Posts Tagged ‘respect’

What You Say Reveals Your Heart

October 31, 2016

Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. James

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Jesus

A theme underlying the popularity of one of our candidates for President seems to be recovering the ability to say whatever you think. No filter between emotions and mouth. No more watching what you say for fear of offending someone (political correctness).

There is a segment of society–mostly men from what little I can gather–that feel bridled. They can’t tell racist jokes. They can’t call women fat. They can’t call groups of people by slur words.

Interesting that James some 2,100 years ago identified that same problem. But he didn’t sympathize. He identified the unbridled tongue as a wild fire.

Saying whatever comes to mind from whatever source leads to many things, and none of them good. James observes based on a long tradition in Jewish thought (and most likely from other sources as well) that the tongue guides the body. An unbridled tongue has the same effect on our bodies as the actions of a horse without a bridle.

The unbridled tongue has started riots, caused people to be killed, injured family members causing disruption of relationships.

Jesus takes it a step further.

What you say is a reflection of what is in our hearts.

When we think it is our right to speak whatever we want, that could be true. But is it wise?

As we learn to set our hearts on the better things, we will find ourselves less and less apologizing for speaking unwisely.

Can we say along with a keynote speaker I heard last week, “You could mic me on a five day fishing trip to Montana with my buddies. When you play back the recording, it would not make my daughter blush.”

Simple Leadership Ideas

October 14, 2016

Learning is not compulsory…neither is survival. –W. Edwards Demming, quality guru

Kevin Meyer is CEO of a manufacturing company and has other extensive manufacturing and entrepreneurial experience. He is a practitioner and promoter of Lean Manufacturing principles as well as a student (in a way) of Zen. I’ve been reading his book, The Simple Leader: Leadership at the nexus of Lean and Zen.

Don’t let the Zen part throw you off, considering this is a Christian blog. I’ve learned much about mindfulness and calm from practicing Zen. No less a thinking and Christian than Thomas Merton explored the similarities.

However, back to the point–and our Friday leadership lesson.

Foundation of the thinking of the book:

There are two pillars of Lean: Create value through continuous improvement; and, Respect for people.

“Zen is not necessarily a religion: rather, it is a human- and present-centered way of life.”

They go together. I just visited a facility in Mason, Ohio yesterday that operates by Lean principles. You can sense the respect for people principle at work just walking in the front door. Then there is the shop floor. Quiet, clean, brightly lit, people going about their jobs at a steady pace lacking frantic actions and shouting–like it was when I started years ago.

Meyer says, “A hallmark of the best leaders I’ve been lucky to work with is that they are often the quietest people in the room. They don’t feel the need to assert their authority by talking, as they’ve already earned it with their authenticity.”

We know these leaders when we meet them. Talk about calm in the eye of the storm as a metaphor–or follow Jesus’ example of literally calm in the eye of the storm. Treating people with respect. Letting people be free to make decisions providing the context for them to know the right decisions.

For those of us who are task focused, it’s good to be reminded about the other people around. And how to treat them. And how to help them grow. Remaining in the present moment. Maintaining an aura of calm.

Respect For People

June 1, 2016

If there is a foundation principle for this blog, it could be respect for people. Even if you are dealing with difficult people or people who have failed at something, the principle means that you deal with them openly yet respectfully.

I’m on a bit of a vacation, which means I brought along books to read. I am just finishing The Simple Leader: Personal and Professional Leadership at the Nexus of Lean and Zen, by Kevin L. Meyer. Don’t get worried by the terms Lean and Zen. Lean is a way of life in manufacturing, but it can also be applied to personal life. There is a non-religious component of Zen, which, if you knew that, you’d realize you see some if it in my writing. I studied it many years ago.

There are two foundation principles to Lean: reduce waste and respect for people (or could be translated humanity). There’s not room to include the Zen part today, but the essential parts are mindfulness and simplicity.

While meditating this morning, two thoughts dominated my awareness. The first is that so much of what I write is based on a foundation (and a wish that I would perfectly embody it) of respecting others. That is how I can have friends from so many cultures and religions.

I see no conflict to being a follower of Jesus yet respecting someone who follows Muhammad, the Buddha, or Krishna, or whatever. There are human complexities that I just don’t understand. Who am I to judge?

The other thought is how I am so disappointed when I see people showing so little respect to much anyone. Skimming through my Facebook “news” stream shows plenty of that. Even worse is skimming newspapers or watching TV news.

One of the organizations developed by people that often shows the opposite side of respect unfortunately are our Christian churches. Begun by our early leaders to bring people together for instruction and worship, so many degenerate into an “us vs. them” mindset that I literally grieve. They have ruined so many lives–or rather people within them who fail to show respect have ruined so many lives.

