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January 2014
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W8D6 - Influence

"But I did not want to do anything without
your consent, so that any favor you do would
not seem forced but would be voluntary" - Philemon 14.

One of the key characteristics of servant leadership is influence, leadership's ability to direct people under their care through persuasion and patience. Paul could have ordered the man in this verse to do the right thing, but he appealed to him, wanting the man to consent from free will. Influence cannot just happen, but must stem from a credible and established relationship between the influencer and the followers. If leaders only show up when they need something, the followers will feel manipulated and the influence process will not work.

LEADERSHIP STEP: How are your relationships with those whom you are asking to follow you? Do you know their birthdays? What it is that motivates them to work or minister? Your step today is to assess your relationship with each follower, giving it a score of 1 (poor) to 5 (great). Then set dates to visit each team member twice over the next month, just to talk over lunch or at their work station. The goal is to build a better relationship with them than you have now.


W8D5 - Wisdom

"Give me now wisdom and knowledge,
that I may go out and come in before
this people, for who can rule this great
people of Yours?” - 2 Chronicles 1:10.

There is an aspect of wisdom that a leader earns through experience and study. Then there is wisdom that God gives leaders that helps them recognize opportunities and threats for their family or organization. Wisdom also helps leaders 'connect the dots,' which means they recognize patterns that help them discern what is happening today based on what they have seen in the past or what God gives them special insight to see. When Solomon asked for wisdom in this verse, it enabled him to recognize the dilemma presented to him shortly thereafter when two women came each claiming that a certain baby was theirs. Solomon's God-given wisdom helped him make the right decision.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Do you have the wisdom you need to lead effectively? Your experience will not be enough to get the job done, but will also require God's help. First, read James 1:5-8. Then pray that God will open your eyes and ears to receive what you need. You must not second-guess or doubt the process, however, but trust that God will give you what you need, perhaps through others, or something you read, or some thought you have about a past experience.


W8D4 - Knowledge

"I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom,
in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of
craftsmanship . . . ." - Exodus 31:3.

Bezalel is the name of the man described in this verse, and he was a craftsman, chosen by God to do special work. He became a leader of the people and others craftsmen based on his skill, experience and giftedness. This is what's called expert or charismatic leadership, for the head craftsman was the best at what he did, and God gifted him to be so. Not all leaders are equal, for there are some who are more gifted than others and have insights that are unique to them and their work.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Do you have the desire to be the best, to be world-class in or at what you do? Don't dismiss that as simply ego, but accept it as a desire that God gave you. Rather than fight it, go with it and lay out a plan for how you can gain knowledge, skill and insight in your chosen area of work. That may involve school, working for several companies, or an apprenticeship. Then go be the best that anyone will see in their lifetime in your area of knowledge.


W8D3 - Self-Awareness

"It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance,
that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,
among whom I am foremost of all" - 1 Timothy 1:15.

Paul was aware of his state and condition before the Lord. He was not being overly humble to say that he was a great sinner, for he had at one time put people in prison and to death, and thought he was doing God a favor. Yet he did not allow that reality to hinder him from serving the Lord and becoming a great leader who is still impacting the world. Leaders do not have to hide from or deny their weaknesses or failures. They simply acknowledge them while looking to operate in their God-given strengths, all the while acknowledging their propensity to 'sin' and shortsightedness.

LEADERSHIP STEP: How transparent and self-aware are you as a leader? You don't have to hold a special meeting to confess your sins, but you do need to be aware when you acted inappropriately or are demotivating your team. In W3D3 you were encouraged to have a 360-degree profile done. Did you do it? If not, then take steps to get one done and study the results. Then walk in a fresh awareness that you have blind spots that are negatively impacting your team.


W8D2 - Motivation

"Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart" - Psalm 37:4.

God grants the desires of the heart, not because He is some cosmic Santa Claus who gives everyone what they want, but because He put those desires there in the first place. So when a leader gets in touch with his or her heart, and seeks to lead God's way, that leader can count on God's help. It is not only the leader, however, who has heart desires; the same is true for followers. So leadership expresses heart desires through vision that provide opportunities for many to express and fulfill their heart's desires together and at the same time.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Are you 'fighting' your heart, seeking only to lead through the 'head' matters of finance, strategy and production? Then it's time to get in touch with your heart along with the hearts of others. Today write down what your elegant dream is, then call together others on your team for lunch one day this week and have them do the same. Then talk about how your dreams can become a reality together. Don't be discouraged if that seems impossible at first.


