I’m normally not the biggest advocate of leadership books (to be honest, they all sound the same). But lately I’ve been struck by Brad Lomenicks’s book H3 Leadership (Humble Hungry, Hustle). Not only is it very comprehensive and biblically based, but it also challenges the reader in so many practical ways. One of those challenges I decided to take on, and am glad I did; this was to make a list of my core convictions, or principles. These are the values that I personally strive to uphold in both my public and private life. I found this exercise to be challenging and convicting (mostly because I realize how much work I have ahead of me to maintain these principles daily). So I highly recommend trying it, and just to give you an example, here are my seven core principles:
- Be ambitious for the mission and the team
Wherever you are in life, you are all in! Embrace your organization’s mission and make it your own. Discover ways you can bring your unique gifts to the table. Dare to be a dreamer. Focus your efforts not only on working towards your goals, but also in serving your team. The first quality in being a great leader is being “for” people, not against them.
- Be a promise keeper
The foundation of all relationships is trust; if people cannot trust you, they will not follow you. Be a man of your word; if you say you are going to do something, do it without complaining or arguing. Every promise fulfilled is a step towards building healthy connections, but every promise neglected can hinder your efforts, lessen your credibility, and damage your reputation.
- Give people permission to struggle
When a person comes to you for advice or help, be quick to listen and slow to speak. Do not act surprised or shocked by whatever they tell you. Stay objective; do not let personal feelings cloud your judgment. Allow people to wrestle freely with their thoughts for as long as they need to. Although it is tempting, do not give them all the answers. Rather, help them discover and articulate the answers for themselves. Give them grace alongside discipline so that they will come to you again.
- Tear down walls
When conversing with someone, find common interests that can help you connect. Not every person is like you; therefore, get out of your comfort zone and find creative ways to engage others. Do not show favoritism; maintain unity. Strive to be a person of peace. And when there is conflict with another person, be the one to initiate resolution. If they will not listen, then take a neutral third party with you to resolve the issue.
- Build up others
If what you are about to say does not edify or encourage a person, then don’t say it at all. Go out of your way to point out the positives in people. When you see someone doing good, praise them for it. When you see someone making a mistake, use the “sandwich method,” for correction:
Positive Comment (What they are doing well)
Gentle Rebuke (What they are doing wrong)
Hopeful Affirmation (What they can do to improve)
- Enjoy growing
Growing can be a painful process; but the sooner you embrace those growing pains, the quicker you can learn to enjoy them. Begin to see every day as an opportunity to learn something new. Find one way to grow daily in each major area of your life (God, Family, Work).
- Always remember “the one”
Every assignment matters because every person matters. Every one should be included in some manner; never settle for a person being marginalized or cast aside. People are not projects; treat every relationship as if it is your most important. Your labor is not in vain if only one person is affected. Never neglect “the one,” for you never know what God might be up to.