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Leader Fluent with Stephen Blandino
18 minutes | Jul 6, 2021
Coaching Others to Succeed
In today’s episode of the Leader Fluent Podcast, I’m talking about, “Coaching Others to Succeed.” Coaching can make a huge difference in your life and leadership personally, but it’s also a great tool to develop others. In this episode, I’ll share three practical ways to use coaching to take AIM at others’ potential. If you’re not already a subscriber, I’d love for you to subscribe to Leader Fluent today on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Android, Pandora, or your favorite podcast platform. And after you subscribe, be sure to leave a RATING or REVIEW of the podcast. It helps us spread the word to other leaders. SHOW NOTES: Coaching is a powerful tool to help people grow. I know for me, I’ve gained a huge amount of insight and perspective from the coaches I’ve had over the years. But coaching isn’t just something I’ve personally benefited from, it’s also something I’ve been able to leverage to help others grow too. So, that raises a question: what exactly does a coach do? I like to say it like this: Great coaches take AIM at potential. AIM stands for Assessment, Insight, and Motivation. In other words, a coach will take AIM at personal or organizational potential by providing assessment, insight, and motivation so the leader or organization can realize their greatest potential. Let’s unpack each of these: 1. Assessment One of the first things a coach has to do is assess the needs of the person their coaching. Sports coaches do this all the time. They observe their players, and they note what they’re doing well and how they need to improve. Why? Because you can’t help a person reach their full potential if you don’t understand their growth gaps. You have to assess where they’re at, where they want to go, and the gap between the two. So, when you’re coaching someone, how do you assess their needs? By asking questions and administering assessments. Asking questions is important because the most significant growth in a person’s life will usually occur in the area where they have the highest intrinsic motivation to grow. Question-asking reveals those key growth areas. And assessments are valuable because they reveal how a person is wired and can often help a leader garner 360 degree feedback. A couple of great tools to help with this process is the 360 Degree Refined Leadership Test or the Leadership Practices Inventory. 2. Insight Following an accurate assessment, coaches provide valuable insights that will help a leader grow, improve, and accelerate. There are four different approaches to provide insight to the person you’re coaching: Probing – Probing happens when the coach asks good questions to uncover the insight already inside the person. In other words, by simply asking the right questions, the coach is able to pull out of the person the solution to their challenges. The solution was there all along, but it wasn’t until the coach started probing by asking good questions, that they were able to bring the insight to light. Processing – When a person is being coached, they will often share ideas, strategies, or pathways they want to pursue. A coach’s job is to help them process these ideas and insights by serving as a sounding board, asking clarifying questions, and pointing out potential blind spots. Permission – Sometimes the person being coached knows what they should do, but they’re lacking the confidence to do it. The person being coached doesn’t actually need the coach’s permission to act. However, when the coach affirms what the person is thinking, it gives them a confidence boost to actually act. In this way, giving permission is the insight needed to get dislodged from the paralysis of analysis. Perspective – Perspective is all about offering breakthrough ideas, best practices, and a fresh viewpoint. In other words, the coach doesn’t just ask questions, they actually offer practical solutions. Rather than pulling the solution out of the person, they make a deposit into the person with an insight that is exactly what they need. 3. Motivation A good coach serves as a motivator. By motivator, I’m not talking about constantly having to light a fire under the person you’re coaching because they’re just not motivated to do anything. If they’re not motivated to grow, then trying to coach them is a waste of your time. Instead, by motivator, I’m talking about the coach standing on the sidelines and cheering the person on to success. A good coach provides Motivation in three ways: Acceptance – Acceptance motivates the person with a sense of belief and unconditional love. Affirmation – Affirmation is all about encouraging the person you’re coaching. It’s acknowledging their progress, celebrating their wins, and expressing continual praise and affirmation. Accountability – Accountability is a motivator because it doesn’t’ make room for excuses. It lets the person you’re coaching know that you believe they have what it takes to grow to a new level, and you’re determined to help them get there. I’ll say it again…great coaches take AIM at potential. They provide Assessment, Insight, and Motivation. And when they do, they help others succeed. RATING OR REVIEW If you haven’t subscribed to the Leader Fluent Podcast, you can do so today on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Android, Pandora or your favorite podcast platform. Plus, a RATING or REVIEW will help us spread the word to other leaders. Thanks for your help.
