Category Archives: Love

The 4 Secrets to An Empowered and Engaged Team


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Photo Credit: Vicktor Hanacek

Achieving an engaged and empowered team has been the Achilles’ heel for enlightened organizations trying to climb out of the vestiges of command & control management. Leaders are told of the benefits of the engaged workforce, but it seems distant and unattainable. Each leader views the role with the lens of their own personality and the accumulated experience developed through exposure to other leaders, both good and bad, throughout their life. Considering the breadth of variable inputs derived from the individual leadership experience and personality, how can any leader achieve an engaged and empowered team?

Build a Connection to Inspire

Your team needs to understand what you value and know that they matter to you… genuinely. When you care about the individual hopes, dreams, and families of your team, they can see it. Don’t pretend. No one will be inspired by a disingenuous gesture. This will lead to active disengagement and no place you’d want to be. But, when you speak from the heart, your team can connect with you. This opens the door to cast the vision for the future, lay out the mission and inspire them to own their role in the future vision for your organization.

Individual Development

Just as leaders enter their role as the sum of their experiences, so do team members. Everyone is joining with a specific skill set, strengths and weaknesses. More importantly, they have different hopes and dreams. Not everyone desires to be a leader and others can’t imagine being anything but. While you’re building a connection, it’s important to learn about their hopes and dreams; where do they want to go in their career? The biggest demonstration of your sincerity is to create the opportunities for career development for current or future roles.

Trust

When the organization is steeped in the remnants of command and control management, it will require moments where you say, “I trust you to make the right decision.” By the time you’re having this conversation, you both should know where the guardrails are. This would have been preceded by a period of making the decision together so they understand what your inputs are and when they should reach out and consult vs. moving ahead. Eventually, let go.

Servant Leadership

Servant leadership stands out above all other leadership styles in the pursuit of workplace utopia because it “has a positive relationship with organizational citizenship behavior, job performance and staying with the organization” (DuBrin, 2010), it has its foundation in ethical values, and moves the organization forward to realize its goals. “Empowerment, authenticity, stewardship and providing direction” (van Dierrendonck & Patterson, 2014) define Servant Leadership. Only Servant Leaders “focus on the employee first, then on the talents of the employee, and lastly on how this benefits the organization” (van Dierrendonck & Patterson, 2014).

Initially, employees join the organization for the promise of a great future at work. They’re here, now what? People need boundaries, accountability, empowerment, inspiration and a vision. Most of all, they need to feel valued. When they’re truly engaged, they stay because their leader has made a connection and inspired them. So, willingly, they adopt the vision, the mission and join the tribe.

Have you ever been inspired, engaged and truly empowered at work?

 

Cross posted: www.linkedin.com/in/CariRay-MSML

References

DuBrin, A. J. (2010). Leadership (7th ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western/Cengage.

van Dierrendonck, D., & Patterson, K. (2014, February 13). Compassionate Love as a Cornerstone of Servant Leadership: An Integration of Previous Theorizing and Research. Journal of Business Ethics, 128, 119-131. doi:10.1007/s10551-014-2085-z

 

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A Beautiful Passing


The Word LoveI recently had shared with me, by a very strong Christian man, the most beautiful story about the death his wife.  He shared with us the short fight with metastatic cancer she had finally succumbed to.  With tears spilling down his cheeks and a huge smile on his face, he told us of the final journey he and his wife shared.

They spent the last month together in the hospital room which would ultimately be a one way trip.  Their faith spilled over into the hospital staff around them.  They would come her room and pray with them for the wisdom of the doctors and sing in the Spirit as they came in and out of the room as their lives momentarily touched.  Even though the various treatments did not improve her state, she continued to defy the odds in that she remained coherent to the very end.

Eventually, he told us about knowing it would be their last day together.  No man could have predicted the day since she was still completely aware and engaged with her surroundings.   He just knew that one way or the other they would be leaving the hospital that day.  Either God would heal her and they would return home together or God would take her home.

The tears spilled down his rugged face as he told us of the gut-wrenching pain he felt.  He knew there was nothing wrong with him.  Even still, he looked down to see if he could see his shirt and stomach being bunched up and torn apart.  God reminded him that he had made them one-flesh and had to separate them to take her home.

They shut the door and said goodbye while she was still quite coherent.  She was laying back with her eyes closed as her vital signs began to deteriorate.  Later, he said that right before her final breaths, her eyes suddenly opened; like she was looking up.  Then she closed her eyes again and was gone.

