Posted 1 years 163 days ago ago by Hugh Ballou 4 Comments
...Is divided into four sections:
In my leadership work, I group skills and strategies into the four areas above. First, Foundations give the leader the clarity to know how to lead the team because the final result in clear; second, build and maintain effective relationship to assist in getting to the vision; next, develop effective systems allowing each team member to excel and to work together efficiently; and finally, create balance in work, in life, and between work in life.
This month I highlight important "Words of Wisdom" from leaders I have recently interviewed.
I really do believe that vision is crucial. In fact, in a recent book, The Truth About Leadership, they said one of the key elements that people are looking for in a leader, is that they are looking into the future. They are future oriented. One of the things I have learned is, that not only must I be future oriented, but for people to accept a vision, I must also create this equilibrium, or urgency, about that which is in the present. That when people have a choice between the status quo, which is the present and the future, they will not accept the vision unless they become uncomfortable and become dissatisfied with the status quo.
So, I think vision is crucial, but I think it needs to be shaped in such a way that it produces accountability because that then begins to effect your strategies, it effects your behaviors, it causes you to say certain things we're doing are working or they are not working and therefore we have to change it. I find vision is the hardest thing for pastors, for leaders, for churches to grasp, to figure out, and to deal with, and yet it is in essence really a crucial element because without vision you know - even the Bible talks about people being disorganized.
A simple metaphor for the choral conductor would be the musical score. If a meeting received the same planning as a musical score, there would be form, structure, motives, and development. There would be a definite start, and a definite conclusion. There would be room for theme and variation. Conductors are very comfortable with the musical score, so the first advice might be to treat the meeting like a rehearsal, but make certain there is a score in hand that is as precise and nuanced as a good musical score. The second piece of advice would be to listen more than you talk. A good rehearsal takes place when the conductor uses listening skills, and then applies knowledge to what is heard. A bad rehearsal takes place when a conductor talks a lot, and leaves less room to listen to what is being produced. And finally, a really good rehearsal takes place when the performers/singers/instrumentalists are prepared and practice their own part outside of the group rehearsal. If participants in a meeting come prepared, the meeting can be an exchange of ideas, rather than an exchange of ignorance. But, it is the conductor’s task to give them something to prepare. The same is true for a good meeting.
Systems are Important
I would agree that the sense of how to plan a rehearsal and transferring that is really important. I think the single most important thing I did for my leadership skills was to get my Orff certification. Because in that process I learned about sequential development and I always tell people good technique is good technique is good technique. So you may think, well you know, something for children - how does that apply. Well, it applies because any group has to develop over time. Any goal has to be broken down into manageable steps, to achieve. And, I think that's a piece that many people don't take the time to do is to see what those steps along the way are, and how, whatever the goal is, it can be, reached by just breaking it down into smaller steps, and then working that plan. My problem, my personal one, is that I'm really pretty good at developing the plan. I'm not always good at going back and checking it and developing that. So, I think that’s really important too. But, one issue that I encountered recently - well, not really an issue but a thought - is any one group needs different kinds of people, and everybody needs to understand what role they play. Visionaries within a group are very, very important. But, operations people are important as well. You need people that can have the vision to figure out the what, but you need those operations people to think about the how, and how to get there. And if you can combine those two, plus some other gifts, I think any team, working on any goal, any committee in the church, is going to be much better off.
Well I think for sure that leaders need to be able to listen well. I'm always suspicious of a leader who has great clarity but doesn't really listen and all he wants to do is bulldoze everybody else. And get his vision accomplished.
And I think it's really critically important to be able to listen to other people, to be able to pick up on the nuances of what they may be sharing because they may be seeing things that you don't see. Or that you're not aware of. Or you don't have the experience to really apprehend. So I think, as a fundamental skill as a leader, you've got to be able to listen, be able to hear people. And even if ultimately you decide to go another direction, or slightly different direction, it's really important that people feel that they've been heard.
That they've had the chance to contribute to the vision makes it much easier for them to own it. So, I think listening is a huge one. I know there are lots of Christians. As you know, some believe in the gift of tongues, some don't believe in it. But regardless, we should all believe in the gift of the ears. That's what really counts.
Control of Self as a Leader
In family systems theory, we think that a lot of this angst that we experience in our organizations and in our families goes back to anxiety. And when the anxiety level rises, as it is doing right now in our society because of many factors, relationships don't do well.