21 minutes | Jun 17, 2021
Delegation in 3 Simple Steps
In today’s episode of the Leader Fluent Podcast, I’m talking about, “Delegation in 3 Simple Steps.” Delegation is critical, but it also requires an intentional process. In this episode, I’ll share three simple but profound steps to help you delegate effectively. If you’re not already a subscriber, I’d love for you to subscribe to Leader Fluent today on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Android, Pandora, or your favorite podcast platform. And after you subscribe, be sure to leave a RATING or REVIEW of the podcast. It helps us spread the word and help other leaders. SHOW NOTES: Delegation is a critical part of leadership. Not only does delegation allow you to create a sustainable pace, but it also helps you cultivate a people-development culture. One of the greatest delegation examples in Scripture is the story of Moses and Jethro. One day Jethro, who was Moses’ father-in-law, came to visit him. After watching Moses carry out his duties, he said these words: “What are you really accomplishing here? Why are you trying to do all this alone while everyone stands around you from morning till evening?” (Exodus 18:14, NLT). Notice how Moses responds to Jethro’s question: “Because the people come to me to get a ruling from God. When a dispute arises, they come to me, and I am the one who settles the case between the quarreling parties. I inform the people of God’s decrees and give them his instructions” (Exodus 18:15-16, NLT). Jethro could have patted Moses on the back and said, “Wow, sounds tough. I’ll pray for you, Moses.” Instead, Jethro looks at Moses and says, “This is not good!” Isn’t that what you’d love to hear your father-in-law tell you? But then he told him why it wasn’t good. He said, “You’re going to wear yourself out – and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself” (Exodus 18:17-18, NLT). So, what does effective delegation look like? Consider these three steps. 1. PRIORITY ASSESSMENT Delegation doesn’t begin by giving anything away. Instead, delegation begins by determining what NOT to give away. You have to start by identifying your priorities so that you know where to focus your time and energy. That’s what Jethro did with Moses. In Exodus 18:19-21, Jethro basically told Moses to do three things: Be the people’s representative before God Teach the people God’s decrees Select capable leaders In other words, Jethro helped Moses identify his highest priorities before he ever delegated a single responsibility. And we have to do the same. How? Start by asking yourself three questions: What are my job requirements? What are my greatest strengths? Where do I get the greatest return on my investment of time? Your answers to these three questions will reveal your priorities. However, where your answers overlap and intersect reveals your highest priorities. Then, once you’ve identified your highest priorities, create a second list with everything that you should delegate. 2. TEAM EMPOWERMENT Team empowerment is all about empowering your team with responsibilities and opportunities. It’s handing off the things that fall outside of your highest priorities and entrusting them to your team. So, where do you start? Start with the four “A’s” of delegation. What are the four “A’s” of delegation: Assignment, Authority, Accountability, and Affirmation. The first “A” is… Assignment: Who should I delegate these responsibilities and opportunities to? Authority: What authority do I need to give to the person I’ve delegated a responsibility to? Accountability: How do I need to hold accountable the people I’ve delegated responsibilities to? Affirmation: How can I best support and encourage the people I’ve delegated responsibilities to? Without these four steps, you’ll have nothing more than order takers. Captain Michael Abrashoff once said, “If all you give are orders, then all you will get are order takers.” Empowerment is about much more than giving people orders. It’s about much more than telling people what to do. It’s giving people responsibility combined with authority, accountability, and affirmation. 3. MONKEY MANAGEMENT The concept of “Monkey Management” was made popular in a book by Ken Blanchard, Bill Oncken, and Hal Burrows titled, The One-Minute Manager Meets the Monkey. In their book, “Monkeys” represent any next move (or next step) you’ve delegated to another team member. “Monkey Management” is the process of keeping monkeys (or next steps) on their rightful owner’s back, rather than letting the monkey return to your back. In their book, The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey, the authors articulate The Four Rules of “Monkey Management.” Rule #1: A boss and a staff member shall not part company until appropriate “next moves” have been described. Monkey management begins by identifying the monkey (the next steps). Rule #2: The dialogue between boss and staff member must not end until ownership of each monkey is assigned to a person. The authors observe that, “All monkeys must be handled at the lowest organizational level consistent with their welfare.” Every monkey needs an owner. Rule #3: The dialogue between boss and staff member shall not end until all monkeys have been insured. “Monkey insurance” (as the authors call it) is designed to make sure your team only makes affordable mistakes. There are two types of monkey insurance policies: Recommend, then act OR act, then advise. In other words, depending on the situation, staff members should either: Recommend solutions, acquire your feedback, and then act on the best solution, OR Act and then advise you of what they did so that you’re