How do you judge others? How about yourself? And what does that have to do with teamwork?
One saying that I have heard and have found to be generally true is that “We judge others by their behaviors and ourselves by our intent”.
Another thing that happens is that when we lack self-awareness and others-awareness we will often attribute the negative or frustrating behaviors of our teammates to their intentions or as a character issue while explaining away our behavior to the circumstances or our environment. This attitude or approach is toxic to teams.
We are all different – wondrously made by our Creator and in His image. Be careful to not attribute intent or character issues to things that are simply personality characteristics and they simply irritate you as you have a different personality. This is called the fundamental attribution error by the way.
Start assuming good intent with your teammates. Become a student of them, learn about their personalities and histories so that you understand how and why they react as they do. Do the same for yourself.
You will have a much stronger team if you do.
Blessings on your week!
Would you agree with me that communication is difficult at best? We all listen with so many of our “filters” on that sometimes I am astounded that communication happens at all. Then you add to that how ineffectively so many of us are in trying to communicate. In so many employee surveys poor communication is so often at the top of the issues listed.
And most of the time it’s not poor intent. People do want to communicate with others. The problem is that communicating is a skill – a skill that we need to master.
In the Inc.com article “8 Ways to Improve Your Communication Right Now“, Kevin Daum lists these eight ways to improve our skill in communicating:
1. Have One Conversation at a Time
2. Look People in the Eye
3. Ask Two Questions
4. Write Things Down
5. Read and Respond to the Entire Email
6. Create a Response Schedule
7. Assume Best Intentions
8. Close the Loop
It’s a good article – click here to read it in its entirety.
Blessings on your day!
This past week, I was able to work with two excellent leadership teams. From last Sunday through last Thursday, I had the privilege of co-facilitating a leadership retreat for the AWANA Global Leadership Team. What a great group of people – they are passionate about their mission and they are united in their hearts.
I left the AWANA retreat Thursday morning headed to southwest Michigan to join in Life Action Ministries annual Board of Directors meeting that lasted until this past Saturday. The Life Action board is also an outstanding group of people. They are a group of men that love the Lord, love Life Action and are highly competent and successful in their vocational lives.
A common thread I saw among those two teams was one mentioned in books as diverse as Crawford Lorritts’ Leadership as an Identity, a book on spiritual leadership, to Jim Collins’ Good to Great, a secular book on leadership. That common trait is humility.
Truly great leaders share the trait of humility. Of course that is directly counter to the image our culture seems to idolize, but it makes perfect sense in light of Scripture.
If you desire to lead others well, choose the path of humility.
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” – C. S. Lewis
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4
Have a great week!
Jealousy and ambition! Ever had those two things intrude upon the workings of your leadership team? They will destroy the effectiveness of a team as quickly and more thoroughly than most anything else.
“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” – James 3:16
In contrast, teams that truly collaborate, where leaders operate with wisdom, then there is harmony – peace.
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” – James 3:17
So, which of these two verses describe the operations of your leadership team? Are people competing with a self-centered view, or are they seeking the wisdom from above? Are people open to reason? Are they sincere – authentic?
If verse 16 describes your leadership team – maybe it is time to have some frank discussions about how to move to a team that reflects verse 17.
Blessings on your week!
It is Friday! Looking forward to the weekend after a good, but pretty intense week.
“. . . with those who take advice is wisdom.” Proverbs 13:10
“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, . . .” Proverbs 13:20
“Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, . . .” Proverbs 22:17
This week, I was part of a two day meeting facilitated by our team for a committee of the board of directors of a nonprofit plus some of their senior management staff. The executive director of the nonprofit was seeking the counsel of the board committee as well as that of our team regarding key strategic issues. I highly respect and like the people involved and it was a rich, rich time.
Scripture talks about the wisdom of having many counselors and for the last two days I saw that biblical principle at work. There are three specific benefits that I saw this week:
1. A broadened perspective – with a diverse group of people from different disciplines and a wide range of experience the view of the executive director, and everyone for that matter, was broadened considerably. We were all able to begin seeing or framing the opportunities in different ways and to even see new opportunities.
2. A more robust process – a couple of processes were developed in this meeting and with the experience in the room, along with a strong sense of collaboration, we developed much more robust processes.
3. Greater unity among the board members and the senior management – one great benefit in my opinion is that the friendship respect, and sense of team deepened significantly among the board members and the senior staff members as they engaged intensely on the challenges and opportunities and emerged with some good results.
The benefits of having many wise counselors is valuable – if you use them!
