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insecurity as a leader

Some Simple Practices that Will Get You Over Your Insecurity as a Leader

So you struggle with insecurity as a leader. Join the club.

It’s not fun to struggle with insecurity, but it is great that you see it. Self-awareness helps so much in leadership.

In my last post, I outlined 5 signs of insecurity in leadership.

So, beyond recognizing your problem, how do you overcome your insecurity?

As I’ve wrestled this issue down in my life, I’ve made several key transitions that have helped significantly. They’re not easy to understand, but difficult to do. The key is to simply do them again and again.

When you do these things, your insecurities begin to dissipate. Good habits displace bad impulses.

Here are five changes that can help you deal with underlying insecurity.

insecurities

1. Be generous with your praise

This might sound trivial, but it’s not. Insecure people are often jealous people.

One of the best ways to combat jealousy is to privately and publicly commend and compliment others. Especially if you don’t feel like it.

If you’re afraid of building others up because you think it might diminish you in some way, that’s the perfect time to do it. Don’t remain silent.

Don’t give them a back-handed compliment (“It’s about time he did something good!”) and don’t qualify the praise (“It was pretty good given her track record”).

Publicly celebrating the success of others will move you much closer to what Jesus was talking about when he commanded us to love enemies and people who persecute us.

Strangely, most of the people you don’t want to compliment aren’t close to being enemies.

So in those moments when others make a difference (there are many), smile and acknowledge it, privately and publicly. Be generous with you praise.

2. Recruit and promote people who are better than you

I had to wrestle this one down a number of years ago as we added staff and key volunteers. I had to hire people who were better than me at so many things. In fact, I’m only ‘best at’ a few things in our organization.

My goal in life is to give more of those things away.

Another way I had to deal with this head on is when we started Connexus Church as a strategic partner of North Point Ministries. That means when I’m not teaching, Andy Stanley is.

If you really want to wrestle down insecurity, just put the most gifted communicator around on the screen when you aren’t teaching.

It will quickly teach you to celebrate what others are amazing at, and experience contentment with the role you also play.

3. Give thanks for who you are instead of lamenting over who you aren’t

At the root of much insecurity are two beliefs.

First, that God somehow got it wrong when he created you. And second, that you need to compensate for this.

That’s why insecure people are jealous or resentful of others and why we somehow feel we need to ‘right’ the situation by withholding praise, refusing to hire or recruit better people because it might make us look bad, and trying to control things so they work out in our favour.

Why not start each day thanking God for how he created you?

Why not say “God, you have given me everything I need to accomplish what you’ve asked me to accomplish and you’ve given others exactly what they need to accomplish their mission”?

That shift will also help you relinquish your controlling tendencies.

Realizing God has given you all you need makes you both grateful and dependent.

4. Stop comparing yourself with others. Start learning from them

Constantly comparing yourself to others is a losing game no matter how you try to play it. You end up feeling inferior (wrong) or superior (sinful) to others every time you compare. It corrodes your heart.

So how to do you interact healthily with others? Learn from them. Plain and simple. You grow by being around other people, so grow.

What do they do well? What could you do differently? What are the charts and numbers telling you? How can you develop from what you’re learning?

5. Get ridiculously honest with yourself (and God)

I had a powerful moment in my journey a number of years ago. It was one of those moments where I wasn’t reading the scripture, the scripture was reading me.

This passage in James stopped me dead in my tracks. It described to a ‘T’ what I was experiencing in that moment.

Instead of blowing it off and ignoring it, I admitted (to my shame) that it described me. I prayed about it.

The next day I went back to the same text, reading and praying through it again.

I didn’t leave those four verses until the ugly things they described relinquished their grip on my heart. It took over a week.

Every time I’ve read that text in the years that have passed, I stop and give thanks to God for what he dealt with inside me in that season.

I’m so grateful. But you don’t get to that kind of breakthrough without ridiculous honesty about what’s really going on.

So level with yourself. And with God. Everyone else knows your weakness. So does God. So why not admit it?

We are masters of self-deception. Dead-honest confession stops that.

These five strategies have helped me. What’s helped you? What are you learning?

Want More?

If you want more on how your church can create a healthier leadership culture, I wrote about that in my new book, Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Can Help Your Church Grow.

The new Team Edition is now available featuring 8 videos that can help optimally frame the conversations for your team. And if you buy the Team Edition before May 31st, 2016, you’ll get access to a private Facebook Group for Team Edition leaders hosted by me.

———

I’m on a sabbatical in May, and (for the most part) running past articles that have slipped off the mainstream but in my view can still help leaders. — Carey

insecure leader

5 Signs You’re An Insecure Leader

Ever wonder if you’re an insecure leader?

There’s a bit of irony in that question. Insecure people by nature wonder about things like that. I know that because part of my personal leadership journey over the years has been spent battling insecurity.

It’s the same for many of us. Most leaders I know struggle with some level of insecurity. In my next post, I’ll share some strategies that can really help getting past the struggle so many of us face.

But in the meantime, how do you know whether insecurity occupies some real estate in your life?

Because self-awareness is a major step toward personal change, here are five signs you might be battling insecurity as a leader.

insecure leaer1. You are constantly comparing yourself to others

You and I have lots to learn from other people, but insecure people aren’t driven so much by a desire to learn as they are to know whether they are better or worse than others.

There is a world of difference between tracking with someone to grow and learn and tracking other people or organizations to see how you stack up.

One is healthy, the other destructive.  As Andy Stanley says, there is no win in comparison. In fact, there’s just a lot of sin in comparison.

2. Your sense of self-worth is driven by your latest results

I’m a results-driven guy. I want to see this mission expand and I want to see things grow.

Some of that is good. And some of that can warp any sense of security you have.

You know you’re an insecure leader when your opinion of yourself rises and falls with your attendance, performance, blog stats, comment thread, reviews or what others say about you.

Preachers, you aren’t nearly as good as your last message, or as bad.

I do monitor all of these things, but I’ve had to learn not to obsess over them.

God’s opinion of me doesn’t equate with people’s opinion of me.

I need to learn from trends and learn from others, but I cannot let someone else determine my worth.

3. You can’t celebrate someone else’s success

This trait is a tell-tale sign that you are insecure.

Why can’t you just give a compliment?  Why can’t you be genuinely happy when someone else succeeds?

Life is actually not a zero sum game – at least not life in God’s Kingdom.  For you to win, someone else does not have to lose.