in the communication loop. The level of risk determines which policy to implement. And the more trust you build with your team, the more they’ll be able to act and then advise. Rule #4: The dialogue between boss and staff member shall not end until the monkey has a check-up appointment. What’s the purpose of a monkey checkup appointment? First, a check-up allows you to catch people doing something right, and then offer praise and encouragement. Second, a check-up helps you spot problems, and then take necessary action to correct the problem before it turns into a crisis. As you practice these three steps—Priority Assessment, Team Empowerment, and Monkey Management—the quality of your delegation will naturally improve. When Jethro gave his delegation advice to Moses, he said, “If you follow this advice, and if God commands you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home in peace” (Exodus 18:23, NLT). Think about that for a moment! Imagine being able to endure the pressures of leadership, and to be able to go home each night in peace, knowing that your organization is successfully meeting the needs of the people it serves. That’s what happened to Moses when he took Jethro’s advice to heart. He followed Jethro’s plan of delegation, and as a result, he was able to assume a sustainable pace and meet the needs of the people. And here’s the good news…what worked for Moses can work for you. You can delegate in three simple, but profound, steps: Priority assessment, team empowerment, and monkey management. RATING OR REVIEW If you haven’t subscribed to the Leader Fluent Podcast, you can do so today on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Android, Pandora or your favorite podcast platform. Plus, a RATING or REVIEW will help us spread the word to other leaders. Thanks for your help.
21 minutes | May 2, 2021
The Eight Pitfalls of Teachability
In today’s episode of the Leader Fluent Podcast, I’m talking about, “Eight Pitfalls of Teaching Ability.”Teachability is critical to long-term success, but there are also a series of pitfalls that can undermine a teachable spirit. That’s what we’ll uncover in this episode of Leader Fluent. If you’re not already a subscriber, I’d love for you to subscribe to Leader Fluent today on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Android, Pandora, or your favorite podcast platform. And after you subscribe, be sure to leave a RATING or REVIEW of the podcast. It helps us spread the word and help other leaders. SHOW NOTES: Authors Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller once said, “Growth in wisdom has no formula, but it almost always involves at least one of four elements: rigorous self-evaluation, honest feedback, counsel from others, and time.” In other words, when we do these four things, we exhibit a spirit of teachability. Author Roger Seip describes what he calls a “Teachability Index.” His teachability index is a simple but powerful equation: Desire to learn x Willingness to change = Level of Teachability. According to Seip, if you assign a number (on a scale from 1 to 10) to your desire to learn, and a number (on a scale from 1 to 10) to your willingness to change, you can come up with your teachability index in many areas of life. For example, if you score a nine (on a scale from 1 to 10) in your desire to learn about leadership, and you score an eight in your willingness to make changes so that you’ll become a better leader, then you have a score of 72 on the teachability index in the area of leadership (9×8=72). Again, Desire to Learn x Willingness to Change = Level of Teachability. Eight Pitfalls to Teachability 1. Pride: You Think You Already Know Most of us don’t like to admit, “I don’t know.” But true teachability is grounded in humility. Proverbs 11:2 says, “Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” And Galatians 6:3 says, “For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” 2. Past: You Rely on Yesterday’s Success Too often we let tried-and-true methods squelch new and improved opportunities. But if we’re not careful, we can turn yesterday’s success into an idol that robs the future of its potential. If you’re relying too much on yesterday’s success, one day you’ll wake up in a graveyard of irrelevance. Let truth and wisdom guide you, but when it comes to methods and strategies, honor the past but be loyal to the future. Otherwise, the past will try to deceive you into thinking yesterday is the best way. 3. People: You Don’t Surround Yourself with New Voices We love to be around people who think like us, act like us, talk like us, and lead like us. The problem is, when “us” is outdated, irrelevance becomes the master teacher. As author Andy Stanley says, “If you are surrounded long enough by people who think like you think, you will become more and more certain that’s the best way to think.” 4. Professionalism: You’re Already an Expert One of the biggest roadblocks to tomorrow’s teachability is the belief that you’re already an expert, and therefore you already have the answers. Take Nobel Prize winners for example. Daniel McFadden, who won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2000, said, “If you’re not careful, the Nobel Prize is a career-ender. If I allowed myself to slip into it, I’d spend all my time going around cutting ribbons.” And Nobel Literature winner, T.S. Eliot, said, “The Nobel is a ticket to one’s own funeral. No one has ever done anything after he got it.” To remain teachable, you just might have to unlearn some false assumptions so you can relearn some new insights. Don’t let your expertise be the thing that undermines future learning. 