The Training Table: What’s at the Heart of Great and/or Gruesome Leadership? Part 3 of 3.

the-leadership-in-meWelcome 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 (2 Timothy 4:7; 1 Corinthians 9:24)?

Here’s an appetizer… I have a statement-question for you: Leaders, leaders everywhere, but are the led being fed and flourished? I would venture that a conservative answer to this question would be that 85% of folks would respond by saying, “No way.”

And this is based on the fact that I’m just bumping another statistic up a wee bit: 70% of CEOs are alleviated of their leadership duties due to their inability to execute the Vision-Mission of their organization.

So, what can we take from this? Let’s get something straight about leadership once and for all: A leader’s—any leader’sJob #1 is to execute the Vision-Mission of the organization. And… “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” (Proverbs 29:18)… Or, at the very least, languish, whither, brood, rot, under-perform, and deteriorate into “clockwatchers”:

What’s the top answer to the question of an employee like, “Hey, how’s your day going?” “Well”, he or she will too often say as they glance at the clock, “I’ve got about  X  hours until I get off…” What does that tell you about far too many people’s work life?

And yes, this means ANY organization of ANY kind ANY place in the world. And please get this: beginning with the most vital “organization” first: An “organization of one”… The leader him or her self!

If any given leader has no personal Vision, Mission, Core Values, etc, he or she will be woefully ill-equipped to execute the corporate Vision, Mission, Core Values, etc. [It’s worth reading this line over again. To what extent do you believe it’s true?]

But I’m getting ahead of myself… sort of…

As a reminder, here’s the menu at The Training Table thus far:
January 147 Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives;
January 21Leadership: When and How Did It All Go Wrong?
January 28Leadership: It’s an Inside-Out Job. So Let’s Get It Right!

Leadership: It’s an Inside-Out Job.
So Let’s Get It Right!

I would say that Job #1 is to execute the Vision/Mission of the organization. should be the most universally-held principle and practice about the role and goals of leadership… on the planet… if not the entire Milky Way.

Why? Because it incorporates two main truisms:

1) All human beings—Image Bearers of God—are inspired to be all they can be by playing a vital, contributing role in achieving a Vision and Mission of some kind, and,

2) it’s at the heart of good-to-great leadership, as articulated by John Gardner, …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.

And the reason leadership is an INSIDE-OUT job is this: The main, the only, the first-and-foremost, the summum bonum—”the highest good”—that any leader can achieve is to not simply grasp a nice sounding colloquialism like, “The heart of leadership is a matter of the heart.”

But to go for with all of his or her might in pursuit of this truth: The Knowledge of God and the Knowledge of Self—is contained within the heart of a memorable, enduring, transformational leader. The Bible’s treatment of this principle is so important to see, Above ALL else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23, emphasis added). And leader who is out of touch with his or her heart’s core beliefs is not just a bad leader, but a “killer app”… in a really bad way… for all those being led!

Leadership: It’s an Inside-Out Job. So Let’s Get It Right!

Any man or woman who aspires to be a great leader needs to embrace a few principles such as this:

1) Job #1 is to execute the a) Vision and b) Mission by means of incorporating the principles and processes of the c) Core Values, d) Strategic Roadmap, e) Alignment, f) Personal Responsibility, and g) Results… on a CORPORATE level.

This involves a holistic, common sense, yet complicated process of integrating the above 7 realms of an organizational effectiveness model. In fact, “the most complicated aspect” of the endeavor is tied to the spiritual, emotional, psychological, and physical well-being of the leader him or herself.


2) Job #2in order to achieve Job #1—is to execute the Vision and Mission by means of incorporating the principles and processes of the Core Values, Strategic Roadmap, Alignment, Personal Responsibility, and Results… on a PERSONAL level—Inside-Out [B4 “Outside-In”].

This is the inside-out job that makes all the difference between counterfeit, fabricated, spurious, or short-lived leadership AND memorable, enduring, transformational leadership. The choice is yours… ours… to make. But the difference is not just monumentally important, it’s impact will last for time and eternity! (James 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:8; 2 Corinthians 5:10)

Stephen Covey famously said, In a very real sense there is no such thing as “organizational behavior”. There is only individual behavior. Everything else flows out of that. (Principled-Centered Leadership, emphasis added) The “individual” Covey is referring to is the person and nature of leadership at the helm.

When “Emotional Intelligence” Came into Vogue

“Leadership: It’s an Inside-Out Job. So Let’s Get It Right!”

The reason this statement is so vitally important to dig into is that along the journey of any leader executing the Vision and Mission by means of incorporating the principles and processes of the Core Values, Strategic Roadmap, Alignment, Personal Responsibility, and Results on a PERSONAL level… is that it is along the incredibly arduous yet equally rewarding journey, a leader’s life can be get any closer to better KNOWING GOD and KNOWING SELF. The “inside-out journey” is the best and only path towards being the best with the “outside-in journey”… of leading other people.

By means of Daniel Goleman’s 5 Emotional Intelligence Factors [below, Emotional Intelligence], please consider the connection with the heart of leadership when he or she takes all the time, talent, and treasure needed to come up with their PERSONAL “organizational effectiveness model” made up of their own Vision, Mission, Core Values, Strategic Roadmap, Alignment, Personal Responsibility, and Results.

The Journey of the Heart… It’s the Road [WAY] Less Traveled…

Commit to Today… to Go Where Few Have Gone Before!

Along the journey, the heart of leadership is made more intentional, established, grown-up, matured, more wise, compassionate, increased in perseverance, and far more empathetic about the myriad of challenges and rewards involved in his or her job as being responsible for executing the CORPORATE version… on the job!