If you can’t compliment a competitor, why not?  If you can’t celebrate a colleague, is it because you are worried others might think they are better than you?

You do not need to be the only one who is ‘great’ at something.

4. You make no room for people who are more gifted or competent than you

This is where your personal traits inflict direct harm to your organization (not that the other traits don’t, but this one has a direct and lethal impact).

Insecure people always feel a need to be the most gifted person in the room. As a result, the number of gifted people in any room they’re in drops accordingly.

One sign of a great leader is someone who can attract and keep people more gifted and competent than themselves.

The future will belong to people who can forge great alliances, make great partnerships and attract great people.

5. You need to be the final word on everything

Insecure people end up being controlling people.

Insecure people don’t need experts because they want to be the expert. Know-it-alls weren’t much fun in kindergarten; they are less fun in the adult world.

Leaders who need to be the final word on everything end up leading not much more than themselves.

The truth is most of us are only great at one or two things, and even then, you became good at it with the help and advice of others.

When you value the counsel and input of others–especially on the things you’re best at–you embark on a path toward greater wisdom.

Those are some signs I’ve seen that mark insecurity in myself and in others.

How about you?  What have you noticed? Scroll down and leave a comment.

Want More?

If you want more on how your church can create a healthier leadership culture, I wrote about that in my new book, Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Can Help Your Church Grow.

The new Team Edition is now available featuring 8 videos that can help optimally frame the conversations for your team. And if you buy the Team Edition before May 31st, 2016, you’ll get access to a private Facebook Group for Team Edition leaders hosted by me.

———

I’m on a sabbatical in May, and (for the most part) running past articles that have slipped off the mainstream but in my view can still help leaders. — Carey

lead your senior leader

The 5 Best Ways to Lead Your Senior Leader

If you were in charge, everything would be different, wouldn’t it?

But you’re not. At least not yet.

So how do you effect change when you’re NOT the senior leader? How do you lead change when you’re a staff member or simply a volunteer?

Because I’ve written on change, I get that question all the time. That shouldn’t be a surprise, really. Mathematically speaking, far more people are NOT the senior leader than are the senior leader.

It’s easy to think you’re powerless and give up or just try to work around a leader you disagree with. But neither is a great strategy.

So what do you do if you want to bring about change but you’re not the key decision maker?

Here are the 5 best strategies I’ve seen. I’ve observed these both when people are leading up to me and used them when I’m leading up to others more senior than me in an organization.

If you do a little homework and learn to think differently, you can be exceptionally effective at leading change well, even when you’re not the senior leader. Even if you’re ‘just’ a staff member or ‘just’ a volunteer.

shutterstock_421546573

1. Think like a senior leader

So you’re not a senior leader, but try to imagine that you were. Imagine the pressures and issues facing your senior leader and approach the conversation accordingly.

Think through how it impacts the entire organization.

Understand that your senior leader may have budget restraints and many other interests to balance, like a board of directors or elder board. Show him or her that you understand that and you’re willing to be flexible on some points.

Showing your senior leader you understand the bigger picture is huge.

I’ve spent many years as a senior leader, and I’ll disclose a bias here.

When someone on my team comes to me with any idea and I realize they have thought it through cross-organizationally (that is, they’ve thought through how it impacts the entire organization), I am far more open to it than otherwise.

Why?

They’re thinking about more than just themselves.

They did their homework.

They helped me do my homework.

They showed me they’re leading at the next level.

I always try to stay open to new ideas, but here’s the truth. Often before the person has finished their presentation or we’ve wrapped up the discussion, I’ve already thought through 15 implications of their idea.

If they show me theyve thought through the 15 implications before they got to my office, I’m completely impressed and very open.

I’m not saying that’s a good thing, I’m just saying it’s a true thing.

And I think it’s true of most senior leaders.

When you think like a senior leader, you’re more likely to persuade a senior leader.

2. Express desires, not demands

No one likes a demanding person.

In fact, when someone demands something, I notice there’s something inside me that doesn’t want to give them what they asked for.

I don’t always follow that impulse, but expressing demands damages relationships. Instead, talk about what you desire.

Show respect and tell him how you feel – don’t tell him how you think he should feel. And above all, don’t be demanding.

3. Explain the why behind the what

As Simon Sinek has so rightly pointed out, people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

Your best argument is not the Wwhat (we need to completely transform our church) or the Hhow (here’s how you should do it).

It’s the Why (I think I’ve discovered a more effective way to reach families in our community and help parents win at home…can I talk to you about that?)

The more you explain the Why, the more people will be open to the What and the How.

Lead with why. Season your conversation with why. And close with why.

4. Stay publicly loyal

Andy Stanley has said it this way: public loyalty buys you private leverage.

It’s so true. If you start complaining about how resistant your senior leader is, he’ll probably hear about it. He’s not dumb. So not only will you compromise your personal integrity when you do that, you’ll also lose his respect.

In my mind as a senior leader, the team members who conduct themselves like a cohesive team always have the greatest private influence.

Your public loyalty will buy you private leverage.

5. Be a part of the solution

If you’re discontent (which you should be as I wrote about here), it’s not that difficult to drift into the category of a critic. Unless – that is – you decide to be part of the solution.

Offer help. Don’t end-run your leader, run with your leader on the project.

Be the most helpful you can be.

Volunteer to do the leg work.

Bring your best ideas to the table every day.

Offer to assist in any way you can.

If you won’t be part of the solution, you’ll eventually become part of the problem.

So be part of the solution.

Those are five ideas on how to lead change when you’re not the senior leader.

Do they always work? No…human dynamics are more complicated than that.

But they often work, and if they don’t, you will know you gave it everything you had and then you can weigh your options. (Click here for 5 signs it’s time to move on.)

Non-senior leaders, what would you add?

Senior leaders, what other advice would you give?

Scroll down and leave a comment!

Want More?

If you want more on how your church can have healthier conversations, I wrote about that in my new book, Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Can Help Your Church Grow.

The new Team Edition is now available featuring 8 videos that can help optimally frame the conversations for your team. And if you buy the Team Edition before May 31st, 2016, you’ll get access to a private Facebook Group for Team Edition leaders hosted by me.

If you want more specifically on change, I wrote about effectively leading change in my best-selling book Leading Change Without Losing It.

———

I’m on a sabbatical in May, and (for the most part) running past articles that have slipped off the main stream but in my view can still help leaders. —Carey

 

worship wars

5 Ways to Battle The Never-Ending Worship Wars

So let me guess: someone recently complained about the music at your church.

