Integrity

Integrity is the amount that your words, actions, and beliefs line up with one another.

As a teacher, I witness my students’ lack of integrity every day. When they misbehave, I follow our classroom procedures to reprimand them. They almost always say, “I’m sorry.” However, I’m not sure they really are. Often, their words don’t really line up with their subsequent actions. There’s an integrity problem.

I’ve heard that integrity is “being the same person all the time” – no matter who else you’re around or what situation you find yourself in. “It’s who you are when you’re alone.” These definitions are centered around “consistency” which is also what I was taught in my Leadership Studies @ the College of Biblical Studies:

Integrity is the amount that your words, actions, and beliefs line up with one another – it’s how consistent you are in each of these areas.

Integrity is the “white” section.

Where our words, actions, and beliefs all agree with one another.


Here’s what it looks like when someone has a lot of integrity:


The first type of integrity problem is that of the Liar:

People lie. Sometimes we can do the right things and believe the right things, but peer pressure (or some other pressure) causes us to lie in the moment. (I guess it also works the other way – We can believe the wrong things and do the wrong things, but lie to make ourselves look better.) When we lie, we compromise our integrity. Even the “little white lie” can be dangerous. Each time we lie (no matter how small), we make ourselves more comfortable with lying. We must also remember that others are watching us. When the phone rings and a 3yr-old hears daddy say, “Tell them I’m not here,” he is learning something from his daddy.


The second type of integrity inconsistency is that of the Coward.

The coward says what he believes, but just won’t actually take any action. He’s too scared or too busy to follow through. I’ve certainly had this problem. I believe I should do a lot of things and even talk about doing them, but often get too scared to actually take the necessary steps to move forward. It easy to say that I’m just too busy, but ultimately, maybe it really is just simple fear that paralyzes us all.


The third type of integrity inconsistency is that of the Politician:

The politician will say (words) and do (actions) whatever it takes to get what he wants regardless of his own values or beliefs. He might have great beliefs, but they don’t have any deep roots. He is willing to compromise them at the smallest temptation. In general, he is simply out to fulfill his own desires regardless of anyone else. He is a dangerous person to be around.


The final type of integrity problem is the most inconsistent. You never know what you’re gonna get with these guys. They are often out of touch with reality and clueless about themselves. They have no integrity at all. (At least with the others, there are 2 of the three which line up. You might be able to predict something based on those two areas.) With the final type, there’s no predicting anything.

Notice that there is no integrity(white area) at all.


I hope my little exploration of integrity has been helpful. This information is all stuff I learned from my Biblical Leadership classes at the College of Biblical Studies.

A Leader’s Poem and Prayer

POEM by Sir Francis Drake:

Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves,

When our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little,

When we arrived safely because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess,

we have lost our thirst for the waters of life;

Having fallen in love with life,

we have ceased to dream of eternity

and in our efforts to build a new earth,

we have allowed our vision of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,

to venture on wider seas where storms will show your mastery;

Where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.

We ask You to push back the horizons of our hopes;

And to push into the future, in strength, courage, hope, and love.

PRAYER:

“Lord God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”


Leadership Quotes

I was reading about leadership on-line the other day
and found these quotes. I just thought I’d share them ’cause they’re good. I
especially love the second one from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Something about that
one just rings true in my heart. There’s this sort of resounding
“Yes!” that just wants to rise up out of me when I hear it.


“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, not so good when
people obey and acclaim him, worst when they despise him. But of a good leader,
who talks little, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say, ‘We
did this ourselves.'”
— Lao-Tse

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us
to be what we know we could be.”

Ralph
Waldo Emerson

“If
the blind lead the blind, both shall fall in the ditch.”
— Jesus Christ

“Dictators ride
to and fro upon tigers which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting
hungry.”
— Winston Churchill

“The task of
the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not
been.”

— Henry Kissinger

“The task of
leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness
is there already.”
— John Buchan

“Great leaders
are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and
doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.”
— General Colin Powell

“Men make
history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership,
society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize
the opportunity to change things for the better.”
— Harry Truman

“A leader is one
who influences a specific group of people to move in a God-given
direction.”
— J. Robert Clinton

“All Leadership
is influence.”
— John C. Maxwell
Injoy, Inc.