5. Plateau: You’ve Lost Your Passion and Curiosity for Growth Just because you grew, doesn’t mean you’ll grow. In other words, yesterday’s growth doesn’t guarantee tomorrow’s growth. The apostle Paul said it like this when he was writing to his young apprentice Timothy: “Instead, train yourself to be godly. “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come…Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress” (1 Timothy 4:7b-8, 15). If you lose your passion and curiosity for growth, a teachable spirit will vanish, and you’ll eventually arrive on a permanent plateau. Do everything in your power to avoid this pitfall. As Paul said, “Give your complete attention to these matters.” 6. Price: You’re Unwilling to Pay the Price for Growth One of the things I’ve discovered about personal growth is that the longer you grow, the more expensive growth will become. And this is true in every sense of the word. Growth will become more time intensive, because you’ll have to practice deeper thinking. Growth will become more financially expensive, because you’ll have to pay more to get in the rooms with the highest levels of coaching and training. Growth will become more painful, because you’ll recognize the sacrifices you have to make in order to grow to a new level of impact. There’s a price to remaining teachable; the question is, are you willing to pay the price? What price for personal growth have you been avoiding? 7. Perspective: You Don’t Mine Lessons out of Failures One of the greatest teachers you’ll ever have will be your failures. But unfortunately, too many people don’t harvest the lessons this teacher sends our way. Instead, we often view failure as nothing more than an event, an obstacle, an inconvenience, or a permanent roadblock. But if failure is never given permission to teach, you’ll silence the very lessons that might hold tomorrow’s breakthroughs. Failure offers us great perspective, but you have to be willing to listen to its voice. 8. Predictability: You’re Resistant to Change What does predictability do? It offers a sense of stability and assurance. But if we hang on to the predictable too much and too long, we’ll resist the changes that are necessary to grow and mature. In other words, predictability can put teachability out of business. RATING OR REVIEW If you haven’t subscribed to the Leader Fluent Podcast, you can do so today on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Android, Pandora or your favorite podcast platform. Plus, a RATING or REVIEW will help us spread the word to other leaders. Thanks for your help.
21 minutes | Apr 4, 2021
7 Shifts You Have to Make When Becoming a Lead Pastor
In today’s episode of the Leader Fluent Podcast, I’ll address a topic that is often overlooked: 7 shifts you have to make when becoming a lead pastor. Maybe you’re a staff pastor right now, and one day you desire to become a lead pastor. Or, maybe you’re a lead pastor now, but you want to train and equip a new generation of lead pastors. Or, maybe you’re not in pastoral leadership at all, but you dream of one day being a CEO or serving in an executive leadership role. If that’s you…this episode is for you. If you’re not already a subscriber, I’d love for you to subscribe to Leader Fluent today on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Android, Pandora, or your favorite podcast platform. And after you subscribe, would you do me a favor and RATE or REVIEW the podcast. It helps us spread the word and help other leaders. SHOW NOTES: Several years ago, I moved into the role of lead pastor when we planted 7 City Church near downtown Fort Worth. Up until that point, I had served in a variety of roles including executive pastor, associate pastor, youth pastor, as well as a leader in a non-profit organization. But when I moved into the lead pastor role, I simultaneously had to make a series of shifts in my leadership. Here are seven shifts you have to make when becoming a lead pastor, and what you can do now to prepare for those shifts. 1. The Shift from Serving a Vision to Creating a Vision When you serve on the staff of a local church, you are ultimately responsible for serving the vision set for the church by the lead pastor. But if you’re going to move into a lead role, you have to start creating a vision. How do you make that shift? First, create a vision for whatever area of ministry you are leading right now (just make sure it’s aligned with your lead pastor’s vision). And second, start asking God to give you a vision for the church you will one day lead. That vision is often formed at the intersection of the three P’s: Problems, Passion, and Prayer. In other words, vision is formed when you understand what PROBLEM you want to solve, what you are most PASSIONATE about, and what you sense God saying to you in PRAYER. 2. The Shift from Being on Staff to Leading a Staff It’s great to have a staff, but leading a staff is not always easy and it’s not always fun. In the lead role, you have to learn how to hire staff, coach staff, review staff, and make difficult staffing decisions. There will be times when you have to correct staff, deal with conflict, address performance issues, and navigate staff transitions. On top of that, you get to manage the ever-increasing costs of salaries, raises, and benefits. When you’re on a staff, you don’t think about any of these things, but when you shift to leading a staff, these issues become front and center. So, what can you do now to prepare for this shift? Start applying many of the same principles for building a staff to building your team of volunteers. Draft job descriptions, conduct volunteer interviews, create new volunteer on-ramping systems, provide regular volunteer training, and conduct one-on-one coaching. 