Some Things to Consider in a Leadership Change

4949862608_e0ec015fe9_mThere is an organization that I am a part of that is very near and dear to my heart. I have been an active part of that organization for my entire life.  I have been involved in various leadership roles for 30 years.  And we are about to embark on the path to a change in leadership. This change is completely voluntary. Our current leader is accepting the call to move on to a new challenge.  So, don’t be concerned that there has been an uprising or mutiny. But a change in leadership is coming because of that nonetheless.

What are some things that an organization should consider in selecting a new leader? Consider with me the following as a partial list of key skills, abilities, traits or tendencies. It is not an exhaustive list by any stretch. But it may spur some thoughts and ideas as the organization moves forward with selecting and calling new leadership.

  • Leadership – This one almost goes without saying. When selecting a leader, make sure they have demonstrated leadership before.
  • Past Performance / Results – when searching for a new leader, do your research. Check out the leadership candidate. Has he/she demonstrated strong leadership in the past? Do they get results?
  • Part of Something Bigger – Each of us is a part of a much larger organization. And we should consider that we are building something that is larger than our local organization and it should fit well with the larger organization.
  • Learn From Mistakes – Everybody makes them. How does the leadership candidate show that they have learned from mistakes made in the past?
  • Fit Within the System or Personality of the Organization – Does the candidate mesh with the organizations overall system or personality? If not, you are destined for conflict.
  • Understand Their Strengths And Weaknesses – Both the leadership candidate and the organization need to understand their respective strengths and weaknesses and each other’s as well.
  • Hard Worker – Are they a hard worker who exhibits high effort? This is key if they are to lead an organization largely comprised of volunteers.
  • Are They a Finisher? – It is one thing to come up with great ideas. But can they execute the ideas and drive them to completion?
  • Are They a Team Player? – Yes, they can lead. But can they get along with the rest of the team and with the whole organization?
  • Problem Solver – It is one thing to identify problems. That is the easy part. Can they solve problems? Can they work together with the leadership team to find creative solutions?
  • People Skills – This one is a skill that cannot be learned. It is often an intuitive and innate one. But, even those without great people skills can develop a “warmer” persona and demonstrate real care and concern for those people who make up the organization.
  • Consistency – The need for long patterns of demonstrated leadership is great. Being able to do something for a short time is one thing. Being able to be a successful leader for a long period of time is quite another.
  • Stability – What is their personal and private life like? Is there drama at home? There will be drama (or at least diminished success) at the office.
  • Charisma – Are they charismatic and dynamic as a leader? No one wants a boring and lifeless leader.
  • Are They Being Mentored? – They may be an established leader. But are they actively being coached or mentored? If they feel they don’t need help, then they need it more than they can imagine. There should be a plan for continual improvement.
  • Ability To Prioritize – No one can get everything done that needs to get done. So, can they prioritize and focus on the things that have the potential for the greatest impact?
  • Mental Toughness/ Personal Tenderness – Are they mentally tough enough to take the slings and arrows of leadership? Yet, are they personally tender and compassionate with an ability to speak to the organization with love and tenderness?
  • Capacity – Do they have the capacity to grow as the organization grows?
  • Listening Skills – It is assumed they can verbalize and vocalize. But can they listen?

This is not a complete or perfect list.  But, It should help organizations in the midst of leadership change or who are contemplating a change in leadership.

What traits or abilities would you add to the list?


 Photo credit: larry_odebrecht / / CC BY
Photo credit: supersum (off) / / CC BY-SA

Leadership is like riding a bicycle

Learning to Ride a BicycleI admit it. I fell victim to the “Downton Abbey” craze. I watched an episode one night out of curiosity. The next thing I knew, I had found Seasons 1 and 2 on Amazon Prime and we watched at least 2 episodes a night for the next 2 weeks until we had seen them all. Then we went to start watching Season 3 – only this time it wasn’t free on Amazon Prime. You know you are hooked when you hit the “Buy with 1-Click” button and you shell out the money for the entire 3rd season without even thinking about what it cost. But, I suppose all of that is a subject for another time.

I found the story compelling and the dialog incredible. The characters were fascinating and complex. If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it.

But I was captivated by a sentence uttered by a relatively minor character in the last episode of season 3. His name is Shrimpie and he is a husband caught in a loveless marriage and he is the father of a young woman who is rebelling against her parents and society in general. I am paraphrasing a quote from that episode:

“What I want is for her [his daughter] to know that family can be a loving thing. Love is like riding a bicycle or speaking French. If you don’t learn it young, it’s hard to get the trick of it later.”