“You cannot be a
leader, and ask other people to follow you, unless you know how to follow,
too.”
— Sam Rayburn

“Your position
never gives you the right to command. It only imposes on you the duty of so
living your life that others may receive your orders without being
humiliated.”
— Dag Hammarskjöld

“The final test
of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men, the conviction and the
will to carry on.”
— Walter Lippmann

“People ask the
difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss
drives.”
— Theodore Roosevelt

“The first
responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you.
In between, the leader is a servant.”
— Max DePree

“Management is
efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the
ladder is leaning against the right wall.”
— Stephen R. Covey

“He who has
great power should use it lightly.”
— Seneca

“As a leader,
you’re probably not doing a good job unless your employees can do a good
impression of you when you’re not around.”
— Patrick Lencioni

“The older I get
the less I listen to what people say and the more I look at what they do.”
— Andrew Carnegie

“I think leadership
comes from integrity – that you do whatever you ask others to do. I think there
are non-obvious ways to lead. Just by providing a good example as a parent, a
friend, a neighbor makes it possible for other people to see better ways to do
things. Leadership does not need to be a dramatic, fist in the air and trumpets
blaring, activity.”
— Scott Berkun


“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you
become a leader, success is all about growing others.”  — Jack
Welch

Follow the Servant Leader

LeaderI was watching some kids play the other day and was reminded of the games I used to play as a kid. I especially remember “Follow the Leader.” Everyone wanted to be the leader, and I don’t know about you, but I used to try to do things that the other kids couldn’t do. I would climb over things and under things and make all these weird sort of moves trying to show everyone how good I was. If someone couldn’t follow me, I thought it was ’cause I was such a good leader.

Well, things have changed over the years. I’m realizing that the best leaders are the ones who everyone can follow. It’s not the leaders job to make himself look good, but to move at a pace where everyone can keep up and everyone can play in the game.

I remember one time as a kid when I thought I’d be real smart and I led this group of kids around to the tail of the line so that I was following the last person in the line. All of a sudden there was no leader ’cause I was following the last person. It was just a big circle.

There’s something poetic about this idea as you think about the leader following his people – kind of a leader who serves sort of an idea. But the whole concept breaks down if you’re trying to go somewhere ’cause all you’ve got is a big circle.

This whole servant leader thing is tough ’cause the leader has to be out front taking the hits for everyone (like leading people down a trail where you’re the one who breaks all the spiders webs out front) but he also has to be serving the rest of the group by encouraging them and equipping them to follow. He is in the front and the back at the same time.

Jesus is the only one who ever did this very well. He served people and led them at the same time. I heard someone say that Dorthy on the Wizard of Oz did a pretty good job too. (Check this post) I wanna be good at it too. God help me ’cause it just seems too difficult sometimes.

The Family Bible

WordI was thinking a couple of weeks ago about the family Bible. Most people have this huge Bible that just sits around somewhere in the house, that is never used. I felt like God was telling me that Miranda and I needed to be more intentional about our time together and our Bible reading. I talked to her about it. We talked about how we want Kasen growing up in a home where he sees us studying the Bible together and that we want the Scriptures to be clearly present in our everyday lives – not to mention the benefits it will bring to us personally.

Anyway, we decided to read and study together each night that we are able and so far it’s been a huge blessing! We have always been pretty good about our own personal quiet times, but this is something we’re doing together. Familydriven_2We have been able to go to our small group (studying Matthew) a bit more prepared, and we’ve also been reading a book called “Family-Driven Faith”
together. It’s written by Voddie Baucham and it has been great for sparking other conversations between us. We have probably talked to each other about important things more in the past couple of weeks than almost any other time in the history of our marriage.

Prayer:
Thank you God for my Beautiful Bride. Thank you for her willingness to spend this time with me. Thank you for her heart and how she interacts with You during these times. God, help us to remain faithful to this commitment so that Kasen will witness consistency in our lives and He’ll grow up knowing the priority the Bible has in our lives. Teach us to turn the TV off and listen to You more. We believe that You are the most important part of our lives, but we must confess that our lives have not always reflected those beliefs.  We want that to change. Help it change in us. We will abide in You so that we can produce fruit for You. Keep us healthy so we can produce amazing fruit. AMEN.

Leo

Leo Leo is a character in a story called “Journey to the East” by Hermann Hesse. I read an article by Robert Greenleaf for my latest class and learned about this character – Leo. The story is about a guy who joins this group of travelers headed to “the east” in search of “ultimate truth.” Leo is a simple servant among them who is described by Wikipedia as “happy, pleasant, handsome, beloved by everyone, having a rapport with animals – to a discerning reader, he seems a great deal more than a simple servant, but nobody in the pilgrimage, including the narrator, seems to get this.” When Leo disappears, the whole group begins to bicker and fight. Ultimately, the reader discovers that Leo was the leader all along. Although he first revealed himself as a humble servant, Leo was a very strong leader.