3. The Shift from Spending Money to Raising Money It’s nice to have a budget that you can spend to do ministry, but when you move into the lead pastor role, your focus immediately shifts. Yes, you’ll spend money on ministry, but first you have to raise it (and not just for your department). Now you get to raise money for staff, buildings, multiple ministries, missions, expansion efforts…everything. What can you do now to prepare for this shift? First, make a list of every question you can think of about church finances. Second, meet with a CFO or business administrator to ask your questions. Third, study the preaching of pastors who communicate on stewardship and generosity in a healthy, respectful, and biblical manner. And fourth, interview a handful of pastors to discuss how they do financial vision casting, how they appreciate donors, how they preach on generosity and stewardship, and how they build a culture of generosity. 4. The Shift from Occasional Communication to Weekly Communication When you’re a staff pastor, you may have the opportunity to preach on occasion—perhaps a few times a year (or maybe more if you’re a teaching pastor). But when you become a lead pastor, it won’t be uncommon to preach 40+ times per year (and even more if you have a Sunday night service or a midweek service). So, how do you make this shift? Create a communication system and a content system. My communication system began by manuscripting every sermon. This helped me craft better transitions, think about the flow of the sermon, and insert illustrations where needed. When it came to a content system, I became an avid reader and then filed great quotes, great content, and great stories. Doing this year after year helped me build a great source of material to help you develop engaging sermons. 5. The Shift from Focused Ministry to Executive Responsibility When you’re a staff pastor, your primary focus is a specific area of ministry you’ve been hired to lead. And so, you focus your energy on reaching ad discipling people in that specific ministry. But when you assume lead pastor responsibilities, you not only do ministry, but you also assume an executive component of leadership. In other words, you work with a board of directors, budgets, bylaws, and building campaigns. You hire staff, create strategic plans, and you have to make the most difficult decisions in the church. Sometimes I’ll say it like this…you essentially do what a CEO does, except you also get to deliver an original, God-inspired, company-wide speech every week (called a sermon). How do you prepare now for this shift from focused ministry to executive responsibility? Start studying organizational leadership. Read leadership books and business books. Study the bylaws of healthy, growing churches. Practice creating a budget for an entire church, not just a single department. And learn to think cross-departmentally. 6. The Shift from Working “In” to Working “On” Working “IN” ministry is focused on things like preaching, counseling, planning services, conducting outreaches…basically it’s the people side and the public side of ministry. It’s what you envisioned ministry being when you first started out. But when you shift into a lead pastor role, you’ll still do those things, but now you have to also work “ON” ministry. Working on ministry is about things like vision, mission, values, culture, and strategy—basically it’s the 30,000-foot view of leadership and the church. How do you make the shift from IN to ON? Conduct a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) on your ministry, and then form goals for the future. Or, you might work on your ministry by asking some strategic questions. For example: What are our two greatest growth engines and how can we leverage them for greater impact? Who are the top 20% of my leaders, and how can I invest more time in them? What are our greatest weaknesses and obstacles, and how can we remove them in the next three months? How do I need to shift funding to leverage our greatest opportunities? Do our current ministries have the ability to scale? How could I restructure staff or volunteers to prepare for greater growth? These are great questions that will help you make the shift from not just working “IN” your ministry, but also working “ON” your ministry. 7. The Shift from Doing to Delegating When you assume a lead pastor role, the need to delegate sharply increases. Suddenly, the number of phone calls, text messages, emails, requests for meetings, and a barrage of decisions to be made land on your desk. If you don’t start delegating, you’ll sink. Growth will screech to a halt. You’ll start burning the candle at both ends until you’re emotionally wasted. Please hear this: Your job is not to do, but to equip and empower others to do. So, what can you do now to prepare for this shift? Start by identifying your highest priorities, and then recruit leaders and volunteers to do the rest. To help you navigate ministry effectively in your new role, you have to make these seven shifts. As you do, embrace the comforting words of 1 Peter 5:7: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” God will help you make these shifts, and as you do, your ministry impact will not only be greater, but also sustainable. RATING OR REVIEW Again, I’d love to invite you to subscribe to the Leader Fluent Podcast. You can subscribe today on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Android, Pandora or your favorite podcast platform. Plus, a RATING or REVIEW will help us spread the word to other leaders. Thanks for your help.
