W52D3 - Motivation

“The day of the Lord is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head" - Obadiah 1:15.

The principle of reaping and sowing is applicable to all walks of life for both individuals and organizations. You cannot escape this universal principle, just like a farmer cannot plant wheat and expect corn. If an organization sows deception, then it will reap deception from its suppliers, publics, and employees. If an entity sows good customer service, then it will reap a harvest of good public relations and positive word-of-mouth marketing. Leaders must help their organizations understand that the motivation to do the right things is not just a matter of ethics, but it is also vital for business or ministry success. Leaders who are motivated only to make money or achieve short-term success may cut corners or take shortcuts, but those paths always lead to a dead end.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to check your seed bag to see what you are sowing as a leader and as an organization. You may need to engage the services of a consultant or an objective person such as a new employee or people from your board of directors to do that. Let them examine and report honestly on what they find in every area of your business operation. Look to see where your business practices may be the source of poor business results and where you can begin sowing in order to garner an abundant harvest.

W48D2 - Motivation

“See, the enemy is puffed up;
    his desires are not upright—
    but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness—
indeed, wine betrays him;
    he is arrogant and never at rest.
Because he is as greedy as the grave
    and like death is never satisfied,
he gathers to himself all the nations
    and takes captive all the peoples" - Habbakuk 2:4-5.

It is interesting that the concept of living by faith actually appears in the Old Testament, and the person who does not walk in faith is negatively portrayed in today's verses. People of un-faith can have some or all of the mentioned traits: puffed up or proud, driven by unrighteous desires, arrogant, restless, greedy, unsatisfied and insatiable, and aggressively trying to take control of everyone and everything around them. Unfaithful leaders can do grave damage to people and organizations when their drive to win and conquer is on the loose and they are not even aware of what they are doing or why. Leaders must develop faith habits that enable them to trust other people, their teams, the future, their decisions, and the Lord and the promises in His word.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to assess your leadership motivations as honestly and courageously as possible. Where faith doesn't exist, fear does, and it can lead to the negative traits mentioned above. Go over that list again and ask the Lord to show you where those traits are operating in your leadership style. Don't assume you know what's in you and why; just do a self-examination (or with a counselor) to determine if un-faith is motivating you in any way.

W43D2 - Motivation

"This is the city of revelry that lived in safety. She said to herself, 'I am the one! And there is none besides me.' What a ruin she has become, a lair for wild beasts! All who pass by her scoff and shake their fists" - Zephaniah 2:15.

It's interesting that the prophet was not talking in this verse to Judah or Israel, but rather to Assyria. In fact, the entire chapter is God's indictment against nations that were not part of the Jewish covenant community, but rather of the surrounding nations. Yet God was holding the leaders in those nations accountable for their irresponsibility, selfishness, pride, and arrogance. The lesson should be clear for all leaders: God is watching what is done and He expects everyone to behave in a manner consistent with His ethics and moral laws. When that doesn't happen, the good times eventually end and what was once so promising becomes a shell of its potential due to greed or self-centeredness--and the leaders are removed from their positions.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to make sure that same things motivating Assyria above are not motivating you and your team. Bring in an outsider and ask them to sit, watch, and listen to your operations for a period of time. Have them sit in on leadership and staff meetings, read your promotional materials, and observe customer service. Then have them produce a report on what they saw. Don't ignore their report if they find pride, selfishness, or inefficiency in your work.

W38D2 - Motivation

"Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand—a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was in ancient times nor ever will be in ages to come" - Joel 2:1-2.

The prophet in the book of Joel was alerting Judah to an impending disaster due to their lax spiritual ways. He was urging the people to take steps to prepare for the coming onslaught of enemies. Effective leaders help their organizations see opportunities in the future and begin to prepare to take advantage of those opportunities. Those same leaders also help their companies see threats to their operation, vision, and goals, and take action to avoid those threats or to minimize their damage. This involves foresight—leaders must be able to read current reality and see into the future—and persuasion—being able to convince those who cannot see the danger that steps must be taken to prepare for anticipated problems and downturns.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to bolster your organization against threats to its work and existence. Give some thought to scenarios that can help your organization prepare for the worst—and the best. For example, have your team work on budgets that reflect a 20% or more drop in revenue. Then prepare one for a 20% increase. Do some succession planning in the event of the sudden loss of a key leader. Help your team consider some negative and positive events and then help them anticipate their response to them.

W33D2 - Motivation

"Then the Lord said to Aaron, 'You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the tent of meeting, or you will die. This  is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, so that you can distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean'" - Leviticus 10:8.

