There are several misconceptions about introverts. Sometimes these misconceptions come from introverts themselves. Recently I heard someone say “I’m an introvert…I can’t be a leader!” In her book “The Introverted Leader: Building On Your Quiet Strength” author Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, Ph. D. takes steps to show the introverted reader that he or she can definitely be a leader and how to make it happen.
One of the ways that the reader discovers that an introvert can be a leader is by using the 4 P’s Process: Preparation, Presence, Push, and Practice. Begin by preparing for your meetings or interactions you may have with those you lead. Next be present by showing those you lead you are engaged and interested in what they have to say. The third item can be difficult for introverts and that is to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Lastly is practice…make opportunities every day to put these new behaviors into practice.
As an introvert, I really enjoyed this book. It was a short read and very easy to understand. The author doesn’t try to “fix” introverts. She readily admits that as an introvert you have certain qualities that you have to learn to turn on and off from time to time, but you are not trying to be someone or something that you are not.
A few of my take-aways from the book were:
- “The missing ingredient in most failed communication is humanity.” (Let those you lead see that you are human by sharing your stories.)
- “Don’t play ‘PowerPoint Karaoke’ in meetings.” (During a presentation, don’t just stand there and read the slides verbatim…people can read on their own. Just use bullet points to help you remember what to cover.)
- “You have to learn to manage yourself before you can learn to manage others.” (Know your own strengths and weaknesses and embrace them, but use them to challenge your personal and professional growth.)
- “It helps to remember that conflict is natural, necessary, and normal. In fact, creative solutions to your problems rarely occur without tension of dissimilar ideas.” (Don’t be afraid to listen to others if they don’t agree with you… you may learn something.)
- “People feel unsettled and look to their leaders for information and reassurance during times of uncertainty.” (Be human, but also show them you know what you are doing and you must earn their trust.)
I have learned so much from this book that I can apply not only at work, but also as a small group leader in my church. If you are an introvert, I highly recommend this book for you. Extroverts, you can benefit from this book as well – you can see what it’s like inside the mind of an introvert and better understand how we function both professionally and personally.
Photo Credit: By Goodreads.com
This weekend was our annual Singles Leader Retreat for church. “Be” was our theme this year and the scripture this was based on was Exodus 14:14 – “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” We had four sessions and the topics were “Be Present,” “Be Still,” “Be Yourself,” and “Be Grateful.” The session that was most relevant to me right now was “Be Still.” This session was led by John Hambrick and Sue Bates (two members of the staff at Buckhead Church).
One thing that John said really hit home with me – “Our purpose is to experience and enjoy God!” To help us better understand this concept, they gave us eight verses from scripture and asked us to go spend an hour alone, praying, reading the passages, and listening to hear what God had to say to us through these scriptures. At first I didn’t think it would take me the whole hour, but the time quickly passed. I just wanted to share these scriptures and what God revealed to me through them (I am linking the verses below to The Message Translation, because I really like how it speaks as we would today).
Romans 11:36 – God is the source. Nothing happens to us (challenges, growth, rewards, etc.) without His permission. If it’s something good, He entrusts me and values me enough for me to take on the task. If it’s a challenge or a period of growth, He thinks I can handle it.
1 Corinthians 10:31 – Be present and enjoy what God is doing in your life right now. Don’t let the negativity of others take your joy and your focus away form what is important. Give God the glory!
Psalm 19:1-4 – Don’t be so busy that you forget to stop and look at God’s creation. Class is always in session and we can learn so much from just being silent.
2 Peter 1:3-4 – A relationship with God is an investment. You have to spend time being intimate and personal with Him in order to grow in your relationship. Be a participant, not a spectator.
Psalm 73:24-28 – God is holding my hand and leading me. He doesn’t force “followship” but He leads tenderly and with wisdom. Desire only God…He is the only thing that lasts. As I grow older God is still strong, firm, and faithful…He never changes.
John 17:21-23 – God sent us to be right where we are at this present time and place. He has a reason for our current placement and often we may not understand why, but if we take a step back and look at it from a different perspective we can embrace it and be a part of what God is doing now. God loved us so, we have no excuse for not loving others.
Philippians 4:4-7 – Experience and embrace God 24/7. Give people no doubt to Whom you belong. Replace worrying with prayer. When you give your worries to God through prayer, the results are life changing.
Psalm 27:4 – Be fully present with God. Observe and acknowledge the beauty of all He has done in and through you. Imagine yourself at the throne of God, in His presence bowing at His feet in reverence. Fear and be awestruck by God.
What is God saying to you through these passages?
Photo Credit: By Ryk Neethling
As a whole, we typically do an assessment of things when we find a problem. You take your car to the mechanic when you find something wrong. Doctors see patients when they need to find out why they don’t feel well. The truth of the matter is that assessments can tell us where our strengths are and how we can better ourselves using these areas.