23 minutes | Feb 1, 2021
Ten Ways To Lead Up
Have you ever found yourself asking, “How do I influence those who lead me?” Leading Up is a unique skill set that enables you to positively influence your leader and add greater value to the organization. In this episode of the Leader Fluent Podcast, I’ll share Ten Ways to Lead Up. Maybe you’re the newest member of the team, and you want to get off to a great start with your supervisor. Or maybe you’re in the middle of the organization—some people report to you but you still report to the Pastor, or the principal, or the CEO, and you want to gain influence with your boss. Or maybe you are the boss, and you’re wondering how to communicate to the people you lead what you look for in great team members. In this episode, I’ll share the keys to leading up in a way that’s healthy and adds the most value. Plus, be sure to download this month’s featured resource, “The Young Leader’s Guide to Building Influence.” If you’re not already a subscriber, I’d love for you to subscribe to Leader Fluent today on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Android, or your favorite podcast platform. And after you subscribe, would you do me a favor and RATE or REVIEW the podcast. Plus, tell a friend and encourage them to check out Leader Fluent today. SHOW NOTES Leading Up is an important skill that allows you to add the most value to your organization and be the greatest help to your leader. The question is, “How”? What does it look like to lead up in a manner that is effective and healthy? Here are ten tips to get you started. 1. SELF-LEADERSHIP: LEAD YOURSELF CONSISTENTLY WELL Self-leadership is the discipline to influence your life in the right direction. If you can’t lead you, your boss won’t entrust you to lead others. So what does self-leadership look like? It’s about showing up on time, taking responsibility for your character, having a lifelong learning attitude, owning your problems, taking initiative, and being disciplined in key areas of life. If you want to consistently lead yourself well, create a personal growth plan (You can access a FREE RESOURCES HERE to help you create a plan for personal growth). 2. RESPONSIBILITY: DO WHAT YOU WERE HIRED TO DO The first thing your leader wants to know is whether or not you’re getting the job done that they hired you to do. To be trusted with new opportunities, you first have to show yourself trustworthy with your existing opportunities. Be responsible. Do what you were hired to do. 3. EXCELLENCE: CONSISTENTLY OVER-DELIVER Whereas responsibility means you can be trusted, excellence means you can be heard. If you want your leader to hear you, he or she has to see a level of excellence that gets their attention and makes a positive impression. Doing what you’re supposed to do doesn’t get noticed. It’s expected. But when you consistently over-deliver, your leader starts paying attention. 4. TEACHABILITY: BE A CURIOUS LISTENER AND LEARNER The team members that impress me are the ones who are teachable and coachable. Author Roger Seip describes a teachability equation like this: Desire to Learn x Willingness to Change = Level of Teachability. Teachable people first have a DESIRE to learn. They have a deep passion to become better at what they do. Then, they combine that desire with a WILLINGNESS to change. Without willingness, your desires are nothing more than a daydream. Willingness is where discipline turns your desires into reality. When you make yourself teachable, you endear yourself to your leader. Be humble, listen more than you talk, welcome honest feedback, and don’t get defensive when your leader gives it to you. Be a curious listener and learner. 5. PRIORITIES: VALUE WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOUR LEADER If you want to lead up, you can’t put your personal preferences ahead of the organization’s priorities. That will never work. You have to embrace and personalize the organization’s vision, because if your leader ever thinks you have an ulterior motive or a secret agenda, your days of leading up are over. Learn to value what’s most important to your leader. 6. SACRIFICE: PAY THE PRICE OTHERS ARE UNWILLING TO PAY We live in an entitlement culture. People want their perks, privileges, and power without paying their dues. If you want to lead up, you can’t demand your way to the top. You have to make sacrifices. Put in more time, mental energy, and a higher quality of work than others. Volunteer for projects (so long as you’re delivering on your other responsibilities) without expecting something in return. Make sacrifices. Pay the price others are unwilling to pay. 7. TEAM-BUILDING: DEVELOP TEAMS AND MULTIPLY LEADERS The best team members are those who are focused on DEVELOPING not DOING. They’re focused on developing people, building teams, and multiplying leaders…not doing all the work themselves. Peter Haas describes three types of leaders: technicians, equippers, and multipliers. Technicians do the work. Equippers empower people to do the work. But multipliers build entire family trees of equippers. The staff members that get my attention the most are the multipliers. They have the ability to build teams and develop leaders of leaders. They don’t just get the job done; they get it done with and through leaders of teams. 