The Lord forbade the priests, who were the leaders in Israel, to partake of any alcoholic beverages before they went to work in the tent of meeting. This was not because the Lord was against alcohol altogether, but rather so their judgment would not be impaired when they were dealing with spiritual things. In other words, they were to take their work seriously and be motivated by a desire to serve the Lord. Leaders today must also be careful not to self-medicate themselves to help them get through the anxiety and pressures of work, which can take the form of addictive substances like food, medicine, alcohol, or almost any other activity that will help them escape their work rather than engage it.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to do an honest evaluation of your recent approach to work and your leadership role. If it's strictly for the money, then you may be a candidate for adopting lifestyles and habits that help you get through your workday because of boredom or anxiety. Are you exercising regularly? How's your weight? Are you engaging in any habit that's helping you get through the day but preventing you from giving your best efforts at work, or from resting sufficiently when you aren't working?

W28D2 - Motivation

"You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
    therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
    by anointing you with the oil of joy" - Hebrews 1:9.

This verse describes the key element of Jesus' leadership effectiveness, and that element was and is joy. The writer of Hebrews later tells us the joy set before Him caused Jesus to do what He did. He was not forced or compelled to do the Father's will, He willingly chose to do it because of His love for the Father. There are important leadership lessons here, for leaders must help create a culture where people can find and function in the role with duties that give them joy. If they cannot find something, then either something is created for them or they are assisted in finding someplace else with grace and all the help they need.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Is joy a competitive advantage in your organization? Your Step today is to examine how joyful people are around you. Spend some time with your key staff and ask them whether or not they are happy. Find out what part of their job gives them the kind of joy that releases creativity, energy and enthusiasm. Then strategize how they can do those things more often. If they are not happy, then you will need to have a different conversation.

W23D2 - Motivation

“Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering" - Luke 11:52.

In today's verse, Jesus rebuked the leaders because they were being harsh on themselves and then on the people, actually demotivating followers from pursuing the highest good. Leaders must pay attention to the level of motivation in their workplace. This can be a challenge because followers and team members are motivated by a variety of things and leaders should work to provide an atmosphere where those motivations can flourish so people can do their best work. Leaders can watch what followers do (or avoid doing) and listen to what followers say to find out what motivates them, and then work to remove obstacles to those motivations so people can flourish in their position.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Are you demotivating your workers or peers? Take some time today to find out. Distribute an anonymous survey for people to return to you, asking them what they need from you to do their best work. Ask them to freely describe anything in your companypolicies, relationships, budgets, communications, recognition practicesthat demotivates them. When they do, don't tell them they should not feel that way; simply remove those de-motivators!s!

W18D2 - Motivation

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving" - Colossians 3:23-24.

Motivation is an issue that leaders must face, addressing the needs of others as well as themselves. Money, benefits, prestige, a nice office, reporting to an effective supervisor, loss of privileges, and demotions are all motivators (good and bad), but they are referred to as extrinsic because they motivate from outside the worker or leader. Intrinsic motivators are internal (and different from person to person) and much more effective and powerful, and stem from the reason for or satisfaction derived from the work itself. In today's passage, the most lasting and effective motivation is to do the work for the Lord, because He is always watching and will ultimately reward with benefits, both in this lifetime and the next.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your best indicator of why you do what you do often shows when you are not rewarded for your labor as you deem appropriate. That disappointment can lead you to hold back your best efforts. Today, reflect on why you do what you do, and be honest. Is it for money, promotion, or attention? Do you understand that you are working for the Lord and not for your company or your board of directors? Do you need to adjust your attitude and do your best work for reasons other than the usual reasons people work?

W13D2 - Motivation

"When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor, he was enraged. Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of  killing only Mordecai. Instead Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes" - Esther 3:5-6.

Haman squandered a wonderful leadership opportunity because he was blinded by hatred for the Jews and Mordecai. He had unlimited access to the king, authority, power, and wealth, yet personal gain and revenge motivated him to make poor decisions that eventually cost him and his family their lives. What's more, Haman used people to further his own ends and, when they couldn't benefit him or did not honor him, he looked to eliminate them. Leaders must confront their own heart and face what is motivating them to lead and succeed, realizing that some attitudes are not in their best interests and will eventually undermine what they have set out to do.

LEADERSHIP STEP: What motivates you to lead or to become a leader? Take out a sheet of paper or go to your journal and write out what you expect to receive as leader and what you hope to give as leader. Be honest and transparent. Then examine the list to look for patterns or hidden motivators. Is the receive list longer than the give list? What does this list tell you about your motivation for leadership? What can you do to improve the balance on your list?

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.