Archive | May 4, 2013

The 7 Habits of Trust in God

 

I read a lot of biographies and memoirs about inspiring people who place radical trust in God. (By “radical” I don’t mean reckless or imprudent, but am referring to the difficult, very counter-cultural act of recognizing God’s sovereignty over every area of our lives. More on that here.) From He Leadeth Me to God’s Smuggler, Mother Angelica to The Heavenly Man to The Shadow of His Wings, these true stories are about people from all walks of the Christian life: Catholic and Protestant, consecrated religious and lay people, men and women. And yet they all have distinct similarities in their approaches to life and the Lord.

I found it fascinating to see what common threads could be found in the lives of these incredible people who place so much trust in the Lord, and thought I’d share in case others find it inspiring as well.

1. They accept suffering

One of the most powerful things I’ve read in recent memory is Brother Yun’s story of being a persecuted pastor in China, as recounted in the book The Heavenly Man. After facing weeks of torture, including electrocution, starvation, beatings, and having needles shoved under his fingernails, he was thrown in a box that was four feet long, three feet wide, and four feet high, where he would stay indefinitely. The day after he was put in this mini cell, he felt prompted to pray for a Bible — a ridiculous idea, considering that many people were in prison at that very moment for being in possession of such contraband. Yet he prayed anyway. And, inexplicably, the guards threw a Bible into his cell the next morning. He writes:

I knelt down and wept, thanking the Lord for this great gift. I could scarcely believe my dream had come true! No prisoner was ever allowed to have a Bible or any Christian literature, yet, strangely, God provided a Bible for me! Through this incident the Lord showed me that regardless of men’s evil plans for me, he had not forgotten me and was in control of my life.

Now, the less saintly among us (cough-cough) might have reacted to that a little differently. Had I been tortured and thrown in a coffin-like cell, my reaction to receiving a Bible would have likely been more along the lines of, “Thanks for the Bible, Lord, but could we SEE ABOUT GETTING ME OUT OF THIS METAL BOX FIRST?!?!” I wouldn’t have even “counted” the Bible as an answered prayer since my main prayer — reducing my physical suffering — had gone unanswered.

Yet what I see over and over again in people like Brother Yun is that they have crystal clarity on the fact that suffering is not the worst evil — sin is. Yes, they would prefer not to suffer, and do sometimes pray for the relief of suffering. But they prioritize it lower than the rest of us do — they focus far more on not sinning than on not suffering. They have a laser focus on getting themselves and others to heaven. In Brother Yun’s case, he saw through that answered prayer that God was allowing him to grow spiritually and minister to his captors, so his circumstances of suffering in an uncomfortable cell became almost irrelevant to him.

2. They accept the inevitability of death

Similar to the above, people who place great trust in God can only do so with a heaven-centered worldview. They think in terms of eternity, not in terms of calendar years. Their goal is not to maximize their time on earth, but rather to get themselves and as many other people as possible to heaven. And if God can best do that by shortening their lifespans, they accept that.

The Shadow of His Wings is filled with jaw-dropping stories of Fr. Goldmann’s miraculous escapes from death during World War II, which begs the question, “What about all the people who didn’t escape death?” Fr. Goldmann would probably respond by saying that God saving him from death was not the blessing in and of itself — after all, every single one of us will die eventually. The blessing was saving him from death so that he could continue his ministry bringing the Gospel to the Nazis. He eventually died while building a ministry in Japan, and presumably accepted that God would bring good from his passing, even though there was undoubtedly more work he wanted to do.

3. They have daily appointments with God

I have never heard of a person who had a deep, calm trust in the Lord who did not set aside time for focused prayer every day. Both in the books I’ve read and in real life, I’ve noticed that people like this always spend at least a few moments — and up to an hour or two if circumstances permit — focused on nothing but prayer, every day. Also, they tend to do it first thing in the morning, centering themselves in Christ before tackling anything else the day may bring.

4. In prayer, they listen more than they talk

I’ve written before about my amazement that really holy people seem to get their prayers answered more often than the rest of us. I’d heard enough stories of people praying for something very specific, then receiving it, that I started to wonder if they were psychic or God just liked them more than the rest of us or something. What I eventually realized is that their ideas about what to pray for came from the Holy Spirit in the first place, because they spent so much time seeking God’s will for them, day in and day out.

