6 Ways to Thrive In the Midst of Poor Leadership

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Hardly a day goes by when someone doesn’t mention his or her frustrations with the leadership at their workplaces. Maybe you’re hearing the same things. Or maybe you can relate with your own work leadership. Or maybe you’re a leader who has your own set of frustrations about your employees.

Stories about leaders in workplaces who are “good” people (meaning, he or she is generally a good person) but constantly make bad decisions for the team are more common than not. Whether a leader isn’t fully qualified for the job, has lost passion for the company’s mission, or just not the right fit for a leadership role, employees are forced to make the best of the situation for the sake of the mission at hand.

Good decision-makers can be few or far-between these days. The emotional and mental weight that comes with making major business decisions requires a leader who might who doesn’t wear her heart on her sleeve. Being a good decision-maker requires an individual who may not always be popular and who doesn’t mind having a few enemies. And ultimately, being a good decision-maker requires an individual who can discern right from wrong.

So how can we respond when “good” leaders make bad decisions in the workplace? After taking a poll from several friends in various career fields, here are some ways to thrive in the midst of poor leadership:

1. Stay focused on the task at hand. Remember what you signed up for. If you’ve committed to a role or position on your team, the task or mission should be where you pour your energy. Keep the interests your end user, customer, or audience as your priority.

2. Pick up the slack when possible. You can either be a part of the problem, or you can be part of the solution. When your leader drops the ball or lacks necessary passion, pick up the ball and keep things moving. The worst that can happen is that somebody will notice your own passion and desire for excellence. Ultimately, you don’t have to have the name plate of director, manager, or supervisor on your door or desk to lead and lead well.

3. Keep a positive outlook. As much as discouragement and frustration wants to conquer your passion, let endurance and hope drive your daily attitude. Prepare yourself each morning to face the day ahead. Set aside time to refuel before you head into work. Ideas: pray, read Scripture, read blogs or articles that relate to your work, make lists of projects to conquer, or research creative inspiration from people or companies who do similar work.

4. Pray for your leadership. Quite frankly, if you’re frustrated or angry with your leadership, this one should be atop your list. In Matthew 5:44-45, Jesus reminds us, “I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves.” Humility always wins–every time. Your leaders need you to pray for them.

5. Make yourself indispensable. If you believe you are valuable and important to your team, strive daily to make yourself indispensable. Prove your value daily by doing excellent work. Always push your creative limits to the max. In his book, Linchpin, Seth Godin describes indispensable employees as people who figure out what to do when there’s no rule book; they consider their work as a form of art. Be someone who makes a real difference.

6. Offer wisdom when possible. Believe it or not, even the best leaders covet wisdom from their team players. Don’t be afraid to offer wisdom, words of encouragement, or suggestions to your leaders. Guard against arrogance or being overconfident, but rather approach your leaders with respect, humility, and genuine passion when you have something to share or suggest. You might just be surprised at how they respond.

Above all, love your work, pour your best self into it, and remember why you do it. Even if your leader fails, you can rest confidently in knowing that you did your best and remained faithful.

 

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3 Reasons Social Media Filters Are A Must

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For the most part, our culture loves filters. Some use filters on photographs and videos with apps like Instagram and PicLab in order to refine the light or color quality. Others use special filters to purify the flavor of coffee or beverages. Some even use specially-designed filters to purify the air quality within their homes or offices. In the business environment, many companies use software or database filters to do more effective and efficient consumer research.

A paraphrased definition of the dictionary’s take on the word suggests that a filter is any substance that removes impurities. Of course, this makes sense within the context of any of the examples listed above. But as much as culture seems to have a grip on the use of filters, there seems to be one type of filter that’s less common. In the social media world, could it be that we need more filters? Could it be that we should more carefully remove the impurities from what we share with the world?

I’ve gotten myself into trouble a few times. And likely you can relate.

More times than not, I’ve caught myself crafting a status update or tweet, only to have my conscience step in just before hitting the send button. What my first instinct tells me is funny or sarcastic or wise or newsworthy always needs a last-minute filtering process in which I ask myself, Could this potentially hurt someone? Is this really worth sharing with thousands of people? Could this photo send a wrong message to someone who might be struggling?

Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s potential to overthink the filtering process. And every person has the right to the freedom of speech and expression. Everyone also has the right to be transparent and real. But in the end, some things just aren’t worth sharing. And we can all probably agree that social media filters are more worth it than not.

Before you post, consider these three reasons social media filters are a must:

1. Filters Offer You Protection

Whether you like it or not, even the people you think can’t see your profiles can find ways to see it. Filtering what you say or share can protect you from losing a job, a relationship, or from general harm. Remember things like this: (1) posting your location can allow someone (that you may not want) the ability to track you down, (2) sharing images of inside your home can reveal to potential burglars what valuables are up for the taking, (3) the “innocent” rant about your horrible work day can send negative messages to your employer, or (4) the “harmless” joke you overheard at the office might be culturally or racially hurtful. These are just a few examples. Ultimately, the power to protect yourself online is in your hands. 

2. Filters Keep You Humble

Humility is a lost art. Instead of turning the other cheek (see Matthew 5:39), culture tell us to retaliate and get revenge. Sadly, social media channels are not exempt from being the platform for retaliation. Rather than using social media channels to complain or shout frustrations, a simple filtering of such responses can keep us humble and more appropriately positioned to make a positive difference in moment or situation. Before you post, choose humility. Every time.

3. Filters Uphold Your Reputation

Reputation goes a long way when it comes to landing a job, building a platform, and maintaining positive relationships. The things you post can either uplift or destroy your reputation. While no one’s goal is to have a bad reputation, sometimes the types of things people share can contribute to it without them even realizing it. The “innocent” photos from a party, celebration, or vacation can send negative messages without the slightest intention. The venting session about your child’s behavior can misconstrue your image as a parent. The reposts or shares of your favorite political or business-related interests can categorize you to others as someone you might not intend. Before you share, pause and ask, Can this derail my reputation?

When we allow it, social media is one of the greatest tools for making a difference in the world. Our words and actions can build up or tear down. But filters are a must. As you craft the messages and images you want to share with the world, consider a simple removal of impurities by implementing filters. You don’t have to hide who you really are, but instead evaluate who you really want to be in the way you interact with others. Let integrity and encouragement always win.

Good Advice May Not Always Be Good For You

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The following is a guest post by a good friend and influential voice to the Millennial generation, Jonathan Pearson. When I got word of his new book, Next Up: 8 Shifts Great Young Leaders Make, I wanted to be a part of helping other young leaders find and soak in Jonathan’s passion and wisdom. If you’ve ever been bombarded with advice on how to do things from people, and it didn’t work for you, you’ll definitely relate to these words. ~Adam


 

My wife and I have a 2 month old. Being our first child, you can imagine the amount of advice we got as my wife was pregnant and we were getting closer to his due date. We got advice like…

“Get as much sleep as you can now! You’ll need it later!”
“Don’t feed from a bottle, it’ll mess up their routine.”
“Don’t buy newborn clothes, they’ll only be in them for a little time.”

We got all of that advice and more.

We took some of that advice and ignored some of the others. One of the things we listened to and took to heart was to not buy any newborn clothes or diapers. We figured that people would give us enough to last for the “short” time our son would be in them.

Our son was born 6 weeks premature.
He was REALLY small.

He didn’t start in newborn, he started in premature size diapers and clothing.

As we brought him home from the hospital a couple of weeks after his birth, we were scrambling to find clothes to fit his tiny body. We had to go to the store the night we brought him home to get preemie diapers.

The advice we were given, while it may have been great advice to the people giving it, didn’t work for us. Our situation was different.

You are different than the people around you. One of the things we’ve tried to do, especially as young leaders, is take what works for someone else and apply it to us. So we take on what works for other people and claim it as our own. We’re left with an identity crisis. Instead of knowing who God made us to be, we try to become everyone around us.

Just because it seems to work well for them, doesn’t mean it will work well for us.

Be you. You are you. You aren’t them!