Business, churches, personal life–all thrive with the foundation of respect for people.

Treating Our Fellow Humans Well

February 29, 2016

I have many friends and acquaintances who are followers of Islam. Not one is even remotely a terrorist. Or even a bad person.

One thing I have noticed while reading about how Jesus and Paul treated people–they treated people of all cultures with respect.

Jesus was watched very carefully by the ultra-religious among the Pharisees. Every little thing was commented on. Yet, even in the Jewish  areas where he mainly served, he treated “outsiders” with respect. Think of his healings of Romans. Or the Samaritan woman.

Paul’s ministry was explicitly to people outside the Jewish faith and culture. Yet, he too treated people of other cultures well. Think of his “debate” in Athens pointing out the statue to the unknown god. “I’m here to tell you about that unknown God you’re worshiping. He is real.”

Last week I wrote a plea for more mature relationships among men and women. This week, I’m going even more off the deep end (at least as far as Americans are concerned) by commenting on relations with Muslims.

Someone asked me once about Muslims and Christians worshiping the same God. Certainly Muslims trace their lineage back to Abraham, just as we do. John Fischer on The Catch has been discussing this issue with great sensitivity and understanding.

I’m not going to give an answer to the question. But I know that most of the readers of this blog would be amazed to know just what is in the Quran. And that many Muslims are taught much more about Jesus than many who call themselves Christian.

I don’t believe that Muslims must suddenly become Baptist or Methodist. But I think that it is only a short step to go from their understanding of Jesus to the faith in the resurrection. We only need to present clearly the evidence that Jesus is even greater than they are taught.

My concern for people is not what “church” they call home–if indeed they even have one. My concern is to make disciples of Jesus. Maybe they are Samaritan. Maybe Greek. Maybe Muslim. Maybe Buddhist. Jesus is what is important. And sometimes we lose sight of the basics of the faith.

Humans are born with a longing. Jesus fulfills it. Those of us who are truly disciples try to tell others about that in such a way not to turn them off but to engage and encourage.

Leadership Tip-Team Building

July 31, 2015

What made Phil Jackson such a great coach in the National Basketball Association. Arguably it was his ability to take a group of super-talented individuals and convince them that their role in the team was important but that all of them working together blending their roles would bring championships.

Building teams is the best way to move an organization or even committee forward.

Here are some elements of team building for leaders:

  • Define why you are building a team (winning NBA championship, leading a new building campaign, selling a product, leading a church)
  • Define the roles you need to be successful (not just filling spots, but recruiting talented people to fill roles)
  • Carefully recruiting people who can fill a role or be trained for that role
  • Continually work with each person and the group to build trust and communication
  • Leaders must constantly hold out the vision and purpose to the team to avoid splintering into factions going different ways

If you are leading a team of leaders, it’s the same thing. But each team member will go off to lead their teams. It is important that the team building be passed down the organization. A good team at the top builds teams all the way throughout the organization.

The enemy of teams–silos. When leaders appear to communicate together, but the conversations are superficial, that is a warning sign of silos. When each leader goes off and does their own thing without regard to the work of other teams, then the organization grows dysfunctional. That reflects lack of top leadership. It also reflects lack of vision.

When Jesus said people would know his followers by their love, he didn’t exactly mean that they were always sitting in a circle holding hands and singing Cum Ba Yah. Love demands respect.

A team-building leader respects people as a first priority. And respect for people filters througout the entire organization.

A great team consists of people who fulfill their roles in pursuit of the common visions where everyone has respect for the others.

Respect For People Key To Leadership

April 15, 2015

There was a person in a leadership role, but he failed to exhibit the least bit of leadership. Isn’t it amazing, yet sad, how often that sort of person exists?

People were like objects to him. Just names on a spreadsheet. Employees who were always trying to beat the system. They were always trying to get out of doing work.

He would even terminate people via email and then publicly humiliate them.

Ideas? He had all the ideas. Initiative? If you stuck your neck out trying to accomplish something in his organization, that just made it vulnerable for his next tirade.

He seemed to care about people at times. In the end, he really didn’t.

Sometimes he would have a flash of insight into himself and the organization and wonder why things were not going well. Why was the organization not growing and thriving? Why did people not seem to be happy at work?

But the feeling would quickly leave. It is hard work to truly lead.

The leader who truly leads the group (company, organization, department, committee) understands the value of people. She respects others and treats them as functioning human beings full of ideas and hopes and wanting to contribute and find meaning in the mission of the group.

Fortunately, these leaders exist. They trust their team members to do their jobs with appropriate follow up. They expect ideas and initiative and reward publicly those who try and communicate privately with those who need help or who fall short. “How can I help?” is the mantra of a leader.