Burnout is defined as an emotional condition marked by physical and emotional exhaustion, loss of interest, cynicism or frustration that interferes with job performance. It leads to feelings of failure and thoughts of “giving up.”
The good news is that burnout is preventive. Although the following prescription is not guarantee of avoiding burnout completely, they are definite actions that will eventually decrease the chances of leaders experiencing burnout.
- Communication patterns. A cause of burnout is unproductive work behavior. An example is an habitual style of communication such as sending long emails instead of picking up the phone or simply getting up and going next door. Rambling on in meetings instead of getting to the point of the message is unproductive. When there is conflict with another person, consider the time-consuming and stressful consequence that comes from head on confrontations. Create a communication list by writing down points to discuss before communicating about the conflict. Briefly consider what succinct message you can leave if you need to leave a voicemail. Taking small steps can turn down the intensity volume in the way communication is handled.
- Recognize the triggers. A compulsion to prove oneself can lead people to experience burnout. Resist an excessive ambition to exhibit excellence in every accomplishment. Higher expectations lead to working excessive hours. Quit trying to do everything yourself. This leads to neglecting other life priorities, such as family and health. Never allow a job or position to provide the essence of self-esteem. It causes a person to become emotionally blunted. Develop leisure time and self-awareness to help manage life effectively.
- Practice relaxation. Learn to relax, meditate and have alone time. Suspend skepticism about meditation. The practice of meditation is a way of restoring energy and strengthens the ability to remain cool under fire. If practiced regularly, it quiets the emotional noise, strengthens self-control and can drop anxiety by 50 percent.
- How have you handled burnout?
- What triggers burnout in your life?
- What would you add?
Conflict is a fact of life. It can be good or bad but it can’t be avoided. Effective leaders must be skilled in containing conflict which will result in a win-win for everyone involved. Although many sources of conflict can arise within an organization or ministry, issues that most often cause conflict emerge from differences about beliefs, methods, factual data, budgets, values, change, policies, procedures and communication.
The secret to resolving differences is containment. It’s likely that you practice containment regularly on a personal level: Self-control is containment. Turning the other cheek is containment. Agreeing to disagree is containment. Speaking the truth in love is containment.
Jesus put the principle of containment into powerful words in Matthew 5:23-24 and Matthew 18:15-17. These Scriptures give step-by-step guidance that will never become outdated. The core value of this biblical containment principle is that it keeps conflict at the lowest management level and focuses on the primary problem. Any conflict can be resolved if leaders will faithfully follow these biblical guidelines step by step.
- If someone has something against you, initiate the first step and go to the offended person (Matthew 5:23-25). Arrange a time and place to meet without surprises. Don’t use email or texts.
- Listen. Let the other person speak first. Listen attentively as the other person tells how she sees the situation. (Proverbs 18:13, 29:20). Don’t interrupt. Give your full attention without becoming angry or defensive.
- Intervention. If the person will not listen, tell the church (Matt. 18:17). At this stage and for subsequent action, seek outside intervention, but keep the principle of containment operative here as well. Depending on the nature of the conflict, taking it directly to the church at large may not be wise. Instead, take it to elected leaders: the deacon body or an established committee structure that the constitutional guidelines dictate. If the individual refuses to listen, “let him be like an unbeliever” (Matt. 18:17) to motivate and bring him to reconciliation with God and the church.
- Again, contain. Remove the person from all leadership positions. If that doesn’t work, place him in a watch-care ministry. If that fails, follow church policies or constitutional guidelines to revoke his church membership.
- How do you handle conflict?
- How will you use this process in handling future conflicts?
- What would you add?
Being an authentic leader is akin to being genuine. It’s being true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character. When a person is authentic they’re honest, straightforward and without pretense, misrepresentation or deceit.
Initially being authentic can refer to how you interact with people, but ultimately must begin within yourself. Understanding your thoughts and feelings can lead to being genuine and ultimately result becoming sincere in relationships with people.