So, to use the example of a famous story from Mother Angelica’s biography, she had a satellite dish delivery man at the door who needed $600,000 or he was going to return the dish, thus killing all the plans for the new station. She ran to the chapel and prayed, and a guy she’d never met randomly called and wanted to donate $600,000. Her prayer wasn’t answered because she had a personal interest in television and just really, really wanted it, but because she had correctly discerned God’s plan that she was to start a television station on this particular day.

5. They limit distractions

Of all the amazing stories in God’s Smuggler, one of the lines that jumped out to me the most in the book was in the epilogue, when the authors talk about how Brother Andrew’s work has continued in 21st century:

“I won’t even consider installing one of those call waiting monstrosities,” he exclaimed, “that interrupt one phone conversation to announce another.” Technology, Andrew says, makes us far too accessible to the demands and pressures of the moment. “Our first priority should be listening in patience and silence for the voice of God.”

Far too accessible to the demands and pressures of the moment. That line has haunted me ever since I read it. I love technology, but it does come with a huge temptation to feel a general increase in urgency in our lives: I have to reply to that email! Respond to that comment on my wall on Facebook! Ret-tweet that tweet! Read that direct message! Listen to that voicemail! Here in the connected age, we are constantly bombarded with demands on our attention. Periods of silence, where we can cultivate inner stillness and wait for the promptings of the Holy Spirit, are increasingly rare.

One thing that all the people in these books have in common is that they had very little of this pressure of false urgency. It’s hard to imagine Fr. Ciszek coming up with the breathtaking insights about God’s will that he shared in He Leadeth Me with his iPhone buzzing alerts every few minutes, or Brother Yun seeing the subtle beauty of God’s plan in the midst of persecution while keeping his Twitter status updated on a minute-by-minute basis.

6. They submit their discernment to others

People who have a long history of watching the way the Lord works in their lives notice that he often speaks through holy friends, family members and clergy. If they discern that God is calling them to something, especially if it’s something big, they ask trusted Christian confidantes to pray about the matter and see if they discern the same thing. And when others warn them not to follow a certain path — especially if it’s a spouse, confessor or spiritual director — they take those indicators very seriously.

7. They offer the Lord their complete, unhesitating obedience

One of my favorite parts of God’s Smuggler is when Brother Andrew got a visit from a man named Karl de Graaf who was part of a prayer group in which people often spent hours of time in prayer, most of it listening in silence:

I went out to the front stoop, and there was Karl de Graaf. “Hello!” I said, surprised.

“Hello, Andy. Do you know how to drive?”

“Drive?”

“An automobile.”

“No,” I said, bewildered. “No, I don’t.”

“Because last night in our prayers we had a word from the Lord about you. It’s important for you to be able to drive.”

“Whatever on earth for?” I said. “I’ll never own a car, that’s for sure.”

“Andrew,” Mr. de Graaf spoke patiently, as to a slow-witted student, “I’m not arguing for the logic of the case. I’m just passing on the message.” And with that, he was striding across the bridge.

Despite his initial hesitation, Brother Andrew discerned that this was something that God was calling him to do, so he learned to drive. It seemed like a complete waste of time, an utterly illogical use of his resources, but he was obedient to the Lord’s call. I won’t spoil what happened next for those of you who plan to read the book, but let’s just say that shortly after he received his license, it turned out to be critical to the future of his ministry (which eventually brought the Gospel to thousands of people behind the Iron Curtain) that he know how to drive.

I often think of how Mr. de Graaf responded when Brother Andrew was scratching his head about this odd message: “That’s the excitement in obedience,” he said. “Finding out later what God had in mind.”

Obviously we can’t grow closer to God by aping the actions of others, but I find lists like this helpful as a starting point for reflection on my own spiritual progress. I hope you found it helpful as well!

 Source: 
JENNIFER FULWILER  http://www.conversiondiary.com

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The Link between Man and GOD

 

Professor: You are a Christian, aren’t you, son ?

Student: Yes, sir.

Professor: So, you believe in GOD ?

Student: Absolutely, sir.

 Professor: Is GOD good?

 Student: Sure.

 Professor: Is GOD all powerful?

 Student: Yes.

 Professor: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to GOD to heal him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But GOD didn’t. How is this GOD good then? Hmm?

 (Student was silent.)

