Is A Great Leader, Leading You?

Leadership makes the difference in all that we do.  Enterprises from businesses, churches, schools and even families thrive when they are being guided by great leaders.

The world suffers from a lack of great leaders, and we followers can easily tell when we are not being lead greatly.   Here are 5 traits to consider in the quest for great leadership.

  1. Great Leaders Really Do Put People First

Enterprises of all types are quick to say that putting people first is a prime directive.  Here are some behaviors indicative of great leadership:

  • Business: The chief HR person reports directly to the CEO with the same title and status as her other direct reports. Does the company pay more than minimum wage? Do they offer health insurance, 401K, employee development opportunities and other benefits?
  • Churches: In a church of up to 150 members does the pastor know you by name? In a church with over 151 members is there a Deacon or small group leader charged with knowing you and your family?
  • Schools: Is the school proactively reaching out to parents? Have you met all of your children’s teachers?
  • Family: Are you eating dinner together at least 4 days per week?  Are these dinners without electronic devices like televisions and cell phones?
  1. Great Leaders Have A Vision

Leaders who lead greatly have a vision for what should be done now and in the future.  The vison is communicate and is shared, agreed to and lived by everyone.   Here are some behaviors indicative of great leadership:

  • Business: As an employee do you feel that you are doing something meaningful beyond collecting a paycheck? Are there clear job descriptions along with accountability systems to monitor performance?
  • Churches: Do members understand their role in realizing The Great Commission?
  • Schools: Are students encouraged to set and meet educational goals?
  • Family: As parents have you set clear standards for the household?
  1. Great Leaders Are Even Greater Communicators

Ronald Reagan was dubbed as “The Great Communicator.”  The 40th President of the United States earned that title because of his skill at talking persuasively and using folksy anecdotes that ordinary people could understand.   Great leaders are even greater communicators.  Here are some behaviors indicative of great leadership:

  • Business: Are leaders committed to gathering ongoing feedback from all levels of employees via various sources both formal and informal?  Is the state of the business including financials, major decisions and challenges regularly communicated?
  • Church: Is the business of church communicated in a timely, completely and regular fashion? As a member can you recall and explain the sermon topic?
  • Schools: How flexible is the school in communicating with students and parents? Can parents email teachers?
  • Family: Are parents and couples committed to regular, open and honest dialog, creating true trust where any subject can be discussed.
  1. Great Leaders Are Decisive

Being decisive requires making decisions with speed and clarity.  A decisive leader relies on systems and methods to simplify the flow of information required to make the best decision possible.   Here are some behaviors indicative of great leadership:

  • Business: Committed to a constant and consistent free flow of information in all levels of the enterprise. Dedicated to using the performance assessment process to quickly and routinely fire employees for underperformance.
  • Church: Decisive in defense of the core principals of the faith.  
  • Schools: Consistently and decisively enforced rules of student and employee conduct.
  • Family: Parents standing firm in providing consistent rules and norms for the family.
  1. Great Leaders Create A Culture Of Excellence

The culture of a business, church, school or family is a unique identifier. It is composed of things like your products, your strategies your techniques and especially the people.

Culture is a forced multiplier the right culture can propel an enterprise to excellence, the wrong culture can spell doom.

  • Businesses: Embrace active and ongoing feedback, Empower employees by instilling trust and faith in them, Provide timely recognition, Foster innovation, Pay for the performance you seek, Create policies that support the culture you want.
  • Church: Embrace God’s plan for inclusion for all of God’s Children
  • School: Engage all students–not just honor students in powerful learning experiences
  • Family: Get to know your children as people, avoid micromanaging them

 Will You Be My Great Leader?

Are you being led by a great leader?   If not don’t worry great leaders can and are developed all the time.   However, the real point is that while we all are followers we also leaders.

So commit today to becoming a great leader because your workplace, place of worship, school and family need all the things your great leadership can offer.

 

 

7 Powerful Reasons for Prayer

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns..  Philippians 4:6-7 The Message

We all know that prayer is more valuable than the rarest of diamond, more precious than gold, more lovely that the Mona Lisa.

Here are seven powerful reasons for prayer:

  1. Prayer Is Our Round The Clock Connection To God

“Pray without ceasing”   1 Thessalonians 5:17 English Standard Version

Our relationship with God is the most important relationship of our lives.  Prayer is how we keep that relationship vibrant and real.

  1. Prayer Is The Vehicle For Our Salvation

..”Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 English Standard Version 

Being “Born Again” is our door to salvation however, the confession of sins via prayer is the only vehicle that can drive us to that door of salvation.