Read more about topics like this in Jonathan’s book Next Up: 8 Shifts Great Young Leaders Make. To find out more about the book, visit nextupbook.com. To find out more about Jonathan, visit his website.

Why Fast and Easy Isn’t Always Effective

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Fast, easy, and effective. It’s the ongoing chant of our culture that feeds the monster of “your way, right away.” Essentially, credit cards have become the ultimate “fast pass” of our generation. But rather than moving us ahead on life’s great adventure ride, credit cards often put us on the fast track to debt, delinquency, and destruction. So before you swipe and go, consider these four reasons credit cards are a bad idea.

Whose Money Is It, Anyway?

Spending money is easy — especially when it’s not yours. Before submitting to the temptation of that new credit card offer, keep in mind that credit card purchases do, in fact, have to be paid back. And you’ll always end up paying more than you bargained for. Use your own money; use cash or a debit card instead.

Fees Don’t Please

What’s worse than having to pay bills? Paying extra fees on those bills. Most credit card companies impose interest fees at varying rates on your purchases. It’s a must that you not only have a strong awareness but also a solid understanding of interest rates when it comes to owning credit cards. In addition, some credit cards charge annual fees just for owning the card, not to mention late fees for missing your payment due date.

Identity Crises

Identity theft is a growing concern in our world today. If you own credit cards, thieves can not only steal and max out your accounts, but they can swipe your entire identity with just one card number. While they don’t necessarily need access to a credit card to get your personal information, the availability of circulating cards can make the theft process much easier.

Once You Pop, You Can’t Stop

Using a credit card for the first time can be a lot like gambling — it’s hard to stop once you get started. You may start off small, but as you accumulate more “stuff,” the temptation to keep spending (or signing up for new cards) will eventually feed an unwanted addiction. There’s a lot of wisdom in the old saying, “Just say no!”

Fast and easy isn’t always effective, and credit cards are proof. True financial effectiveness happens within the boundaries of budget management, eliminating debt, smart spending, and saving for the future.

For more tips and resources regarding credit cards, spending habits, and financial freedom, visit daveramsey.com.

Why Misery Loves Company

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They say misery loves company. And whoever “they” are, I think we can all agree they’re right.

So why does misery love company?

We all know somebody whose outlook on life makes even Debbie Downer look good. He or she feeds on negativity, can’t seem to find any good in life, and is always the first to find fault or blame in someone or something. Ultimately, the person’s attraction to negativity always seems to find its way to anyone who will hop aboard the misery train and ride along with them.

Is there any hope for the miserable person…and his or her company?

Here are some thoughts to consider:

1. People who live in misery typically live in the past. Not only do they live in the past, but they can’t seem to let it go. Likely, someone or something has left them hurt and greatly scarred. Instead of moving on and forgiving, they still carry around the weight of the burden(s). Essentially, those who live in misery become shackled to the pain and blinded to the present-day beauty and joy surrounding them. Rather than using the past as a reminder of what they’ve overcome and marching on into the future, they’ve instead set up permanent residency in the “valley of misery.” The best way to overcome misery to move on, live in the present, and embrace the future.

2. Miserable people usually miss out on real life. Because they’re chained to the pain, most people who live in misery miss out on abundant life happening all around them. Since they feel lonely or abandoned, they tend to bask in their loneliness rather than unlocking the shackles and joining in on the friendships and relationships knocking at their doors. One of the best ways to defeat misery is to stay busy in community with others. Invest in family members you may not know very well. Intentionally plug into a small group at church. Volunteer with missions (local or abroad). Ultimately, put the energy toward serving others. That’s where real life happens.

3. People who live in misery are generally selfish. Though it may sound a bit harsh, it’s true. Misery promotes putting one’s own feelings and needs ahead of others. Selfless individuals are generally happier people. When one’s focus is on God’s will, taking care of those in need, and making the world a better place, there’s no time left to wallow in misery. Misery gets trumped when selfishness is bumped. Choose selflessness every time.