It doesn’t matter what style of music your church features or how traditional or edgy your music is; complaining about music is almost a universal phenomenon in the church today.

Some of that is generated by church shoppers (I outlined 5 characteristics of church shoppers here), but the problem is more pervasive than hearing from a few church shoppers.

It’s endemic to human nature and to our consumer driven culture that basically says everything revolves around me. While I think consumer Christianity will die in the future (here’s why), we’re not there yet.

Before we get started, please know this isn’t a slam against any particular style of music in the church.

In fact, I admire all churches that are innovating to become more effective in their mission.

But here’s the challenge.

Many leaders have almost spilled blood getting their church to change in the area of music (or making sure their church doesn’t change).

And yet, despite the battles fought over music, many churches are still not much further ahead in reaching people because of it.

Why is that?

There are five problems I see church leaders struggle with when navigating the sensitive and emotional issue of worship style in church.

worship wars

1. You become so focused on pleasing the people you have that you lose sight of the people you’re trying to reach

Whatever your music style, many church leaders are overly worried about how ‘their people’ will handle the change.

This is healthy. Leaders who don’t care how their congregation thinks eventually end up leading nobody.

But it’s also a trap. When peoples’ reactions become an overriding fear, the mission shifts away from reaching new people to keeping the people you have happy.

As a result, leaders:

Abandon change to keep people happy.

Compromise vision to try to satisfy the discontent.

Stop innovating to try to placate people.

These attempts at making people happy virtually never work (I wrote about the problems people-pleasing leaders face here).

What to Do

So what do you do to combat your people pleasing focus?

Focus on who you’re trying to reach rather than on who you’re trying to keep.

And when you’re communicating a change to your congregation, focus on why you’re making the change (to reach people) and far more people will accept what you’re trying to do (changing the style of worship).

If you want more on this subject, I’ve written more on leading change here.

2. You define ‘contemporary’ relative to how you used to worship

Let me name the elephant in the room. Most of what passes for ‘contemporary’ worship isn’t that contemporary at all.

Sure, the church has changed. And there may have been some battles over the change.

But walk into many self-described ‘contemporary’ churches and it feels like 2004, or 1994, or even 1984. The church isn’t actually ‘contemporary’ (contemporary means ‘occurring in the present’).

Tony Morgan makes a great point in The New Traditional Church: If most churches truly wanted to be contemporary, Sunday would have a lot more hip-hop and R&B (have you listened to the Top 40 lately?).

But most church leaders don’t like that style of music or are afraid their church wouldn’t.

What to do

Be honest. Don’t call yourself contemporary if you’re some paler version of it. Self-awareness and honestly actually matter if you’re trying to reach unchurched people.

Sadly, well-meaning self-deception runs rampant in church leadership today.

Be truthful about what you’re doing. If you are, it might just make you frustrated enough to make you change again.

In the meantime, realize that despite all the change, you might still be miles away from being relevant to the people living around you.

3. You’ve become stuck in “No Man’s Land”

I learned about No Man’s Land in churches from James Emery White.

It’s a term that describes churches too contemporary to please the traditionalists and too traditional to reach people who connect with a contemporary approach.

I have no desire to ignite a furious debate about ‘blended worship’ (a combination of traditional and contemporary styles).

Can it work? I’m sure it can, done right.

But you don’t have to get too far into the conversation with most church leaders who are in a blended format to realize it’s not an overriding passion to reach the outsider that fuels the change, it’s fear that if they go too much further there will be an apocalypse.

What’s the bottom line? Most blended worship happens because leaders are afraid to go further, not because leaders think it’s the best option.

The attempt to make everyone happy usually makes no one happy.

In my view, the last 10 percent of change is the hardest. When we transitioned from traditional to blended to full-out ‘contemporary’ music a decade ago, the last 10 percent of the change was harder than the first 90 percent. I think that’s how leaders get stuck.

Again, I’m not saying blended services are a bad thing (we’ve chosen to not embrace that strategy at Connexus for very specific reasons). I’m just saying if you end up there, make sure that’s where you want to be because you believe it’s the most effective way to accomplish your mission.

What to do

Don’t get stuck somewhere you’re not called to be.

Finish the change or make sure where you’re at is honestly the very best way to fulfill your mission.

4. Style has become an end in itself, not a means to an end

Your style of music and service should serve the mission. It is not the mission.

Once again, this nails all of us: traditionalists, innovators and everyone in between.

Our goal is not to arrive at a particular worship style. It’s to accomplish the mission Christ has given us.

I love how our church does music.

But 40 years from now, I don’t want to be sitting around in a retirement home with my friends complaining that young people today don’t sing enough Hillsong Young and Free, play cover tunes at church or make pour-over coffee.

The church should always change, and it needs to change on your watch.

How do you address this? 

Be committed to constant change. Don’t rest.

Your style as church helps you achieve the mission. It is not the mission.

5. Older leaders make decisions that belong to younger leaders

Far too often in the church, I have seen older leaders make decisions that rightly belong to younger leaders.

There is a role for middle-aged leaders and older leaders. They bring wisdom to the table and a seasoned viewpoint almost impossible to find in someone who is starting out.

I’m not slamming others. I am almost the oldest person on our staff team.

Even though I’m fairly up to date on culture, music, and technology, I’m no longer the guy who should be calling the music, design or cultural shots at our church.

I’m not sure most leaders over 40 should be. Not if you want to impact the next generation.

Sitting around the table at our service programming meetings are leaders who are 10-30 years younger than me (we almost always have a teenager in the mix).

I trust their judgment more than mine when it comes to how our services will connect with the people we’re trying to reach.

I have just seen too many leaders in their 40s, 50s and 60s make decisions that alienate younger generations and then sit around and ask where all the young people went.

Don’t be that leader.

What to do

Ensure you have younger leaders around your leadership table and empower them to make the decisions that drive your organization.

It’s really not more complicated than that.

Want More?

If you want more on how your church can have healthier conversations, I wrote about that in my new book, Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Can Help Your Church Grow.

The new Team Edition is now available featuring 8 videos that can help optimally frame the conversations for your team. And if you buy the Team Edition before May 31st, 2016, you’ll get access to a private Facebook Group for Team Edition leaders hosted by me.

That’s what I see. I’d love to know what you’re seeing and experiencing.

What challenges do you see around music in the church? Scroll down and leave a comment!