  1. Our Forgiveness Is Grounded In Prayer

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.   James 5:16 New King James Version

While it is true that we can forgive our fellow man without prayer.  It is only through prayer that we can ask forgiveness from God.

  1. Prayer Disrupts Everything

“But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.”   Acts 12:5 New Living Translation

Prayer is our most powerful weapon to disrupt the course of everything in our lives.  In the 12th Chapter of Acts we see the power of prayer to change as Peter is miraculous freed from Herod’s prison by Angles of the Lord.

  1. Prayer Shields Us From Sin

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”   Matthew 6:13 King James Version

Only God can shield us and those we love from the wiles of the devil. That is why Jesus prayed that we might be “kept from the evil one” (John 17:15).  And that is why we should pray that His presence might put a barrier between us and the enemies of our soul.

  1. Prayer Increases Our Faith And Obedience To God

God called Abraham to travel to another place that he promised to give him. Abraham did not know where that other place was. But he obeyed God and started traveling because he had faith. Hebrews 11:8 Easy-to-Read Version

The more that we pray the more we realize how faithful and true God is to us.  In this realization we discover just as Abraham did. The joy in becoming servants of the Lord.  Wanting to do His will in all things by being obedient to Him in all things.

  1. Prayer Brings Us Peace, Understanding, Praise and Joy

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace.”  Philippians 4:6-7 New Living Translation

Clearly this verse is extremely difficult for us to achieve.  For as humans our ability to harvest worry out of any situation is beyond frustrating.

However, as we continue to pray, praising God as we do; our worry goes away.   And is replaced by peace, understanding, praise and joy.

I pray that your life with God is strengthen, your relationship with the Lord deepen and your love of God is made more real through prayer.

 

Who Is A Hero?

Donald Trump’s recent comments about John McCain’s status as a war hero has unleashed a boatload of discussion about who is a hero.

Dictionary.com defines a hero as: “A person in eyes of others who has distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.”

Clearly we want to garner the favor, honor, and esteem of our fellow man.  However, ultimately it is how God views our faithfulness to Him that will determine if we are a hero.

Heroes Of The Faith

From Noah in the Ark to David with a slingshot to Simeon waiting for Jesus at the Temple scripture is filled with heroes of the faith.

However, heroes of the faith are not limited to biblical figures. Heroes of the faith walk among us every day.

These are but a few of the faith heroes I have been fortunate to have met.

  • Betty Tolbert: Armed with little money but a lot of faith founded a Christian school in the 1970’s. Brining high quality Christian education to thousands of students including my son.
  • Shawn Kirkland: This man gave up a promising career out west in corporate America to return to his native Pittsburgh; launching a church in the difficult intercity. He has been an inspiration to me and a model for my ministry efforts.
  • Gloria Wicker: Gifted in music, preaching and pastoring. The Reverend, Doctor Wicker is a leader in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. And in the community as the outstanding and effective president of the local school board. I am proud to call her my Pastor and spiritual leader.

7 Heroic Actions

God wants you to be a hero of the faith. Jesus in Matthew 5:5-9  commands us to live lives doing these seven heroic actions of the faith.

  1. Meekness
  2. Gentleness
  3. A Hunger for Righteousness
  4. A Thirst for Righteousness
  5. Showing Mercy
  6. Pureness in Heart
  7. Being a Peacemaker

Blessed Is The Hero

When we keep these seven commandments of heroic faith God will bless us.  And that blessings will provide us with the prowess, protection, and power to go out and do more heroic things. Because we are operating with   the benefits of His blessings.

The benefits of God’s blessings are significant, look how David express them in Psalm 103: 2-5

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

Who forgives all your sins

And heals all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from the pit

And crowns you with love and compassion,

Who satisfies your desires with good things

So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Who Is A Hero?

Therefore who is a hero?  A hero does not have be a person in the military, or a person who is famous, or a person who has accomplished a lot.  A hero is simply a person blessed by God because she is doing the heroic actions of Matthew 5:5-9

Blessed are the meek and gentle—they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness—they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful—they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are those who are pure in heart—they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers—they will be called children of God.

Will You Be A Hero?

Without question John McCain is a true war hero.  Words can never express my admiration,   for his honor, valor and service to our nation.

However, the hero status that we all should seek — is to be heroes of the faith.

God is waiting with open arms to declare us as heroes.  So the question for us is this… Will you be a hero?

5 Great Reasons Why I Blog on LinkedIn And 1 Reason Why You Should Also

Today as I celebrate my 100 post on LinkedIn.  I wanted to use my 219th post on my WordPress site to share with you five great reasons why I started and will continue to present my original content on LinkedIn along with one reason why you should as well.