- Body language.Body language conveys a great deal about attitude. It easily reveals the genuineness of a person’s authenticity. Be sensitive of your posture, mannerisms, and behavior when interacting with people. Maintain steady eye contact, but don’t stare. Look away every now and then, and don’t forget to blink. Maintain a relaxed posture, but keep your body slightly poised. Never have a conversation with folded arms. Slightly lean toward the person you’re talking to and occasionally reach out/gesture towards them.
- Listening. Be an active listener. When listening, keep an open mind about what’s being said. Practicing active listening skills demonstrates taking a sincere interest in a person’s thoughts, feelings and what is being spoken. Always face the person you’re talking to and understand that facial clues will give away reactions to what is being said to you. This demonstrates you engaged and interested. Ask open-ended questions. This will advocate elaboration and reveal your engagement and your curiosity.
- Understand. Seek to understand before being understood. Try to understand what motivates others, and what life experiences may have shaped another person’s point of view. Understanding someone else’s point of view does not necessarily mean abandoning your own perspective. Rather, understand what motivates and what life experiences may have shaped another person’s point of view. You’ll develop a more sincere understanding of who that person is and what made him the way he is. Seeing the world through someone else’s perspective helps you become less judgmental and more compassionate.
- How authentic is your leadership?
- What are ways you convey your sincerity as a leader?
- What would you add?
Values are defined as a person’s principles or standards of behavior. They’re one’s judgment of what’s important in life. Certain values are critical to the development of servant leaders. These are by no means exhaustive. However, they serve to communicate the power and promise this concept offers.
Values of Servant Leadership
- Empathy. Strive to understand and empathize with others. People need to be accepted and recognized for their special and unique spirit. Assume the good intentions of people and don’t reject them even when forced to call into question their behavior or performance.
- Forethought. This is a characteristic that’ll enables you as a leader to understand lessons from the past, the realities of the present, and the likely consequence of a decision in the future. It is deeply rooted in the intuitive mind.
- Listening. Traditionally, leaders have been valued for their communication and decision-making skills. As a servant leader, reinforce these important skills by making a deep commitment to listening intently to others. Seek to identify and clarify the will of a group. Listen receptively to actions as well as verbiage.
- Persuasion. Rely on persuasion, rather than positional authority in making decisions. Always seek to convince rather than coerce people towards compliance. This particular element offers one of the clearest distinctions between the traditional authoritarian model and that of servant leadership. The servant- leader is effective at building consensus within groups.
- Stewardship. Servant leaders are often characterized by a strong sense of stewardship. Stewardship stems from medieval times when a steward would be assigned to hone the skills and development of the young prince to prepare him for his reign. A steward in an organization is responsible for preparing it for its destiny, usually for the betterment of society. Therefore, describing a leader as having a strong sense of stewardship can refer to a desire to prepare a person or organization to contribute to reach their maximum potential to serve the greater good of society.
- How well do these values define your leadership?
- What can you do to add value to your leadership?
- What would you add?
Effective team building and teamwork are essential in today’s organizations. Successful teams fuel the accomplishments of strategic goals. Effective team leaders magnify the accomplishments of individuals. They also encourage them to reach their maximum potential.
A core action to achieving effective teamwork is in communicating compliments to those we lead. Treating people based on their potential and not their performance will cause them to rise to amazing levels on the team.
Personal. Make compliments personal. Never be abstract by being difficult or dissociated from people. Be concrete by characterizing compliments related to immediate experiences of actual things or events.
Public. Make compliments public. Declare honoring words in front of others people. Public recognition will bring respect and admiration from other team members and leaders.
Sincerity. Make sincere compliments. Sincerity is the quality of being free from pretense, deceit, or hypocrisy. Be genuine and authentic in what you say, how you listen and in seeking to understand people and their perceptions.
Specific. Get very pointed and detailed about what you say. Say what you mean and mean what you say. People respond well when they have been recognized for specific achievements.
- How do you compliment people on your team?
- What ways could your leadership assure people to reach their maximum potential?
- What would you add?
Leaders can improve their effectiveness by using social media and productivity apps. For most people familiarity with Facebook and Twitter is norm. The following are core productivity apps that can enrich a person’s leadership skills.
