Scripture of the Day

Sunday, August 29, 2010

How are you treating others

This morning one of our employees asked me to handle a situation for her. She had to switch a driver from a brand new shiny, beautiful tractor into an older dusty, dirty tractor. The switch was for a recall and required maintenance. Already knowing the answer, I asked her why she needed my help?

Her response as expected, “He is miserable and grumpy. He’ll complain and give me a hard time. He’ll probably call off work the rest of the week.” I told her she'd do fine and I’d help if need be.

I happened to be outside when he drove up in his personal vehicle so I stopped him to say hello. We discussed the warranty issues and the tractor he was to drive and everything was great. He had no issues and understood completely. He even said he would stay with the old tractor until his was fixed completely.

This leads me back to the title of this post. This particular driver is labeled as grumpy, miserable, hard to deal with, and many other descriptions which are similar. Yet to me he is easy to get along with, but it was not always this way. What changed?

The way I handled him changed. By refusing to buy in to other's opinions about him I formed a relationship with him over time. He trusts me and knows he can talk with me and I’ll listen.

Building trust in any relationship takes time and effort—by both parties. I contend people reflect our attitude toward them back on us. When we are happy, others usually reply with a happy response. When we are unhappy, we get unhappiness back.

We can’t change or control what others think, say, or do. We can control how we react. We can also control how we approach others. Stephen Covey puts it this way, "We can act, or be acted upon." He also states, "Between stimulus and response, man has the power to choose."

So what is our choice? We can either respond with in kind and perpetuate the tension or use the Platinum rule, which states, Treat others the way they want to be treated.

Once you master this you’ll reap the joyful fruit of blossoming friendships instead of the prickly thorns of poor relations.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

MBWA or MBSA? You make the call!

How many of you have heard of MWBA? Management by Wandering Around. It is a proven method and quite effective as well.

My staff got quite a laugh when I explained this the first time. I had to physically prove the method was real by showing them a text book containing this philosophy.

Lately I felt stagnant at my job. The wandering around and talking with everyone was not pumping me up. I prayed for a few days for guidance and wisdom and here is what was put on my heart.

Instead of walking around and visiting, I actually moved out of my office and made a new work area out on the floor of the Operations department.

The new philosophy could be called MBSA. Management by sitting around. Pretty catchy dont you think?

What do you do when you feel stagnant?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Leadership Taken Way Out Of Context

Several weeks ago I was listening to CNBC. One of the analysts on this particular show made a comment which caught my ear. His statement in effect was, "I will recommend this stock when it finally takes it's leadership position in the market." He has made this statement many times over the years.

At first I thought, "What an interesting way to describe his thoughts on this stock."

A few days later my thought changed to, "What a bizarre way to discuss his position on the stock."

Today while driving my son home my thought was, "That makes no sense at all and is actually quite a cop-out."

How can an inanimate object such as a stock become a leader? Stocks rise in price when there are more buyers than sellers and vice-verse. They don't practice leadership techniques or go to seminars.

In reality his statement actually diminishes the role of a leader. We don't simply wake up one day and assume a leadership role. Leadership is hard work and takes a tremendous amount of time to accomplish.

Maybe when this analyst assumes a leadership position and actually gives worthwhile advice I'll start listening again. Maybe!

Friday, August 13, 2010

VALID Leadership

VALID Leadership

The pursuit of sustainable leadership concepts has been the passion of many. This quest remains fertile ground for new ideas and philosophies because leadership is a personal venture. Leadership is something we are, more than something we do. Concepts, which work well for some, do not always transfer to others successfully.

The very definition of leadership differs significantly. Seldom do you get the same definition from multiple leaders. I would venture to say, the number of leadership concepts is only eclipsed by the number of leadership definitions. What is my leadership concept and definition?

A Leader is defined as: One who sets a vision and provides his followers with the resources and guidance to bring the vision to fruition. Leadership then is the act of doing so. Valid is defined as: sound, just and well rounded; producing the desired effect.

VALID Leadership (VALID) is how we lead consciously and sub-consciously to produce the desired effect. Valid leadership consists of five factors. The first three, “V”, “A”, and “L” comprise the foundation and must be present in all leaders. The “I” and “D” are variable and intangible factors. These can be adapted to the individual to help in the areas needing improvement. The factors of VALID are as follows:

1. V = vision. Without vision there is no need for leadership. Vision is seeing the future and blazing a trail toward it. (Proverbs 29:18 NASB)

2. A = association. Our inner circle is crucial to our success. Do we protect who we let populate our inner circle? How well we get along with others? (Proverbs 11:14 NASB, 2 Tim 2:23 MSG)

3. L = love. Leaders need to love others. If you dislike being around other people, you will not make a good leader. (Romans 12:8-10 NASB)

4. I = involvement, intuition, improvising, and ingenuity.

a. Involvement is being a participant, not a spectator. There is much more to leadership than being the boss. James 2:14-26

b. Intuition allows you to feel what is going on around you.

c. Improvising lets you adapt quickly to any situation effectively.

d. Ingenuity brings out new ideas needed to keep the vision alive.

5. D = discernment, determination, demonstration, and development.

a. Discernment is insight and keen judgment, which every leader needs. 1 Chron 22:11

b. Determination to succeed means never quitting, regardless of the obstacles ahead. Phil 1:6 Romans 12:8

c. Development of skills never ends. Change is inevitable, but self-improvement is optional. Your improvement program will be the difference maker at some point in your life. Joshua 1:8,

d. Demonstrating your leadership by being engaged sets a positive tone. It also brings your commitment into action. Leaders go first and this has to be demonstrated, not discussed. Heb 10:24-25

These areas are flexible and matching the “I” and “D” factors will produce great synchronicity. Understanding where you are in your journey, and where you want to go will guide you to the area with the highest priority. If you are a new leader you may need to work on all areas.

Applying the VALID concepts of leadership will help you produce the desired effect. And this what we are trying to accomplish, isn’t it?

Monday, August 2, 2010

An Overview on VALID Leadership

A key leadership behavior is discernment. Can we be an effective leader without this ability?

Discernment is the basis behind situational leadership. Having keen insight and sound judgment allows us to interpret how others need to be led. We can then take the appropriate measures to lead them properly.

The other side of discernment which is often overlooked is how critical we are to our own ideas and philosophy's.

Not everything we experience in life is good teaching material. There are certain traits and abilities each of us have which work for us, but are not universal and cannot be taught. For example, you can teach a running back the playbook, but you can't teach him speed and quickness. You can teach them how to grow stronger through weight training, but you can't teach them when to make a cut or spin move. These traits are intuitive and come from game experience.

It may be easy to view our methods and concepts as infallible, but this can be a costly mistake. As VALID leaders we must be able to identify and change strategies which prove to be ineffective.

A good system needs strong basic concepts which are easily duplicated. Combining the basics with our personal strengths is what makes VALID leadership so powerful.

Over the next few weeks I'll be breaking down the various components of VALID Leadership. I hope you get as much out of it as I did developing it.