  1. Terrestrial Exposure

LinkedIn, is the world’s biggest professional social network with over 300 million users around the globe.   According to group Digital Marketing Strategies the average LinkedIn user spends 17 minutes per month on the site with more and more of that time spent reading content.

  1. The LinkedIn Pulse Apt

Nestled in the sweet spot between blogging and a social network LinkedIn Pulse is an award-winning application that makes it easy to consume business news on mobile phones and tablets.

With Pulse your content can be targeted at a market and people of your choosing.  Pulse sends all of your followers and contacts a notification alert on their mobile devices whenever you create new content.

So now those unscripted moments when your contacts and followers are commenting to work on a bus or in the minutes before the start of a meeting or even while waiting in the Starbucks line they can interact with your ideas delivered to them conveniently by Pulse on their friendly mobile device.

  1. Your Posts Will Open Doors

Michael Sherman of Big Couch Media Group in his LinkedIn Post LinkedIn Publishing Could Be Your Golden Ticket For Exposure writes about Kathy Caprino, a career coach and leadership trainer, wrote the second-most-viewed LinkedIn post of all time (including Influencer posts), which has nearly three million views to date.

Sherman reports after that June 2014 post went viral, Caprino told LinkedIn that it “opened doors for new projects, consulting gigs, speaking engagements, and radio and TV interviews.”

Yes it is true that none of my posts have gone viral however, several blogs have reached nearly 10,000 people.   While that reach is not typical what I can say is that my posts have resulted a net 30%-40% jump in views to my profile every time that I post.

And like Kathy Caprino those profile views have led to increased opportunities.  Look at it this way; your profile is in competition with millions of others profiles for attention. Your posts will bring attention to your profile and that is what networking on LinkedIn is all about.

  1. Let LinkedIn Promote Your Content

LinkedIn is a viable and less rigid alternative to more traditional blogging platforms, such as WordPress, according to Brian Meert, CEO of digital agency AdvertiseMint.. “The biggest benefit [is] that you don’t have to do as much of the promotion legwork required with something that’s independent from your existing social network profiles.

Meert goes on to say that LinkedIn Pulse gives publishers a wide potential audience, because it allows for specialized targeting.

  1. Publishing on LinkedIn Is Free

While it is true that Facebook has a tremendous reach. Its new algorithm make it nearly impossible to reach a ton of people without ponying up big bucks to Facebook for promotion.

Currently LinkedIn does not charge for posting or the promotion of your content on Pulse. However, as we all know things change quickly with LinkedIn often without notice.  Therefore, I would suggest that you start posting now on LinkedIn while the posting, and more importantly the promotion is still free.

The One Reason Why You Should Be Posting on LinkedIn

Because the people and companies that you are competing with for sales, opportunities, and jobs are posting and getting the valuable exposure by showcasing their expertise.

Ready, Set, Start Posting

Perfection is the biggest roadblock for many in the posting of content.

The legendary World War II General George S. Patton perhaps said it best.

A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.

So forget about perfection – just start producing the best content you can and get it out for the world to see you will be amazed by what the simple act of sharing your thoughts can do.

P.S. Find something that you love to do.  And for the rest of your life do it as often as you can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saying Yes to Jesus

In a world full of negativity, and darkness where we must say no to so many things.

We can have a world full of positivity and light by saying yes to Jesus.
Paul reminds us in 2nd Corinthians 1: 20-22 Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus.”

Paul as quoted in The Message Bible goes on to tell us: “God’s Yes and our Yes together are gloriously evident. God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting his Yes within us.

Therefore with the stamp of Yes from Jesus let up go forth with confidence even:

  • When sickness rack our bodies
  • When storms come into our lives
  • When sin seems to have the upper hand

The Good News as proclaimed by Paul is this:

 “By His Spirit God has stamped us with his eternal pledge— which is a sure beginning of what he is destined to complete.”

And all we have to do to experience this glorious future is to say Yes to Jesus.

 

 

3 Easy Ways to Upgrade Your LinkedIn Profile

Oh yes!  Those lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer.  The perfect time for a back yard cookout, a great vacation and upgrading your LinkedIn profile?

That’s right!  Now is the perfect time to upgrade your LinkedIn profile.  Not certain that you need an upgrade?  These 3 simple questions are designed to provide some guidance for you.

  1. Have you made any changes to your profile in the last six weeks?
  2. Are you in a job search, either active or passive?
  3. Would you like to reach more clients, share more information or get more out of your LinkedIn experience?

If the answers to these questions have led you to believing that a LinkedIn profile upgrade in your future. This post will get you started with 3 easy steps that you can take today.

1. Upgrade Your Profile Picture

A study conducted by job search website “The Ladders” found that recruiters spent more time examining a LinkedIn user’s picture than their qualifications.