It was a beautiful passing in that this fine woman of God knew without a doubt that she was going to be with the Lord.  It was a beautiful passing because she and her husband of 25 years shared this final journey together sharing their faith along the way.  It was a beautiful passing because, while he’s not sure what he’s going to do without her, he is at peace.

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I Do, Except the Obey Part!


Marriage_Certificate“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” (ESV Col. 3:18)  This single, seemingly archaic, statement causes self-respecting women everywhere to dig in their heels, hold their shoulders back and boldly refuse.  Strong, intelligent women wonder why how could any man expect me to pledge to him that I would obey?  In an era of equality of the sexes, it might be just as likely that he should pledge to obey me.  If anyone is going to dominate in a relationship, that role is going to be won by force; a victory that won’t come cheap.  Surely logic and reason will prevail in this matter…or at least political correctness.

Oh ladies, our mother’s have taught us well.  Ever since we could remember, we were told we could be anything we wanted to be.  We were taught that we were every bit as good as a man in the work place.  The mantra of equality of the sexes was non-stop during my formative years.  Society was being told women could “bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan” on TV.  We didn’t know it, but we were being groomed to become a generation of unsuspecting feminists.  Merriam-Webster defines feminism as: “1: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes, or 2: organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.”  (Merriam-Webster Online)

With that mindset, it’s not unreasonable that women would refuse to be so weak or foolish to allow a mere man to be in authority over us.  After all, he’s not God.  We women are smart.  We’re capable.  No man can push us around.  We won’t stand for it!  As a group, women tend to think of a woman who submits to her husband’s authority as weak, or stupid.  We pity her.  She should stand up and be strong like we were groomed to be.  She should take back control of her life and establish equality in her marriage.  We can teach her if she’d only listen and learn like we did.  She can learn to be just like us.  Feminists.

To make the concept of the husband’s Godly authority more difficult for modern women to accept, TV commercials have done their very best to portray men as weak and women as strong.  One example shows a woman in the arms of a bare-chested Favio clone, complete with his hair blowing in the wind, holding a frozen dairy/coffee concoction in her hand.  She is staring deeply into his eyes as her husband comes in.  She tells him not to be such a baby when he’s not happy to see his wife’s fantasy man; who, by the way, is the total opposite of her husband.  The end result of this commercial is that the woman gets what she wants with no regard to her husband, and the man has to just take it because he’s portrayed as weak.  This ad does nothing good for men or marriage.

As girls, we dream of our knights in shining armor.  We love the tales of the handsome, strong prince that comes to rescue us from our tormentors and slay the horrible dragon.  Boys can become emasculated by society’s insistence that they behave more like girls.  Boys should be rough, tough and ready to begin the next adventure.  They are interested in being heroes.  Instead of fear of the next Columbine, should he show an interest in conquering his realm, we should embrace their God-given nature to grow into princes then kings.  The girls should be allowed to sigh dreamily at the thought of their betrothed prince ready to whisk her away and ride off on the adventure of a lifetime – marriage.

The feministic ideal of equality leaves no room in marriage for anything but democratic rule.  Some of us have insisted that the “obey” part is left out the wedding ceremony.  We also want it left out of our marriages as well.  Men, because of political correctness, and being portrayed as oppressive and evil, have let the feminists have their way.

Before my husband and I got married, we talked about our hopes and dreams for the future.  Even though I wasn’t saved yet, I knew a couple of things I didn’t want from a child’s view of their parent’s marriage.  One thing I agreed to was that if we couldn’t agree, someone would have to make the decision.  Having spent every Christmas Eve re-hashing the same old argument, whether to open presents Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, it seemed practical to make this decision at a moment when everyone was calm.  I agreed to let my husband-to-be make the final decision if we couldn’t agree, but I insisted that we would leave the obey part out of our wedding vows.

