Today, May 24, 2017, begins with CallingPost’s founder, Phil Alexander, along with our ministry partner, RAMI, begin their first leg of travel to South Africa for a revival and spiritual awakening missions trip. He is part of the first team that is going. They will be visiting several areas of South Africa namely, Phalaborwa, Nelspruitt, Middleburg, Pretoria, Rooderport, and Johannesburg. The teams will be providing leadership training, coaching training, discipleship workshops, evangelistic outreaches in schools, and preaching revival meetings in churches! Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ as they travel and spread the Truth of Hope in Jesus Christ!
As a leader, you may find yourself in a situation where you have to manage people during an emergency. Whether it is a tornado or other natural disaster, hazardous material contamination, an active shooter or a medical emergency, your employees and staff will automatically look to you to get them through it. But how do you do that? Here are seven emergency management tips:
Calmness. Above all else, stay calm. This will help you think more clearly and lead to better decision making. It will also help keep everyone around you calm.
Confidence. While vulnerability can be a positive trait in a leader, an emergency is not the time to share your feelings of inadequacy. People need someone to rally around in an emergency who they think will lead them through it, and they want someone who exudes the confidence that everything will turn out right.
Decisiveness. Don’t be wishy-washy in making a decision on what needs to be done. Make sure you’ve given your options some thought, but during an emergency you will have to assess them quickly and act on the best one.
Education. Taking time to learn how to deal with various emergency situations before they happen will improve your confidence in your decision-making skills during a stressful time.
Resourcefulness. Each situation will be unique, so it may present a challenge that you weren’t prepared for and which requires a new strategy. You don’t have to be McGyver, but be prepared to think quickly and take advantage of the resources you have at hand to provide the best outcome.
Empowerment. In any group, a few people will be willing to step forward and help out. Empower them to do so with specific tasks, but also be willing to listen to their ideas. This eases your burden and creates a wider sense of confidence among the group.
Empathy. Recognize that people in your group will have different responses to stress – crying, angry outbursts, denial, pessimism, even joking. In all likelihood, they are all scared. Put yourself in their place and think what you’d want out of a leader in that situation.
What makes a great leader? Leadership guru John C. Maxwell lists 21 qualities. Forbes magazine presents 22. Other writers list 10, or even boil it down to five essential qualities.
Like beauty, what makes a great leader is often in the eye of the beholder.
One unique character study on leadership can be found in the Old Testament book of Nehemiah. It takes place about 150 years after Jerusalem has been destroyed by the Babylonians, but it was now under control of the Persians. Nehemiah, a descendant of the Jews captured by the Babylonian army, served as cup bearer to King Artaxerxes (meaning he tasted all of the king’s drinks to make sure they weren’t poisoned). Nehemiah decided that the walls around Jerusalem should be rebuilt to make it livable again for his fellow Jews.
Although his position seemed an unlikely one for leadership, here are a few qualities that made him a capable leader.
Courage. Nehemiah wanted to be released from his duties to return to Jerusalem to rebuild it, and presented that request to the king. This was at a time when kings might lop off the head of anyone who was impudent. But Artaxerxes granted the request. Being a leader often means taking a chance on making a change, even if it could have negative results.
Optimism tempered by reality. When Nehemiah returned with high hopes of rebuilding the city wall, he first took a night tour of broken down wall to form a realistic idea of what needed to be done and to begin developing a strategy. Dreaming big is great, but anyone can do that; leaders find ways to turn possibilities into realities.
Willingness to pitch in. Nehemiah didn’t merely give orders to the workers, he worked alongside them to build the wall. When they were in danger of attack from enemies, he took up his weapons, ready to stand alongside the others to defend themselves. When people see their leader in the trenches with them, they feel more invested in the task, which creates an improved work ethic.
Confidence. When faced by naysayers, and even threats of having his enemies report fake news to the king, Nehemiah continued his work, knowing he was doing the right thing. Opposition will always face leaders who are trying to make a change, but those who have confidence in what they’re doing have the best chance of success.
Defending his people. When Nehemiah learned that local rulers were charging outrageous taxes, so severe that people were selling off their land to pay it, he became angry. He confronted the rulers and got them to agree to return the property and quit charging interest. Being a leader means being aware of the situation of your people, and working to correct any injustices.
Celebrating. When the Jews successfully completed the wall, in just 52 days, he held a weeklong celebration. Letting people celebrate the successful completion of a task, especially a stressful one, builds camaraderie and increases their willingness to engage in future tasks with a positive attitude.
Communication. Throughout the process of building the wall, Nehemiah kept communicating the vision and the plans to keep the process going. Leaders keep the communication lines strong so that everyone knows the status and goal of the project.
Many companies focus on giving their customers the best service and products, but the key to providing the best is having great employees. The key to creating great employees is making sure they are trained to do their jobs and do them well.
Whether you’re hiring employees for a Fortune 500 company or gathering volunteers for a church event, training is vital to make everything work smoothly. Training requires an investment of time, effort and even money, but the long-term rewards make it worthwhile.
Here are six reasons to spend time to train employees properly:
Better work ethic. Being given an assignment without proper training to carry it out can be frustrating for employees, and demoralizing when they’re told they did it wrong. Frustrated, demoralized employees won’t work as hard or care as much about the end result.
Employee retention. Seeking and hiring new personnel is time-consuming and costly. Staff members who are trained to do their jobs well and enjoy what they’re doing will stay with you longer.
New horizons. Proper training can develop skills people didn’t know they had, and make them eager to learn new ways to do their job better.
