First 3 Steps to a Leadership Culture

Great leaders create a climate where potential leaders grow and thrive! Have you ever been on a team or in a department where you wanted to bring your best every day? Have you had a job where you just endured every day? Most of us have had both experiences, but we may not be aware of the reason for the difference. When you understand, you can create the environment where you lead.

Some environments are like a greenhouse for young potential leaders while others are like the south pole.

Anyone can tell you the temperature in a team. Leaders change it!

Here are the first 3 steps to create a Climate to Develop Potential Leaders…

  1. Model the Leadership you want,
  2. Believe in the potential leader,
  3. Focus on the potential leader’s desires and needs.


“Example is not the main thing in influencing others… it is the only thing.” Albert Schweitzer

The opposite says, “Do as I say, not as I do!” As you know, no one is going to follow that leader a day longer than they have to.

What’s your picture of the ideal team member? Great attitude, punctual, dress well, kind to everyone, always learning, thinking about the needs of the team before their own, helping other team members, not talking about them behind their back and doing whatever it takes to get the job done and being honest. Make your own list… More importantly – be the change you wish to see in your team.

Believe in the people

“It’s wonderful when the people believe in the leader. It’s more wonderful when the leader believes in the people.” John Maxwell

This may be challenging, but it will create an immediate change in your environment. CAUTION! Be sincere or it will be the most damaging thing you have ever done. You remember American Idol, right? Some of those contestants had been lied to before they got there. Lying to is not believing in. Keep it real by finding one thing they do really well and celebrate it. Find something they can improve and express your confidence in them to improve it. Help them find the way forward and feel your belief in them to do it.

People are like goldmines. You have to move tons of dirt to find ounces of gold. And it’s worth it!

Focus on the potential leader’s desires/needs

Maybe they want to further their education. Maybe they want to move up in the company. How can what the business needs support what they desire? David Marquet, a submarine commander, in his book, Turn the Ship Around, tells about getting a man off the sub on the other side of the world so he could catch a plane and be home for the birth of his baby. That is focus on the desires of the team members.


Multiply Your Impact 2

What else is so great about developing leaders?

In Part 1 I made the case that growing leaders is the longterm solution to growing your organization.

Here are the next 3 reasons why Leaders need to reproduce leaders:

  1. Leaders attract potential leaders.
  2. Leaders who mentor potential leaders multiply their effectiveness
  3. Developed leaders expand and enhance the future of the organization.

People are attracted to people who are like them.

We don’t even do this consciously. It is just natural. We fear what we don’t understand and we trust what seems familiar. Potential leaders are attracted to leaders who are a step ahead of them. When I first started pastoring I look for people ahead of me to learn from. I spent a lot of time and money to be around these people. Some of them I quit going to at some point. Maybe I outgrew them or just felt I could not learn more from them. Leaders attract potential leaders.

Mentor Potential Leaders

This is how to multiply your effectiveness. If you lead followers you will add to your organization. If you lead leaders and mentor them to develop further you will multiply your effectiveness. It might look like this… Let’s say you manage a non-profit you’ve got a volunteer to stuff envelopes every Monday at 10. You can start with the envelopes and then ask them some questions that get them thinking about improving systems. You can ask, “Who do you that might be interested in helping? Just getting someone to think you are leading and helping them to think like a leader.

Developed Leaders Expand and Enhance the Future of the Organization

Henry Ford said, “You can take my factories, burn up my buildings, but give me my people, and I’ll bring my business right back again.”

“Build them and it will come.” Lee Prock

John Maxwell tells about a talk on a bench with his dad.  His dad explained that the most expensive workers on campus are not the highest paid. The most expensive ones were the people who were nonproductive. Developing leaders takes time and costs money. You have to pay leaders more. But the leaders were an invaluable asset.

Higher level leaders are costly, but they add value to the organization, they attract potential leaders, they are productive. John’s dad ended his fatherly advice with, “Most people produce when they feel like it. Leaders produce even when they don’t feel like it.”

Who can you develop as a leader?



This is one of those topics that I could write about all day.  Goal setting, goal achieving, goals goals goals!