Since I have had some time to reflect lately (as I prepare for my Brazil mission trip and as I continue to look for a job), I decided to take a few online assessments to see where my strengths are at this point in my life. This is something I encourage you to do on a regular basis. Some of the things that are revealed you may already know about yourself, but other things may surprise you. Here is what I found about myself through these assessments:
Spiritual Gifts Analysis – I typically take one of these assessments every six months or so. In the past Teaching has been one of my dominant spiritual gifts, but this time it was somewhere in the middle. My primary spiritual gift this time was Pastor/Shepherd (with 20 points – this has previously been a dominant gift for me as well). For my secondary spiritual gift I had a three-way tie (with 17 points each): Exhortation, Showing Mercy, and Administration. I can definitely see evidence of all of these in my life – I love leading people, I’m known for being an encourager, and I’m really good with coordinating things.
Jung Typology Test – This is a shorter version of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test. My results were ISFJ – Introvert (56%), Sensing (50%), Feeling (75%), and Judging (33%). I knew about the Introvert part and the Feeling part. I was not aware of the Sensing or Judging part, but they both make sense.
5 Love Languages – This assessment is based on the book by Gary Chapman. I took this one about 2-3 years ago and the results have changed drastically for me. It tells you how you best feel people show you love and it also reflects how you give love to others. In the past my primary love language was words of affirmation, but this time around my primary love language was receiving gifts. I also return love in the same way. The study tells you that giving/receiving gifts is not a materialistic thing…it’s in the finding or making something that makes you think of a certain individual that expresses love. In this current stage of my life I can definitely see this as my primary love language. I love when people take the time to find something that reminds them of me – I definitely feel loved and appreciated when this happens.
I’ve shared my assessments, now it’s your turn. What were your results from the above assessments? What did you already now as a result of these and what did you learn about yourself?
Photo Credit: By C B
What an organization does (or doesn’t do) to equip its leaders is a reflection of that organization. I consider myself very fortunate to be a part of a church that greatly invests in its leaders – Buckhead Church. The staff is always doing something for us to help us grow and become better leaders – whether it be giving us a book, spending one-on-one time with us, or having a guest speaker come and share with us. This weekend was yet another example of the giving nature of not only the church, but the Singles Ministry: The Singles Leader Retreat.
In its second year, all of the leaders and staff in the Singles Ministry came together for a weekend (this year it was held at Cohutta Springs Conference Center in Crandall, GA) of teaching, social time, and some alone time with God. This year our speakers were Rodney Anderson (Singles Pastor at Buckhead Church) and Jeanne Stevens (she and her husband Jarrett Co-Pastor Soul City Church in Chicago, IL). One of the messages (given by Rodney) was on Psalm 139:13-16:
“For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
This passage has been at the forefront of my mind lately, as this was the third time in a couple of weeks that it has brought to my attention – Day 11 of 40 Days of The Jesus Creed used this passage, my roommate and I were talking about this passage the other day, and now Rodney spoke about it at the retreat. As leaders, we get so caught up in leading others that we often neglect ourselves. God took the time to create and care for us – we are of great value to Him. As a result we need to care for ourselves: eat right, exercise, get plenty of sleep, and take care of ourselves spiritually and mentally.
What are you doing to take care of yourself as a leader?
Here are a couple videos they did for us this weekend at the Singles Leader Retreat. Enjoy!
Former pastor turned leadership guru, John C. Maxwell is known for his insight and experience when it comes to the business industry. What I find helpful is Maxwell’s teachings are applicable to other environments such as church, small groups, and relationships. His 2004 release Winning With People specifically deals with relationships. Quite frequently the mindset of the business world is “What can I do to get ahead?” or “How can I succeed?” Maxwell challenges the reader to think outside of the box and change his or her thoughts to “How can I help others succeed?”
The book is broken down into five sections that ask the following questions: Are we prepared for relationships? Are we willing to focus on others? Can we build mutual trust? Are we willing to invest in others? Can we create a win-win relationship? Each section has 5-6 different principles that will help the reader refocus to help answer the respective question in a positive way.
I found so many takeaways within this book including:
- “You can’t control another person’s response to you. All you can do is make yourself the kind of person others want to know and with whom they can build a relationship.”
- “People respond to what they are prepared to believe. And what prepares them for what they believe is their experience.”
- “It takes four positive statements to negate the effect of one negative statement.”
- “You may be able to impress people with your successes, but if you want to influence them, share your failures.”
This book is an easy read and is one from which almost anyone can gain something – especially those in a leadership position (be it professionally, church, or in relationships). I highly recommend this book and if you are also interested in more leadership principles, make sure to read Developing The Leaders Around You, Becoming A Person of Influence, and Developing The Leader Within You (all by Maxwell). You can also follow John Maxwell’s Leadership Blog.
Photo Credit: By The John Maxwell Co.
