ever have to do are the things for which we have passion.  We are required to cope with having many ministry plates spinning at one time.

 Sense of Humor. Not taking yourself too seriously is appreciated by the other members of our team and the congregations we serve.  Knowing how to lighten up a tough situation when appropriate is always appreciated.  Ministry is too hard to not learn how to laugh…Jesus did.

In Kingdom service,

Executive Director, AMS

As iron sharpens iron,

So one person sharpens another.

Proverbs 27:17 NASB

The Emotionally Healthy Leader

The Emotionally Healthy Leader

LEADERSHIP MATTERS by Roger Yancey, D.Min.

January marks a season of beginnings.  Resolutions are made and good intentions abound, but most are discarded within the first 45 days.  I am not going to ask you to make a resolution, but I wonder if you are willing to accept a challenge to grow in your leadership capacity in 2023.  Throughout 2023 we will be exploring resources and ways to be the type of servant leader God wants us to be.

It all begins with a life built upon and fully yielded to Christ.  To be effective as leaders we need to be sure we monitor, grow, and mature in our emotional health.

In this month of beginnings, we start by asking ourselves a simple question, “Am I an emotionally healthy leader or do I lead out of an unhealthy emotional mindset?”  A great resource in answering this question is found in Peter Scazzero’s book, The Emotionally Healthy Leader.  Peter Scazzero, served for 26 years as the Senior Pastor of New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, New York a church he founded and now serves as the Teaching Pastor/Pastor at Large has written several bestselling books including The Emotionally Healthy Leader, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, and Emotionally Healthy Discipleship.

In Chapter 1, Scazzero identifies “The emotionally unhealthy leader is someone who operates in a continuous state of emotional and spiritual deficit, lacking emotional maturity and a “being with God” sufficient to sustain their “doing for God.”   These leaders have emotional and spiritual deficits impacting every part of their lives which include a lack of awareness of their feelings, weaknesses, limits, and empathy.  Their lack of emotional health impacts their leadership, the people they lead, and every aspect of their lives.  They are often doing more than their spiritual capacity can carry and lack a healthy work and sabbath rhythm.  As Wayne Cordeiro shared, “They are leading on empty.”

 

“As a result, emotionally unhealthy leaders skim when building their ministries. Rather than following the apostle Paul’s example of building with materials that will last—gold, silver, and costly stones (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)—they settle for something like wood, straw, and mud. They build with inferior materials that will not stand the test of a generation, let alone the fire of final judgment. In the process, they obscure the beauty of Christ they say they want the whole world to see. No well-intentioned leader would set out to lead this way, but it happens all the time.”

 Most of the book is given over to the development of the Inner Life and the Outer Life.  Using the familiar motif of a tree, he talks to the reader about the Inner Life showing itself below ground while the Outer Life is manifested above ground.

The Inner Life

Face Your Shadows. “Your shadow is the accumulation of untamed emotions, less-than-pure motives and thoughts that, while largely unconscious, strongly influence and shape your behaviors. It is the damaged but mostly hidden version of who you are.” The journey into looking into the real impact of our past, of acknowledging and dealing with emotional hurts, and understanding the influences which have shaped us can be a painful but liberating step toward wholeness.

 Lead Out of Your Marriage or Singleness.  While our primary calling/vocation is to follow Jesus, we do so within our Marriage or Singleness which “must inform our self-understanding and the outworking of our leadership.”  If married, our spouse cannot be relegated to a secondary position but must know they are our covenantal partner we deeply love.

 Slow Down for Loving Union.  “Bearing fruit requires slowing down enough to give Jesus direct access to every aspect of our lives and our leadership…The key question is to what extent is the door of our heart open to him?”  “Making the necessary changes to slow down your life for loving union with Jesus is a countercultural, prophetic stance.”

 Practice Sabbath Delight.  “Biblical Sabbath is a twenty-four-hour block of time in which we stop work, enjoy rest, practice delight, and contemplate God…the fact that Sabbath happens weekly means that it has a rhythm, one that stands in stark contrast to the typical rhythm to the world around us.”

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The Outer Life

Planning and Decision Making.  “Emotionally healthy planning and decision making begins with an assumption…that as fallen human beings we have a tendency to develop hardened hearts.”  If you are not concerned about developing a hardened heart it probably already has.  To safeguard our hearts, we need to “define success as radically doing God’s will, creating a space for heart preparation, praying for prudence, and looking for God inside our limits.”

Culture and Team Building.  “Creating an emotionally healthy culture and building a healthy

team are among the primary tasks for every leader, whether that leader is a senior pastor … and the task for Christian leaders is even more demanding because the kind of culture and teams we create are to be radically different than those of the world.” This includes understanding our team’s spiritual development, creating a healthy culture, and true biblical team building.

Power and Wise Boundaries.  “Navigating the issue of power is a true test of both character and leadership. We’re more than willing to talk about the abuse of power when news breaks about a scandal in someone else’s life, but the minefields surrounding the use of power are rarely acknowledged … This silence leads to consequences and significant harm, with the potential not only to wipe out a lifetime of good work but to undermine our ministries for years to come.” This chapter will provide the reader with the content and context to work through these challenging issues.

Endings and New Beginnings.  “Like the ending of the seasons, we experience leadership endings with those we serve. In fact, I would say leaders experience even more endings and losses than the average person. Such losses may span a continuum from large to small, but a loss is a loss, and each one leaves its mark on us. To a greater or lesser degree, these endings drain our energy and diminish our ability to rise for the next challenge. They knock us off balance—at least for a time.” As leaders, we navigate these waters with an understanding of the hope of Christ.

The Emotionally Healthy Leader is a book that will challenge and increase your leadership capacity.  I pray in 2023 you will become more and more the Christ follower you have been called to be and serve his church with ever increasing effectiveness.

In Kingdom service,

Executive Director / AMS

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

 Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV