According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Friday, October 24, 2014

7 Habits of Natural Leaders

7 Habits Of Natural Leaders

by Carolyn Gregoire
Posted: 10/20/2014 8:28 am EDT Updated: 10/20/2014 8:59 am EDT

Successful leadership, like happiness, is one of those things that everyone claims to have the "secret" to. There are more than 27,000 leadership books on Amazon, thousands of seminars on leadership skills held in conference rooms across the country, and countless articles in business magazines and websites pruning leadership lessons from CEOs and corporate movers and shakers.

But leadership isn't just about sitting at the top of the corporate ladder and running the show -- it's a way of engaging with your social network, community, colleagues and employees to share a vision and unite people in pursuit of a common goal. Good leadership brings out the best individual qualities of everyone participating.

So what does it actually mean to be a good leader? There are many different ways of leading, but great leaders have a few important habits that anyone can cultivate in themselves.

Here are seven habits of natural-born leaders.

They dare to fail.

"The difference between winners and losers is how they handle losing," Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter wrote in Harvard Business Reviewlast year.

Resilience -- the ability to effectively cope with losing, failing, and not getting what you want -- is an important quality for anyone to cultivate in order to achieve success and well-being, but for leaders, it's essential. To lead well is to risk failure, and resilience helps leaders to bounce back from the inevitable hardships and setbacks that risk necessitates.

Failure can work powerfully in either one of two ways: It can be the greatest teacher and motivator for future success, or it can keep you from ever taking a risk (and hence achieving something great) again. Great leaders know this well, and they've learned to use failure, as Arianna Huffington puts it, "as a stepping stone to success."

Huffington, the editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, says that great leaders "dare to fail" -- just read the biography of any leader you admire, and you'll find a story of failure.

"When I ran for governor of California in 2003, it was a failure--but I learned a tremendous amount about the power of the Internet," Huffington said in a conversation with Inc. "I also learned a lot about myself, about communicating, being able to touch people's hearts and minds, and listening. All the things that were ingrained in me during the campaign definitely had an impact in forming The Huffington Post."

They follow their purpose.

"Apple's core value is we believe that people with passion can change the world," Steve Jobs said at a 1997 internal meeting on Apple's "Think Different" ad campaign. "And that those people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who actually do."

Watching Jobs address employees, it's impossible not to feel his intense passion and purpose. The ad campaign, which celebrates people throughout history who have expressed that same drive and passion, "touches the soul of the company," Jobs said.

"I don't think there is another company on earth that could have done this ad," he added.

Purpose drives the greatest leaders, like Jobs, to create a meaningful product or accomplish a goal that transcends the company's bottom line -- and to think of the company as having not just a bottom line, but also a "soul." In doing so, they inspire their employees to work to their highest potential to fulfill their larger vision.

"Purpose leaders don’t manage; they mesmerize. They don’t execute initiatives; they lead crusades. Their brands are not labels but flags that should evoke the kind of patriotism we have for the countries we live in," Joey Reiman, CEO of BrightHouse,wrote in The Story of Purpose: The Path to Creating a Brighter Brand, a Greater Company, and a Lasting Legacy. "These leaders want to change the way the planet works -- or as Apple’s Steve Jobs is widely quoted saying, 'to make a dent in the universe.'"

They give.

There are three types of people in this world, according to organizational psychologist Adam Grant: Givers (those who prioritize helping others), takers (those who help themselves) and matchers (those who seek equal benefit for self and other). After investigating years' worth of psychological studies as well as conducting his own research, Grant concluded that givers are the most successful.

"Givers bring out the best in others," Grant told Business Insider in April. "One big part of that is seeing more potential in people than they see in themselves. Givers are often looking at the people around them as diamonds in the rough, investing in such a way that they're able to allow these people to achieve greater potential than they thought possible."

Givers also become role models and change behavior norms for the group, Grant explains, making others more likely to help each other and share knowledge -- which can ultimately contribute to an environment of greater creativity and innovation.

They give themselves a break.

