Your Words Will Outlast You

Good Saturday afternoon! It’s a chilly, cold, wet day here in Indiana, but you can see the promise of spring in the green shoots Flower at NMCstarting to appear in the flower beds, robins everywhere, and most of the snow has melted away.

More and more, I am being impressed with the power of words to build up or to tear down. Often, your words are a part of your legacy – you can either cause deep wounds that leave scars for a lifetime or you can speak words of grace that stay with others for their lifetime and even beyond in those that they touch.

I came across a poem today about Dietrich Bonhoeffer that speaks of the lasting impact of his words. I hope it impacts you as it did me.

EASTER SPOILS 2012

This is the end – for me, the beginning of life. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer (from his last recorded words)

Words to a prison friend, spoken in haste.
Gestapo men had come to transfer him,
Low Sunday, sixty-seven years ago
Today. The next morning, he’d be hanged with others.
No question who was strong and who was weak.
A room of prisoners praying, when the door
Burst open. Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He went
But only after saying his goodbyes,
Stealing a few more minutes as a man
Might steal his own possessions from a thief.
Words can survive the worst, which is love’s trick;
Can, on occasion, be the love they praise.
On this distant Easter night, the world still writhes
In its uneven pain. Wakeful, I hear
Bonhoeffer voicing love’s contingency,
Love’s need, the thousand ways love dies and dies
And may live on in something someone says.

 – Charles Hughes

What will be the legacy of your words spoken to others?

BG

Words Leaders Use – Or At Least They Should!

Good morning to you!Flowers by Keely

Over the years I have come to better appreciate the power of words. Time and again, when I have worked with organizations, the employees often tell me “I only hear from them (their managers) when I make a mistake, I wish they would say something when I do a good job” or “I wish I knew how I was doing, no one ever says anything about my work” or “I worked extra hours this week trying to ship product on time and no one said thank you” and so on.

One mark of a leader is a good vocabulary that they use well and often. This particular vocabulary uses words and phrases such as the following:

Thank you!

Great job, I particularly appreciate how you did ________.

I’m sorry, I failed to ________.

I was wrong. You were right.

Great insight! Excellent idea!

Would you help me to ________? We need your input on ____.

I am glad you are a part of XYZ Organization, you make a difference!

I appreciate your hard work and dedication – you are a great example to the others.

You have worked long enough for the day – go home and be with your family.

You have earned your vacation and you need to take it – XYZ won’t fall apart while you are gone.

Stay off email at night! 

Here, let me help you.

You know, you did not do so well on ____, but I know you want to do well and I want to help you.

And finally one big addition to your vocabulary – laughter. Learn to laugh and to let your staff know that it is good to laugh!

You can change lives with your words – literally. So speak words of truth, grace, and peace to those you lead and see how it causes them to flourish.

“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, . . .” Proverbs 15:4

“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” Proverbs 16:24

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” Proverbs 25:11

BG

Praise is Powerful

One of my challenges is I tend to want to receive praise more than I give praise.  It seems that I am a tad self-centered! Which is not very smart as praise is powerful in encouraging people.

People need to hear when they are doing well.  They need to hear it from you – their leader.  So here are a few thoughts about how to praise and encourage your people:

– Do it personally, not by email.

– Do it now!  Make it as instant as possible.

– Be specific.  Tell them how what they did encourages you,

– Write a personal note to them – the key is write it, don’t type or email. (don’t worry if they can’t read your writing, the fact that you wrote it speaks volumes!)

– Publicly recognize their achievements.

– Have team meetings to celebrate successes.

The key is, personally recognize and praise the achievements of your people.  It is so easy and so powerful in encouraging people.  Don’t let self-centeredness or preoccupation get in the way of encouraging your people.  They need it – you need it.

Remember, Leaders are dealers in Hope!
BG

Encouraging the Heart

Good morning to you.  

As a leader you are, or should be, a dealer in hope.  Actually that should be fairly easy as we serve the One who is our Hope.  However, I am afraid that at times I lose sight of that fact in the midst of busyness.  We of all people should be brimming over with hope.