 Professor: You can’t answer, can you ? Let’s start again, young fella. Is GOD good?

 Student: Yes.

 Professor: Is Satan good ?

 Student: No.

 Professor: Where does satan come from ?

 Student: From . . . GOD . . .

 Professor: That’s right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?

 Student: Yes.

 Professor: Evil is everywhere, isn’t it ? And GOD did make everything. Correct?

 Student: Yes.

 Professor: So who created evil ?

 (Student did not answer.)

 Professor: Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don’t they?

 Student: Yes, sir.

 Professor: So, who created them?

 (Student had no answer.)

 Professor: Science says you have 5 Senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Tell me, son, have you ever seen GOD?

 Student: No, sir.

 Professor: Tell us if you have ever heard your GOD?

 Student: No, sir.

 Professor: Have you ever felt your GOD, tasted your GOD, smelt your GOD? Have you ever had any sensory perception of GOD for that matter?

 Student: No, sir. I’m afraid I haven’t.

 Professor: Yet you still believe in Him?

 Student: Yes.

 Professor : According to Empirical, Testable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says your GOD doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?

 Student: Nothing. I only have my faith.

 Professor: Yes, faith. And that is the problem Science has.

 Student: Professor, is there such a thing as heat?

 Professor: Yes.

 Student: And is there such a thing as cold?

 Professor: Yes.

 Student: No, sir. There isn’t.

 (The lecture theatre became very quiet with this turn of events.)

 Student: Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat. But we don’t have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold. Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.

 (There was pin-drop silence in the lecture theater.)

 Student: What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?

 Professor: Yes. What is night if there isn’t darkness?

 Student: You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light. But if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? In reality, darkness isn’t. If it is, were you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?

 Professor: So what is the point you are making, young man ?

 Student: Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.

 Professor: Flawed? Can you explain how?

 Student: Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good GOD and a bad GOD. You are viewing the concept of GOD as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, Science can’t even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing.

Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it. Now tell me, Professor, do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?

 Professor: If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of course, I do.

 Student: Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?

 (The Professor shook his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the argument was going.)

 Student: Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor. Are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher?

 (The class was in uproar.)

 Student: Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor’s brain?

 (The class broke out into laughter.)

 Student: Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor’s brain, felt it, touched or smelt it? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established Rules of Empirical, Stable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says that you have no brain, sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir?

 (The room was silent. The Professor stared at the student, his face unfathomable.)

 Professor: I guess you’ll have to take them on faith, son.

 Student: That is it sir . . . Exactly! The link between man & GOD is FAITH. That is all that keeps things alive and moving.

 By the way, that student was Einstein. 🙂

The Four Candles

4candles

 

The Four Candles burned slowly.
Their ambiance was so soft you could hear them speak…
The first candle said, “I Am Peace, but these days, nobody wants to keep me lit.”
Then Peace’s flame slowly diminished and went out completely.

The second candle said, “I Am Faith, but these days, I am no longer indispensable.”
Then Faith’s flame slowly diminished and went out completely.
Sadly the third candle spoke, “I Am Love and I haven’t the strength to stay lit any longer.”

“People put me aside and don’t understand my importance.

They even forget to love those who are nearest to them.”
And waiting no longer, Love went out completely.

Suddenly…
A child entered the room and saw the three candles no longer burning.

The child began to cry,
“Why are you not burning?  You are supposed to stay lit until the end.”
Then the Fourth Candle spoke gently to the little boy,
“Don’t be afraid, for I Am Hope, and while I still burn,
we can re-light the other candles.”
With shining eyes, the child took the Candle of Hope
and lit the other three candles.

Never let the Flame of Hope go out.
With Hope in your life, no matter how bad things may be,

Peace, Faith and Love may shine brightly once again.

 http://jsmagic.net

Do you love Me ?

 

One day, I woke early in the morning to watch the sunrise. Ah! … the beauty of God’s creation is beyond description. As I watched, I praised God for His beautiful work. As I sat there, I felt the Lord’s presence with me. He asked me, “Do you love me?” I answered, “Of course, God! You are my Lord and Savior!”

Then He asked, “If you were physically handicapped, would you still love me?”

I was perplexed. I looked down upon my arms, legs and the rest of my body and wondered how many things I wouldn’t be able to do and thought about the things that I take for granted. I answered, “It would be tough Lord, but I would still love You.”

