Are you burning people out?

How do you know as a leader if you are asking too much of people?

Are your people burned out?

Burn out is either a result of what you are asking of people or a result of people's personal pace of life.  If you want to know if you're the reason for the burning ask this question:

What's keeping you from doing this role (volunteering or your job) better?

If the answer is simply the role, than you have an issue as a leader.  And if the role keeps coming up with people than you're waiting to long to make a change or finding a creative solution.  When people lack the space or freedom to be creative or to be renewed than you are asking too much.


How to break the spirit of a woman

Last week I wrote about what it took to break the spirit of a man and I had someone ask if I was going to write on how to break the spirit of a woman; so here we go! 1. Always make her feel like an administrator- when in doubt delegate the things you don't want to do to a woman, especially if you feel like you're above having to do the work for a task. Clearly, decision making is for the boys who once jumped out of the tree house just to see if they would survive.

2. Plant the seed of doubt- Use words that question her ability or use ambiguity towards desired results. Go ahead and plant that seed of doubt in a vague conversation because she will replay the conversation a thousand times over in her head. She will take the replayed conversation and then determine she didn't meet your expectation, therefore, she failed and you'll teach her to avoid taking on leadership roles.

3. Never mention her value- If you don't say it, she'll start to question it. That's called a win/win towards breaking her spirit.

4. Absolutely no vision casting- For the love of everything holy, don't ever mention what you think she might be capable of. That would be foolish and only speak hope to her. Instead, always cast a vision that has her in the next to lead role and tell yourself it's the best thing to protect her emotionally from the disappointment of never getting the lead role.

I'm pretty certain of two things: 1. Dinosaurs are dead and 2. Women have as much value in leadership as men do. Okay, I know, put your King James Version down for a second and hear me out. I am not the one who creates nor determines what position of authority someone might be assigned to. But I am responsible for using my gifts to build others; male or female. So if you are hung up on women in leadership, take it up with Big Fella and get out of the way so you stop blocking people from growing.

If you missed the last post, this is obviously a post laced with sarcasm. Do the opposite of these things and you can help develop women into strong leaders.

Who's the man now, dawg?

Hi, my name is Jonathan, and by the end of this post, my hope is that you realize I am the next John Maxwell. Really a hybrid of John Maxwell and Stephen Covey, with the jawline of Tony Robbins.
If I haven't captivated your attention by now, I'm not sure what gives. Was it the jawline comparison? Too much?
In all seriousness, leadership can be a funny thing. Perhaps much like my personal comparison to the three listed above.
I was thinking about this post earlier this week, so I decided to take my dog for a walk. I figured maybe the aroma of Walter(my bowling-ball shaped English Bulldog) and the gray, hazy aesthetic of Seattle would really get the creative juices flowing. Doesn't it sound inspiring?
As I was walking him down our steps, I had this funny thought. In some ways, walking your dog is a lot like leadership. (Another great comparison!)
Please, let me try and explain.
I think the analogy is closer than you might realize.
Here are a couple of parallels.
1.  Dogs, like people, need direction. Unlike animals who run in packs, people run in tribes, and tribes have _____ (leaders!)
        When not enough leadership is present in a dog’s life, they can become very chaotic. In the wild (or like people in any group situation at any point in time throughout history... follow?), dogs will always identify a pack leader who sets the tone for the entire group. That alpha dog dictates when they go walking, how and where they walk, how many times they pass by a place that gives free treats, etc. As a leader, set the tone. Know where you are going and be confident, but also be open to unexpected paths that could lead to great adventure.
2. Dogs, like people, will try and "train" you if not enough leadership is present.
         I think there are probably a few ways to look at this, but I am going to go with the one that sticks out most to me. As a leader it is imperative to know your people. In order to lead them effectively, you need to know what makes them tick, what drives them. As with dogs and rewarding good behaviors, what traits will cause your group to trust you and give you their best? All the while, making those tough decisions like pulling your dog's leash when they try and go back to smell their crap. (yeah, it happens with people too) It typically takes the form of past failure, taking an offense, or fill in the blank with any number of things. People have a tendency to dwell on things that can be incredible time wasters, and they need you as a leader to pull their proverbial leash and say, "hey, time to leave that behind and keep going. Besides, I think I hear that ice cream truck just ahead." With your people, be sensitive to their needs, but at the same time be what they want you to be. Their leader.
Just call me Jonathan Milan. The Dog Whisperer in waiting.
Jonathan and his wife Christie are coming up on their first full year in Seattle, Washington where they moved to from Kansas City.  He will enter the final stretch of a two-year program at a Bible College there, and his wife is working to pay the bills. (ha, only partly kidding).
He also helped a church open a coffee shop where he works through the week. He's grateful that Seattle isn't really known for coffee, so the job is pretty laid back.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter for more great advice!

Teach me how to Doogie.

Is there a difference between "learning to know" and "knowing to learn"?  I think there is.  One is annoying and the other is empowering. Two television examples:







That's right, Steve Urkel was annoying because he always thought he had the right answer.  But Doogie Howser was helpful because he was always learning.

Here is how you might land on the Steve Urkel side of things:

  1. Anytime someone finishes a comment, you add to it or correct them.
  2. The acquisition of knowledge helps your pride, not others.
  3. Being right is more important than giving your team ownership through collaboration and conversation.

If you take away the process of your team collaborating and creatively thinking through a problem, then you take away their voice and their ownership. Soon the only voice you'll hear is your own.  Not good.

Now Doogie Howser got it!  I mean GOT...IT!  Boy genius AND helping others live a better life; now that's leadership.

"Knowing to learn" is a daily decision and commitment to being a learner.  This type of  leader can learn from the people they lead.  Always being right doesn't make them feel successful, an empowered team does.

Every leader has to ask themselves, which is more important: Always being right or learning?