Anyway, all of this got me to thinking. Jesus was first revealed to us as a humble servant too – a baby in a manger, a man without a home who travelled the country helping/healing people, one who washes the feet of his friends, etc. I wonder if a pastor could be seen first as a servant? When a visitor arrives at a church, could the pastor be the guy out in the parking lot greeting people? or maybe he should be the guy serving doughnuts? or cleaning the restrooms? I would guess that in a smaller church or a new church plant, the pastor gets the opportunity to serve in all of these roles. But what about a big organization? Shouldn’t the leader still be a servant? I also start wondering who the real leaders are around my church? What would happen if the ushers didn’t show up? Who is the guy like Leo? Who is the guy that, if absent, the whole church would begin to argue and fight? Is my presence at the church in any way similar to Leo’s?

“The law of service: He who wishes to live long must serve, but he who wishes to rule does not live long.” – Hesse, “Journey to the East”

Indiscernable Change

WaterdropThe other day, I had lunch with an old friend who I hadn’t seen much of in a couple of years. As we talked, I realized how much of life has really changed. Not only has Kasen become a part of our lives, but I have also started school since then. We’ve also seen quite a few changes in our church since then – we’ve gotten involved in a small group and begun investing our lives in some other people, and we’ve been a part of some youth growing in their relationships with God.

Anyway, before we got together, I kinda wondered what we’d talk about, but now that it’s happened I realize how much we had to catch up on. I guess when you’re in the middle of change, it always seems really small, and like you’re not really getting anywhere, (like a drop in the ocean) but when you step out of it a while. . . .well, you realize how big the changes really have been.

Kinda like Kasen – everyone keeps talking about how much he’s grown. He still seems like the same little boy to me, but when my new niece (Kallie Grace) was born a few weeks ago and weighed almost the same that Kasen did, I realized how much he has grown.

They say that in 7 years our bodies have completely reproduced themselves. We don’t have one single cell in common with the body we had 7 years earlier. It changes at such a small rate that we don’t ever even realize it.

Anyway, all this is to say that sometimes I get discouraged that we’re not really making a difference in people’s lives or that God has not been doing much in our church. When this happens, it’s good for me to find a way to step out and get a better perspective on things ’cause the truth is that God is ALWAYS at work around us – changing and molding us into His image.

Play

Everyone seems to agree there are fewer true leaders in the world today than in any other previous generation. I wonder why? Here’s my BIG thought: I wonder if the lack of leadership is somehow connected to the lack of “play” in the world? Let me explain.

First_slideIt’s has always been a pet-peeve of mine that kids today don’t know how to play. They are good at wasting time with TV or video games, but “play” is a whole different thing. You’ve gotta be creative to play. You have to use your imagination to play. (By the way, in the Scriptures, the very first characteristic God chooses to reveal to us about Himself is His creativity. Then He says we’re made in His image.) Play revolves around creating stories and scenes and situations. You’ve gotta be willing to look foolish if you’re gonna “pretend” anything – and what is play without pretending something? Remember when you used to play hide-n-seek. I remember imagining that I was the good guy who was hiding from the dreaded evil enemy. I remember playing football and pretending to be the radio announcer as the game winning touchdown was scored.  My parents didn’t look down on me for those days. They didn’t think I was foolish. They laughed and enjoyed my creativity. They encouraged my imagination. They imagined with me. In play, we learned about the world. We began to understand how it worked. We developed deep friendships – in some ways they were probably deeper relationships than our current ones.

What if leaders began to “play” more? What if they imagined and weren’t afraid of looking foolish? What we created a culture of “play” where everyone was a part of it and no one really felt intimidated to join in on the fun? When we “play,” we don’t have to feel insecure, ’cause it’s just for fun anyway. If we taught our children to play more (by playing with them) would their generation have more leaders? I think it would.

If our leaders were allowed to imagine more, dream more, how many of us would dream with them? If they were allowed to “play” with stuff until they figured it out, what new innovations would we have?

In his book “Soul Tsunami,” Leonard Sweet says:

He (Jesus) displayed a genius for never growing up. He didn’t have much use for work. In fact he attracted his disciples by calling them from work: ‘Let others work, even bury their dead. You follow me.’ (Matthew 8:18-22)

Ask someone born before 1964, “What do you do?” and you will find out where they work, what their title is, what they “do” for a living. Ask someone born after 1964, “What do you do?” and you are as likely to find out that they dirt-bike, mountain-climb, net-surf, sea-kayak – in other words, they define themselves more by “life-first” than “work-first” commitments. . . .

If you want to make a violin sing, do you “work” at it? No, you “play” a violin. It takes a lot of “practice,” but the “practice” leads to “playing” the instrument. I want my marriage to sing. That’s why my wife and I don’t “work” at our marriage; we “play” at our marriage.  . . I don’t want the Scriptures to “work” in my life; I want them to “play” in my life.

Erwin McManus says:

People don’t get “burn out” from too much work, but from not enjoying their work.