Then the Lord said, “If you were blind, would you still love my creation?”

How could I love something without being able to see it? Then I thought of all the blind people in the world and how many of them still loved God and His creation. So I answered, “It’s hard to think of it, but I would still love you.”

The Lord then asked me, “If you were deaf, would you still listen to my word?”

How could I listen to anything being deaf? Then I understood. Listening to God’s Word is not merely using our ears, but our hearts. I answered, “It would be tough, but I would still listen to Your word.”

The Lord then asked, “If you were mute, would you still praise My Name?”

 How could I praise without a voice? Then it occurred to me, God wants us to sing from our very hearts and souls. It never matters what we sound like. And praising God is not always with a song, but when we are persecuted, we give God praise with our words of thanks. So I answered, “Though I could not physically sing, I would still praise Your Name.”

And the Lord asked, “Do you really love Me?”

With courage and a strong conviction, I answered boldly, “Yes Lord! I love You because You are the one and true God!”

I thought I had answered well, but God asked, “Then why do you sin?”

I answered, “Because I am only human. I am not perfect.”

“Then why in times of peace do you stray the furthest? Why only in times of trouble do you pray the earnest?”

I had no answers … only tears.

The Lord continued. “Why only sing at fellowships and retreats? Why seek Me only in times of worship? Why ask things so selfishly? Why ask things so unfaithfully?”

The tears continued to roll down my cheeks. “Why are you ashamed of Me? Why are you not spreading the good news? Why in times of persecution, you cry to others when I offer My shoulder to cry on? Why make excuses when I give you opportunities to serve in My Name?”

“You are blessed with life. I made you not to throw this gift away. I have blessed you with talents to serve Me, but you continue to turn away. I have revealed My Word to you, but you do not gain in knowledge. I have spoken to you but your ears were closed. I have shown My blessings to you, but your eyes were turned away. I have heard your prayers and I have answered them all. Do you truly love me?

I could not answer. How could I? I was embarrassed beyond belief. I had no excuse. What could I say to this? When my heart had cried out and the tears had flowed, I said, “Please forgive me Lord. I am unworthy to be Your child.”

The Lord answered, “That is My Grace, My child.”

I asked, “Then why do you continue to forgive me? Why do You love me so?”

The Lord answered, ” Because you are My creation. You are my child. I will never abandon you. When you cry, I will have compassion and cry with you. When you shout with joy, I will laugh with you. When you are down, I will encourage you. When you fall, I will raise you up. When you are tired, I will carry you. I will be with you until the end of days, and I will love you forever.”

Never had I cried so hard before. How could I have been so cold? How could I have hurt God as I had done? I asked God, “How much do You love me?”

The Lord stretched out His arms, and I saw His nail-pierced hands. I bowed down at the feet of Christ, my Savior. And for the first time, I truly prayed.

http://www.heavensinspirations.com

 

Does Prayer Work…?

 

Do you believe in the power of prayer? Or do you think that Jesus promised too much for us? He told his disciples that God will give them whatever they ask in Jesus’ name. And, yet, we don’t get everything we ask, right?

Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. (John 16:23-24, NIV)

How come we don’t get everything we ask for? Why did Jesus promise this if he can’t keep it? Excellent questions. And we need to know the answers before we can fully trust God and pray believingly. Does prayer work?

The message translation gives us already some hints about what Jesus meant: This is what I want you to do: Ask the Father for whatever is in keeping with the things I’ve revealed to you. Ask in my name, according to my will, and he’ll most certainly give it to you. Your joy will be a river overflowing its banks! (John 16:23-24, MSG, emphasis added.)

Jesus had spend three years with his disciples and he was preparing them to manage on their own after his resurrection. Jesus wanted them to know that through prayer they could continue to ask him questions in the future. Jesus wanted them to know that through prayer they will continue to have a connection with him. Through prayer we are able to have conversations with God. Through prayer we are interconnected forever more.

But just like Jesus did not give everything to his disciples while he was with them, God won’t give things according to our whims but according to his will. For example, James and John asked if one of them could sit on Jesus’ right and the other on his left in heaven (Mark 10). Jesus did not grant them that. And there are many other stories when the requests of the disciples were not according to his will. Hence Jesus did not give them what they would have wanted. The same goes to our prayer requests.