Reality television is one of my guilty pleasures. I don’t enjoy shows like Jersey Shore, The Bachelor, or Dance Moms. I am more prone to watch shows like American Idol (my top 3 this year are Phillip Phillips, Colton Dixon, and Elise Testone with either Phillip or Colton winning it all) or Big Brother. Jerry Springer is definitely the king of reality television. Show topics like “I’m In Love With My Brother’s Second Cousin’s Mailman” or “Humans Who Dress As Dogs & The People Who Love Them” (okay, maybe those aren’t really show topics, but you get the idea) seem to suck in viewers like The Hunger Games novels.
What if we put a positive spin on the Jerry Springer show? Ladies and gentleman, may I submit to you “Leaders And The Leaders Who Lead Them” on the next Springer! In all seriousness, a leader is only as a good as those who lead them. I am very fortunate to have three amazing leaders who invest in me and as a result have made me the leader that I am today.
1) Andy Stanley – I attend Buckhead Church (a campus of North Point Ministries) and Andy Stanley is the Senior Pastor of all of the campuses. Every Sunday, he preaches a sermon that I feel like was written specifically for me. There are so many things that I like about Andy, but one I can easily relate to – Andy will openly tell you that he is an “extroverted introvert” (as am I). He can easily speak to large groups of people, but when it comes to speaking with people one-on-one it is a little bit more difficult. He has to have downtime after speaking with individuals in order to process things. Having this same personality trait in common, I feel like I can connect better with him as the Senior Pastor.
2) Rodney Anderson – He is the Single’s Pastor at Buckhead Church. Rodney is only a couple of years younger than I am, but he has wisdom beyond his years. What I love about Rodney is he has a great memory. You can tell him about something that is happening in your life and six months later he will ask you about it with the same detail in which you originally told him. I was able to get to know Rodney better during our Singles Leadership retreat last year. Since I wasn’t working I was asked if I would be interested in helping them set up for the retreat. I rode to the retreat with Rodney and we were able to share our life stories and just had a great time getting to know one another. He is one person that I know I could definitely call about anything and he would make time to listen regardless of his schedule.
3) Mark Shull – He is the Director of Men’s Groups at Buckhead Church. Mark is just a couple of years older than I am. What I like about Mark is he tells it like it is…he doesn’t sugarcoat anything. He challenges me to think outside of the box as a small group leader. I was also able to get to know Mark better on the Singles Leadership retreat last year. He has two sons and I love hearing how he relates his relationship with his sons to his relationship with God. He has constantly checked in on me during my job search to see what God is teaching me through it all. I could definitely call Mark about anything as well.
As a leader, who is one leader that leads you and what have they taught you recently?
Photo Credit: By David Shankbone
This is something I recently found that I wrote back in 2001.
Follow the leader — what a great game for preschoolers. Now that I am much older, I look back at those days gone by and wonder what I really learned from this harmless little childhood game. How can I apply these “lessons learned” to my life in the here and now?
First I learned to let others dictate what I do. I do not have to think for myself; just follow the crowd. Do not question the leader’s abilities or his/her qualifications as the leader. Lastly, do whatever you can, at any cost, to become the leader. Wait a minute! Are we still talking about a childhood game or life in general? Makes you stop and wonder, does it not?
As we get older these “rules” are essential to our survival in life. Exodus 20:12a tells us, “Honor your father and mother…” and Romans 13:2 warns us, “…he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against who God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” How do we prevent mindless following but not rebel against authority and also honor our parents? Our parents and those in authority over us when we were children instilled in us morals, a sense of right and wrong and general social etiquette. This is especially true if your parents took you to church on a regular basis. Mom and dad were the ones to lay down the law for you. There was no question of what you should do; the question was “Do I do it or do I face the consequences of not doing it?” Our parents definitely had the previous experience of leading us from their mistakes that they learned and they would not knowingly lead our infantile minds astray.
Pastors are authority figures that we take for granted. We often sit in the pews Sunday after Sunday like a sponge soaking up what we are told without question. I have been very fortunate to have had two wonderful Pastors, one at my home church and one at the church where I currently attend. I consider both of these gentlemen to be great men of God. One thing I admire about both of them is they have both said (from their respective pulpit) “Do not just accept what I tell you. Look it up and research it on your own. I am human and may unintentionally lead you astray. Please hold me accountable to assure that what I speak is the one and only God inspired truth.” I have a great deal of respect for someone like that who openly admits his faults and his limits. Romans 10:17 says, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” Notice it says “…through the word of Christ” and not “…through the word of the Pastor or Preacher.”
Matthew 16:24 tells us that life is not about us. “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me” (emphasis mine). If we follow the ultimate Leader, things will work out in the end. Taking the focus off of Christ and placing it on ourselves can cause utter chaos and can lead others astray. 1 Timothy 4:16 “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
We will go through many times in our life where we question anything and everything. Make sure that your faith is your own and not your parents’, you Pastor’s, or anyone else’s. Questioning your faith makes you grow. Proverbs 14:15 informs us, “A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.” It is okay to play follow the leader, but make sure you are following the right Leader!
Photo Credit: By Ben Hoyt