Goals vs. Magical Thinking

Goals vs. Magical Thinking

In my consultations I often have to help folks think through what is a realistic goal and what is aspirational, or, as I call it, “magical thinking.” Their ideas for a goal are often fuzzy (“more,” “better”). People consistently overreach…

How to Avoid Choice Overload

A friend called asking for help. She was stuck trying to make a decision. After months of discussion she and her family finally convinced her mother of the need to move her into an assisted living facility. That’s never an…

People Need a Narrative: Clergy and COVID-19

I’ve been gratified for, and impressed with, at the presence of our pastors on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have jumped in reluctantly onto social media. The learning curve is evident, sometimes amusing.

As is often the…

A Healing Experience for Clergy

Author Tim Sledge, in Goodbye Jesus: An Evangelical Preacher’s Journey Beyond Faith, wrote about the silent epidemic of clergy forced termination. Citing a survey reviewed by Leadership magazine, he wrote:

 

“Squabbles that end in the ouster of ministers are…

Overcoming obstacles to change

Leading is a challenge even in the most tranquil of circumstances within congregations today. When you add the layer of introducing or working toward change on top of the myriad of things already required, “challenging” may feel too soft a…

Eight Ways to Kill an Organization

I’ve done enough consultations long enough and studied organizations carefully enough to recognize a pattern in some organizations. I refer here to those whose organizations, some young, some old, that ended their institutional lifespan. Though many were surprised by the…

How To Take A Stand

Inevitably, leaders will encounter times when they will need to take a stand in the midst of crisis and polarization. At those times, common temptations are: (1) make people feel better, (2) try to reason with unreasonable people, (3) win…

Physics for Leaders

A friend of mine, one year into his leadership role, asked in frustration, “Why is this work so hard?!” I’m not sure I know the answer to that question. Some jobs are just more challenging due to the complexity of…

Clergy Colloquies to Help Get You Out of Your Rut

It’s worth confessing: most of us, at some point, settle into a comfortable professional routine (a rut, really) that intersects with the achievement of a certain level of competence and the expectations placed on us about the job. Once we…

Traits of a well-defined leader

I came across some notes from a presentation by my friend, Ken Hurto, former faculty member in the Leadership in Ministry Workshops (www.leadershipinministry.com). Ken’s presentation on leadership was titled “Being a Lighthouse and Not a Bulldozer.”…

The First Qualification of a Leader

Leonard Mlodinow stated, “Today’s society bestows rewards, as never before, upon those who are comfortable with change, and it may punish those who are not, for what used to be the safe terrain of stability is now often a dangerous…

Functioning At Your Best as Leader

Someone once asked an imaginative question: “What if some day scientists discovered a differentiation gene?” It was a fun question to ponder, but, genes don’t work the way most of us imagine. Bowen’s Scale of Differentiation posits that one characteristic…

The Box Story

I counseled a parishioner who was dissatisfied with his work for a religious agency.

“I can do the work,” he said, “but my heart is not in it.”

Meanwhile, he was pondering the possibility of a new job that was…

Spiritual Leadership During Turbulent Times

During periods of societal regression, people may feel more entitled to even their bad behavior.

They may feel they have legitimate “excuses” for behaving as they do and that this should be understood and accepted no matter what the negative…

How Do You Measure Success?

I encountered one of the most centering definitions of success during high school.

It was by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

His more humanistic definition of success goes: “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the…

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