Listen as executive coach, Scott McBride, discusses Emotional Intelligence

Listen to the Chattahoochee Driftwood leadership podcast to hear a discussion with executive coach Scott McBride on the importance of emotional intelligence for a leader.

Scott McBride

A Powerful Leadership Development Tool

Good morning – weird weather here in SW Michigan – early in the morning and already in the 40’s and the snow is melting rapidly.

Leadership development is critical to an organization’s health and longevity.  Many of us have systems in place to help prepare the next generation of leaders to take over when it is time to transition.  We have training classes, send them to seminars, have them read books and maybe send them back to school for more education.  However, we often miss one very simple tool for developing a new leader.

Just let them do it!  Just delegate some of your responsibilities and let them lead!  In our organization we were talking  the other day about how some of the senior leadership simply had to give away some things due to the overwhelming demands of a new initiative and rapid growth in other areas of the ministry.  In the midst of this, leaders who we wondered if they were ready have stepped up and performed at a high level.

It would be nice to say that this was a planned progression, but unfortunately it was unplanned and forced.  The result has been a great appreciation for the young leaders we have on board and a relief that responsibilities can be off loaded and handled well and sometimes handled better that we were handling them!

So to develop some of your young leaders, simply take a chance and let them run with the ball for a while.  You may be surprised at how well they do.

Blessings on your week!
BG

Make a Difference This Week

Good morning – it is a cold wet morning here in southwest Michigan.

Last night, I had a great experience. We had something that needed to be fixed at our house that was beyond my very limited handyman capabilities, so we asked a young man to come over and fix the problem.  It was a great time of talking with this young man as I fetched things or held things for him as he made the repair. When he was finished, I asked him about paying him and he said he wanted to trade out his work.  What he wanted in exchange was some of my time once a month to be able to ask me questions and to just talk.  I was humbled and then felt very old!

I was also impressed by this young man’s wisdom.  He realized that he could not walk through this life on his own and was seeking several men to input into his life. For years, I have done the same and have recommended the same to others.

The question I have for you, is WHO are YOU investing into right now?  What young man or woman are you influencing?  Are you seeking and building relationships with younger people to help build this next generation of leaders?

While we continually need people investing into our lives, we also need to be very intentional about investing into others as well.

Be intentional this week and make a difference in a young person’s life.

BG

The Way of the Shepherd

Good morning and I hope your week is getting off to a great start.  Here at Life Action, we are entering into an annual event we call “Revival Week”.  It is a time when we pretty much stop fir the week and collectively focus on the Lord seeking Him to work deeply within this ministry.  We would appreciate your prayers for us during this time.

The following is a slight update of a previous post about one of my favorite books.  I have used this book at the ministry and in many of the classes I teach at Bethel College and the impact has been tremendous. The book is The Way of the Shepherd, 7 Ancient Secrets to Managing Productive People by Kevin Leman and William Pentak.

Following are the highlights of the book:

1. Know the Condition of Your Flock
a. Follow the status of your people as well as the status of the work.
b. Get to know your flock, one sheep at a time.
c. Engage your people on a regular basis.
d. Keep your eyes and ears open, question, and follow through.

2. Discover the Shape of Your Sheep
a. Your choice of sheep can make flock management easier or harder.
b. Start with healthy sheep, or you’ll inherit someone else’s problems.
c. Know the SHAPE of your sheep to make sure they’re in the right fold.

3. Help Your Sheep Identify with You
a. Build trust with your followers by modeling authenticity, integrity, and compassion.
b. Set high standards of performance.
c. Relentlessly communicate your values and sense of mission.
d. Define the cause for your people and tell them where they fit in.
e. Remember that great leadership isn’t just professional; it’s personal.

4. Make Your Pasture a Safe Place
a. Keep your people well informed.
b. Infuse every position with importance.
c. Cull chronic instigators from the flock.
d. Regularly rotate the sheep to fresh pastures.
e. Reassure the sheep by staying visible.
f. Don’t give problems time to fester.

5. The Staff of Direction
a. Know where you’re going, get out in front, and keep your flock on the move.
b. When directing, use persuasion rather than coercion.
c. Give your people freedom of movement, but make sure they know where the fence line is. Don’t confuse boundaries with bridles!
d. When your people get in trouble, go and get them out.
e. Remind your people that failure isn’t fatal.

6. The Rod of Correction
a. Protect: Stand in the gap and fight for your sheep.
b. Correct: Approach discipline as a teaching opportunity.
c. Inspect: Regularly inquire about your people’s progress.

7. The Heart of the Shepherd
a. Great leadership is a lifestyle, not a technique.
b. Every day you have to decide who’s going to pay for your leadership—you or your people.
c. Most of all, have a heart for your sheep.