Week 8 Day 1 - Service

"But Jehoshaphat said, 'Is there not a prophet
of the Lord here, that we may inquire of the Lord
by him?' And one of the king of Israel’s servants
answered and said, 'Elisha the son of Shaphat is
here, who used to pour water on the hands of Elijah'" - 2 Kings 3:11.

Elisha was the major prophetic leader in Israel at the time the king asked his question above. What was Elisha's preparation for leadership? First, he was chosen by God, but then he spent time 'pouring water on Elijah's hands." As an apprentice, he served Elijah as Elijah mentored him. Elisha went from serving one man to serving the nation, all the time serving the Lord. This is the same path that David, Joseph and Moses followed: seemingly meaningless and perhaps even boring service was part of their preparation for leadership.

LEADERSHIP STEP: If you are an emerging leader, then serving is part of your training! If it is not part of your job or degree training, then what can you do to find a situation that will ground and humble you through service? If you are already a leader, regularly spend some time in the field - customer service, finance, maintenance - and serve the people there, staying in touch with reality and with the people who do the front-line work. This will help keep leadership power from going to your head.


Rest Stop 7

"See, the Lord has given you the sabbath; therefore
He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day.
Remain every man in his place; let no man go out
of his place on the seventh day" - Exodus 16:29.

God gave the Sabbath Day as a gift to His people. By the time Jesus came, the Sabbath was anything but a gift. It was a day of arduous limitations, authoritatively enforced by God's 'police,' who were the religious leaders of Jesus' day. Notice that God provided for every day, not just the Sabbath. The Jews were to stop what they normally did on the Sabbath to commemorate and recognize that they and their work were not the source of their provision, God was. It is also interesting that worship was not part of the original Sabbath; they were just to stay in their homes and not gather manna.

LEADERSHIP STEP: The Leadership Walk is a tiring road with great stress, success and even failure. It can be a rewarding but frustrating road as well. Today, step away from your normal duties - don't think about work and go have some fun. What is fun for you? A movie? A visit to your parents or children? A museum? Reading? Whatever it is, make a conscious effort to leave your work alone today, and that includes thinking about it.


W7D6 - Organization

"But when you blow an alarm, the camps that
are pitched on the east side shall set out" - Numbers 10:6.

When Israel moved through the desert, Moses had to coordinate the movements of millions of people and livestock. That required structure and organization so that each start and then each stop had rhythm and sequence, on in other words had organization. The answer for this challenge could not be to shrink Israel down to where it was small and manageable, but to learn how to organize something complex. There are some leaders who don't want their organization to get too big because they don't want to be bothered with the problems, but they then thwart the full impact God would have them and their group make on the world.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Are you biased against 'big' in your organization? If so, today would be good day to identify why. Do you fear not having the ability to handle its challenges? Is it a wrong perspective on 'big', that somehow it's not God's will? Whatever reasons you uncover, develop a plan to grow beyond that fear, whether through education, hiring people who can handle 'big,' or repenting of lack of faith. Remember: If it's too big for you to lead and manage, it's not too big for God to help you do either!


W7D5 - Goals

"Now David had said, 'Whoever strikes down
a Jebusite first shall be chief and commander.'
Joab the son of Zeruiah went up first, so he
became chief" - 1 Chronicles 11:6.

Leaders help establish goals and rewards for the people in their organization, and promote people based on performance - realizing that team members are motivated by different things.. In today's verse, we see how David attacked Jerusalem and set a goal to see which of his fighting men would respond with faith and zeal. David made good on his promise to promote the man who led the way, and the city was taken, becoming the capital of Israel and a city that to this day is the focus of much of the world.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Are you clear in your family or organization what behavior is desired and will be rewarded? Then are you consistent to follow through on the rewards? While loyalty is desired, you must reward people for performance and not just staying around. Set some time today with your team and see if they are clear on what they should be doing, what it is you desire from them, and what rewards are connected to those desired outcomes.


W7D4 - Purpose

"God blessed them; and God said to them,
'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth,
and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea
and over the birds of the sky and over every living
thing that moves on the earth'" - Genesis 1:28.

Work was and is God's idea. He blessed Adam and Eve by assigning them meaningful work that made them the rulers over creation as God's coworkers. When one rules, that indicates that one leads, so leadership was the first work God assigned to anyone. Part of their leadership was to be expressed in their fruitfulness, which was tangible productivity that would emanate from their God-assigned and God-directed work.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your work is a calling from God. It should be a source of joy, meaning, and fulfillment. Is that what you derive from your work? If not, it could be a season you are going through, or it could be you are bored and in the wrong business! The answer may not be to quit your job, but to find meaningful labor outside of work hours. That may start out as a hobby or ministry, but could grow into a second career. Any ideas of what those activities might be for you?