James Kouzes and Barry Posner in their excellent book Encouraging the Heart make the following statement:

“Encouraging the Heart is ultimately about keeping hope alive. Leaders keep hope alive when they set high standards and genuinely express optimism about an individual’s capacity to achieve them. They keep hope alive when they give feedback and publicly recognize a job well done. They keep hope alive when they give their constituents the internal support that all human beings need to feel that they and their work are important and have meaning. They keep hope alive when they train and coach people to exceed their current capacities. Most important, leaders keep hope alive when they set an example. There really is nothing more encouraging than to see our leaders practice what they preach.”

So are you keeping hope alive in those that you lead?  Including your family?

Have a great day!.
BG

Encourage the Heart and Keep Hope Alive

Good morning to you this Friday morning.  I hope you have a great weekend planned of spending time with people you love and setting aside time to quietly meet with the Lord.

As a leader you are, or should be, a dealer in hope.  Actually that should be fairly easy as we serve the One who is our Hope.  However, I am afraid that at times I lose sight of that fact in the midst of busyness.  We of all people should be brimming over with hope.

James Kouzes ad Barry Posner in their excellent book Encouraging the Heart make the following statement:

“Encouraging the Heart is ultimately about keeping hope alive. Leaders keep hope alive when they set high standards and genuinely express optimism about an individual’s capacity to achieve them. They keep hope alive when they give feedback and publicly recognize a job well done. They keep hope alive when they give their constituents the internal support that all human beings need to feel that they and their work are important and have meaning. They keep hope alive when they train and coach people to exceed their current capacities. Most important, leaders keep hope alive when they set an example. There really is nothing more encouraging than to see our leaders practice what they preach.”

So are you keeping hope alive in those that you lead?  Including your family?

Have a great weekend.
BG

Encourage Someone’s Heart – Today

Well it’s Friday – hopefully you have had a full, productive and effective week of ministry / creating art.  If you are like me, I don’t really remember accomplishing anything of any worth without the help, counsel, inspiration, or encouragement of others around me this week.  not only are we desperately dependent upon the Lord, we are so dependent on others.

So today – not tomorrow or next week – but today, take a few minutes and thank some of those people.  Stop and hand write a note to some of those people expressing your genuine appreciation for them.  And please don’t forget those dear servants that serve quietly in the background keeping the wheels of the organization running smoothly, often with very little recognition.

So today – today – encourage someone’s heart.  The funny thing is – you will be blessed by doing so.

BG
Hebrews 10:24-25

How do You Cope with the Demands of Leadership?

I receive a great devotional online a few times a week entitled Lead Like Jesus. It is short and powerful.

The one I received this morning touched an area that I am increasingly becoming more aware of in its importance to the longevity of leaders.  The basic fact is that we need other people to help us to cope with the heavy demands of leadership  – it is critical to our overall health and effectiveness.

Now you don’t need just anyone obviously.  If you are a leader or aspire to be a leader you need spiritual friendships and partnerships with people that encourage and challenge you in your walk with Christ and in your calling.  Someone(s) that care enough about you to call you out on things when needed and also encourage you.

You also need to be that person for someone else.  Who are you investing in? Challenging? Encouraging? Helping to grow?  If you aren’t investing into someone else, I challenge you to find someone this next week and begin to do so.

I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you —that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. Romans 1:11-12

Have a great weekend,

BG

Do Not Withhold Good

“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.” – Proverbs 3:27

An exercise many do and one I enjoy during various seasons of my life, is reading a Proverb a day.  Works well as there are 31 Proverbs.

This morning, this particular Proverb really struck me.  I began wondering how often I have withheld good from those I lead.  Have you ever not promoted someone or transferred them because it would hurt your team, even though it would be good for your team member in their growth?

One particular area of withholding good that I have been challenged with, is withholding words of encouragement due to my own laziness. We all need to be encouraged and we all need to encourage others.

So, this week, do not withhold the good of encouraging those around you – especially those that you lead.

BG