The Care and Feeding of the Heart: “Leaders, Leaders Everywhere, But are the Led Being Fed?” Part 2

downloadWelcome to the Training Table where you can depend on some spiritually-nourishing chow, carefully prepared, to help you run the Godly and good race! For what good is a good race, unless it’s a Godly race?

Please recall a principle of God’s design what we chewed on last week about “the tail that wags the dog of leadership… of being a human being”: That the heart of the matter is a matter of the heart:

“For You [God] formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm 139:13-16 ESV)

Principled, admirable, enduring, and transformative leadership understands and embraces exactly what he or she has been given stewardship of by God: His Image Bearers and consummate creative act.

Recall a principle we established when we last ‘supped together:

HEART CONTENT [flows into]
EMOTIONAL MAKE-UP [which flows into]


Part 2 of this series deals with coming to grips with this declaration about leadership purpose… and eventually a continuously improving process:

Job #1 For Leadership: To Execute The Vision Of The Organization.

Did you know that over 70% of leaders lose their job due to the lack of execution of the vision? (C.K. Prahalad)

To recapitulate…
Thus far, in Part 1, we began with the most fundamental, “30,000’-level”, understanding of leadership and the human heart in general: That the heart of the matter is a matter of the heart:

What God intended for the human heart to be centered on was the True Truth and Love of God. The heart of any human being, but especially that of human beings that are placed in the role and responsibility of leadership, need to be filled as much as possible with the True Truth and Love of the God of the Bible.

As the above “diagram” or progression shows us, when the content of the heart is filled with [influenced by] the True Truth and Love of God it has a direct, positive, and fruitful impact on the emotional makeup of any human being— and any actions in word and deed that flow from here.

And the opposite is true as well: When the content of the heart is filled with [influenced by] falsehoods, love of self, and enmity between ourselves and God, as a direct, negative, and destructive impact on the emotional makeup of any human being— and any actions in word and deed that flow from here.

Leadership Maxim of the Age: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of your life as a leader” (Proverbs 4:23—revised)! God’s True Truth and Love made manifest in the heart by faith must be in place if any person wants to lead most effectively and inspiringly.

So, Let’s Get After Job #1!

Logic would tell you if leadership’s #1 responsibility is to execute the vision and mission of the organization, it would be fundamentally important to have a realistic, viable, living and breathing vision and mission for the organization… Make sense? We will discover in Part 3 of this series why something that makes so much sense is, in reality, so rare.

“Defining the basic vision and purpose of any organization is very difficult, painful and risky.  But it alone enables an organization to set objectives, to develop strategies, to concentrate its resources, and to go to work everyday.  It alone enables an organization to be managed for performance.”  (Peter Drucker, The Essential Drucker, Harper Business Publishing)

The segments from a basic organizational effectiveness model below provide what leadership of any sort of organization needs to get his or her head, heart, mind, soul, strength behind in every way… And every day:

VISION:  Why do we exist? What’s “The Big Idea?!”

MISSION: How we will achieve the Vision/Mission?

CORE VALUES:  Who are we?  Behavior: How must we conduct ourselves in order to achieve our Vision/Mission?

STRATEGIC ROADMAP:  How do we achieve our Vision/Mission?  [Four-part series of steps.]

ALIGNMENT:  Has the Vision, Mission, Core Values and Strategic Roadmap been clearly [and continuously] communicated to all our stakeholders [each must be identified and qualified]?

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY:  Are we unleashing the involvement and potential of the people in the organization?

RESULTS:  How are we measuring results to assure continuous improvement based upon reality?



Certainly, the most important attribute of leadership of any kind, within any organization, is a fully internalized concept of what motivates and flourishes people. As one of my favorite leadership quotes by John Gardner states:

“Effective, enduring, and memorable leaders set a vision and use their authority to create an environment where people can contribute to the vision’s success and flourish doing so.  Leaders are environmentalists. The release of human possibilities is one of the most basic of social objectives and leadership goals.”

This reminder [originally from the bible] and declaration is one of the most important statements about leadership and purpose that exists!

Please take the time and effort… to look again at the components of the organizational effectiveness model above and, after doing so, match what is most important to people who work in any organization below.

The Most Important People Issues for Achieving the Vision/ Mission
(Gallup Research Workplace Audit: “A Hard Look at the Soft Numbers”)

“At work I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.”  (RE: Vision / Core Values / Alignment)

“The vision and values of the company makes me feel my job contributes.”  (RE: Vision / Core Values / Strategic Roadmap / Alignment)

“I have a best friend at work.”  (RE: Core Values / Personal Responsibility)

“At work, my opinions seem to count.”  (RE: Core Values)

“My work associates are committed to doing quality work.”  (RE: Vision / Core Values / Personal Responsibility / Alignment / Job Performance Review Process)

“In the last year I have been given opportunities to learn and grow.”  (RE: Core Values / Alignment / Personal Responsibility)

“I have the resources I need to do my work right.”  (RE: Core Values / Strategic Roadmap)

“In the past seven days, I have received recognition or praise for good work.”  (RE: Core Values / Alignment / Personal Responsibility)

“The person I report to seems to care about me as a person.”  (RE: Core Values / Alignment / Personal Responsibility)

“In the past six months, someone has talked to me about my progress.”  (RE: Core Values / Alignment / Personal Responsibility)

“There is someone at work who encourages my development.”  (RE: Core Values / Alignment / Personal Responsibility)

Please make careful note that none of the key employee satisfiers listed above relate to anything of extrinsic value—E.g., how people are compensated.

When a human being made in God’s image goes to work each and every day he or she is rewarded, first and foremost, in ways that are of intrinsic value to them. Why? Because, from the perspective and the design of the human heart by God, the heart of the matter is a matter of the heart:

“The release of human possibilities is one of the most basic of
social objectives and leadership goals.”

“It is one of the tasks of leaders to ensure the continuous renewal of the systems over which they preside. Leaders do not invent or manufacture motivation.  They unlock what is there, awaken what is dormant, and tap hidden reserves.” (John Gardner)

PLEASE… If you are a leader, if you have any influence whatsoever on leadership of any kind, please take some time to internalize as well as be advocate of the principles and process that we have feasted on at the Training Table today.

It’s meaty stuff. It needs to be chewed on, written down, shared within a trusted community, tested against biblical veracity, and prayed over… By the sort of person who truly aspires to be a good-to-great leader.

  1. The heart of leadership is a matter of the heart—only the God of the Bible’s True Truth and Love within the heart provides a wellspring of admirable leadership.
  2. Job #1 of leadership is to execute the Vision/Mission of the organization.
  3. In order to do so, the Vision/Mission [and other components] must be forged from the reality in which the organization exists and amongst the senior-most people within any organization.
  4. Leadership must then realize within their heart of hearts that their stewardship of the internalization and “corporate acculturation” of these components of the organizational effectiveness model need to be realized by the people on an intentional, strategic, regular, empathetic, compassionate, “flourishing”, measurable, and continuously improving basis.

Join us at The Training Table next week when we’ll chow down on Part 3 of this series on leadership: “The Freedom of the Emotional Intelligence Factor”—what frees and what enslaves leadership from executing on the principles and process we’ve feasted on today.

‘Till then, run free! “…if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).


On Leadership, by John Gardner


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