And it doesn't matter the source of the anxiety, it doesn't matter where it's coming from, but if there is anxiety present, we find that relationships start to either, break down in one of four different ways. People start to fight with each other. They start to distance. They start telling each other what to do, or acting hopeless, "Oh, please tell me what to do," or they start talking to other people behind the leader's back in a thing, a phenomenon we call triangling. So, the leadership is largely an opportunity to take up all these situations in all their different combinations and permutations, and figure out how I'm going to position myself with all this that's going on.
Individuality vs. Togetherness
There's actually a lot about balance in Bowen Family Systems Theory, and it has to do with the balance between individuality and togetherness.
In all of our families and in all our organizations there's a pull towards togetherness. There's a pull towards the leadership to think the way I think, think the way we as a group think, be here for us, no matter if you have to get sick doing it, because they don't give you enough time to yourself. So, there's this togetherness pull that can do the leader in.
Bowen talked about this a great deal. We spent one whole year on it, actually, about individuality. How do I as a leader get some individuality? How do I think about who I am as a person, out of all this togetherness? Does togetherness pull? And so that's the balance that we find in this theory and then, in individuality, of course, there's a great deal of thinking about, what do I believe? How am I functioning? How much does the togetherness pull, dictate, and dominate my life? Versus me, myself dominating it, and dictating what I want my life to be like, and look like, and how I'm going to relate to people. How much do my generations dictate how, the kind of person I am? Most people have never thought about that. How much their generations are really influencing them to this very day.
If you don't have that authenticity of a relationship, then people are going to know that. They're going to see it. And they're going to sense it. And I think we all could probably think of some people in the church music field that maybe we’re suspicious of in that circumstance - that they sort of found their way into church music because they did music, but without those relationships and understanding what that means, what that requires of us and what then gives us joy in those relationships and satisfaction.
I think three steps are very important when you look at church leadership and leadership in terms of policy makers or from a political context. I used to be a state legislator in Columbus, Ohio. I was chairman of the Human Resource Committee and the Education Committee and a committee activist. And what I learned that there are three keys that are very important for leadership. Number one is mindset transformation. Number two is to always be driven to expand your skill set. Einstein said the thinking that has brought me this far has created some problems that this thinking can't solve. And number 3 is practice the principals of “OQP”, Only Quality People, surrounding yourself with people that you can learn from. Doctor Dennis Kimble out of Atlanta said if you're the smartest one in your group you need to get a new group.
You begin to unconsciously make decisions that cause you to produce results that do not represent the best and the highest that is in you, because it says to you, you can't do this or what I'm doing does not matter and, and after a while many leaders just give up.
Many are present physically, but they're not there mentally and so it's very important that you surround yourself with right relationships that can feed into you. There are two types of relationships. There are nourishing relationships and toxic relationships. Nourishing relationship bring the best out of you. They hold you accountable. They raise the bar on you. They challenge you and they keep you on point. Toxic relationships drain you and they bring the worst out of you. They know how to push those buttons and bring ugly out of you then. So you gotta have relationships around you that really bring the best out of you and empower you so that you can do the work that you're assigned to do.
I rather think in terms of an integrated approach as opposed to balance. I think that we have to integrate in our lives the things that will nourish our spirits, the things that will enhance our overall sense of well being, the game plans and strategies that will improve our lives, because you don't get in life what you want, you get in life what you are. The things that we are going to do are reason for being and our achievement goals, you know, hearing my father glorify that "ye bear much fruit." We're here to bear fruit, to make impact, and so, when we have an integrated approach, when we place in there family time, when we include in there fun time, leisure time. When we include in there living a life of contribution, when we include in there time to calm down and to be centered and grounded and be silent and go within and say, “Speak Lord, Thy servant heareth thee.” An integrative approach is very important, because all of these things are very important, an overall sense of well being, our health, our relationship with our family members, the people that we care about, the cause that we have embraced, the reason for our doing the work that we do. All of those things must be an integrative approach and how we move forward in life in order to make the greatest impact and be able to be an asset to the planet rather than a liability.