Again – a great little book.

My question – Are you shepherding your people or are you just managing them?

Three Questions to Improve Your Performance

We all want to improve and one of the best ways to improve is through good feedback from those we work with on a regular basis especially those that support us.  At times we may ask open ended questions such as “How am I doing?” which really don’t help very much.

Thomas DeLong writes in the Harvard Business Review blog about the SKS method.  It is simply these three questions:

  1. What should I stop doing?
  2. What should I keep doing?
  3. What should I start doing?

The SKS also counteracts our tendency to avoid seeking out other people’s opinions of our attitudes and behaviors. The SKS process breaks the hold our illusions have on us.

He also recommends using the following questions to help you identify the behaviors that are keeping you stuck and the behaviors that will help you move in new directions:

Stop

  • Are you hearing that you should quit doing something that you feel is a skill or strength?
  • Is your first response that quitting this behavior will have catastrophic consequences?
  • On reflection, is it possible that you’ve fallen into a behavioral rut? If you stop doing one thing, might you have an opportunity to try something new and different?

Keep

  • Is there something you’re doing right that people feel you should do more of?
  • Have you been dismissive of this particular behavior or skill for some reason?
  • What might happen if you used this “keep” more? How might it impact your effectiveness and satisfaction with your job?

Start

  • Are people recommending you do something that feels foreign or scary?
  • What about it makes you anxious? Is it because you are afraid of looking like you don’t know what you’re doing?
  • Why are people suggesting you start doing this new thing? What benefits do they feel will accrue to you, your group, or your organization?

Some good questions – click here to read the entire article.

Blessings on your 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

Some Questions to Develop Your Team

Is your team operating at a level that satisfies you?  Are they growing in their ability to make effective and wise decisions and then execute them?

Often times the “cap” on our teams performance is us.  Often when they come to us with a situation that needs a decision we quickly make it for them (we like to make decisions and we’re good at it right?).  The problem is, that often instead of helping them, we have actually disempowered them and taken ownership of the challenge away from them.

So try adding these questions to your “portfolio” to use with your team members.  I believe you will enjoy the growth that you see as a result.

What do you think we ought to do?

What are your two or three suggestions for this issue?

How do you see . . .?

What if we . . .?

Have you ever considered . . .?

How would you handle this situation? Why?

What do you think is keeping us from moving forward?

The key is, after you ask – LISTEN!!  And act on their suggestions as often as you can.  Remember, we want them to be the hero – not us.

By the way – check out MindTools for some great decision making tools – just click here.

Blessings on your day from a very hot southwest Michigan!
BG

How Good are Your Leadership Skills?

So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.” – Peter Drucker

Often, one of the greatest impediments to our team’s effectiveness is us as is noted in Peter Drucker’s quote above.  We are often the limiter. In fact Joseph Juran, one of the fathers of the total quality movement, often stated that at least 80% of all quality issues were caused by management – not the workers.

It is critical as leaders that we are continuously learning and growing.  Also, that we are very self-aware, that we are conscious of the ways that we hinder our people and that we are in the process of addressing those issues.

The Mind-Tools site has a pretty good assessment tool to help you with seeing where you are in regards to your leadership skills.  Click here to take the assessment.

Grace and peace to you,
BG

Different Ways to Read

If you enjoy reading, you might enjoy this blog post by Trevin Wax on the different ways to read.

What is Keeping You From Growing?

As Christians, we should be on a journey of growth – of sanctification.  Continuing to become more conformed to the image of Christ.

As leaders, we should also be on a path of continual learning and growth in regards to our role as a leader.  But sometimes we aren’t.  Sometimes we seem to be stuck.

So what are the barriers we may be encountering to our growth? James Kouzes & Barry Posner suggest the following three areas that might be a barrier to our growth:

Pride – this is the granddaddy of most of our problems – spiritually, professionally, relationally and so on. They make the statement that you can’t be proud and teachable at the same time which is so true.  In our ministry, we have found pride to be the number one issue in most people’s lives that hinder their relationship with God, their relationships with others and hinders their growth.

Success – it has been said that success is a greater test of a man’s character than adversity.  Sometimes we rest on our success and feel like we have it all figured out.  This is deadly in regards to your continued growth.  In fact a book has been written about this called What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There.

Lack of Time – to grow, you need to invest time in learning. You need to be intentional.  I would actually title this one Priorities as we tend to make time for what is important to us.  The problem many of us actually deal with is incorrect priorities.

So – what are you doing about growing in all areas of your life?  Do you have a plan?  If not, check out this post by Michael Hyatt for a great tool to help in this area.

Hope you have a great week as we prepare to remember what Christ did for all of us on the Cross and to celebrate the victory of His Resurrection.

BG