A Leader Does. A leader Listens.


Everyone has an opinion on leadership. So here is mine! Seriously though, there is a lot of great content out on leadership. I have been thinking about what makes a great leader. And a lot of the great content out there suggests that a leader “doesn’t do”. To clarify, this blog post is titled “A Leader Does.” But what I have heard (and maybe you have too) is a leader doesn’t. A leader can’t. A leader can’t do it all herself. He can’t do everything. She has to let go. And I actually agree!

Micheal Gerber, in his book the E Myth, talks about how there is a myth that everyone that has started a small business is an entrepreneur. This is not always the case. In many cases this is a myth. Just because someone is the best baker you know, doesn’t necessarily mean they know how to run a bakery. They may love to bake but when you run a small business there is a lot more to do than bake. An entrepreneur can’t do everything. A leader doesn’t do it all.

But yet there are things a leader does. So I recognize the tension here. A leader doesn’t but there are things a leader must do to lead others.

A leader doesn’t just say things

Picture it. A conference room where a leader is speaking for 45 minutes and everyone on his team is listening. Then the meeting just ends after his presentation.

Let’s give this leader the benefit of the doubt and assume valuable content is being shared. He is engaging and shares some insight into how to accomplish the mission of the organization. This leader is smart. He has a lot of wisdom. Now his team can go confidently accomplishing their tasks. But has he been collaborative? Has he listened to his team? Could his team possibly add to the valuable content that can lead the organization forward?

A leader listens

A leader no matter how wise should listen to others. If the leader doesn’t listen, the organization will only go as far as he can go. Even the most high capacity leaders have lids. How can they expand their capacity? I know of at least one way.

A great leader listens to others

Instead of a 45 minute presentation, which isn’t all bad (I love going to conferences to hear a great speak talk about leadership), make room in your meetings for people on your team to share their ideas and make observations on what they have seen. Give them a safe place to do this and don’t dismiss their ideas as inferior to yours. Here are just a few simple things to do the next time you lead a meeting.

  • Listen
  • Ask clarifying questions that don’t immediately shoot down their ideas.
  • Listen again
  • Be humble

Simple yes but not easy. It is hard for me to just listen without jumping ahead or dismissing the idea. Imagine if you had meetings where people could share ideas and this was an environment that fostered a collaborative spirit in your office! This could change the culture and morale of your office. And this would help accomplish the mission of your organization!

I will talk more about what a leaders does in the weeks ahead!

Thanks for reading!

Work Is Hard But Its Worth It


Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth. Proverbs 10:4

You know your lazy if . . .

instead of ironing your shirt you just throw it in the dryer.

you hit snooze 5 or more times before you actually wake up.

you hear your baby crying and pretend to be asleep so your spouse has to wake up and deal with the baby.

you mow your leaves instead of bagging them even if it might kill your grass.

Maybe not all of these are being lazy. And I may have been guilty of some of the above. Sometimes we don’t want to work hard. We have moments like this. But have you ever believed in the myth that work doesn’t have to be hard?

The Myth

Work isn’t hard. This is a big misunderstanding. People can hear the quote below and miss point.

If you don’t love what you do, then you shouldn’t do it. Marcus Lemonis

I love what I do. I believe what I do has purpose. It has value. I think what I do brings purpose to my life. What I do helps me grow and develop as a leader and pastor. What I do has an impact on the lives of people. I love working with my coworkers. I love what I do.

But does this mean that what we do shouldn’t be hard? If its too hard, should we quit? If its too hard, do we ask start questioning if we love what we do any more?

Long hours, hard labor, staring at a computer screen all day, and coming home and falling asleep before 9:00pm can be very hard. It makes someone wonder if they should stop doing their job.

The Truth

Anything worth doing is hard.

Its not always hard, but it can be hard at anytime. Its not always hard, but there are moments that are challenging.

Starting a business that you love, starting a church, rebranding your business, opening a new location, planting in the fields, and raising children are all hard work. But anything worth doing is hard. It takes diligent hands to do these things.

President John F. Kennedy in a speech he gave to a stadium full of people at Rice University in 1962 talked about the importance of the USA going to the moon. He called on the pioneering spirit of the US that accomplished so much up until this point. He believed that they would accomplish this goal. Below is an excerpt from that speech.

We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.

We choose to go because they are hard. Anything worth doing (like going to the moon) is worth it. No matter how hard, we intend to win!

What is the one thing you choose to do? This is the thing that you love to do. This one thing you love is a challenge. Will you accept it?

There are so many things we could choose to do. What will you choose to do? What are you doing now? What would happen if you believed anything worth doing is hard? You wouldn’t doubt this fact. You would embrace it. You would thrive in this environment. You wouldn’t push through.

Does this mean that you don’t have hard days? Does this mean that you don’t fall asleep the second you get home? Not at all. But you push through those days. You take a day off or a vacation to rejuvenate.

Maybe things are coming easy to you right now. That’s great, but there could come a time when things get hard. This doesn’t mean you need to quit. Ask your self why you are doing what you are doing. And remember anything worth doing is hard.