We all have goals.  Each and every one of us. Some of us think we gave up a long time ago and don’t have any but we do.  Every day we wake up with the goal to live another day.  Ok, maybe that is a stretch but don’t we all have goals to some extent?  And why is it so important to have goals?

The most successful people on this planet didn’t wake up one day with an idea and a few minutes later after they got dressed became successful… No way.  They had an idea and they developed a plan.  Within that plan there were goals – some big, some little – some attainable, some way out there.

And each day, they worked at it – chipping away, having triumphs and failures along the way but tweaking and re-evaluating and working toward goals. Goals!

We have had goals from the day we were born.  Sit up. Crawl. Walk. Talk. Feed ourselves. Dress ourselves. Express ourselves. Make friends. Learn. Communicate. Develop relationships. Learn a skill.  Get a job. Get married.  Have a family. Buy a car. Buy a house. Take a vacation…. Many of these things are milestones that we can only achieve with a plan of action and goal setting.

Goals are objectives that you intend to achieve.  Going through life without goals is like getting in your car and driving aimlessly expecting to arrive at your destination without a clue how to get there.  When I was younger, I would jump in the car and start driving to wherever I was going. After I started driving I would start thinking about how to get there. I didn’t want to waste time so I start driving RIGHT NOW! And therefore, I wasted more time.

The longest distance between two points is a shortcut. Well… if it is anything that matters, that’s true. You cannot short cut growth or success or relationships. You have do what it takes. You have to plant seeds if you want to have a harvest.

Moving through life without a roadmap and expecting to reach certain milestones haphazardly is certainly one way to go but if you want to get somewhere quickly and with less energy and time, then set goals, work towards them and you will find yourself exactly where you wanted to be.


Decisions are a mental activity every one of us engages in on a daily basis.  From deciding when to wake up, to what to eat, to how to spend our day, to where to spend our money, to whom to spend our time with… decisions are part of our daily life.

That doesn’t mean we are good at making decisions.  Many of us make very bad decisions every day and only a few of us make good decisions consistently.  Why is there such disparity in this?  What keeps us from making sound decisions?

Did you know that you could virtually eliminate your internal conflict and confusion by becoming proficient at making decisions?  Once you make a decision, you will find all the people, resources, and ideas you need every time.

Indecisiveness is a decision to not make a decision.  This is typically fueled by the fear of failure.  Low self esteem and succumbing to circumstances is why so many people make poor decisions.

If you have an idea, a desire, a wish, a worthy ideal, make the decision to achieve whatever it is you want.  Once you set your intention you will be pleasantly surprised how everything you need just seems to be attracted to you. You will notice someone mentioning a struggle with their team – and you mention that you have a solution. When people ask what you are up to you, you have an answer that you are passionate about.

Your belief starts a momentum. Your belief will be the catalyst that changes your behaviors, your actions, and ultimately your results.

The world gets out of the way of the person who knows where he’s going.

Keep your focus on your vision, your worthy ideal.  Refuse to worry about how it will happen – know that you are capable of fulfilling anything that God is calling you to accomplish.  Everything seems impossible before it’s done.

Today make a decision to do something that will move you in the direction of your purpose, vision and goals. Then do what it takes to follow through on that decision. Each time you do that you confidence grows and your ability to accomplish expands. David did not start with Goliath. He started watching sheep and doing what he had to do to protect them.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is utilizing our higher faculties to understand and evaluate subject matter; or to put it simply “knowing how to think.”  When we were in elementary and secondary school, we were taught what to think. We were subjected to a lot of information and now, the trend is to teach to pass a test. We memorize what is needed, take the test, and then forget what we remembered.  If we pursued higher education, most of us college graduates continued down the same path of learning what to think again for that anticipated test at the end of each semester. It isn’t until we pursue advanced degrees that we are then required to know how to think.

Consider this conclusion from the National Commission on Excellence in Education in its landmark report, A Nation at Risk, 1983:

“Many 17-year olds do not possess the “higher-order” intellectual skills we should expect of them.  Nearly 40 percent cannot draw inferences from written material; only one-fifth can write a persuasive essay, and only one-third can solve a mathematics problem requiring several steps.”

 This trend in education has taught us to mind dump everything we know when sharing information. When presenting our principles and ideas to people, take a moment and evaluate your approach. Are you unconsciously mind dumping everything you know in your allotted time or are you taking the time to help others develop conclusions and their own thoughts?