Productivity Apps for Leaders
- Buffer. There are several good social media scheduling apps out there. Hootsuite and Sprout Social are noteworthy. I prefer to use Buffer when posting content on the Amaxa Leadership Blog. It can be located at amaxaleadership.wordpress.com. Buffer provides gives excellent analytics and is outstanding for social media stats accessibility.
- Evernote. This is really the perfect app for any aspect of a leaders life. You can store notes, track business mileage, create to do lists, and so much more. The functionality and cross-platform syncing make Evernote indispensable.
- Facebook pages. If you manage a few dozen Facebook Pages, a dedicated app is quite helpful. Although you can manage the pages in the regular Facebook app, having the Pages app makes it easier to stay on task without worrying about personal content on Facebook.
- Key Ring. This is likely an unfamiliar app. A Key Ring app helps to organize, store and save. This app will help to keep all loyalty and membership cards in one place. You can also convert the card tags into digital versions in this app to save time.
- Speaky. This is another app that may be an unfamiliar. Basically with the Speaky app, you can turn articles from blogs or news sites into a mini podcast of sorts. It’s not always perfect (abbreviations and acronyms are often hilariously butchered), but Speaky allows you to consume written content audibly.
- Tweetbot. This is a preferred app for Twitter. There are no ads, no promoted tweets, no tweets out of chronological order, and customizable tabs. Multi-account functionality is also superb in this app if you manage different accounts.
- Wunderlist. This app is a track to-do lists for a team, personal to-do lists, and much more. There are other list apps and even some that are specifically for project management. If you need something more emphatic than Wunderlist, check out Basecamp or Trello.
- How are you being productive by using apps?
- What helpful apps would you like to suggest?
- What would you like to add?
Balance is defined as a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions. It offsets or compares the value of (one thing) with another. Balance results in stability.
Balance is critical and essential to effective leadership and for a healthy organization. To a great degree, a leader must be motivated by passion and purpose to accomplish results. Otherwise, the team or organization will fail. Conversely, if the culture is such that everything outside of specified responsibilities is sacrificed due to being consumed by objectives, people will quickly fail. Short-term gains will give way to a frustrated and fatigued team with little to no production.
A balanced leader builds trust across the entire organization and with followers. They’ll weave people and teams into a decision-making process allowing them to share the success. Leaders will be effective when they stand the test of time and lead their organizations to great heights do so by achieving a certain level of balance.
- Inventory. Take a self-examination inventory. Examine your lifestyle mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and socially. Don’t just rely on your own perceptions. Ask your spouse or a close friend to evaluate. Make necessary adjustments to the areas of life that need balance.
- Plan. Write down a plan of action. Balance doesn’t come by accident. You must plan and prepare for it. A life of balance is marked by habits. If you’re living a life of balance, your plan will reflect successful habits in all areas of your life.
- Relationships. The ultimate objective of a balanced life is reflected in right relationships. Check-up on your relationships with God and people. Establishing a right relationship with God will bring right relationships with people. Make sure God is at the center of your life. You don’t have the power to create a balanced life on your own. You’ll need God’s help. If God isn’t at the center of your life, you will quickly slip out of balance.
- How do you define balance as a leader?
- What action plan do you have for establishing balance in needed areas?
- What would you add?
Servant leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals and builds better organizations. Servant leadership is a blend and balance between leader and servant. You don’t cripple or lose leadership qualities when becoming a servant leader.
- Assists with life issues. Servant leaders care about people and offer opportunities for personal development beyond the job. The advocate character and relational development along with career skills.
- Cultivates a culture of trust. Gossip and backbiting are non-existent. Servant leadership promotes integrity as an essential trait.
- Develops other leaders. Replication is emphasized by consistently teaching others to lead, providing opportunities for growth and demonstrating by example. A servant leader is not always leading, but instead giving up power and deputizes others to lead.
- Encourages. The hallmark of a servant leader is encouragement. A genuine servant leader says, “Let’s go do it,” not, “You go do it.”
- Forward thinking. A servant leader is always thinking about the next generation, the next leader, the next opportunity. That means a tradeoff between what’s important today versus tomorrow, and making choices to benefit the future. Servant leaders sacrifice some today to develop more for tomorrow.