Sadly, when women learned to take control of their own destinies, we also learned to rebel against God’s authority.  Throughout the bible, kingdoms illustrate the kind hierarchical authority that Jesus has as the head of the church.  Nowhere does it describe God’s government as a democracy.  In Ephesians Chapter 5, women are told to submit.  “22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.”  (ESV)  So women cannot be obedient in God’s eyes and still leave out the obey part.  If women are to obey God in marriage, they must follow Paul’s instructions in Ephesians 5, “24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” (ESV Eph 5:22-24)  The bible also tells women, “but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.  For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their husbands.”  (ESV 1 Peter 3:4-5)  Paul also tells women to “respect her husband.” (ESV Eph 5:33)

Men, at this point it would be good to wonder what responsibility goes with the mantle of God’s delegated authority.  I promise you don’t get appointed cruel dictator once the I do’s are complete.  Your wife doesn’t suddenly become the indentured servant for your amusement.  A huge responsibility is placed on the husband’s shoulders.  Ephesians 5:23 tells men, “For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.” (ESV)  If you consider these words, a husband’s responsibility is to lay down his life for his wife as Jesus did for the church.  God’s authority passes down from Jesus to the husband.  So, men must submit themselves to God’s authority as the husband.

Husbands are instructed to “love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” (ESV Col. 3:19)  In 1 Peter 3:7, husbands are told to “live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” (ESV)  If a man does not honor his wife, he separates himself from God.  Paul continues his instruction in Ephesians 5:28, “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his wife loves himself.” (ESV)  Let there be no doubt, both husband and wife are under God’s authority.  Each must obey God’s instruction.  To disobey will separate them from God.

Now, all of the loving Christian women in the room are waiting to tell us how, since their husband’s aren’t saved, none of this really applies to them.  Or if their husband isn’t standing up to be the spiritual authority in their household, these same Christian women believe it is their duty to stand up and take charge.  Instead, the bible says, “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives.”  (Emphasis mine, ESV 1 Peter 3:1-2)  “Won without a word.”  God is telling us to live in obedience to God in front of the one you are trying to win.  You get no points for beating them up with scripture or badgering them with your preaching.

God’s blessings flow through the husband into the marriage.  Both men and women have to live lives of submission to God.  If we are faithful to God’s word, we will be blessed.  In Proverbs, we are told, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.”  (ESV 18:22)  It takes a strong woman to submit willingly as an expression of love to both God and her husband.  Submit does not equate to simpering stupidity.  You don’t have to check your brain at the door to be able to live in the full blessings of a biblical marriage relationship.

As for me, I can state unequivocally that in the midst of our biblical marriage, I find greater joy in doing it God’s way.  Little by little as we seek Him and let Him have is way in our lives, the blessings of our marriage relationship increase as the time goes by.  When we renewed our wedding vows after 17 years of marriage I gave my promise to obey with a whole heart.

Related Posts:

A Cultural Attack On Biblical Marriage

Traditional Marriage – Honor

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Traditional Marriage – Honor


DSC00665As part of our wedding vows, we promise to love, honor and cherish.  What does it mean to honor your spouse?  How we speak about your spouse to others says a lot.  Do you spend your time griping about those things that aren’t perfect?  Or, do you honor them with your words?  By that I mean can anyone say that you’ve said anything derogatory, anything that implies you don’t respect them, anything that belittles them?  Even if you do have a problem brewing between you and your spouse, do you complain to others and possibly damage their relationship with your spouse in the process? Every time we cross the line and show the world what’s not so good about the person we’ve vowed to share our lives with, we are not holding up our end of the bargain.  We are not honoring them.

I honor my husband by keeping the chinks in his armor to myself.  I am supposed to be his ally so telling where his weaknesses are does not honor him.  No matter how great the infraction, I will not tell others how he failed; it would not honor him.  I only speak to others the words that lift him up and show the world how wonderful he is.  I’m not lying to myself or other people when I do this.  I’m using discretion about what I share so that I present my husband in the best possible light.  Wouldn’t you want the same?  Wouldn’t you want the person who knows whether or not you drool in your sleep to choose not to ridicule you to others?  Honoring your spouse is a key ingredient to a wonderful, fulfilling marriage.  That’s not to say you won’t ever disagree.  Just choose carefully when, where and how you’ll express your opinion.

Also, when you honor your spouse, you remind yourself of all of the good qualities that brought you both together in the first place.  People fail, that’s just part of being human.  When they do, it is much easier to forgive if you can remember why you loved them in the first place.  Do you honor  your spouse?

Related Posts:

I Do, Except For The Obey Part!

A Cultural Attack On Biblical Marriage

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Unconditional Love


JesusIn everyday life, do we recognize God’s hand in action?  I think there are many things that slip past us simply because we aren’t looking.  I like to ask the question, “What are the chances?”  What are the chances that your bank awards you a sweepstakes that you didn’t do anything to enter at the same moment that you’re in desperate need of that same amount of money with NO hope of coming up with it on your own?