Anyway, leaders should learn to play and play hard – not just when they’re away from the office, but even while they’re in it. Work should never really be work – it should be enjoyable – going to the office should be like entering the playground where you are free to express yourself (within the boundaries) and imagine and create and dream and get others to join you in it all. When you leave, you might have some dirt to clean off, but you’re still excited about coming back to play again the next day.

PS – I have watched children and on the playground, it’s the ones who imagine and dream and are willing to look foolish who end up leading the other kids. Leaders play. Players lead.

Bottom Leaders

Walk

As the leader of my son, there are (or will be) times when it’s appropriate for me to allow him to lead me. Of course I will only allow him to lead me to certain places – it’ll always be within the boundaries that I set, but still, I will choose to follow him sometimes so that he can grow into a leader himself.

In all our leadership training, it’s been clear that a leader is not defined by his/her position, power, or authority but by his/her character, skills, relationships, and vision. My position will always be over my son, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t the better leader. This means that the most incredible leader the world has ever known could be waiting on you at your favorite restaurant, or it could be the man who smiles at you while you’re pumping your gas. Maybe, just maybe, it’s the guy who stoops down and washes your feet.  (John 13)

Here’s where this stuff get interesting though. If a leader is not defined by his position and the best leader could be the guy in the lowliest of positions, then how much leadership should the man of position/authority assert? If a true leader can lead from the bottom position, and he’s the one with real vision, there most likely will be a clash between the real leader (with no position/authority) and the one who holds the position. The man of position may even recognize the value of this other man’s leadership, but stifle him out of his own fears of inadequacy. Of course the opposite could be true also – he might find that the man of position values his passion and ideas in such a way that he is able to implement them and help move things forward.

How can the man of position, remain humble and capable of recognizing bottom leaders? What role do bottom leaders have in leading positional leaders? Can a positional leader be led by a bottom leader who is a positional follower? When is the right time to follow a bottom leader? What boundaries should be set? If you do, are you still the leader or is it only a position? Will you be able to keep that position long if you allow a bottom leader to lead? Can a positional leader ever have true community with his followers? Can a positional leader serve his followers in such a way that he is actually a “bottom leader?” Can leadership be shared or does there have to be a position – a go-to guy – a buck-stops-here-guy? These lines between leaders and followers and positions get real blurry for me – because I see myself in each of these roles all the time.

GeeseIt’s kind of a classic illustration, but the example we have from geese is pretty amazing. In their “V” formation, the leader is not the leader all the time. He cuts the wind resistance making it easier for the others to fly for a time and then he steps into one of the other positions so someone else (who isn’t as weary) can fly “lead.” While he sits in one of these other positions, he “quacks” loudly to encourage the one flying in the lead position. He “leads” from the back.

Anyway, leading from the bottom is an adventure. It’s a true calling. This world desperately needs more  bottom leaders, but it don’t recognize it’s need. Bottom leaders will most likely find themselves in the center of controversy, but hey, you’re in good company  – Jesus was a bottom leader. He was certainly in the center of controversy, too.

PS – The world needs more bottom leaders, not backseat drivers.

Persuasion

I love it when someone can convey a message with nothing but questions. Here’s a blog from seth godin that does just that:


Persuade
How do I persuade you?

Do I show you a powerpoint filled with bullets?
Or give you a spirited sales pitch while looking you in the eye…

Perhaps I should send a very attractive salesperson.

Do I amplify my word of mouth and be sure you hear about my idea from three people you trust?
Do I minimize fear or maximize gain?

Are you best persuaded in a group, surrounded by your boss or your
employees or your family or people you trust? Will it matter if those
around you give me a standing ovation?

Can I persuade you over time, drip, drip, drip, or do you respond better if you feel an avalanche is coming?

Will you change your mind if I’m funny? Or if I scare you to pieces?

Perhaps there’s no way you’ll be persuaded. Perhaps nothing I can
say will make a difference. However, you’ve told yourself that before
and been wrong…

Will you buy if you get a discount? What if the price is high and going up tomorrow?

Do you want to be the first person to embrace an idea (or the last)?

Here’s the thing: unlike every other species, human beings make
decisions differently from one another. And the thing that persuades
you is unlikely to be the thing that persuades the next guy. Our
personal outlook is a lousy indicator of what works for anyone else.


It’s interesting to me that in the end, it all comes down to relationships. The best way to influence/persuade anyone, is to first understand that person and his/her needs, thoughts, & desires. Since each of us makes decisions differently, wouldn’t it make sense to figure that out before trying to influence them? Well, that is, if you have time to get to know them and the message/influence is important enough. Is the eternal message of Jesus as Lord important enough? Important enough to invest in getting to know others in such a way that we can persuade them?

Who will you get to know? How will you get to know them? Since no one cares what you know until they know you care, how will you love them? Care for them? Will that love and care be real or will it stop once the “project” is over and they have come to know Jesus?