WHAT LEADERS DO

Balance vision with values. Vision is overrated; values are often ignored. Values undergird vision, keeping vision from going crazy. Think Hitler. Values reflect identity, vision drives destiny. Make it a good ride by choosing values of integrity.

Say no. They can find someone else. Keep your hands to the plow. You have an assignment. Don’t leave it for someone else’s. You will not stand accountable for another person’s vision. Do what you have to do, not what others want you to do.

Build an immunity to discouragement. John the Baptist had incredible vision of Christ’s work (“Behold the lamb of God…”) until he saw life from behind bars. Then he questioned the Christ. Elijah said and did stupid things when discouragement and fear took him out. You cannot afford the luxury of discouragement.

Have a bias toward action. Leave meetings with action items. Many end with talk and go nowhere. Not worth the time.

Record it. Rely on your retrieval system, not your memory. Write down brilliant thoughts–or lose them.

Live above offense. Ask my wife. It took me too long, but now I live that way. (Well, most of the time.) Be like my friend who said, “Just so you know, Paul, it’s almost impossible to offend me.” Unoffendable leaders can build a team; the other kind cannot.

Tend to your soul, or your drive will cause you to implode. First things first. Stay emotionally and spiritually healthy, so you can give yourself away.

Pace yourself. You’re in a marathon, not a sprint. Jesus was not in a hurry. He did what He came to do. He left some people un-healed, and it didn’t bother Him. Remember shabbat. It literally means “to cease.” God rested after a six-day work week. Take your cue from Him. If you think you are indispensable, have another thought.

Take charge of minutes. Time is too precious to waste. Must be invested. It is like money, a great friend and a terrible lord. Minutes add up; use them wisely.

Live with character. Talent wears thin. People should be treated with respect. Don’t overestimate gifting. Faithfulness trumps talent in the long haul.

Go with your strength. That creates passion and vision. Others can do what you can’t. Dreams are worth pursuing. “Most people die with the music still inside of them.” Sing your song!

Put a sign on the bus. If you are a leader, lead. You are going somewhere; tell them where. People who thought you were going to St. Louis will be angry if they end up in Cincinnati. Leadership cannot be delegated. Not leading creates a vacuum. Someone will step in, and you won’t be happy.

Take risks. Leadership without risk is an oxymoron. Make sure they are well-calculated. Then if you lose, it’s not a total loss. Don’t hire anyone without failures on the resume. He’s playing it too safe.

Under-promise; over-perform. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you need a sales job to get them, you don’t want them. Unfulfilled promises create resentment.

Evaluate. You are not into perfectionism, but strive for excellence. If you fail, ask yourself, “What did I learn?” Failure is not final if you learn. Don’t do an autopsy, but find out what you did and do better next time.

Serve. Leaders go low. Think under, not over, and be supportive. Apologize, don’t make excuses. Self-serving leaders are abusive. Serve the people you lead and they will live with gratitude rather than bitterness. Makes them better workers.

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