_______

I’m on a sabbatical in May, and (for the most part) running past articles that have slipped off the main stream but in my view can still help leaders. —Carey

prayer works

Why Christians Should Stop Saying “Prayer Works” (And 2 Other Things)

One reason people stay away from Christianity is not because they don’t know any Christians.

It’s often because they do.

Our actions and our words as followers of Jesus have the power to attract or repel people from Christianity.

The number of people who never go to church or follow Jesus keeps growing. And their thinking keeps changing too (I’ve outlined 15 characteristics of unchurched people here).

So what can we do about it?

Well, in addition to modeling humility, grace, truth, love and so many other things that describe the earliest Christ followers, we Christians can watch our words.

This post was originally inspired by a piece by Scott Dannemiller wrote, in which Dannemiller urged Christians to stop saying “feeling blessed” whenever something good came their way. He makes a thoughtful, insightful argument around that.

In that vein, here are three other things Christians should really stop saying.

prayer works

1. Prayer works

Should we really stop saying that prayer works?

Well, yes and no.

Most people who say prayer works these days really mean God did what I wanted him to do. As if prayer was a button to be pushed to release exactly what they wanted from the vending machine.

Prayer is not a button to be pushed; it’s a relationship to be pursued.

Prayer does ‘work,; but it works very differently than we’d like. It still ‘works:’

When we can’t trace out any direct result from our prayer.

When the opposite of what we prayed for happens.

In those moments when we feel very distant from God.

When we bang down the door of heaven for years and are not sure anything is going on up there at all.

There are scores of people inside and outside the church whose spirits are crushed because they prayed (fervently) and:

They didn’t get the job.

Their mom died of cancer.

Their child was born without a heartbeat.

They ended up in a car crash that left them permanently disabled.

Prayer doesn’t ‘work’ because I got what I wanted and they didn’t.

The parade of saints across the centuries would have been shocked to see prayer reduced to God-doing-what-I-asked-him-to-do-when-I-asked-him-to-do-it. God is not a puppy to be trained or a chef in the kitchen who prepares food to suit our every whim. He is sovereign.

As Richard Foster says:

For those explorers in the frontiers of faith, prayer was no little habit tacked on to the periphery of their lives; it was their lives. It was the most serious work of their most productive years. Prayer—nothing draws us closer to the heart of God.

Do things happen supernaturally when we pray? Well, yes they do. But often in ways we cannot understand or even trace out.

I think Christians can take consolation in the fact that when we pray, we often don’t know what to pray for or even how to pray, yet the scriptures tell us the Holy Spirit will translate the prayer into something better than we could phrase in the moment.

So pour your heart out to God. Pray about the things the scripture says are close to God’s heart. And when something ‘goes your way,’ be grateful and offer it back to the God who gave it to you.

And when things don’t go your way, understand that God is still very much in control and very much loves you. Just because God is silent doesn’t mean God is absent.

2. God told me to …

Often, you hear people (and pastors) say things that start with, “God told me to … .”

The longer I follow Jesus, the more hesitant I am to say God told me to do anything specific. Maybe that’s an issue I need to work on, but it springs from my observation that I’ve seen this misused far more than I’ve seen it used well or authentically.

In fact, I’ve often noticed that the more outrageous the claim, the more likely someone is to say, “God told me to … .”

When I hear someone claim God told them to do something, I feel like saying:

God told you to do that? Really? God himself spoke directly to you and told you to specifically build that building for which you have zero money? Or leave that church that you were in deep conflict with without resolving things? Or buy that house that’s way out of your price range? Wow!

Are you sure it wasn’t the pizza? Or the voice in your head that often tells you to do the things you simply feel like doing?

For the record, I believe there are times when God does speak to people today. But let’s be realistic. What made me put this phrase on the list is the number of times I have heard the phrase used to describe a decision that is:

Selfishly motivated (come on, admit it … you’re justifying your impulses).

Contrary to scripture (the scriptures pretty clearly suggest that what you’re doing is sinful … or at least isn’t wise).

Designed to shut down debate (does anyone really think they can win a “God told me” debate?).

I’m not saying God never tell us anything directly, but I am suggesting it happens far less than most of us claim.

So what’s a better course?

Say something like, “Based on what I know from scripture, I believe this is the best/boldest/wisest course of action.”

That makes sense. And then you can have an intelligent discussion.

And you don’t pull the God card to justify something about which Christians and others can have a legitimate discussion.

Or, if you’re just trying to shut down debate, just be honest. I wanted to do it, so I did it. There. Now you said it and everyone will feel better.

If you’re dead honest, you might even realize you made a crazy decision.

3. I could really feel God’s presence

You’ve heard this before. We live in an emotional age and we’ve arrived at a place where many of us feel like we’ve become mini-authorities on when God is present and when God is not.

But analyze that.

The truth is, we tend to feel God’s presence more:

When the band played our favourite song.

When the band played five of our favourite songs in a row.

When the room was packed.

When the decision went our way.

When we felt happy during our quiet time.

Is God only present when we feel him?

Or better yet, is God’s presence synonymous with our ability to detect it?

Well, of course not.

So why do we insist on speaking like it is?

Nowhere did God promise that the Holy Spirit is a feeling or an emotion.

Jesus did explain to us that the Spirit is a Person and moves freely. The Holy Spirit is bigger than our emotions and not subject to our editorial commentary about whether he is present or not.

I have had moments when I believe I felt the presence of God palpably.

But God is just as present:

On our worst days as he is on our best days.

When we are uncomfortable as when we are comfortable.

When we are hurting as when we are healing.

And sometimes … the room was just full, and the band was just really good.

We need to learn to trust in God’s presence especially in those moments we suspect he’s absent.

What if?

What if Christians started having more intelligent, less consumer-oriented, deeper conversations with people?

What if our relationship with Christ was grounded more deeply in God’s character and less in the constantly shifting circumstances we see around us?

I’m thinking the dialogue inside and outside the church would be so much healthier for it.

What do you think?

Any other things Christians should stop saying now? Scroll down and leave a comment!

Want More?

If you want more on how your church can relate to a constantly changing culture, I wrote about it in my new book, Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Can Help Your Church Grow.

The new Team Edition is now available featuring 8 videos that can help optimally frame the conversations for your team. And if you buy the Team Edition before May 31st, 2016, you’ll get access to a private Facebook Group for Team Edition leaders hosted by me.