In fact, this specific example is true.  The previous Sunday at church, I cried through the entire service because I thought we had finally run out of hope.  We needed nearly $5000 to be able to get caught up on our house note.  They had already sent us the warning letter stating that they would foreclose if we didn’t pay and time was running out.  Later the same week, I had a phone call from my bank.  I could hardly believe it was true.  They had awarded me the Sweepstakes for doing something I was already doing, online bill pay.  What are the chances?

Needless to say, as always God’s provision was in time, but I learned that I may not come in ways that I could foresee.  He is constantly moving behind the scenes in ways that we can’t conceive.  This experience reinforced the fact that I can trust God.  I don’t need to be able to predict how his help will come to me.  I don’t have to understand how all the pieces of the puzzle will fit together.  All I have to do is trust that God is faithful and that He loves me no matter what.

There have been many times throughout my Christian walk that God has proven Himself faithful.  I am truly blessed that He is willing to do that over and over again when my fears were echoing in my head, drowning out that still quiet voice.  I cannot thank God enough for the many times he’s spared me from what I deserved even when the doubts creep in.  I’m so glad that God knows my heart even when I fail; He loves me unconditionally.

Unconditional love is hard to come by from people.  It is hard to give it.  When was the last time you were able to love with no expectation in return?  When did you love your child without any performance criteria?  It’s easy to say that you love your children no matter what.  Think about what you do.  Is there a statement, “I love you, but…?”  Whether it’s about grades, cleaning their rooms or anything else, if you withhold some of your grace towards them because they disappointed you, your love is not unconditional.

Growing up, I struggled with my weight.  The way my parents talked to me about it made me feel like I had let them down by being heavy.  It was beside the point that I was only eating what was in the house.  This shaped the way I looked at myself.  I was a disappointment.  I didn’t perform as well as my brother did in school, I was heavy and I wasn’t as social as my sister.  It wasn’t until recently that I saw what unconditional love was in action.

Our daughter got in trouble in school.  My husband was sitting in the school office praying about how he should handle it.  God’s answer to him was to treat her as He had treated my husband.  In many ways it’s hard to realize that God is giving us grace every moment of every day; that His love is greater that anything else we can imagine.  Are you capable of that kind of love?  When someone has hurt you can you forgive them unconditionally?  Can you throw that offense as far as the east is from the west?

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A Cultural Attack on Biblical Marriage


wedding-ring-handsHat’s off to Miss California, Carrie Prejean.  At a time it would have been easy to give a politically correct response to her pageant question; she stood up for her values and supported the definition of marriage being between a man and a woman.  It is troubling that standing up for Biblical values is somehow now politically incorrect or beyond that, even offensive.  A slow erosion of American society’s expectations for a Biblical standard for behavior has led to many small compromises along the way so we can all “just get along.”  As Christians, are supposed to love one another.  This has been twisted over time into total acceptance of this behavior.  We now have “rights” for what used to be called sin.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t hate anyone.  I can love my fellow man without accepting behavior that is self destructive to both themselves and to others around them.  Since the relationship we have with God is like that between a father and a child, if we don’t have that model in our lives anywhere how skewed will our view of any relationship with The Father be?

In Revelations 3:15-21, the Church in Laodicea is warned about being neither hot nor cold and because they are lukewarm, God will spit them out.

15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.  (ESV Online)

We now live in a time where it is imperative to choose this day who you will serve.  Our efforts to be tolerant in the name of Christianity have made us luke warm. Each of us is faced with the decision to get along and say nothing about the deterioration of our values or to risk personal consequences for standing up for what we believe.  What do you believe?

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Love Extravagantly!


To love extravagantly must require the whole heart and soul.  Every part of your being warms at the thought of the one you love extravagantly.  Some how your lungs have a greater capacity as you breathe.  The knowledge that your love is returned brings peace and joy that fills you to overflowing.  How can you give the one you love any less?  How could you withhold any part of that extravagant love from the one you said, “Till death do us part?”  Their well-being must come before yours, as Christ loved us first. How do you accomplish this?  Christ loved whether or not it was returned when He gave His life for each of us.  If you want to love extravagantly, you must first die to self and selfishness.  If you continually ask, “What’s in it for me?” you will never find extravagant love.  Instead ask, “How can I show them my love?”  Extravagant love begins with self-less love.

Just as Christ laid down for us, can you lay yourself down for Him?  Can you love Christ extravagantly? 

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