What do Marissa Mayer, Richard Branson, Sheryl Sandberg and Michelle Obama have in common? These highly successful leaders all insist on taking regular vacations. Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior -- who oversaw more than 22,000 employees in her previous role at Cisco -- makes time for meditation every day, and does a digital detox every Saturday so that she comes back to work every Monday feeling ready to tackle the week ahead with a sense of calm clarity.

Great leaders have ambitious goals, and they work hard to achieve them. But they also know that workaholism and burnout won't get them very far, so they take time to rest and recharge in order to boost their creativity and mental sharpness. It's difficult to be an effective leader when you're burnt out, sleep deprived, and addicted to your smartphone. Taking regular personal time -- whether it's a daily yoga practice, Saturday tech sabbatical, or twice-annual vacation -- keeps leaders mentally sharp and ready to take on new challenges.

For some leaders, like Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson, vacations can even provide an unexpected source of business inspiration.

"When you go on vacation, your routine is interrupted; the places you go and the new people you meet can inspire you in unexpected ways," Branson told Entrepreneur. "As an entrepreneur or business leader, if you didn't come back from your vacation with some ideas about how to shake things up, it's time to consider making some changes."

They really listen.

Bill Clinton has a startlingly simple secret to success: the former president gives everyone he meets his full, undivided attention. Countless anecdotes about Clinton suggest that his legendary charisma stems from the full focus he gives to every person he meets, and it's made him one of the greatest political communicators in recent history.

Clinton was known, during his early career, for connecting with the people he was leading, looking them in the eye, and listening to what they had to say. He embodied an important trait of great natural leaders: They genuinely care about others, and no matter how busy they are, they always give people the time of day.

"All my life I’ve been interested in other people’s stories," Clinton wrote in his autobiography My Life. "I wanted to know them, understand them, feel them."

Clinton's superior powers of attention only highlight to our larger cultural "attention deficit" that can have a significant negative impact on the way we communicate and interact with others. Paying attention to people might not sound too difficult, but consider how often we actually do this. Technology has contributed to a decline of eye contact, and multitasking has become so much the norm that we often check our email or text while conversing with others. Even when we're not multitasking, research suggests that we only give people roughly a third of our attention -- but a great leader knows that everyone they work with deserves more than that.

They seek out new experiences and ways of thinking.

In a competitive and rapidly changing world, creativity is an increasingly important quality for leaders to cultivate to keep their businesses or ventures ahead of the curve. A creative leader is one who keeps an open mind.

Openness to experience -- one of the "big five" domains of personality in psychology, a trait characterized by intellectual curiosity and an intense drive for cognitive exploration -- is the personality trait most associated with creative achievement.Research in organizational psychology has also found that it's one of the personality traits most associated with leadership, trumped only be extraversion and neuroticism.

Leaders need to have a flexible and fluid mindset to adapt to changes and new challenges, which is fostered by being open to new perspectives and ways of doing things. This is one of the reasons Silicon Valley entrepreneurs love Burning Man so much -- the annual art and counterculture festival in the Nevada desert is a breeding ground for unusual ideas and experiences.

But great leaders don't have to hit the desert to keep coming up with innovative ideas and strategies. They simply make a practice of keeping their minds open and explorative, or as Steve Jobs put it, making their "bag of experiences" as large as possible.

They empathize with others.

We don't often think of empathy as being a characteristic of the American workplace. But leaders who are kind and empathetic -- who truly care about the people who work for them -- are some of the most effective managers out there, inspiring others and naturally drawing people to their side. A leader who displays empathy is better equipped to connect with others and understand their perspectives. In turn, they are able to call on these relationships for support when they need it.

Jayson Boyers, vice president of continuing professional studies at Champlain College, goes so far as to argue that empathy is the single strongest force that moves businesses forward.

"Successful people do not operate alone; each of us needs the support of others to achieve positive results that push us toward our goals," Boyers writes in Forbes. "True empathy combines understanding both the emotional and the logical rationale that goes into every decision."

If you're a leader looking to develop your emotional intelligence skills, Google's Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute offers some exercises for cultivating kindness and empathy in the workplace.

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