Leadership Resources

How to use Technology in Leadership

Technology can be used for great evil or for great good. Joseph Goebbels, Propaganda Minister for the Third Reich in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945, was one of Adolf Hitler’s closest associates. Goebbels shared Hitler’s virulent anti-Semitism, and avidly supported the extermination of Jews. Perhaps Goebbels was best known for his stirring propaganda speeches that were broadcast via radio throughout Europe.  He once stated, “It would not have been possible for us to take power or to use it in the ways we have without the radio.”  His influence through the use of available technology led millions to tolerate mass genocide. But the technology Goebbels intended for evil would be used by another leader for great good.

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Keep “Healthy” Before “Growth”

“Healthy growth” is an arresting notion. If “growth” is preceded by “healthy,” then people, communities, and organizations flourish.

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Six Stories Every Leader Should Tell

Annette Simmons’ Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins is the latest in a string of recent books that advance the lesson that Wicked demonstrates: stories have powerful potential to shape people.

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The Toxic Leader’s Seductive Promises

Most of us claim to be repulsed by toxic leaders, those who engage in destructive behaviors that result in serious and enduring harm to their followers. But the troubling reality is that people often follow them, and remain under their spell even when we clearly know their corruption and cruelty.

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Emotional Intelligence and Communism

I was teaching Emotional Intelligence (EQ) to a group of Christian executives. The attendees were gathered from various locations throughout Europe. I took my usual approach to present the topic, explaining that leaders who adjust their behavior to the needs of those they lead – self-regulation – are better at motivating others. I demonstrated through research and several true stories that this leadership behavior often generates a greater level of worker satisfaction that results in a higher level of productivity for the organization. As I labored on, Branko, who grew up under the communist regime in Serbia, became visibly agitated. He knows well the communist philosophy, tactics, and terminology of motivation. Finally, when he could no longer endure my presentation, he raised his hand and blurted out, “Your approach to Christian leadership is severely flawed. Your teaching implies that our ultimate motivation for practicing self-regulation is to get more productivity out of people so that the leaders and their organizations can be more successful.” “Yes,” I said “that’s correct.”  Do you have a problem with that?” “Yes,” Branko said, “I have a big problem with that. The kind of leadership you are proposing is virtually the same as the ‘carrot and stick’ approach that our communist dictators have used for decades to oppress the masses.”

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The “Matt Foley” Flaw and Genuine Motivation

Leaders are mistaken to think that people are not motivated.  Rather, people are simply longing for needs they cannot name. Twenty years ago, the late Chris Farley performed a comedy routine on Saturday Night Live. The sketch depicted a family with two delinquent teenagers. Dad hires a speaker, “Matt Foley,” to motivate his kids into better behavior. In addition to his disheveled and overweight appearance, Matt shouts insults at the teenagers, frequently loses his temper, and wallows in self-pity. Foley’s trademark line is warning the teenagers that they could end up like himself, being “35 years old, eating a steady diet of government cheese, and living in a van down by the river!” The routine concludes when his speech has impacted the teenagers, but only because they don’t want to be like him.

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The Rookie Advantage

Experience can be a curse. Being new and naive can be an asset. New studies show that constant learning is more valuable than mastery. Conventional wisdom suggests that mastering a discipline would provide the knowledge worker with a competitive advantage. But the opposite is actually true; we are often at our best when we do something for the first time. We often see it on the athletic field, but it also plays out in the workplace. Leadership expert Liz Wiseman and her team of researchers studied almost 400 organizational scenarios, comparing the performance of productive veterans versus productive rookies. They defined a rookie as “someone who had never done that type of work” and a veteran as “someone who had previous experience with that type of work.” Here’s what they found:

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Impact of Leadership Development Experiences in a Transnational Organization

Abstract This study evaluated the impact of five alternative types of leadership development practices on ratings of leaders within a transnational organization. Impact was assessed with 360-degree ratings of leadership behaviors.  Results showed that self and superior ratings of leadership behaviors were higher for leaders who had completed at least one form of leadership development while follower ratings were higher only for those leaders who had completed a developmental job assignment.  Practical and theoretical implications raise questions about the usefulness of leadership development programs.

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My Journey Toward Understanding Leadership Development

Ordering a search of “leadership development” from Google currently yields 29 million menu options. Both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations invest billions of dollars each year on strategies intended to develop leaders. The pervasive need for better leaders in all spheres of private and public life teases our appetite for solutions.

But has all our investment of time, energy, and money paid off? What is the “return on investment (ROI)” for developing leaders? Do our efforts to develop leaders really work?  And if so, what kind of leadership development works?

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Insights on Power, Character, and the Ministry

Colin Buckland The Lost Art of Integrity A few years ago some colleagues and I hosted a series of one-day conferences for Christian leaders at a well-known London conference centre. The first two were a great success. A list of well-known speakers and a topical subject seemed to be the winning formula. Around 1,500 leaders attended each conference. The third was at the same place with the same formula, except for one change – the subject. We had decided, as conference organisers, that one of the most pressing needs among leaders was the development of integrity. We set the topic and posted the invitations, but when the day came, only 150 delegates attended. When we went on to hold a fourth conference on another topical subject, however, there was a huge turn out. Integrity seems to be a thorny subject for leaders!

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