Be ready for this examination by upgrading your profile picture.  Your profile picture is a real big deal.  So, take it seriously by upgrading with a photo taken by a professional photographer.

Find out how to get the most out of your photographic upgrade by reading my blog 3 Ways To Transform Your LinkedIn Picture From Crappy to Fabulous

2. Upgrade Your Recommendations

With all the changes over the years, LinkedIn recommendations have become a bit over looked. However, there have never been a more powerful way to increase your profile views while putting more punch in job summaries.

Recruiters report that they use recommendations to search out new candidates.  Picture this, a recruiter is looking at another profile and they see a recommendation that you wrote for them.  They become intrigued and look up your profile.  Sounds unbelievable; but, true recommendations are the two way gift that keeps giving.

This summer, I have set a profile upgrade goal of getting 5 new recommendations. How can it be done?  Simple, the best way to get recommendations is to make recommendations.

Susan Adams, career and corporate social responsibility writer at Forbs.Com has written a great post to get you started with all things recommendations. Everything You Need To Know About LinkedIn Recommendations

3. Update Your Content

 With the publisher and pulse platforms LinkedIn has morphed into a content monster with a staggering 75% of its views generated via content viewing.

The upgrade opportunity for you is to generate increase profile visibility by writing or sharing content.  This is my 99th post on LinkedIn publisher.  Each post typically nets a 25-35% increase in my profile views.

Start writing posts.  You will be amazed what it will do for your status within the 300 million strong LinkedIn community.   If you are not a writer, share and like posts. This activity will also produce dividends.  Start right now by liking, sharing and commenting about this post.  I would be grateful for your support.

Enjoy Your Summer Upgrades

An effective presence on LinkedIn is a must for today’s active professional.  I leave you with some posts that will be helpful with your upgrade efforts.

5 Easy Ways To Make Your LinkedIn Profile Standout  

5 Ways To Power-Up Your Networking in 2015

7 Ways To Make LinkedIn Find You A Job

 

 Marben Bland is a LinkedIn Ninja, who coaches business and individuals on how to use LinkedIn more effectively. 

Your God Given Freedoms

A father had two sons. However, the father was drunk most of the time, did not go to work, and did not look after his family. In short this father was totally irresponsible.

One son also became a drunk, did not go to work, and did not look after his family. Like his father this son was totally irresponsible.

The other son was different he did not drink, and he worked diligently.  And unlike his father he looked after his family. He was totally responsible.

When people asked either son why did they behaved like they did?  They both said the same thing.

“With a father like mine, how do you expect for me to behave?”

Our God Given Freedom: Free Will

This story illustrates that our destiny is determined not by where we come from or the conditions of our environment or even our parents.

Our destiny is controlled by the God given freedoms contained in what biblical scholars call “God’s Free Will”

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 3:17 “Where the spirit of Jehovah is, there is freedom.”

God said in Genesis 1:26  “Let us make man in our image”

God has free will and in His own image, He gave us free will.

Free Will for Good and for Evil  

Many may question why did God gave us free will if He knew we would use it for evil?

C.S. Lewis the English novelist and lay theologian in his book The Case for Christianity provides a great answer as to why God gave us free will to use for good and evil.

“Of course God knew what would happen if we used our freedom the wrong way: apparently, He thought it worth the risk.

God understands that a state of constant war in the universe is a price worth paying for his highest creation man to have free will. God’s grant of free will creates a real world in which God’s highest creations can do real good or harm and something of real importance can happen. Without God’s free will we would live in a toy world which only moves when He pulls all the strings, and we have no choice in accepting his love.  Therefore, the question is that the type of world we would enjoy living in?

Our Free Will Freedoms

God puts into our hands three powerful free will freedoms:

  1. ChoiceEnter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. Matthew 7:13

While Jesus is clear about which gate we should choose. He still gives us the power to make that choice.

  1. Forgiveness – Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. Matthew 18:21-22

God wants us to not only receive but to give forgiveness.  For as Jesus says in Matthew 6:15  “But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

  1. Salvation – While salvation is given to us by God the choice to peruse it belongs to us. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.  Mark 16:16

Jesus is knocking at our door with the bread of salvation in hand:  Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you. and you will eat with me.  Revelation 3:20

Free Will In Action

On this weekend where we celebrate our American freedoms. It is my prayer that you will also celebrate and embrace the freedoms our Heavenly Father has given to us.

We can put the Father’s gift of free will into action by choosing Jesus as our Lord and savior.

Romans 10:9 promises, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that the Father raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

And as saved men and women of Christ when someone questions our good behavior we can simply say.

“With a father like mine, how do you expect for me to behave?”