8. CREATIVE PROBLEM-SOLVING: BE SOLUTION-MINDED I don’t mind if a team member brings me a problem. What I do mind is when I have to be the one who always has to solve the problem. When you bring a problem to your leader, simultaneously bring two or three possible solutions. This shows your leader that you take initiative and have problem-solving skills. If your leader has to do all of your thinking for you, then they don’t need you. 9. PREPAREDNESS: VALUE YOUR LEADER’S TIME John Maxwell says, “I give my love unconditionally, but you have to earn my time.” This is how leaders think, and if you want more of your leader’s time, you have to earn it. This begins by being prepared. To lead up, you have to think and plan ahead. Ask yourself, “What does my boss want to know and need to know?” Then have an answer so he or she doesn’t even have to ask. 10. FLUX: KNOW WHEN TO PUSH FORWARD AND WHEN TO PULL BACK What do I mean by flux? On one end of flux is what authors James Kouzes and Barry Posner call, “challenging the process.” When you “challenge the process,” you are challenging the status quo, taking risks, and helping the organization improve. Young leaders especially love this practice because they see things that can get better. This is the PUSH side of flux—it’s pushing new ideas and new innovations forward—and every organization needs it. BUT, you also have to master the other side of flux: PULL. While there are certainly times to push forward by challenging the process with your leader, there are also times when you need to pull back, yield to your leader, and be sensitive to what’s important to him or her. Here’s why this is important: if you never push forward, you’ll stop bringing value and innovation to the organization. And if you never pull back, you’ll start to irritate your leader and even break trust with your leader. There’s a dance between knowing when to push forward and when to pull back. If you can master that dance, you’ll be much more effective at leading up. FEATURED RESOURCE Check out my free download, “The Young Leader’s Guide to Building Influence.” In it you’ll learn the young leader’s greatest lesson and greatest test, as well as ten words of wisdom for young leaders and practical keys for leading up. PLUS, for those who mentor young leaders, you’ll find keys to spotting an emerging leader and how to coach young leaders to succeed. You can download it FREE right HERE.
17 minutes | Jan 6, 2021
How to Create a Plan for Personal Growth
If you missed my first episode of the Leader Fluent Podcast, it’s a great way to kick off the new year. In this episode, I show you “How to Create a Plan for Personal Growth.” You’ll discover a practical framework to create a growth plan that you can use personally and with your entire team. Plus, download the free e-book, How to Create a Plan for Personal Growth in the FREE RESOURCES section of my blog. This practical resource will inspire you to grow and give you the step-by-step process to create your own Growth TRAC that’s customized to your needs. Plus, it’s a great resource to help your team grow with clarity and focus. Finally, be sure to subscribe to Leader Fluent so you don’t miss a single episode. You can subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Android, iHeartRadio, and other platforms. Plus, I’d love for you to leave a rating or review. Thanks for checking out Leader Fluent today. SHOW NOTES: What is a Personal Growth TRAC? A Growth TRAC is a specific, measurable, and accountable plan for personal and professional growth. Target: What are my growth goals? Spiritual Growth Mental Growth Relational Growth Physical Growth Roadmap: How Do I Plan to Grow? Training Resources Relationships Experiences Accountability: Who Will Hold Me Accountable for my Growth? Some accountability is Automated, and other accountability is Customized. Automated accountability is something you have zero or little choice in. Customized accountability is where you intentionally choose somebody to hold you accountable for a growth goal. And the best accountability partners are those who are trustworthy and they can help you reach your goal. Check-Ups: When and How Will I Evaluate My Growth Progress? Check-ups are all about determining how and scheduling when you’ll evaluate your progress. Check-ups are where you set deadlines for each step in your roadmap, embed your roadmap into your daily schedule, and then do in-depth check-ups monthly or quarterly with your accountability partner so you can make appropriate mid-course corrections.