The emotional intelligence factors which are so crucial to good-to-great leadership are directly impacted by this journey of the heart—the road rarely traveled by leadership of our day.

Make no mistake, Goleman’s “modern-day” and “revolutionary” insight [with my added Scripture references] was well-known by God when He made humankind “In the beginning…” (Genesis 1,2). Emotional Intelligence was on The New York Times bestseller list for a year-and-a-half, with more than 5,000,000 copies in print worldwide in 40 languages, and has been a best seller in many countries. I firmly believe that the reason for the success is all about “getting back to the Bible”—knowing God and knowing self brings out the best of humankind.

Not knowing God and self brings out the worst in us. Period.

The reason “the heart of leadership is a matter of the heart” is that when anyone’s heart is captured by God FIRST, leading is actually based upon, rooted in a) REALITY, and b) GOD’S TRUE TRUTH and LOVE. It’s as sublimely simple as that—but made frustratingly complicated by sin, foolishness, and leaders acting like infants!

It is precisely because the vast majority of leadership, a) leave God out of the picture and has, b) never taken the their own Vision, Mission, Core Values, Strategic Roadmap, Alignment, Personal Responsibility, and Results journey, that the lion’s share of leadership, c) measure-up so poorly on his or her emotional intelligence factors.

Self-Awareness (Gen 1; Ps 139:23-24; Jer 17:9; Mt 5; Rom 1:18-32, 8, 10:8-13; John 3:16; 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15; Rev 21:1-8) The ability to recognize and understand your most core beliefs, value system, emotions, and drives –as well as their effect on others.

Self-Regulation (Ps 17:4, 119:11; Prov 1:7; 1 Cor 9:25; Gal 5:23; 1 Pet 1:13; 2 Pet 1:6; Heb 12:1; Tit 1:8) The ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods. The propensity to suspend judgment—o think before acting.

Motivation (Pr 21:21; Ps 40:6-8; Mk 12:28-31; Acts 17:11-12;  Rom 15:4; 1 Pet 2:20; 2 Tim. 3:16-17) A passion to work for reasons that go beyond money or status. A propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence.

Empathy (Rom 15:1; 2 Cor 1:3-7; Jn 1:14; Lk 1:32; Eph 2:8; Phil 2:7; Col 1:15; 1 Tim 2:5; Heb 13:3) The ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people. Skill in treating people according to their (heart) emotional reactions.

Social Skill (Ps 133:1; John 17:20-23; Rom 12:9-16; Rom 15:5; 1 Cor 1:10, 13; Eph 4:3-13, Col 3:14; Phil 1:3-11, 2:1-2) Proficiency in managing relationships and building networks. An ability to find common ground and build rapport.

“So Let’s Get It Right!”

Obviously, there are numerous other factors that go into growing a leader into all he or she can be, but consider with me the implications of taking the journey I’m getting at here—the sorts of questions we must ALL ask and answer if we are going to life a vitally important and impactful life. Please repeat after me, “Applying the model inside-out changes the heart of leadership. Applying the model inside-out changes the heart of leadership. Applying the model inside-out changes the heart of leadership.”

Vision—Why do I exist? What is my purpose in life?

Mission—What are the essentials of how I achieve my Vision?

Core Values—What explicit behaviors do I need to exhibit to achieve my Vision and Mission?

Strategic Roadmap—What is the reality of my circumstances, environment, “marketplace”, and how do I need to intentionally use my time, talent, and treasure to add value to “my world”?

Alignment—Are all the stakeholders in my life aware of all of the above?

Personal Responsibility—In what specific ways am I using a small community of trusted people and processes to keep me accountable and on track—in order to keep my Vision-Mission vital [not some dead exercise, once done, placed in a drawer and never heard of again]?

Results—Which few yet crucial and explicit results do I use as a “dashboard” to measure whether I am making progress in executing my personal Vision-Mission?

Have you ever undertaken this arduous yet supremely important
and transformational journey in and for yourself?

Leaders of any and all kinds, please consider this fact: If you have not undertaken the personal, inside-out, transformational version of the organizational effectiveness model in and for your own life, you are working NOT ONLY at a tiny fraction of your potential to LEAD—but it’s actually far worse than that.

You are doing a grave disservice to those who are being influenced under your leadership authority.

Any leader who has not addressed the “I” in the big questions of his or her personal life, will never be equipped to address the “WE” at the organizational or public level.

By using the entirety of the John Gardner quote from above, 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. (Emphasis added.)

If you or anyone in a position of leadership have, are, or will in the future, DENY and/or AVOID “the inside-out journey” we’ve reviewed above, you will be axiomatically… without doubt, by logic and unintentional design… be creating an organizational environment, culture that is power- and ego-based, corrosive, secretive, acerbic, divisive, caustic, and undeniably conducive to an UNSATISFACTORY place to work.

Done! That is the hallmark of the vast majority of workplaces in the world today: Employee satisfaction ratings are at an all-time low; and the three top reasons for this is leadership.leadership, and leadership.

It’s never too late to begin the inside-out, heart-transforming, emotion-maturing, leader-developing journey, my friends. Please get going, do not do it alone, and remember: It took us as a culture—and all the people, leaders and institutions therein—a long while and many complicated interactions to get to the place of chaos in which we exist today. It’s impossible to undo what’s been done either overnight, or in an easy fashion. But please focus on the character, courage, and in the right community to try with all your mind, soul, and strength “Today…” (Psalm 95:7-8).


Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey

Leading with a Limp, Dan Allender

The Leadership Challenge, by Kouzes and Posner

On Leadership, HBR

The Marks of a Spiritual Leader, by John Piper

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