A Leadership Key? Can You Easily Laugh At Yourself?

Many will remember the opening ceremony ‘Ring Malfunction’ at the Sochi Winter Games, but I wonder how many people will remember the closing ceremony ‘Ring Malfunction’? Here’s a picture from the closing ceremony from Sochi where effectively, the Russian’s had the last laugh. It was clever how they planned a second ring malfunction for the world to see:

Olympic Ring Fail Laugh

Here’s a leadership lesson I was reminded of as I saw this image from Sochi 2014:

1) A strong leader is able to take a mistake and turn it into a positive. The organizers at Sochi certainly brought smiles on the faces of people around the world as they leveraged a mistake and turned it into laughter.

2) A strong leader is able to laugh at themselves first. When a leader can laugh at themselves and see their quirks and nuances (that others see), it allows followers to relax and laugh with them. The journey of leadership can be challenging so it’s important a leader does not take themselves too seriously…

3) A strong leader will not cover up a mistake, but rather own it. What was interesting about the opening ceremony was the way that Russian media ‘covered up’ the mistake by using video footage from the rehearsals when the fifth ring failed. Many around the world criticized them for this ‘cover up’ at the time. However, it was refreshing to see a turn around in tactics as they faced their mistake and brought light to it in the closing ceremony.

4) A strong leader is more concerned about results than they are about critics. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are certain people we should always listen to and value the opinions of. However, as a leader, you and I will always come up against critics who do not fully understand the big picture of what we are trying to achieve. It is in these times we should be focused on the outcome of our efforts, rather than the influence of short-sighted critics. Sadly, even my world of church leadership, I have come across critics who have impacted myself and other leaders. At these times it imperative that a leader is able to stay focused on the big picture and end result while also listening to the influence of trusted leaders around them…

What was your favorite Winter Olympics memory? What are your thoughts on how the organizers turned around their Olympic ring failure?

Phil <><

Are You Overlooking Your Biggest Leadership Roadblock?

Last week I had the privilege to spend an evening with a class of college students studying for their youth ministry class. They were an incredibly sharp group and had some brilliant questions for me. Perhaps one of the most challenging but important questions asked of me was:

“What have been the biggest roadblocks in ministry?”

Ministry Leadership Roadblock

If I am honest, my default was to think about difficult situations, difficult people, and lack of resources. If you are like me, it’s not difficult to blame circumstances, people, or resources for a lack of results. But, after a few moments and really considering the question, I felt like I should offer the most helpful answer that I had often overlooked and underestimated for many years…

“Quite honestly, the greatest roadblock I have faced in ministry is… myself.”

Simply put, I believe that the greatest roadblock for many leaders is the inability to see and admit their weaknesses. Whether it be through outward arrogance, or subtle pride that is not willing to ask for help, too many leaders overlook themselves as a roadblock. And here is perhaps the greatest risk we face…

Leaders who are unable to acknowledge their roadblock will eventually lose the following of those who can clearly see it. 

Over the years I am learning that I cannot control others or the resources available to me, but I can seek God’s guidance to show me what I need to do to adapt to my circumstances. When I can honestly look at myself in the mirror and face who I am, it is then that I can begin to move forward with God’s grace and help.

What is your weakness? Who around you could  lovingly help you to see your roadblock? What steps do you need to take to move beyond your roadblock? 

Phil <><



photo credit: ** RCB ** via photopin cc

Leadership Refinement: A Necessary and Painful Path of a Leader

leadership refinementBeing in a position of leadership in the local church has been incredible for me!

As I look back, I am amazed at how much I have learned and how much I have yet to learn about ministry and leadership. Although I use the word “incredible” to describe my journey so far, it’s important to clarify that “incredible” includes those painful lessons and humbling experiences. For, without them, I would not be who I am today as a leader.

I have observed that leaders must go through a time of refining in order to become the instrument God intends them to be.

As I reflected on some of these “incredible” experiences, I felt I should share some of them briefly, as a way to encourage you and remind you, that you are not alone…

Here are some painful lessons I have had to learn: 

  • Know the difference between a quiet time and message preparation.
  • There will always be busy seasons, but my family cannot survive living constantly in the fast lane.
  • Healthy boundaries don’t make people dislike me. Boundaries are model to others and create respect for me.
  • Clear vision and strong faith is key, even when I am not completely certain of an outcome.
  • The longer I wait to deal with a difficult person will only go to amplify the eventual fallout.
  • Stop trying to be a pleaser of people, instead bring joy to my Heavenly Father.
  • Recruit great leaders, give them a clear vision, then let lead! Don’t try to micro manage them…
  • If someone in ministry is dishonest, speak truth and love to them, even if it might cost you…

I am sure there are many more experiences I could share, but those are some of the highlights that stand out for me in the last ten years or so. Whether you can relate to some or all of them, please know that you are not alone. God allows great leaders to go through a time of refinement so that we can become more like He intends us to be.

What painful experiences have shaped you to become a more effective leader? What are you going through right now that God wants to use to shape you for the better?

Phil <><

photo credit: Graela via photopin cc

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