_______

I’m on a sabbatical in May, and (for the most part) running past articles that have slipped off the main stream but in my view can still help leaders. I actually lost this article from my site two years ago in a site redesign along with another one I just re-published. Fortunately, ChurchLeaders.com had also featured it and it’s great to be able to re-run it on this site. —Carey

Negative Person

7 Signs You’re Dealing With a Negative Person

While we’d all rather avoid it, negativity is a part of life. Chances are you got some negative feedback already this week, and you’re not sure how to process it.

Do you take it to heart, even though it stings? Or dismiss it, and run the risk of ignoring helpful feedback?

Even though it’s unavoidable, negative feedback can derail you – even stunt your progress – if you don’t know how to handle it.

To begin with, there’s a world of difference between receiving feedback from a generally positive person who makes meaningful contributions to the culture and people around him or her, and receiving feedback from a truly negative person.

The first strategy for dealing with negative feedback is to determine whether you are dealing with negative feedback from a positive person or negative feedback from a negative person. You can read about that here.

That distinction will help you develop a filter to figure out the difference between the two. Negative feedback from a positive person can almost always be helpful. Negative feedback from a negative person is rarely as useful.

So how do you know if you’re dealing with a negative person? Here are seven signs:

Negative Person

1. Their negativity is part of a pattern

You’ve seen their negativity before. Maybe they’re a frequent flyer in your inbox or at congregational meetings. But it’s not an isolated, out-of-character incident you’re looking at.

The criticism you’re dealing with is ‘in character’ for them.

2. They’re negative about more than just your organization

Not only are they upset about something you or your team has done, but they’re angry about work, about a whole host of retail experiences, about how bad the world has become and long list of other grievances.

3. They fail the call display test

As subjective as this sounds, the call display test is a pretty good indicator of whether a person drains you or energizes you. When you see anyone’s name come up on your caller ID, you get an immediate emotional reaction to it.

Sometimes you’re thrilled to see the name and can’t wait to take the call. Other times you’re neutral. But sometimes you wince. Whether it’s a phone call, a text or an email, you respond negatively and quietly think “oh no.”

That’s a sign that the person’s overall influence in your life has been negative, not positive.

4. They are mostly against things, but never for things 

Sadly, negative people rarely know what they stand for; they only know what they stand against.

If the person you’re dealing with isn’t “for” anything positive, they likely have a negative worldview.

5. Compliments are usually followed by the word “but”

A positive person (and even a neutral person for that matter) can give a compliment. Negative people can’t.

What starts out positively (“I really enjoyed the event today”) is inevitably followed by a “but” (“but had they turned the volume down and shortened the message it would have been better.”)

People who can’t give a compliment are rarely the kind of people you build the future on.

 

6. They aren’t accomplishing much with their life

Okay, this one sounds harsh, but it’s accurate. Truly negative people rarely accomplish anything great.

You can’t build a life on what you’re against.

Because they are against so much, few people want to work with them. Stalled out careers, a history of frequent job changes, financial trouble and other similar markers often characterize negative people.

Sometimes they get notoriety (think angry bloggers), but beyond a few ‘angry celebrities’, most negative people do nothing significant with their lives.

And I’m not sure you could call angry blogging or commenting ‘significant’.

7. They have no vision for the future

A negative person is almost never excited about the future. They have no compelling vision for what should be.

They can just tell you why your vision is wrong. When you ask them for alternatives, they rarely have original or well-thought-out ideas.

What do you see?

Those are seven signs I look for to determine whether I’m dealing with a negative person.  In the final post in this series, we’ll look at how to handle negative people in your life and in your organization.

I wrote more about creating a healthy church culture in my latest book, Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Will Help Your Church Grow.

In the meantime, what are some signs that tell you you’re dealing with a negative person.  What would you add or change in this list?

Scroll down and leave a comment!

leadership vocabulary

3 Words You Should Drop From Your Leadership Vocabulary Starting Now

Words matter when you’re a leader, and not all words are equally useful.

In fact, you should banish at least three from your leadership vocabulary.

Nobody wins when you use these words regularly, and they might be damaging your leadership without you even realizing it.

I end up using these words when I fail to take decisive actions.

I use these three words

as substitutes for action

as substitutes for specifics

as substitutes for clarity

Chances are you might as well.vocabulary

3 Words to Banish Starting Now

So which three words trip up leader after leader and team after team? Here they are:

1. Someone

You know how this comes up. Someone should do something about that. Someone should fix that. Someone should step up.

Someone really means no one.

Here are some handy substitutes:

will do something about it today.

I’m going to ask Josh to have that fixed by Friday.

Every single day, I’m going to ask five people to tackle the problem until someone steps up and says yes.

You can’t build the future on someone.

2. Something

You’ve said it. We need to do something about that.

I’m sure that’s true.

But the translation is that no one will do anything about it at all. Not until you become clear and specific.

Exactly what needs to be done? If you can’t define the solution, you haven’t even properly diagnosed the problem.

But answer those specific questions and things change. Then you have a plan.

3. Someday

Leaders can’t help but dream about someday. I dream and think about the future every single day.

But someday is also the graveyard of too many dreams and far too much vision.

You’re going to hire a dream staff member someday.

You’re going to radically change your church someday.

You’re going to break that bad habit someday.

You’re going to get organized someday.

And someday never comes. Days become months which become years and absolutely nothing happens.

Someday actually means never.

As my friend Casey Graham says, deadlines drive decisions.

Putting a date on every intention might scare the life out of you, but that’s awesome. You’ll get things done. You will.

Jeffrey E. Garten has rightly pointed out that vision without execution is a hallucination. Far too many leaders hallucinate. And they’re not actually leading anyone when they do.

If you can’t put a calendar date on it, then put a year on it and reverse engineer toward it. Sure, you’ll encounter setbacks, but only the determined eventually break through.

I’m a far better leader when I stop talking about someone doing something someday.

You are too.

Any other words you’d banish?

Leave a comment!

Note, I’m currently on sabbatical and as a result, most of my new blog posts in May are re-posts of some of my favourite but not as well known posts from the past few years. Hope they help you lead like never before. – Carey

church growth strategies

10 Church Growth Strategies That Cost Zero Dollars

So you want your church to accomplish its mission and reach people.

But so often in church leadership, it’s easy to believe growth can’t really happen unless you spend money on some new initiatives.

And that leaves a lot of church leaders stuck. Why? Because the vast majority of churches are underfunded, not over-funded.

