Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Leaders Are Communicators

October 9, 2015

Reflecting on Paul, perhaps the greatest leader (outside of Jesus) in the early church. He came out of nowhere. He was not part of the inner circle. Heck, he wasn’t in any circles when Jesus was alive. We don’t hear about him until after the resurrection and the formation of the early church. And then he was an instigator.

Then, he was converted. He was taught. He was commissioned.

He visited little groups of followers and taught and preached. He encouraged them to grow in numbers and in strength of spirit.

He also wrote. That’s how we know about him today. We all study what he wrote way back then in letters that he could only hope would make it to their destinations, let alone make it into books that we read today.

He had a vision. He had passion. But he exploited that through his use of the written and spoken word.

Much as  I never much cared for Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE, he did teach me one thing from his books–the importance of crafting your message as a leader and then speaking and writing that message at every opportunity. As a leader, you have to get your message out.

I have interviewed the senior leadership of a $7 billion automation company many times. I’ll interview the CEO, and he’ll give me the message. Then I’ll interview three or four senior vice presidents. They’ll all give me that message as it relates to their areas. Then I’ll talk to director level people. Same thing. The message gets through.

How about your organization? Does it have a message? Is it clearly articulated such that just about everyone can understand it? If I interviewed all the people in your organization, would they be able to tell me what the message is and be able to relate it to their role?

In some of the organizations where I am in a leadership role, I find myself communicating all the time. Emails, notes, brochures, phone calls, text messages, Facebook or Website. You’ve got to use every means available.

If you are working quietly away from people, you’re probably not leading.

Leadership Through Mentoring

September 18, 2015

Paul (the Apostle) must have been quite a leader. He is credited with almost single-handedly spreading the Christian church all over the northwest and northern Mediterranian area. Yet we know him through his letters and some stories in Acts.

He wasn’t a bishop. He evidently was not a pastor. He was a speaker, teacher, and writer. Yet he did plant churches and shepherd the people and their leaders.

We lack much detailed information. Reading carefully through the letters and stories in Acts, we can find examples of many other leaders who also went about starting and nourishing churches.

I became a leader in an organization first by saying Yes. I decided to serve the group.

Then I applied myself to diligently learning and growing in experience. I studied so that I could answer questions.

Then, I started looking for the next people to do that and carry on further than I could go.

I think Paul did much the same.

He was the most educated of the Apostles. That education served him well enabling him to provide documentation of the theology and practice of the new movement.

Then he said Yes.

After saying Yes and committing, he applied himself diligently to learning beyond his formidable education. And he gained experience speaking.

In this way he could teach, and speak, and write.

Then we notice his letters to Timothy. We see another side of Paul–Paul the mentor.

He picks his next generation leaders. Then he nurtures them. Giving advice, consolation, support, encouragement. 

We can say Leaders are [lots of things]. But for sure, Leaders are Mentors.

The Art of Leadership Requires The Art of Communication

May 15, 2015

He just sort of went his own way. Left the others behind and bewildered. Instructions were muddled. Text messages with u and 4 and ty rather than spelled out, complete sentence communiques.

She could talk and talk; and then when you walked away you wondered, “Just what did she say?”

Worse still is the leader who just doesn’t talk, or text, or send emails.

A friend of mine used to say, “Just pick up the phone and call.”

The leadership lesson I’m contemplating today is when a leader does not communicate–either clearly or at all.

We all know them. We’ve worked for them. Maybe when we look in the mirror we see one.

In the Bible I can think of Joseph who clearly communicated–first to the king and then to the people and saved them from starvation. Daniel who spoke clearly to a number of kings and the people who served him.King David, who was able to give clear and explicit orders–even when they were wrong. Nehamiah. Oh, yes, Nehemiah. He spoke clearly to his leader to get permission to travel to Jerusalem. Then he spoke clearly to the leaders of the Jews when he arrived. And he did a great work.

Are you aware of your weakness in communication? I know that I’m a better writer than one-on-one communicator. I hate “just picking up the phone” even when I should.

Recently I know of a situation that I’m trying to rectify where there was almost a total breakdown of communications that almost wrecked a project. One person didn’t speak up. Another didn’t assure that he was undersood when he talked. Worse, most was done by brief email exchanges.

I consulted with an executive director of an agency once where I was trying to get him to see how to communicate with his board. It started from within, that he felt like an equal. That his opinion and vision mattered. And then he needed to take his vision to the board collectively and individually.

What I have learned through bitter experience–a leader must be a great communicator. There is no one correct style of communication. But she’d better have a good one and be good at it.