God the Father is happy to hear our requests but he won’t grant us everything we want. Especially when our requests are about money, success, honor or something else that would harm us. God will give us everything we ask in Jesus’ name that is good for us and according to his will. God is indeed a prayer-hearing God. But he loves us so much that he doesn’t give us what is not good for us.

Prayer works indeed. God is not a Santa Claus and prayer is not wishful thinking. Prayer is our connection to God. We are called to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12, NIV).

Prayer is our most important task. Nothing else compares to it. Because prayer changes things. The more we pray, the more Christ-like we become. The more time we spend in prayer pray, the more alive we are. Because only Jesus has the words of eternal life. Only Jesus can resurrect our lives. We only need to ask.

 

Gracious God,
Forgive us for neglecting prayer.
We believe, forgive our unbelief.
Draw us into ongoing conversation with you.
Give us joy like a river overflowing its banks.
Give us nothing but your will!
And everything in your will!
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Marianna Frangen  Stalnacke

http://www.flowingfaith.com

Glowing and Growing with the Appreciation

 

The fact that I had taken time to congratulate him for his efforts was a seemingly small gesture from my point of view and took less than a minute to say, however, it had a big impact on his day, as he smiled and his face lit up in response to my short but sincere comments.

It was clear to me that the personal and internalized pride he showed in a job very well done was something that was very important to him and I am sure he really had no expectations that I would take time out to say what I had just said.

My words of appreciation was something I felt privileged to say, simply because I was impressed with what he had done and it was a measure of someone who was and is prepared to put in that little bit extra to make a very big difference in his business. Immediately after my comments he thanked me, then asked me did I see anything he could do to improve and if so, how could he make it a reality in his business. I must admit at the time I was not focused on what could be improved, so I guess my answer that I could not see anything he needed to improve, other than to keep doing what he was doing, was of little help to him – but it was an honest not a dismissive answer.

As I left him to continue on my day of business appointments, I realized that not only had I made a difference to his day by what I had said, but the positive comment had also encouraged him to seek out ways to make his even business better. In addition to this it had also lifted my spirits and I felt great that he responded so positively and valued my feedback. So often we find that our business and personal life is punctuated with reviewing what went wrong or what needs to be fixed that we miss the opportunity to lighten up and be uplifted by giving and sharing some positive feedback, even if it is to a relative stranger.

I am reminded of the very wise comments of an old friend, trainer and business mentor who said, ‘always look for the opportunity to find the positive in what people do, then give them genuine praise and watch them glow and grow with the appreciation.’

He loved using acronyms in his work, as it allowed him to shorten phrases or groups of words and as he put it – ‘anchor and reinforce his message in the minds of those he trained and mentored.’ His acronym for his work in training people to value and appreciate what others do and help them to glow and grow was – A.C.S.D.S.R.

A bit of a mouthful I suppose, but it has stayed in my mind all these years even if I have from time to time forgotten about its importance and to use it. I am sure you are wondering what it means, so here is the full version – Always Catch Someone Doing Something Right.

I can see him now, standing in front of a group of managers sharing with them his formula for not only getting the best out of people and helping them to grow, but also for making your day just that little bit better. As he talked with them about the value in doing this, many would respond – ‘but what do you say if they do something wrong.’

His reply was such a simple but profound one – ‘everyone does something right, you just need to look for it, let them know you value and appreciate it, then it is much easier to address what they may have done wrong and the solution to correct it.’ In addition, he would encourage everyone that he trained or mentored to use A.C.S.D.S.R. constantly in order to enjoy the personal lift your get from doing it.

It is good to be reminded of this wonderful acronym which I know needs to be maintained as part of my daily life and not just used occasionally. This is something I have now remedied today, by making a daily note in my diary for the coming month to act on it. After 30 days of A.C.S.D.S.R. I am sure this rewarding and enjoyable part of my life will again become a positive and ongoing habit.

Inspired by Neil Simpson and written by Keith Ready

http://www.agiftofinspiration.com.au

How To Be A Good Leader

After 2 years work as Personal Assistant of very busy CEO, I got a lot of experience and learned much about how to be a good leader.  And as a leader candidate of my parents company  I have an idea of ​​how it should be a  good leader.
This time I am going to share an article about how to be a good leader. I wrote this article based on some books and journals that  related to leadership. This not a theoritical review or a lesson about leadership but even just simple tips. Hopefully this article might be useful for everyone who have a chance become a leader. Here it is….