Faced with a lack of resources, too many church leaders throw in the towel and believe growth isn’t possible.

But that’s a fallacy.

Vision always precedes resources. If you’re waiting for people and money to show up so you can get on with your mission, you’ll wait forever.

So how do you start growing now, even with zero dollars?

Here are 10 ways.

church growth strategies

1. Exude more passion

It’s amazing to me how little passion many church leaders exude.

We have the most amazing mission on planet earth. And we have a generation of young adults in front of us who want to give their lives to a cause that’s bigger than themselves.

Yet it’s easy to believe that the only way to reach the next generation is by spending money on lights, gear and sound. As I outlined in this post, that’s just not true.

You don’t need a polished church to reach the next generation nearly as much as you need a passionate church. Because when it comes to reaching the next generation, passion beats polish.

2. Cut the weird

Christians can be socially weird.

Too often, we use unnecessarily weird language—like this:

“This is good coffee, brother.”

“Amen. Hallelujah.”

Why not just talk at church the way you talk at the office or at a football game or on a Saturday by the pool? (Actually, if you talk like that normally, you probably don’t get invited out too often.)

Here’s what’s actually at stake: if someone has to learn code to join your church, you likely won’t have many people joining your church.

Our challenge is to reduce the human barriers that keep people from Jesus, not to erect new ones.

And, no, being weird does not mean you’re being faithful. It just means you’re being weird.

3. Expand your vision

Vision is a leader’s best friend, and it’s free.

After two decades of leading and communicating in the local church, I am convinced it is impossible to overstate or overestimate the vision of the church.  As Bill Hybels has said, the local church really is the hope of the world.

If you don’t dream big dreams for your church, who will?

If you don’t communicate big vision for your church, who will?

4. Encourage people to fall in love with your mission, not your methods

The reason change is so difficult in many churches is because members fall in love with methods, not with mission.

A method is a way of doing things: programs the church runs, the style of music, the architecture of a building or facility, a staffing or governance model.

Those are all simply methods that can and should change with every generation or even more frequently.

The mission is what you’re doing (like reaching people with the love and hope of Jesus), and it never changes.

The more you focus on the mission, the easier it is to change the methods.

5. Smile more

I know ‘smile more’ sounds trivial. But just look around you. Hardly anyone smiles.

If the Gospel is good news, you would never know it from looking at many Christians.

I have to remind myself when I communicate to smile more. It’s not my natural facial expression.

A smile can make a huge difference in almost any relationship.

So smile more and remind your people to smile more. Honestly, this makes a huge difference in how people perceive you.

6. Stop fighting

I have no statistics on this, but my guess is in-fighting has killed more churches than moral failure has.

Christians, it’s hard to convince the world that God loves it when we constantly fight with each other.

If your church is fighting, there should be zero mystery as to why it isn’t growing.

7. Pay much better attention to first- time guests

I’ve never heard of a church whose members claimed they were unfriendly.

In fact, most church members are stumped as to why people don’t like their church because they’re so ‘friendly.’

But being a ‘friendly’ church can often mean you’re friendly to each other, not to guests.

Change that.

Make sure guests feel genuinely appreciated, welcomed and that their questions are answered. This does NOT mean making them stand up in the service or other socially awkward things like that (see point 2 above).

It does mean treating guests the way they want to be treated.

8. Treat your volunteers better

Many leaders fall into the trap of thinking that great leadership comes only when you can hire a great staff.

Nonsense.

You have a great team—they’re called your volunteers. And as I outlined in this post, you can pay your volunteers in non-financial currencies.

If you create a healthy volunteer culture, you’ll be amazed at how well your volunteers serve.

No matter how big you get as a church, you will never have enough money to hire all the staff you want. And you will always need a growing group of passionate, committed, aligned volunteers.

I write an entire chapter on creating a great volunteer culture in my book and video series, Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Will Help Your Church Grow.

The bottom line? Passionate volunteers create a passionate church.

9. Invite someone

So there’s this thing out there called personally inviting a friend. Ever heard of it?

Okay, maybe that was a little sarcastic. But I am amazed by how often most of us neglect personally inviting our unchurched friends to church.

Many actually say yes when asked.

If everyone invited one person next weekend, think of what might happen.

Church leaders, encourage people to invite friends and start by inviting someone yourself.

10. Become friends with people who aren’t Christians

Last time I checked, friendship was free too. That’s a good thing.

The sad reality is the reason #9 is impossible for some people is because many Christians don’t actually know any non-Christians.

Change that.

Be a friend.

Hang out with that guy at work. Throw a party for the neighbours in your back yard. Talk to the other parents at your child’s school.

Get out of the Christian bubble and into the world Jesus died for.

If you’re at church 7 nights a week, you can’t be friends with non-Christians. So cut a few nights and go live the mission.

That’s why our church has almost no programming on weeknights other than small groups. We want our people to love the community.

The only way you can love a community is to actually be in the community.

You can’t love people you don’t know.

Want More?

Well, that’s a lot of free strategies there to use to grow your church and that’s exactly where you should start. You can accomplish so much if you just begin.

If you want to know how to raise more money for ministry (without a capital campaign), there’s also practical help. While we use all of the above strategies at Connexus Church, where I serve, we also have raised more money for ministry. The Rocket Company offers the exact process we used at Connexus to raise more money for your mission.

It’s called Thrive, and it will help your church raise money for ministry without a capital campaign. Using the approach outlined in Thrive has helped grow our giving by 90% over the last 5 years. You can get more information on Thrive or sign up here.

What Do You Think?

What have you done in your church that’s helped you reach more people?

Scroll down and leave a comment!

morning people

5 Ways Morning People Really DO Have a Leadership Advantage

So you’re trying to be more productive—to get more done in less time.

Here’s the question: does it really make a difference whether you’re a morning person or not when it comes to productivity?

One of the more frequently asked questions I get as a leader is ‘how do you get it all done?’   (church, blogging, podcast, speaking and writing books).

My answer is usually a variation of “It’s amazing what you can get done before 8 a.m. if you try.”

As painful as that may sound to you, it’s probably also true for you. The best leaders I know get more done before 10 a.m. than many people get done in a day.

Let me show you why and how.

morning personI Wasn’t Always a Morning Person…

I wasn’t always a morning person.

I spent my university days choosing classes based on how late they started so I could sleep in.

I’ve made the transition from NOT being a morning person to getting up most days between 4:30 and 5:30 a.m.

