Effective Peer Leader-shift: Living in the Loop

Leaders, by definition (if not practice) have followers. Leaders find, recruit, and train followers for specific tasks. While this is an important task in any organization, a leader who can only lead followers is limited. To make it to the next level of leadership, a leader must be able to lead other leaders – those alongside them.

Leading peers is a unique challenge, no matter what organization a leader is part of. A highly competent leader who is seen – rightly or wrongly – to have considerable influence with his boss is often at a disadvantage when it comes to peer-to-peer relationships.

To succeed at leading alongside your peers, you must work at giving your colleagues reasons to respect and follow you. You do that by helping them win, and in doing so, you will not only help your organization but you will also help yourself.

Live in the leadership loop

THE QUICK SUMMARY – The 360° Leader, John Maxwell

Don’t wait for that promotion! Start leading NOW…right where you are!

What’s the number one question leadership expert John C. Maxwell is asked while conducting his leadership conferences? “How can I implement what you teach when I’m not the top leader?” Is it possible to lead well when you’re not the top dog? How about if the person you work for is a bad leader? The answer is a resounding yes!

Welcome to The 360° Leader. People who desire to lead from the middle of organizations face unique challenges. And they are often held back by myths that prevent them from developing their influence. Dr. Maxwell, one of the globe’s most trusted leadership mentors, debunks the myths, shows you how to overcome the challenges, and teaches you the skills you need to become a 360° leader.

If you have found yourself trying to lead from the middle of the organization, as the vast majority of professionals do, then you need Maxwell’s insights. You have a unique opportunity to exercise influence in all directions—up (to the boss), across (among your peers), and down (to those you lead). The good news is that your influence is greater than you know.

Practice the disciplines of 360° leadership and the opportunities will be endless . . . for your organization, for your career, and for your life.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

The middle of an organization is a great place to practice and build your skills while at the same time extending your influence in all directions. Leaders above you recognize your contributions to the greater organization. Followers below you are grateful for your leadership and influence in developing them.

However, people who find it difficult to lead alongside their peers are often individuals who don’t excel at building relationships. More so than leading up or down, developing and deepening relationships with your peers is critical to your success in leading alongside them.

If you want to gain influence and credibility with people working alongside you, then don’t try to take a shortcut or cheat the process. Instead, learn to understand, practice, and complete the leadership loop with them.

Take a look at the following graphic, which will give you an idea of what the leadership loop looks like:

You can see that it’s a cycle that starts with caring and ends with succeeding.

  1. Caring – Taking an Interest in People

You have to show people that you care about them by taking an interest in them. People always move toward someone who increases them and away from anyone who decreased them.

  1. Learning – Get to Know People

Take time to talk to your peers in the organization. Ask to hear their stories. Try to discover their best skills. Ask for their opinions on work-related issues. And as much as you can, try to put yourself in their shoes.

  1. Appreciating – Respect People

We should strive to see others’ unique experiences and skills as a resource and try to learn from them. If you treat your peers with this kind of respect, appreciating them for who they are, then they will be more likely to respect and listen to you in return.

  1. Contributing – Add Value to People

Few things increase the credibility of leader ore than adding value to the people around them. When you go out of your way to add value to your peers, they understand that you really want them to when with no hidden agenda of your own.

  1. Verbalizing – Affirm People

Few things build people up like affirmation. When you affirm people, you make firm within them the things you see about them. If you want to influence your peers, become their best cheerleader.

  1. Leading – Influence People

The things you’ve done up to know have served to build your relationship with them, give you credibility, and display that your motives are good. With that kind of history, you will have earned the opportunity to influence them.

  1. Succeeding – Win With People

Great leaders don’t use people so that they can win. They lead people so that they all can win together. The wonderful thing about helping others succeed is that it earns you more opportunities to help an even greater number of people.

If you help others succeed, additional people will come into your life whom you will have an opportunity to help succeed, and the cycle will start over again.

John C. Maxwell, The 360° Leader

A NEXT STEP

Draw the leadership loop pictured above, and post it in a visible, but out-of-the-way place in your office or work area as a reminder.

Create a matrix on a spreadsheet listing your peer’s names in a horizontal column, and the seven leadership loop actions in a horizontal row across the top.

Over the next month, review the seven actions above on a daily basis, and intentionally schedule and follow through on these actions each day with your peers. At the end of each day, make a brief note in the respective place what action you have taken with each of your peers.

At the end of the week, review your progress, and consider how you will continue and improve in the next week.

At the end of the month, call your team together and debrief your experiment with them.

  • Ask them at what point they realized you were doing something differently.
  • Ask them what they thought about your actions.
  • Encourage them to express what it felt to them as an individual.
  • Ask them if they, in turn, began to do some of the same things with others.
  • Discuss with the group how the actions you took increased the relationships of the team.
  • Challenge your peers to work through the leadership loop in a similar manner.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 79-2, issued November 2017.


 

This is part of a weekly series posting excerpts from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix book excerpts for church leaders.

SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; each solution is taken from a different book. Additionally, a practical action step is included with each solution.

As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS Remix provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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6 Things Learned from 2 Great Communicators

All leaders communicate. Not all leaders communicate well.

Communication is a broader topic than just your Sunday morning or weekend messages. Much of a leader’s most important communication takes place in one to one conversations or in small group meetings. But in this article I’ll focus on public communication, leaning mostly into the context of the Sunday message. (But with just a little translation, the principles carry over to all communication.)

Moses was slow of speech and lacked confidence. The apostle Paul was eloquent and powerful. Most of us are somewhere between those two. My purpose in writing is to offer what I’ve learned from two of the best communicators I know, Kevin Myers and John Maxwell. I’ve had the privilege to work closely with both of these men for a long time, and I’m fortunate to have learned how to be a better communicator.

Here’s some of what I’ve learned.

• Connection is essential. 

Communication begins on the inside with a healthy self-awareness and a comfort level with who you are as a person. This enables you to be yourself as you communicate. This allows connection to take place and is the beginning of good communication. When you are yourself, people can connect with you. When they connect with you they can trust you and when they trust you they are willing to follow your teaching and leadership.

The opposite of connection is self-protection and it is rooted in fear and results in hiding. Your teaching becomes more powerful when you don’t attempt to hide. Remember though, you don’t tell your story so you feel better. You tell your story to set others free. Knowing that helps you determine what to say!

• Content won’t carry you. 

John and Kevin are naturally gifted communicators. It would be easy for both of them to lean into their talent and not work on their craft. But instead, both of them continually work to master their craft! Both are better today than ever! Content is very important but it won’t carry you or the moment. Delivery is king. You can have a brilliant biblical message, but if your delivery is dry and dull, you’ve wasted the content, and you’ll lose the people. They may love you and trust you but they will still drift when you talk if you don’t teach with increasing skill.

Study the best teachers and preachers you know. Don’t copy them but learn from them. And let me offer you this really good tip for now. If you aren’t a great communicator, talk shorter till you are better! Seriously! Don’t teach for 40 plus minutes unless you are really good. Stick with 25 minutes.

• It’s with the audience not at the audience. 

I’ve listened to many pastors and teachers over the years. There are a surprising number that seem to talk “at” the audience, not to them or seemingly “with” them as in a conversation. I’m not referring to the angry thundering preachers. Candidly, there aren’t that many left. That style simply doesn’t work. I’m referring more so to the pastors who are technical in their skills and practice. They have some good thoughts, they write them down, and then dispense them on Sunday. It almost wouldn’t matter if the people were in the room or not, the words are delivered the same.

The best communication feels more like something with the people. I know you are talking and they are listening, but it still needs to feel like a conversation. You can draw them in by asking a question where they can raise their hand for a yes or no. You can use humor. There are a number of ways involve your listeners!

• Confidence comes from preparation. 

We all know what it’s like to show up unprepared, or at least not prepared enough. It’s not good. You may be talented enough to get away with it for a while, but as a steady diet this bad habit of short changing your preparation will catch up with you. In time your communication skills will lessen and your confidence will decline.

In contrast, consistent and disciplined preparation not only breeds confidence, it cultivates enthusiasm within you. One of the ways I know I’m ready to teach is that I absolutely can’t wait to deliver the message!! My messages never start that way. The process starts with, “Dear Lord please help me!” (Really.) But every time, at some point in my preparation, something clicks and I get so excited I can hardly stand it. It’s then I know I’m ready.

• Read the room.

Pay attention to your surroundings. The environment matters. Even if you can’t change the elements, being aware can help you. Start with the physical elements. What is the temperature of the room? Is it comfortable? How is the lighting? Can they see? Dark isn’t always cool. Light brings energy to the room! Low lighting subdues the room. This may be good for worship, but it’s not good for communication. How about the seating? Too many chairs? What about the podium? Is it a huge fort like thing that hides the communicator, or is it something small and just enough to hold your notes? If you find yourself with one of those “hotel issue” kinds of giant podiums, grab a music stand. That works great.

There are two more elements to “read.” The people and the Holy Spirit. What do you sense from the people? What do they need? And most importantly, what is the Holy Spirit telling you?

• Know where you are going, and get there. 

My wife has often said to me in the past, “Hun, you need to learn how to land the plane! Pick a runway and land the plane!” Good advice. Far too many communicators appear as if they are circling the airport trying to pick a runway and just don’t know where to put the plane down! Not good.

Kevin works with two simple questions. What do you want the people to know? And what do you want the people to do? Be clear about those two things and you’ll know where and when to land the plane.

Remember that you are not only teaching, you are also leading. The people need you to inspire them. I don’t mean hype, but helping them believe what you are saying is actually possible with the help of God! If you believe God can and will help them, they will embrace that hope as you teach!

There is much more to great communication, but this is a good start. Add this to what you already know. Practice and you’ll see the difference.

This article is used by permission from Dr. Dan Reiland’s free monthly e-newsletter, “The Pastor’s Coach,” available at www.INJOY.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.