I am taking this in a direction that you would expect and I am going to modify the quote to suit my purpose. What if Continue reading “Leadership is like riding a bicycle”

Roles and Responsibilities – Money

Roles and Responsibilitues - MoneyI have been accused often of taking an approach that is too “business-like”. I like to take an analytical look at the world around me and my environment. That works well in the office environment. But folks tend not to like it very much when I am consulting with small churches about why they are still small and the others around them are growing. This same approach sometimes extends to my personal life.

One of the basic tenets of effectively executing a business objective is the correct identification and assignment of the roles and responsibilities of the members of the team. You may have a top performer in one area, but if they are assigned to an area that is not a strong suit, then things may not go as well as you would like. Of course they can use the assignment to “stretch” them and give them a valuable learning experience. But, you will usually not get optimal performance out of them in that situation.

So, this is “Manday”. What does this article have to do with that?

There are many roles and responsibilities that are often socially assumed to be the domain of us as men. One of the common ones is the handling of money. Many times we are the provider of the largest portion of the family income and it is easy to assume that we should then handle it and manage the disbursements to all of the family bills and obligations. That makes sense, right?

No always!

This is an area that we as men need to take a real hard look at and discuss with our wives whether or not it really should be our primary role and responsibility. In many marriages there are a myriad of things that one partner is good at and the other is not. And the handling of the family budget is usually one of them. But it is also one that carries with it the burden of a traditional or social norm that it is the man’s job to handle the money.

I challenge you as a man today to examine this vital role and responsibility within your family. Are you the best one for the job? If so, do it with diligence. If you are not, then delegate it decisively.

I want to make one final point. This is not a “free pass” to totally abdicate any responsibility for the hard work of managing the family budget. This is especially true when the outflow exceeds the income. No one likes paying the bills when there is not enough to go around. So, in those tough situations, work together to establish the priorities and establish a spending plan that both of you agree to completely. Then, the one with the role and responsibility of executing that plan can do so with the full knowledge and support of the other.

Happy “Tax Day” everyone!


 Photo credit: teamjenkins / / CC BY-NC-SA

As a soldier sees it

As a soldier sees itI came across another great quote the other day. But, as I am getting old and didn’t write it down, I have to try to recall it from memory. The gist of it was the way that a soldier sees leadership. Leadership as a soldier sees it went something like this:

I do not follow orders, I obey them. Instead I follow a leader.

Let that sink in for a few minutes.

Now what does that mean?

Try as I might, I just cannot get some of the courtroom scenes from “A Few Good Men” out of my head. If you take some of the military bashing out of the film you are left with some riveting dialog. At some point along the way the characters Dawson and Downey lost sight of the impact of following an order from a leader who is not worthy. They followed an order and things went terribly wrong.

The premise of the movie is not a perfect analogy for me. But it does point out to me that we need to be clear regarding those that we chose to follow. And further, we need to be aware of the impact that we have on those who follow us.

And consider this as well.  We don’t always get to choose our leaders.

Are you following, obeying or leading?


Photo credit: Atfyfe / / Public Domain Mark 1.0

The World Lost a Leader Today

Margaret ThatcherSome times we fall into the false belief that leadership is a male only club.  Alas, that is far from the truth. 

Today the world lost a truly great leader.  Margaret Thatcher died of a stroke this morning.  She was 87 years of age.  She had been ill for several years and had rarely been seen in public.  And for her contribution to the United Kingdom and freedom loving democracies everywhere her funeral will be second only to a State funeral for a member of the royal family.  And her funeral will be second only to Sir Winston Churchill’s.

Today is not the time to debate or recite her history.  But it is undeniable that she was a great leader.  Dubbed the “Iron Lady” by political allies and foes alike, she, along with President Ronald Reagan, brought about an end to the Cold War and brought an end to the U.S.S.R.

Not many prime ministers remain in people’s minds long after they have stepped down. Margaret Thatcher was one. She even became a character in plays and films.  Some have been humorous as portrayed in at least one James Bond movie.  Fewer still have given their name to a political philosophy.  To this day, ‘Thatcherism’ is used all over the world to describe a brisk, unsentimental, and a pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps approach. It can be viewed by some as political obstinacy. It has also become synonymous with ‘tough’.

She was a true friend and ally to the United States.  History continues to point to her and her working relationship with President Reagan as a model for allied nations to tackle issues on the global stage.

Rest in peace Baroness Margaret Thatcher.