Critical thinking is a higher-order level of thinking. It is the ability to think for one’s self and responsibly make those decisions that affect one’s life.  In addition, critical thinking is also critical inquiry: investigating problems, asking questions, and posing new challenging answers.

Consider the benefits of helping develop others’ critical thinking skills.  They will be able to better understand your ideas and better accept your methodologies if they are able to understand, evaluate and conclude in a critical way. In addition, by developing your own critical thinking skills, you will be better equipped to share this your life changing information with your clients, co-workers, friends, and family.

Critical thinking requires advanced listening skills. Lecturing to others is a passive activity that does not encourage audience participation. To critically evaluate needs, it is necessary to present ideas and then allow the listener to develop conclusions – openly discuss and debate these new ideas.  Allow them to think deeply about your ideas and in turn, value what they think and feel. Share these ideas in an environment that allows them to think their ideas matter. Ask them to make connections and recognize patterns in the new ideas you are presenting. These techniques allow those you influence to begin to develop thinking skills, which in turn develop their critical skills.

If you are speaking to a group, at the conclusion of your discussion, to further develop critical thought, ask your participants to write out the most significant thing they learned AND what single thing they would like to learn more about. This is immediate feedback about what they are learning and what they still need to understand. When presenting – encourage questions and praise the questioner with these examples: “Good question” or “I am sure others want to know that as well”. When your audience asks questions, this is a great indicator that they are thinking critically.


Compassion is the result of having empathy for others’ suffering.  It is one of the most essential components to living a peaceful and significant life and it brings immediate and long-term happiness when practiced.

When there is a desire to develop compassion in your life, the key is to make it a daily practice.  Start each day with meditation, when interacting with people practice compassion and when preparing for sleep, reflect on compassion.  By incorporating this practice into our daily lives, it becomes a part of us.

I have noticed in close relationships practicing compassion maintains closeness. It also restores that closeness when we drift apart. Think of someone that you want to feel closer to right now. Then begin to practice compassion. What are they going through? What challenges might they be facing? How can you pray for them?

Compassion also carries positive physical benefits.  Practicing compassion has shown to increase DHEA by 100%. DHEA is an anti-aging hormone.  Practicing compassion also reduces cortisol by 23%, which is the stress hormone.  Anything that reduces stress and slows aging is a must in my life.

Compassion feeds spiritual and emotional being as well.  It allows us to be happier and to share our happiness with those around us.  Most of us desire peace and happiness and to share with others so it is logical to practice compassion to achieve that which we can have as quickly as right now.

Jesus said that the first rule for living well was Love God with all your heart and the 2nd is like it – love your neighbor as yourself.  Practicing compassion is a perfect beginning point.



A commitment should be treated as a binding contract with yourself. However, many of us break our commitments. We commit to people, banks, work, pets, ourselves… A commitment is something that you have no doubts about. Something you give 100% of your whole self to.

Commitment is a fulfilling endeavor that when followed through gives an immense sense of accomplishment. Think about something you have committed to, followed through with to the end, and how you felt at the end knowing you didn’t break it along the way. Weight loss, getting a formal education, going for the big contract and landing it…

Sometimes commitment can be confused with staying with something long after you should. Like a dead-end job or an abusive spouse. If you have any of this in your life, let’s look at it for a moment. Ask yourself why you are still in something that you have doubts about or don’t believe in or worse yet, that you give less than all of you to. People pick up on this subtle behavior. To stay committed to something, you have to put effort in and periodically change up what you are doing to keep it alive and fresh.

I was close to my grandparents and I loved them dearly. I also, remember that for many years their relationship was tense and they were not modeling the sort of marriage I had set as ideal and certainly not grandparent-worthy. But they stayed together out of commitment and they continued growing. In the later years, they were especially affectionate of one another. I was moved by Gran’daddy’s tender words and desire to be with Grandmother.

Commitments are what ground you and keep you active and engaged in life. Being free and having few commitments sounds so refreshing to many who have spouses, children, pets, jobs, mortgages… but for only a fleeting moment when life feels heavy and burdensome. We are social creatures who desire connections and relationships with others; a sense of accomplishment and pride in our contributions to making life better for everyone in our lives including ourselves.