4. Living in misery is quite pointless. God created us in His image…with a real purpose–worshiping Him and helping others come to know Him. Our ultimate goal is eternity in Heaven, so no one should waste a moment making Hell on earth–for themselves or anyone else. Frankly, misery is a choice. When we choose misery, we deny who we were created to be. There’s no better strategy to combat misery than intentionally choosing joy.

When misery comes knocking, don’t answer. There is hope for the miserable person, and it’s found in living abundantly and joyfully as God has created and called us. Misery may love company, but joy loves company so much more.

3 Ways to Conquer Busyness

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It’s not uncommon these days to hear the phrase, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” And not just in the comical way. It’s because people are legitimately too busy. Balancing time between what’s truly important and what’s secondary is a difficult task. Busyness can get the best of us when we least expect it.

A lack of responsible time management can destroy relationships, damage reputations, and detour plans. In the end, a few simple adjustments to your to-do list can change everything.

So how can we develop a proper and healthy balance of our tasks and activities?

Here are three healthy ways we can tailor our time:

1) Unplug. Time is precious–especially when relationships are involved. One of the greatest thieves of the clock is technology. Email, social media, TV, and so forth–they’re robbing us of real life. And guess what? They can wait. When it’s time to be face-to-face with others, pull the plug. You can do it! And the more you do it, the more you’ll crave it.

2) Reorganize. Since we’re creatures of habit, we often get caught up in regular routine patterns without changing things up on occasion. If your schedule is too full, consider reorganizing a few things to free up some time for what matters most. Maybe that involves getting up an hour earlier to plan ahead. Or it might require enlisting someone to help you develop some clear scheduling boundaries. Regardless, shake up your routine and take back some of your extra time.

3) Take Inventory. If your schedule is full, it’s necessary to take inventory from time to time. Consider what’s missing and what is in abundance. Is it time to remove something from your daily or weekly schedule? Is it time to make some substitutions? Whatever the case, a regular evaluation of your to-do list can truly be one of the most healthy tasks you can take on.

Don’t let your loved ones, your health, or your sanity suffer due to poor time management skills. A little bit of focus goes a long way.

Here are a few words of wisdom regarding time management:

“Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk–not as unwise people but as wise–making the most of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

“The future is ‘something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.'” – C.S. Lewis

“It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it.” – A.W. Tozer

When Family Hurts You

 

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“The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other.” – Mario Puzo

Ever felt hurt or betrayed by family? Or maybe someone you love or held in high esteem suddenly became untrustworthy or strangely deceitful in behavior? 

At some point, we all experience it. Disappointment in family choices and behaviors can cut deep to the heart like nothing else. When you feel like you truly know someone–his or her heart or intentions–and then witness disloyal or secretive behaviors from them, it can leave you feeling abandoned, confused, and ultimately bitter. In the end, it’s the legacy of family who’ve gone before us that gets tarnished when one or more remaining family members are disloyal.

As I’ve wrestled with this topic in my own life recently, I was reminded of God’s picture of family loyalty and good stewardship throughout His Word. The Bible is clear that loyalty to God demands that we be loyal to others. Here are just a few Scripture passages on loyalty and responsibility:

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).

“He who brings trouble on his family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise” (Proverbs 11:29).

“A greedy man brings trouble to his family, but he who hates bribes will live” (Proverbs 15:27).

“Watch out and be on guard against all greed because one’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).

“And even more will be expected of the one who has been entrusted with more” (Luke 12:48).

“It is expected of managers that each one of them be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2).

“If people say, ‘I love God,’ but hate their brothers or sisters, they are liars. Those who do not love their brothers and sisters, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have never seen” (1 John 4:20).

It’s obvious that God desires for us to be loyal. It’s also obvious that He desires us to be good stewards of what we’ve been entrusted. When family is involved, these principles should take great priority over any of our (intentional or innocent) selfish desires. As decent, moral human character seems to be a lost concept in our world today, we must fight all the harder at staying true to who our Creator designed us to be.

Lord, may I never be disloyal to family, but rather an example of godly, upright character and selfless love. May I always put the feelings and needs of others before myself. When entrusted with much, may I honor You in my management and leadership. And ultimately, God, may you receive the glory for it all!