Have a great weekend,
“‘Know thy God’: [1 Chronicles 28:9] rather than ‘Know Thyself’ is the categorical imperative of the biblical man. There is no self-understanding without God-understanding.” – Abraham Joshua Heschel
“Good leaders learn their specific personal strengths and weaknesses, especially in dealing with other people, then build on the strengths and correct the weaknesses.” – Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan
“Unless we can bear self-mortification, we shall not be able to carry self-examination to the necessary painful lengths. Without humility there can be no illuminating self-knowledge.” –Arnold Toynbee
One of the things I have enjoyed (most of the time anyway) here at Ambassador Enterprises is the focus on understanding yourself as well as those you work with on a daily basis. If you lack self awareness you are unable to know how to develop your strengths and to correct your weaknesses and thus are less effective.
There are some challenges and difficulties with coming to know ourselves better. First of all, once you get a correct view of yourself, it is almost always never as flattering as the image you have built of yourself. True self awareness can be painful as it shatters some of your delusions about yourself, so sometimes we avoid really confronting ourselves. As Toynbee states above, it requires humility to know yourself.
Secondly, knowing yourself is not really about you. Sounds a little backwards right? Knowing yourself better so that you can grow in your strengths and correct your weaknesses is not really all about you. It is about you learning to work with and to serve better those you serve with in the different spheres of your life. It is about you becoming a more effective member of your community. It about you having a greater impact for God’s kingdom and ultimately about bringing Him glory.
Another of the challenges of learning about ourselves is that we label ourselves and then excuse some of our behaviors and weaknesses. We just say, “Well, I am a WXYZ and that is just the way we are.” Wrong, self awareness gives you the opportunity to start dealing with your weaknesses and to learn how to better work with others. You can change.
Learn who you are, discover how the Lord wired you. There are many good assessment tools out there and one I recommend is the MinistryStyles Assessment – it is very thorough and very helpful. So learn and capitalize on your strengths and work to mitigate your weaknesses. Understand how you relate with and impact others. Become a more effective member of your community and have a greater impact on your world.
Hope you have a great Wednesday!
You know, being a leader and a good team member is hard work – even when everything is going right! But because we are flawed human beings, there are things that get in the way and make effective teamwork even more difficult. The frustrating thing for me is that most often, the problem is with me – and you.
One of the common issues we have to overcome is what called the fundamental attribution error. Basically we have a tendency to attribute the negative, irritating, and frustrating behaviors of others to their intentions, their personalities or their character while attributing our own negative behaviors simply to environmental factors. Another sort of way I have heard this said is that we judge others by their actions and judge ourselves by our intentions.
Do you see the problem there? We assume the worst about others, but give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. When you are part of a leadership team what do you think that does to trust? It breaks down trust or prevents it from being built in the first place.
We have to learn how to assume the best about others and their intentions. We need to learn the habit of first seeking to understand others rather than seeking to be understood. At the root of this really is are we self-centered or God and others centered?
Today, before judging and assuming the worst about someone, try seeking to understand them and their situation.
Hope you have a great day today!
Are you a good listener? Personally I struggle with being a good listener. I am much better than I was, but still not that good. So, I am trying to learn how to listen.
Do you ever have the problem of preparing what you are about to say while the other person is still talking? Do you ever go into a conversation completely sure of your position and instead of having a conversation, you and the other person are just trading statements? So how do we become better listeners?
We begin with a key concept – humility. Yep – humility. It is key to us being able to truly listen to another person. Check out this article on listening on Ambassador’s Engage site:
- My perspective is incomplete (wrong) and I need others to complete it.
- You and your communication have value.
- Your message is worthy of being understood.
- I cannot judge the value of your message until I understand it.
- I do not understand your message until you say I do.
So, to truly listen to someone as you seek understanding, the place to begin is with a humble attitude. Practicing humility will make you a better listener.
Last Friday was a tough day in our family as we said goodbye to our little 15-year old dachshund Frieda. She brought us a lot of joy and laughter and the house seems a little bit emptier now. She is no longer hurting, but we are just a bit now.
Question for you, have you ever been in a conversation with someone and wished they would just listen for a minute? Instead of having a dialogue, you are listening to a monologue? You knew that if they just stopped and truly listened then they would actually understand what you are trying to say.
The problem is, that we are too often the ones giving the monologue! Sometimes it is “out loud”, but often, we are giving an internal monologue. Instead of listening to the other person for understanding while they are talking we are actually using that time to rehearse what we are going to say next. So, while it may appear outwardly that a conversation is taking place, in truth it is a monologue – or two monologues taking place at once!
Listening is a skill that can be learned. But even more than a skill, it is an attitude – it is an attitude of caring for others and esteeming them more than yourself, it is an attitude of humility, and ultimately it is a key characteristic of a true servant leader.
So – do you have a “listening” attitude?
“When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.” Proverbs 10:19
So today, take heed of God’s Word, restrain your lips, and focus on and care for the one who is trying to communicate with you. Listen!
Blessings on your day & upcoming week,