20 minutes | Jan 4, 2021
Creating Stellar Customer Service
Customer service is critical in any organization. In the third episode of the Leader Fluent Podcast, I’ll share my family’s #1 customer service experience along with four keys to create service that wow’s your customers. Regardless of what kind of organization you lead (business, non-profit, church, school), you’ll find these four steps practical and applicable to any setting. Check out this episode of the podcast today on iTunes, Stitcher, Android, iHeart Radio, or your favorite podcasting platform. And after you listen, be sure to subscribe to Leader Fluent and leave a rating or review. SHOW NOTES We’ve all experienced the two extremes of customer service. On one end, we’ve been wowed by over-the-top service that generates loyalty to a company or organization. At the other extreme, we’ve all experienced a failed product, bad attitude, or horrendous experience that caused us never to return again. So, how do you elevate your service to create a consistently positive experience? It doesn’t happen by accident, and these four steps are a great place to start. 1. Create a Customer Friendly System In their book, Be Our Guest, Disney describes an Integration Matrix that looks at two things: SERVICE STANDARDS and DELIVERY SYSTEMS. They’ve identified the service standards that they want to consistently deliver to their customers (safety, courtesy, efficiency, etc.), and they’ve implemented those service standards in three delivery systems: their cast (employees), setting, and processes. 2. Recruit People Who Love People Retail Consultant Liz Tahir once said, “There is no way that the quality of customer service can exceed the quality of the people who provide it.” Lee Cockrell says that when it comes to customer satisfaction, the single most effective strategy is to hire people who have what he calls, “The Triple Crown.” The Triple Crown consists of: Great Skill An “I can do whatever is needed” Attitude Tremendous Passion for their Work When you combine those three ingredients, they add up to the most indispensable element of great customer service: COMMITMENT. 3. Engage Your Customers Build Relationships Not Just Sales – The companies where you feel the greatest sense of loyalty are the ones that are most interested in you. They don’t just want your money, they want to build a relationship with you. In his book, The Customer Service Revolution, John DiJulius shares a simple strategy to build relationships with customers. He calls the strategy FORD (Family, Occupation, Recreation, Dreams). When you can discuss at least two of these four things with a customer, you begin to deepen the relationship. Create WOW Experiences 4. Practice Team Huddles One of the most effective practices employed by the Ritz Carlton hotels is their daily line-up before each shift. Employees gather for a brief huddle where they always review one of their service values.
19 minutes | Dec 19, 2020
Six Keys to Effective Time Management
Time management is a huge challenge for leaders today. The constant demands of leadership, combined with the pressure to succeed, have created a perfect storm. Leaders are stressed, teams are overwhelmed, and families are often left to deal with an absentee spouse or parent. But this doesn’t have to be our story. In this episode of Leader Fluent, I share Six Keys to Effective Time Management. The goal isn’t to just be more efficient. If it were, we would run the risk of efficiently doing the wrong things. Instead, the goal is to maximize our time by living in the sweet spot of WHY, WHERE, and HOW. When we do, we’re able to invest our time doing the right things, in the right roles, in the right ways. And as a result, we’re able to effectively resist the pull toward an unfulfilled, unfocused, and unhealthy life. Check out this episode of Leader Fluent, and then be sure to subscribe to the podcast, share it with a friend, and leave a rating or review.
17 minutes | Dec 15, 2020
Leader Fluent Podcast
I’m excited to announce the launch of my new podcast, “Leader Fluent with Stephen Blandino.” Leader Fluent is designed to equip leaders to develop thriving churches and organizations. Each month you’ll receive a practical, insightful, and engaging episode designed to maximize your growth and effectiveness, personally and organizationally. Whether you’re a pastor, organizational leader, or simply have a passion for leadership and personal growth, you’ll find Leader Fluent to be a practical and applicable resource. You can check out the very first episode today on the topic, “How to Create a Plan for Personal Growth.” The new year is a great time to create a growth plan that’s customized to your personal and professional goals. In this episode, I unpack my “Growth TRAC Template” to help you focus your growth and create a customized plan on the priorities that are most important to you. Listen today and be sure to subscribe to “Leader Fluent.”
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