  • Remember: leadership skills and techniques can be learned. You don’t have to be a natural leader. Very few people are.
  • Care for your team. That means knowing what matters to each member: their health, their partner, their children, their relatives, their interests, their hopes, their fears.
  • Stay close to your team. At some point, every day, walk around the office and say “Hi” to everyone who works for you. If you’re not in the office that day, call and see how people are. This gives you a chance to enquire or encourage and gives them an opportunity to raise issues or make suggestions.
  • Meet your team. Regularly – daily, weekly or monthly, depending on your place and type of work – have meetings of all the members of the team. Keep these meetings short, focused and action-orientated. Make sure every member of the team contributes in some way and acknowledge that.
  • Train your team. Every team member should have at least two days training a year. Newer and more senior colleagues should have more. If they don’t ask to go on training sessions, suggest some suitable courses.
  • Grow your team. Through varied experience and regular training, you should be developing each team member to be more and more confident and more skilled.
  • Inspire your team. Consider making available a motivational quote or story every week or month Celebrate with your team. This might be a personal event, such as a member’s birthday or anniversary, or a professional occasion, such as completing a project or winning oa contract.
  • Socialize with your team. Have lunch or an after-work drink with them, especially when a member has a birthday or there’s another reason to celebrate.
  • Set objectives for each team member. As far as possible, this objective such be SMART – Specific Measurable Achievable Resourced Timed.
  • Review the performance of each team member. At least once a year – at least quarterly for the first year of a new team member – have a review session where you assess performance, give feed-back and agree future objectives and training.
  • Thank constantly. The words “Thank you” takes seconds to say, but mean so much.
  • Praise constantly. The words “Well done” take seconds to say, but will be long remembered and appreciated.
  • Communicate constantly. Don’t assume that people know what you’re doing, still less what you are planning or thinking. Tell them, using all the communication tools to hand: team briefings, electronic newsletters, organizational newspapers.
  • Eliminate. Too often we do things because they’ve always been done. Life changes. Consider whether you could stop doing certain things altogether.
  • Delegate. You don’t have to do everything. Develop your team members by training them to do more and trusting them to take over some of the things you’ve been doing.
  • Empower. A really effective leader sets clear objectives for his team members, but leaves detailed implementation of these objectives to the discretion and judgments of individual members of the team. As Second World War U.S. General George S. Patton put it: “Don’t tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results”.
  • Facilitate. A confident leader does not try to micro-manage his team, but makes it clear that, if team members need advice or assistance, he is always there to facilitate and support.
  • Be on time. Always start meetings on time and finish them on time. Natural breaks keep people fresh. Short meetings concentrate the mind.
  • Be seen. Don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk. So visit each unit or department for which you are responsible on a regular basis. Don’t do this unannounced – you are not out to undermine other leaders or catch out staff. So arrange with the unit leader or departmental head when you’ll visit and ask him or her to walk round with you.
  • Make time. Managers are often very busy and this can deter people from approaching you, so make time for people and be approachable. People will appreciate you taking five minutes out of your busy schedule, especially if you act on/listen to what they say.
  • Really listen. Many of us – especially those who think they are important – don’t really listen, but instead think about what they’re going to say next. Give the person speaking to you your full attention and really take on board what they are saying.
  • Accept honest criticism. Criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance or a stranger – but it’s a powerful tool of learning. Above all, assess criticism on merit, without regard to its originator.
  • Think strategically. The doers cut a path through the jungle; the managers are behind them sharpening the machetes; the leaders find time to think, climb the nearest tree, and shout “Wrong jungle!” Find time to climb the trees.
  • Have a mentor or buddy, someone doing similar work in the same or a similar organization with whom you can regularly and frankly discuss your progress and your problems as a leader.
  • Have a role model, someone who can inspire you to be a truly great leader. If you can’t find one, study Jed Bartlet as the American President in any episode of the television series “The West Wing”.
  • Constantly revisit and review these tips. In his seminal work, “The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People”, Stephen Covey puts it this way: “Sharpen the saw”.
  • Plan your succession. You won’t be there forever and you may not be in control of the timing and circumstances of your departure. So start now to mentor and train at least one colleague who could take over from you.

“It is better to lead from behind and put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”

Nelson Mandela

Summarized by Karina Susanto