Thursday, September 24, 2009

Quote of the Week

"The natural qualities in his creation often show how they can be rightly enjoyed. Has the Lord given flowers great beauty and perfume, and then made it wrong for us to enjoy it? Hasn't he given us colors to enjoy and qualities in material things like gold and silver, ivory and marble which make them precious? "

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Humility is Essential to Effective Leadership

Author and leadership guru John Baldoni, believes in the importance of humility in leadership. Here's what he said on his blog recently -

Leaders who want to inspire followership... need to demonstrate not simply their accomplishments but their character... A sense of humility is essential to leadership because it authenticates a person's humanity. We humans are frail creatures, we have our faults. Recognizing what we do well, as well as what we do not do so well, is vital to self awareness and paramount to humility.

Baldoni raises some interesting points and anyone who leads in any capacity should take heed. He reminds us that it's one thing to be in a position of leadership, it's another thing altogether to "inspire followership". The former requires that authority be established but the latter happens only when the leader demonstrates character.

Yet, it wasn't the emphasis on character that drew my attention to Baldoni's blog post - other experts have said similar things. Rather it's his insistence on humility as a necessary character trait for effective leadership that sets Baldoni apart. This is rare. Many leadership experts will gladly mention the importance of character but they tend to focus on integrity or trustworthiness as primary traits. Very few highlight the importance of humility.

Baldoni goes on to list different ways we can demonstrate humility in our role as leaders -

1. Temper authority - don't make "pulling rank" a regular practice but through delegation, allow your subordinates to set priorities and make decisions along the way.

2. Look to promote others - seek to advance and promote others...sometimes at cost to ourselves. When we do this, we are serving our neighbor and seeking his/her good.

3. Acknowledge what others do - this can mean several things like simply saying "thank you" for a job well done or publicly drawing attention to the contribution of others.

Another way that we demonstrate humility everyday is the way we respond when we're wrong. Do we give ourselves a pass or hold ourselves accountable? Interestingly, I was faced with such a temptation this past week, when I harshly corrected a subordinate. I thought he had neglected to respond to an important request I made of him. However, when I retraced my original request, I became aware that I actually addressed the request to someone else. I was completely unjustified in my response!

At that point, I had a choice - either to 'fess up and apologize or simply sweep the whole incident under the rug. Thankfully, I was compelled by the grace of God to humble myself and apologize to him.... and not only to him but to everyone who was aware of my misplaced blame.

The kind of humility God calls us to is otherworldly ... and unattainable apart from His grace at work in our lives. May God work such humility in us, not simply because it'll make us better leaders but more importantly, because it pleases our Savior and King.

"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Quote of the Week

"A Christian's main vocation is to become a prime citizen of the kingdom of God - and this is true of every Christian, of artists and engineers as well as ministers and evangelists. All are called to mesh their kingdoms with those of other citizens in order to work together inside the kingdom of God."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Salt and Light in the World

I’ve been working my way slowly through Unfashionable by Tullian Tchividjian. The thesis of the book is simply this – Christians make a difference in this world by being different from this world; they don’t make a difference by being the same.

It’s a notable point simply because as Christians engaging the world around us, we can easily forget that we’re called to be different and distinct. That's understandable - after all, we want to be relatable as Christians. And truth be told, most of us prefer to comfortably “fit in” rather than “stand out”. Who wants to branded as the “religious” guy, especially at our place of work? If it's there's one place where the gospel is not welcomed today, it's in the corporate boardroom.

I was reminded of this challenge when I read Matthew 5:13-16 this week –

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

The challenge: to authentically love and relate to our co-workers and neighbors while being uncompromisingly distinctive as Christians. We’re called to be distinctive in our ethics, our conduct, our motivations and our passions.

What does this look like for you everyday?
What does being “salt and light” in this world mean to you?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Quote of the Week

"Job learned about the vanity of this world by losing it all; the Teacher {Qoheleth} saw it by having it all."

Friday, September 04, 2009

Pleasing God in Our Work and Life

I've been thinking about Hebrews 11:6 today -

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

If we're to please God in any way, we must approach Him in faith - it is a necessary condition. According to this verse, faith starts with a belief that God exists. At first glance, this would appear to be obvious and inconsequential. But it's not. That's because the existence of God is of great consequence. Believing in God isn't just mental assent - it has ultimate impact on all matters pertaining to our lives - on how we work, play, live and die.

So I'm just wondering -

How does the existence of God impact the way I do my work or engage those around me?
What does it look like for me to work with faith toward God?
Why am I so self reliant and forgetful of my need for God?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Quote of the Week

"The most dangerous idols are the ones that fit most comfortably in your everyday Christian life."