- Humility. Servant leaders exhibit humility. They never wear a title as a way to show who’s in charge. Servant leaders don’t think they’re better than everyone else. They express care and concern for people. Setting an example of service, the servant leader understands that it is not about the leader, but about others.
- Selflessness. There’s a selfless quality about a servant leader. They never focus on achieving personal ambition or benefits
- Sells not tells. Servant leaders sell and persuade where others command and control. A servant leader is the opposite of a dictator. It’s a style all about persuading, not commanding.
- Values diverse opinions. A servant leader values everyone’s contributions and regularly seeks out opinions. If you must continually mirror the leader’s opinion, you are not in a servant-led organization.
- How are you being a servant leader to people?
- What is your philosophy of a servant leader?
- What would you add?
Some people believe leaders are born, not made. Regardless, it’s noteworthy some leaders gain their leadership abilities in the midst of adversity. Often, unpretentious people who have never had a leadership role will stand up and take the lead when a situation they care about requires it.
Once a person begins to gain the tools of effective leadership and influence, they’re able to build the confidence it takes to take the lead. Taking the lead is never easy especially when making difficult decision and facing demanding challenges. Nevertheless, the more experience gained as a leader, the easier it will become.
A commitment to continuously carry a tool belt with the appropriate tools will certainly make being a leader to be natural and rewarding. Begin with basic tools and add to them as experience warrants.
- Honesty. Be fair and straightforward. Always adhere to the facts. Offer praise and appreciation when people excel. Give needed support to improve by sharing sincere and respectful feedback. Coach and mentor individuals toward an honorable direction and a new opportunity.
- Integrity. Adopt a firm adherence to a code of moral or artistic values. Live with incorruptible character without compromise. Desire an impeccable reputation, especially in our transparent culture. The lack of professional integrity is just a tweet away from everyone to know about. When leadership begins the day and finishes the night with integrity, people become vehicles for investment.
- Passion. Be a leader with an intense, driving and overmastering feeling or conviction. Know what you believe in and why. The most effective leaders are true success agents. A combination of opportunity and enthusiasm is a powerful and effervescent blend. Passion helps recognize human potential and the talent capital needed to grow
- Planning. While many leaders are bottom-line, take charge, and results driven, it is a very good thing when they plan results. Knowing where the organization is heading, combined with a degree of innovation, is a solid steering mechanism to counteract pure reaction to problems and issues. You can’t lead anyone anywhere without a map and sense of destination.
- How has adversity made you an effective leader?
- What tools do you need to have as a leader?
- What would you add?
Leadership can best be defined as a collective effort. Leaders are not called to go out solo. For leaders to see good results, it is all about creating teamwork over a committee. A team is a group of people working cooperatively to accomplish a common mission or goal through the exercise of their gifts and calling in the context of mutual accountability.
Organizations should be structured around teams. Most organizations have too many committees. The enlistment process leaves organizations with people on the committees who don’t know their role and who sometimes didn’t know they were on the committee.
Differences of committees and teams:
- Committees tend to create bureaucrats; teams create servants.
- Committees do organizational work; teams do the work of the organization.
- Committees are groups that have meetings and make decisions for the actions of other people. In contrast, teams are actually produces results.
- Committees start with the positions and find the people to fill them; Teams start with the people and build the organizations around their talents.
- Teams are intentionally results oriented. Committees make decisions for other people.
- Teams are more dedicated to blending varying gifts and talents to achieve their goals.
- Teams are not crippled by the departure of any one person, especially a key leader. In a committee structure, the chairman often functions as the committee.
Guidelines for establishing teams:
- Determine the types of teams needed.
- Determine team task directives. A directive states the team’s scope, basic objectives (two to three and no more than four), general responsibilities and indicators of success.
- Determine a team leader who is a motivator.
- Determine team members with specific gifts and talents related to the scope of the team.
- Determine the number of members needed on the team. Generally five to seven members.
- Determine the mission and accountability of the team.
- Determine within the scope of the Team Task Directive the action plan timeline for achieving results.
- Determine the term length of membership for team members. Set a rotation process to prevent burnout and to encourage well-rounded growth.
- How do you utilize teams in your organization?
- What’s the process you use in establishing teams?
- What would you add?