How did that happen? Well, the journey got started when my wife and I got married (I decided to get up at 8 because she was a morning person).

Having kids a few years later threw my schedule out the window and I started rising around 6 and kept that discipline up through my 30s. Usually I would get up early, pound through some email (after devotions) and then make breakfast and then start work in earnest around 9.

I spent my 30s wanting to write a book and having friends tell me I should. But I didn’t.

It wasn’t until my 40s that I started getting up earlier and really committing to a 5:00 a.m. wake up call.

Since then, I’ve led our church to the largest it’s ever been, published three books, blogged regularly, launched a podcast and spoken more regularly at conferences…plus spent meaningfully more time with my wife and kids than before.

Is that ALL because I got up earlier? No, age and stage have their advantages.

You accumulate (hopefully) wisdom, learn to do things faster, and your kids get older and don’t demand 24/7 attention like they used to (although I’m still convinced parenting teens requires as much or more time than parenting toddlers). Could I have done all of this in my 30s? Probably not.

But if I got up at 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. most days, I’m convinced all I’d be able to handle is my day job…and I’m convinced I would do it more poorly at that. In other words, I’m not sure I’d be doing anything more than my day job had I kept sleeping in.

So how does being a morning person give me (and many other leaders) a distinct advantage?

Here are 5 reasons:

1. Your brain is (probably) at its best

Personally, there’s no doubt I get my best work done before 10:00 a.m. My most creative thoughts, best insights and clearest analysis happens well before lunch.

I’m amazed at how many high capacity leaders I know tell me the same thing.

Some research backs up my personal findings—that morning people do significantly better overall than night owls do.

Other studies show a more balanced view with night owls gaining a few advantages over morning people.

My guess is we could trade studies all day long to make our points, but I’ve personally never been better than when I’m up early.

Your most important asset as a leader is your mind.

And personally, my brain just does better when it’s fresh off of rest. (I think sleep is the secret leadership weapon no one wants to talk about.) By working early (even if it’s just an hour), you do your most important work when your brain is at its best.

Naps can also reset your brain during the day…and I will often take a nap if I can. However, I find a nap recharges my brain for far less time than a 6-8 hour sleep will.

Your brain simply serves you better as a leader when it’s rested.

2. You’re more efficient because you beat rush hour

Work patterns are a lot like traffic patterns: at 5 a.m. you have the road to yourself. At 8 a.m., it could take you three times as long to travel the same distance.  

These days I do everything I can to beat traffic, not just on the road, but in life. I do most of my shopping at off hours.  My wife and I have even begun to do off-season travel.

Why? Because we end up having have more time to do what matters most.

Ditto with work.

Guess who’s texting you at 5:30 a.m.? Nobody.

Guess who’s emailing for you an urgent response at 6:15 a.m.? Nobody.

You’ve got the work lane all to yourself, which means you can work un-interrupted. You can think uninterrupted. You can actually accomplish all your most important tasks completely distraction-free.

And for a naturally ADD guy, I’m grateful for that.

By the way, this reason alone is enough for me to recommend starting early to any leader.

Working when no one else is working gives any leader a distinct advantage.

Any other time of the day, people are trying to communicate with you. But rarely do they do that before 8 a.m.

3. You get to work on your most important tasks

You know what’s fascinating about leadership?

Nobody asks you to accomplish your most important priorities. They just criticize you if you don’t.

In fact, not only will your colleagues never ask you to accomplish your priorities, they will usually ask you to help accomplish theirs.

Which is why you never get your work done.

That’s also what email is, by the way, other people asking you to do things that aren’t on your task list.

By starting early, you can accomplish your priorities and THEN be available to help others with theirs, in person or via email.

Starting early eliminates so much of the push and pull of the every day. Plus you’ll be far more kind and gracious when you interact with them, because you’re already done.

4. You already have series of wins under your belt

Sometimes all you need as a leader is some kind of win.

Starting early gives you that:

You got a jump on your message.

You came up with a great idea.

You discovered a new strategy.

You banged out a chapter you were not expecting to write.

You got the retreat planned ahead of scheduled.

With one or two wins under your belt, the rest of the day is easier.

So much of leadership remains undone at the end of the day–except for what you got done first.

5. Your big to-do’s are already done

Not only is SOMETHING done before 10:00 a.m., if you use your time well, the most important task for the day is done by mid-morning.

I’ve never tried this, but I suspect if I stopped working at 10:00 a.m. most days I’d still be 70% as productive as I am now. And more importantly, I’d have the most significant things done.

The way I usually spend my later time is in meetings, answering email or doing other tasks that require less mental energy.

But again, even if those don’t go well or take longer than expected, the big stuff is already accomplished. Which means you’re kind of already done for the day.

Think about what that could mean to you and the people you love: when you start early, you get your evenings back, your weekends back and your life back. Because your big work is…done. 

Start Now

So how can you become a morning person?

I’d try setting your alarm 15 minute earlier every week until you hit the time you think you need to be up. In a month, you could be operating one hour earlier than before.  (And remember to go to bed earlier too. I’m generally in bed between 9:30 and 10 most nights.)

Michael Hyatt has some great ideas on becoming a morning person as well.

The bottom line is: start now.

Wanting to be a morning person brings you none of the benefits of becoming a morning person.

What Do You Think?

Well morning people? What do you think? And night owls, we love you. We really do.

But I’d love to hear from everyone what you’re learning about productivity and time shifting.

Scroll down and leave a comment! Let’s get better together.

asking better questions

7 Keys to Asking Better Questions (What I’ve Learned From My Leadership Podcast)

If you want to become a better leader (and who doesn’t?), the key is simple: learn to ask better questions.

I wish I knew that 20 years ago when I started.

I thought leadership was about giving answers, not asking questions.

I still have to reign myself in from talking too much and listening too little, but I’ve worked hard on the art of asking questions over the last few years.

In mid-2014, I became immersed more deeply than ever before into the art of asking questions as I prepared to launch my leadership podcast (you can subscribe for free here).  It’s been an amazing journey, as 20 months in we just celebrated passing one million downloads. (Thank you to everyone for making the podcast so amazing!)

In addition, last year, I started interviewing for 100 Huntley Street, a national TV show in Canada (here’s an interview I did with Ravi Zacharias).

One of the surprisingly consistent questions I get is how I come up with the questions for my guests.

People seem to notice the approach I take and want to know how I prepare the questions.