Sometimes we need help with our commitments and we seek out this help through our friends, co-workers, spouses, coaches, mentors… By asking for help, we are strengthening our commitment to ourselves and others; we are fulfilling our obligations contractually with ourselves to follow through to the end, no matter what it takes.


On Wikipedia, comfort is defined as a sense of physical or psychological ease and a lack of hardship while uncomfortable are people lacking in comfort.  I disagree!  I am hung up in the word “lacking”.  I think people who are comfortable are lacking.  Let me explain.

When you go along in life and stay within the lines, always on the safe side of the street, not taking risks and staying under the radar, you think you are comfortable.  You don’t ruffle feathers, you don’t cause problems, you avoid drama… Ha!

That is not the life I want to live. Not that I desire to ruffle feathers and be that obnoxious guy no one wants around. Far from it.  I want to be the person that takes the risks, that lives in that uncomfortable zone because that is where I am growing – taking life by the horns.  Experiencing new things.  Having new adventures. Dreaming big dreams and better yet, living the life I desire.

Comfort is a place where boredom sets in.  I define comfort as eating TV dinners in front of the television night after night with nothing worthwhile to say to my spouse while my kids are glued to their video games because our life is BORING! And Comfort is where I think those people live that are afraid of going for the big promotion because they live in fear that they aren’t good enough.  Or the people who have an idea for a great business, but they just aren’t ready to leave the paycheck.

I had once settled into a job outside my calling.  I had great reasons not to leave the boring job and get into my calling. FEAR! I was scared to death! OK. So, I was called into ministry and I had watched my parents financially struggle for years and worry about paying the bills.  I worried that I would face the same struggle… the same worry.

But inside that comfort, there were times that I was so miserable it hurt. I would talk to my sister back home who still lived at home – not like me with the new house and fast car. And though I had what I thought was success – did I mention she lived at home? I was the one making it and yet I was miserable! I had an encounter with God and I just say, “Yes. I’ll go home and into ministry.” I sold the house. I sold the car. I moved back home, but I said yes to a life with passion.

Of course, I didn’t stay in their house long, but I stayed in my calling and I came alive again. I think a comfortable life is dangerous – dreams die and then your soul dies a little every day.  I’ll take uncomfortable any day!


If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts. ~ Albert Einstein

I love that quote!  Change is that scary word that most people shy away from.  I don’t want to change.  Why should I change?  Why doesn’t everyone else change to accommodate me?  If I change, then I will be out of my comfort zone.  Why change something that isn’t broken?

Change.  Asking someone to change is like expecting the sun to not rise.  Isn’t it a pointless request?  Change comes from within.  Change is something we do with ourselves.  Only we can control us, no one else.  So why ask, expect, anticipate, anything from someone else?

Let’s focus on how to change us.  First why would anyone want to change themselves?  Is it because they don’t like the outcome?  Have you ever had a conversation with someone and you really want to change their mind about something?  You try so hard to convince them that your point of view is right and theirs is wrong!  Can’t they see that?  I mean do they realize just how foolish their ideas are?  Ha!

Cause and Effect.  Facts and Theory.  If you don’t like the end result, then you need to change the actions.  If the facts don’t fit the theory, in other words, the end result of the facts is not the theory then the facts must change.  Your actions (cause) create an end result (effect).  If you don’t like the effect, change the cause.  If you want a particular effect, but aren’t getting it, then change the cause.

It is really simple but we complicate it because we think it is everyone else that needs to change and not us.  Stop.  Take a breath.  Read that again.  It is really simple.  We want a different end result.  We need to make a change.

If you want to convince someone you are right and they are looking at you like you have three eyes… stop.  Look within.  Why do you want to convince anyone of anything?  If someone cannot see your point of view for whatever reason, if someone is doing something that you do not like, if someone or something is not what you expected… then look within.  Look at what you are doing, thinking, saying… resign from the need to assign blame and look at your actions and make the necessary changes and adjustments to achieve the end result you so desire.

Let go of having to be right and prioritize the relationship. Value the person above whatever it is about them that you desire to change. Appreciate that they are on their own journey and simply support them. Take all that energy that was directed at changing them and point it towards yours truly.

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