Enchantment starts with 3 pillars - it's likeability, trustworthiness, and quality. So, likeability comes about with personal skills, smiling, shaking hands, dressing; trustworthiness comes across because you trust others before you expect them to trust you. You think of life as not a zero sum game, but the game that everybody can win. I like to use the analogy of, you can either be a baker or an eater. An eater sees the world as, I need to eat as much and as fast as possible. A baker sees the world as, I can bake more pies, and everybody can eat more. So you want to be a baker. You also want to default to a yes attitude, where you're always thinking about how you could help others, as opposed to how they could help you, or what they might want from you. And the last component is quality.
I have an acronym called DICEE, that defines high quality. So, the ‘D’ stands for depth, in terms of features and benefits; ‘I’ stand for intelligence. when you look at it, you understand it people understood your problem and have anticipated what you need; the ‘C’ stands for complete, using a software analogy, it's not just the software, it's the software and the documentation and the conferences and everything that goes around it; the first ‘E’ stands for elegance, that is the user interface; and the last ‘E’, or you can swap either order, stands for empowering. The great products, great services make people feel empowered, more creative, more productive, giving them peace of mind.
Agreements and Relationships
Well, the agreement is the container for the relationship. The agreement describes if it's a good one if it follows my ten points. Everybody has had the same-shared vision of where they're going. Everybody knows the role that they're going to play. Everybody is clear about the promises. In other words, what they will do, what the tasks are and that they have a commitment to accomplish - the value that they'll put in and the value that they'll get out and that value is real important because when people don't perceive they're getting value then performance stops. We have this vision but how are we going to know whether or not we got there. It’s real clear because people have different understandings of how to measure a result.
Concerns and fears are a critical thing to talk about because people can speak to each other's concerns and fears and this notion of renegotiation is so critical. When we begin, we know what we know, but we don't know what we don't know and things are revealed as we work together. And so, the process of renegotiating as we learn more becomes a really critical part of moving together. When you think in terms of systems, something I call consequences, if we don't hit the vision, becomes very important. Because there is a consequence to the individuals, to the team, the organization, to the public that they're trying to serve if people don’t hit that vision.
Conflict and Relationship
What's interesting is the goal of any conflict resolution process is to have a clear agreement. So, there's two points that come to mind. One of the reviews of my first book, Getting to Resolution, stated, “the book might have been called Getting to Relationship.” The other piece about that is that when people think in terms of agreement, and this is an important distinction, often the word, legal contract and long voluminous detailed agreements come up. And, essentially, I use my background and context that I came from, those long legal documents and agreements stay on a hard drive or on a shelf, or on the bottom of a drawer, as long as the relationship works. And I like to think of my agreement facilitation, which I use in many different arenas as a way of creating convergence after having a level of divergence meaning when a group first forms there's a lot of discussion, a lot of talk and you get kind of, a divergent conversation and then you have to bring it back to create convergence, which is a container for the relationship.
© 2011 Creator Magazine All Rights Reserved
Advertisement/Your Ad Could Be Here
by Hugh Ballou
by Doug Lawrence
Current Most Viewed Articles
Stand Up and Lift Up Your Heads Vern Sanders reflects that there is something amazing about the power of corporate singing
2860 Views 14 Comments
Music Ministry Excellence on a Small Budget Doug Lawrence provides some basic ways to assist excellence in music ministry with whatever resources you have available
1114 Views 3 Comments
Who Will Preach the Songs? beauty, music, art, drama, dance and other ways to preach the gospel in means other than the spoken word
523 Views 7 Comments
8 Ways to Avoid Decision Fatigue Leaders are usually marked by their ability to make sound decisions. Developing strategies for better decision-making is intentional, and it must be continually cultivated.
503 Views 5 Comments
5 Principles for Achieving Goals 5 principles to ponder to keep yourself in tune, fit, and in good shape for God's work, using running as leadership inspiration
465 Views 0 Comments
Has it become the Great Comm$$ion? The realities of running an institution mean that often our most altruistic motivations have to take second place in the contest for our attention, time, and money
426 Views 0 Comments
Ever Feel Like a Guitar String? Like guitar strings, we can feel stretched and pulled, as though we may break at any moment, but it is only when the guitar strings are tight that the instrument can produce truly beautiful music...
405 Views 0 Comments
6 Ways to Fan the Leadership Flame As a leader, keeping your personal leadership flame burning is a key to renewal, reformation, and revival in your corporate leadership
404 Views 0 Comments
Worship is a Boundless Vista Worship is a boundless vista, an endless, untamable country. We will never find its limits and its exploration is our birthright
375 Views 0 Comments