Improved teamwork. When employees are trained – especially if they are cross-trained – they will be able to work with each other efficiently and with less stress.
Consistent performance. Trained properly, employees will deliver a consistent message, service and product to clients, meaning less time spent correcting mistakes and misunderstandings. That makes both you and your customers happy.
How often has this happened to you: Just as you’re entering into the creative and strategic part of your project, it’s time for a meeting. The third one of the day.
With a heavy sigh, you take your seat in the conference room, aware that your project will have to wait until tomorrow as the deadline for completion draws closer.
Meetings are a bane for many church and office workers. While often necessary to move forward and to create a sense of team work, they can also rob people of productivity and cause a sense of discontentment.
So when it’s your turn to schedule a meeting, how do you make it productive and to the point? Here are a few tips:
Have a specific agenda of items to discuss. Keep the list short and focused. More will get done in a shorter time.
Limit the meeting to no more than one hour. Be ruthless in ending the meeting at the end of 60 minutes even if not all agenda items have been covered. Schedule another short meeting the next day to cover those items.
Limit discussion to the agenda items. Discussions can quickly spin off along multiple rabbit trails that increase meeting length and decrease productivity. Value everyone’s input, but if the discussion strays, gently but firmly bring everyone back to the agenda.
Consider alternatives. There are other ways than a conference room meeting to pass along information or to gather input. Texts, emails and even phone messages can often bring the desired results more efficiently and quicker than a meeting.
Follow up. Nothing makes a meeting seem more unimportant than having no follow up to it. People will be more invested in projects when they know their meeting input is showing results.
“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” – Richard Branson.
It has long been known that the better employees are treated, the more loyal they will be, and the more loyal they are to a company or employer, the better they will do their jobs and serve their customers. Friday, March 3 is Employee Appreciation Day when employers get to show their employees a little extra love for the work they do.
While this is one special day, it can be the kickoff to a year-long effort to show employees how much you value their time and energy. Here are 10 tips of how to show appreciation to employees on March 3 and throughout the year.
- Praise in public. While the employee may feel slightly embarrassed to be singled out for their work in front of others, deep inside everyone likes to be recognized by boss and peers alike. On the flip side, if you have a criticism, do that in private.
- Gift cards. Randomly reward someone for a job well done with a gift card. These don’t have to be big – even a $10 card to a local coffee shop conveys that you are paying attention and appreciate what they’ve done.
- Invest in new technologies. Up-to-date hardware and software shows that you care enough about your employees to give them the best tools to do their job in the best way.
- Flexible schedules. If an employee can do part of their job from a laptop at a coffee shop or from home, give them the grace to occasionally do so.
- Summer Friday bonus. Let your employees leave an hour early on Fridays during the summer, especially in northern climates where the season for outdoor activity is shorter. This has been shown to improve productivity during summer months.
- Lunch dates. Randomly choose an employee or employees to join you for lunch. Talk about anything except work. Get to know them personally. Make sure all employees are eventually included.
- Remember birthdays. A card or just a personal note wishing happy birthday is a simple way to say you’re thinking of them. If you remember their spouse’s and children’s birthdays, that’s a bonus.
- Snack table. Provide free snacks for employees in the break room or other public area. Remember to include healthy choices for those on special diets.
- Share the company. Occasionally let your employees know what’s going well and what isn’t going well in the company, including some of the overarching financial goals. When done in an informative, non-critical way, this can give your employees a more vested interest in the company.
- The Golden Rule. The best way to show appreciation is to treat your employees the way you’d want to be treated in their shoes.
A friend of mine is a successful businessman, running an international company that he started from scratch. Before Fred became successful, though, he spent 10 years losing money going from one failed venture to the next. That’s the point where many people would have packed it in and gone to work for another businessman.
But not Fred.
“Quitting wasn’t an option for me,” Fred told me. “I had to learn to fail better every time. Making a mistake and failing doesn’t mean you quit. I believe failure makes you better and stronger. It makes you a better human being.”
It is much the same attitude Thomas Edison had in his quest to invent a light bulb. He famously said, “I have gotten lots of results! If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is often a step forward.”
This is the principle of failing forward. Instead of letting a failure create a stopping point, Fred and Thomas Edison and many successful people like them used failure as a stepping stone to their next attempt at success. They analyzed why they’d failed, made adjustments and moved on to the next project.
Failing is almost always a prerequisite for success because people afraid of failing rarely take the risks necessary to move forward and develop new ideas. They get stuck in ruts or simply follow the well-traveled paths of other people’s ideas.
Leaders can either foster or hinder innovation by their own attitudes toward failure. Leaders who demand perfection from their employees before presenting a finished work will have a team of people who play it safe – they’ll have few failures but also few real success stories.
On the other hand, leaders who have a high tolerance for failure may find a messy playing field littered with half-baked ideas, but will discover one or two that soar to great heights of success. Many of the world’s best products – from sticky notes to cornflakes – developed from failures.
To fail forward, follow these guidelines:
- Stop expecting to succeed on your first attempt.
- Get over the fear of failure.
- When failure happens, analyze: What went wrong and most importantly, what went right that you can use as the building blocks for the next attempt.
- Try again, using the knowledge gained from the previous attempts.
- Repeat until successful.
True failure comes when people give up, and as Edison noted, giving up often comes at the worst time.
“Many of life’s failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up,” Edison said.
My friend Fred encourages the same approach.
“The only person in this country who will stop you is you,” he said. “It’s a matter of how many times are you willing to fail and how many hours are you willing to work?”