The reality is I haven’t known how to answer that question except to say “I don’t know, I just do it.” Not very helpful.

I also get interviewed frequently these days, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there are better lines of questioning, and not-so-great lines of questioning.

So I sat down to try to figure out the principles behind the art of asking better questions.

Here’s what I’ve come up with. I think the principles work whenever you are interacting with someone…whether it’s the foyer on a Sunday, in a meeting, or for a podcast or show.

Asking better questions is foundational to better leadership.

So how do you learn to ask better questions?

I want to keep growing in this field, but here are 7 things I’m discovering.

better questions1. Put yourself in their shoes

You may be getting together to discuss an issue, but behind every issue is a person.

When you speak to the person behind the issue, not just the issue, you always have a better conversation.

How do you do that?

Start here: imagine what it’s like to be them.

This is true if you’re talking to Andy Stanley or whether you’re talking to a college student anxious about what’s next after graduation.

People have emotions, fears, dreams, hopes and experience everything else you do.

A great way to access this stream of thinking is to imagine the questions you would have if you were them.

Imagine launching a church that grows exponentially. What would your hopes, dreams and fears be?

Sure, the person you’re speaking with might respond differently than you would (and be open to that), but this at least gets you into the same emotional ball park.

If you can imagine what it’s like to be them, your questions will not only become better, but they’ll like you. Why? Because you just showed interest and empathy. And we all respond better to an interested, empathetic person.

2. Avoid putting people on the defensive

Most people heading into an interview or conversation are a bit worried—whether that’s a job interview, a podcast or TV interview, or a meeting where you’re asking questions.

They’re afraid they’re going to say something they’ll regret. Or afraid you’re out to make them look bad.

People sense right away whether you’re trying to make them look bad. And they respond to you accordingly.

Any cheap press or momentary victory you get from a controversial quote is in my view, so not worth it.

I never want to make anyone look bad. Even if I disagree with a person.

I just want them to tell their story…and if you put them at ease, they will.

“But what about the truth?” say the suspicious among you.

Well, that doesn’t mean you don’t ask real questions. But in fact, when someone is at ease, they’ll often tell you far more than they would if you put them on the defensive.

If you want to listen to a couple of very authentic interviews on very controversial topics, you can listen to my conversation with Justin Dean on the collapse of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, or Aaron Harris on what it’s been like for him to grow up in the church as gay man.

3. Ask what it felt like

I’m a logical guy. I think a lot. I’m a law school graduate. Most of what I do these days boils down to thinking, solving problems and then figuring out how to communicate what I’ve learned.

As a result, I constantly process principles behind why things are the way they are, and why people do what we do.

But deep down, we’re all emotional creatures. I am. You are.

So is anyone you talk to.

If you really want to connect with the person you’re speaking with (or interviewing), when they tell you about a critical moment in their life (good or bad) ask them what it felt like.

What was it like to learn you had cancer?

What did it feel like to have half your church walk out overnight?

What did it feel like for you as a leader to go from 100 people to 1000 people attending your church overnight?

What were you feeling when you failed out of college and had to go home to tell your parents?

In those moments, you move from head-to-head conversation to heart-to-heart conversation.

And those are my favourite conversations. That’s the kind of stuff around which friendships and bonds form—both between you and your guests, and your guests and any listeners.

4. Look for the counter-intuitive or exceptional

Lots of counter-intuitive things happen in life.

Follow that trail.

For example, when I interviewed Perry Noble about burning out in Episode 2 of my leadership podcast, he mentioned it happened when his church had never been bigger and when things had never been ‘better.’

That really surprised me, and we spent a good part of the interview exploring that.

Exploring the counter-intuitive usually leads to great places because it attacks widely held assumptions. For example, people assume you burn out with things are going poorly, not when things are going well.

In a similar way, people are surprised that successful people struggle.

In my view, that’s what made the interview I did with Passion Ministries founder Louie Giglio so riveting. He talked openly and honestly about how success led him to break down and how he battled back.

Bottom line? If something surprises you, chase it.

5. Drill down

Our world is filled with 2-minute sound bites.

The best conversations in my view never happen in 10 minutes or between commercial breaks. They happen long after people have used all their sound bites and pushed past their ready-made answers.x

I took a risk in doing long-form podcasting when I launched (the average episode is around an hour). The reason I chose that path is because meaningful real life conversations tend to be longer, not shorter.

Taking your time also allows you to drill down on key issues.

Whether it’s my podcast, a meeting, or even a job interview I’m conducting, most of my questions are unplanned. I always write questions out ahead of time, but you can’t really anticipate the good stuff.

When you hear something someone says that piques your interest, drill down on it.

Go further. As in:

What do you mean by that?

Fascinating…tell me more.

What happened next?

What…say that again? What happened?

That kind of questioning opens up the floodgates for new insights and principles.

If you just move onto the next question, you usually lose a goldmine in the process.

6. Be curious

Curiosity is your best friend as a leader.

When you’re interviewing, act more like a 6-year-old than a 36-year-old.

Ask why…a lot.

If you’re genuinely curious, ask:

Why did you think that?

Why do you think that happened?

Why didn’t you quit?

Why did you make that decision?

‘How’ is another amazing curiosity question:

How did you even think that was possible?

Wait, how did that happen?

How did you possibly think that might work?

Even in a meeting setting, you will learn so much more about the person you’re talking with or the issue you’re studying if you stay curious.

The best leaders I know are insatiably curious.

They want to know how and why things work, and they want to know more about the things they don’t know about.

So…be curious.

7. Forget about yourself

Too many leaders are interested in making a point rather than asking a question.

And that’s a critical mistake.

If you’re always trying to show how smart you are, you accomplish the opposite.

When I started my podcast in the fall of 2014, my wife listened to the first few episodes and said (in a very loving way), “You talk too much.”

I felt like saying, “It’s MY podcast!”

But she was right.

Since that time, I try to talk less than 10% of the time in a interview (unless the interview is designed to be a two-way conversations, as a few have been).

I’ve tried to talk a lot less in my daily leadership as well. It’s way too easy for me to dominate meetings and I have to put a constant check on my tongue and brain.

After all, leaders, when you listen first and speak second, people are far more interested in what you have to say.

What Do You Think?

Hopefully asking better questions leaves you and whoever you’re talking with feel amazing after a conversation. That’s my goal whenever I talk to a leader, on air or off air.

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In the meantime, what helps you ask better questions? Scroll down and leave a comment!