What do you think? Is anything worth doing hard? What do you do to persevere and not quit?

Thanks for reading!

The Insecure Leader Part Two: There Is a Way out of the Maze


Why put up a facade of perfection? Why appear perfect when most can see right through the facade? For many leaders they feel trapped by what drives their decisions. Why do they put up a false facade? One reason is they feel like people can’t see the real them.

For many leaders, their insecurity drives their decisions that pass the blame and put up a false facade.

In my previous post, I talked about how the insecure leader says, “It wasn’t me.” “It was them.” They pass the blame to anyone or anything. This becomes a pattern. They have programmed themselves by a history of decisions to act this way. They cannot image a way to act differently.

They have to appear in control even if they are not. It can sometimes feel like, while this isn’t the best way to lead, there is no other option to lead. Is there another way?

The Maze

Sometimes the thought patterns and behaviors we have can feel like a maze. We want to find another way out and another way to live, but we don’t know any other way to think, act and live. What would happen if the insecure leader found a way out of the maze? What would happen if this leader began to lead not out of insecurity but began to put those he/she leads first?

So is there a way out? Is there away out of the maze? Here are two practices that leaders can put in action that will help them get out of their fears and insecurities and to begin to  put those they lead ahead of their own interests.

Be Honest

Be Honest. It is simple, yet true. What would happen if the insecure leader was honest to those he/she leads? This leader would become real. This leader would be human. The leader would gain relational capital and others would follow.

People follow leaders who are honest and not those who appear perfect.

Fears and insecurities can drive the leader to be dishonest. They are afraid that if people found out the real them, those they lead would leave. However, many times their worst fears come true and people leave anyway.

“If people see the real me, they won’t trust me anymore!”
The insecure leader says this to themselves and attempts to fool those they lead.

Yet who are you trying to fool by being dishonest? You just end up fooling yourself.

Be honest and others will follow. This doesn’t mean we make the same mistakes over and over again. “Well, if I am just honest, I can make as many mistakes as I want.” A great leader reflects on their experience and learns from their mistakes.

Remind Yourself Who Makes You Happy

Many of us strive for happiness in life. While we think we can find some happiness in material wealth and status. True happiness is found in the relationships we have. Remind yourself of the close relationships you have. At the end of the day, whether it’s a good day or a bad day, who do you go home to that loves you unconditionally? This could be a father, mother, brother, friend, husband, wife, etc. If you are a Christian, Jesus is the one that loves you unconditionally. No matter what, you know that you are loved by God because he sent his son for you. You are a child of God. If you are a Christian, you also know that the love you see from loved ones is an expression of the love of God.

Imagine if you began to live knowing what truly makes you happy? What if your relationship with God drove how you lead?

Make a list of what truly makes you happy and go over them regularly. Allow these things to be your motivation to lead. And when you lead be honest.


When you lead by being honest, and when you lead from a place of being secure in what makes you happy, you will find a way out of the maze of insecurity. You will lead and others will follow.

The first step out of the maze is always the hardest, but the second, third and fourth steps will be easier. It takes thinking and acting in different ways over time to see change and a way out of the maze.

This is by no means an exhaustive list to help an insecure leader. Do you have any practices to add to the list? Thanks for reading!

The Insecure Leader Part One: I Messed Up


I Messed Up

I messed up recently. I miscommunicated with some people I lead.

Communication is so important when you lead others, and I dropped the ball with some important information.

Have you ever done that? Chances are you have, if you have led people for any duration of time. There comes a point when a leader can respond in a few different ways, when he/she messes up. In this post we will take a look at two ways a leader can respond.

Pass The Blame

The insecure leader passes the blame. It is easy to pass the blame. Blame someone, anyone, anything for the ball that was dropped. It was that person’s fault for not making sure we were communicating the right info. They didn’t do what needed to be done. If they would have just gone the extra mile, then this wouldn’t have happened. They will get there soon, we just need to be patient with them. I am the expert, if they would have just listened to me. They weren’t listening, it’s not my fault. Now the insecure leader can even blame technology. The email or text message was never sent.

“It wasn’t me,” the insecure leader said. “It was them.”

Appear Perfect

The insecure leader feels the need to keep up the appearance of perfection. They put up a false facade of perfection. They really aren’t perfect because no one really is perfect. This leader cannot be real or show vulnerability. They are afraid to lose control or appear like they don’t know what they are doing.

They cannot say, “I messed up.” “I dropped the ball.”

So they pass the blame and attempt to keep up the appearance of perfection.


I didn’t pass the blame with this situation I mentioned. And anyone who has worked with me or anyone who I’ve led knows that I don’t put up a facade of perfection. I am not even close to perfection.

Why put up a facade that everyone can see right through?

This hasn’t always been the case for me. I used to be more apt to pass the blame or attempt to put up a facade of perfection. Leaders can do something about their insecurity. It doesn’t have to drive their decisions.

Be on the look out for “The Insecure Leader Part Two: There Is a Way out of the Maze”, when I talk about some practices that can help a leader deal with their insecurity. This is an ongoing battle, but you can do it!