Thursday, 28 November 2013

Attitudes of a Leader # 4

(Week four of this 5 week series taken from a talk given at the RFC Leadership Summit.)

4: Eager to listen

As a guy with a reasonably strong leadership gift and the experience I have this is something that I am constantly working on.  

Have you found yourself in a position when you have been trying to speak about something but all you sense is that the person has heard your first statement and is just waiting to put forward their wisdom, their expert take, their opinion that of course is the considered best practice! 

Actually you just want help to process an issue or just want to be listened to. 

I know that I have been that person who hasn’t listened and I know  that that has not been constructive at all, but I want to be a leader that is eager to listen.  

To know when to speak and when to be silent.  

To feedback reflectively when someone is speaking to me.  

To take time to really hear what the person is concerned about or is proposing.

The truth is when someone feels listened to, you may not agree with the content and you may not come to an accord on it, but the person will feel valued.  They will feel their voice has been heard, that they haven’t wasted your time and it keeps the relational bridge open. This results in everyone being able to move forward together living with differing opinions.

Let's work our attitude of being eager to listen.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Attitudes of a Leader @ RFC #3

(Week three of this 5 week series taken from a talk given at the RFC Leadership Summit.)

3: Easy to lead

Are you easy to lead or more like this dog?
At a leadership summit we must be aware that a leader must be one who can also be led and led easily.  How could you ever expect anyone you lead to have a good attitude to leadership if you yourself do not display that?

What does this mean?  

It certainly does not mean being yes people.  Being easy to lead doesn't mean you just have to agree, although agreeing is also fine. 

It means that we are 'can do', willing to see problems, but talk about them positively, with potential solutions. 

It means we are flexible, the very nature of working with volunteers in a growing setting, where the Holy Spirit can lead, means we can’t just live in our trenches or silos of thinking.  Flexibility is so important in an ever changing environment.  Now this does of course meaning having a positive attitude to change, I know that I don’t like change but I have tried to cultivate a positive attitude towards it because change is inevitable as the kingdom of God advances.

It means we are willing to do whatever is needed.  Again we will not always be engaged with the things we feel we are necessarily good at.  I remember being the church administrator for a while, now for some of you that know me well you will now that this was me playing well out of position, but as leaders at RFC we need to be those who are willing to do whatever the church needs, whatever will help her to flourish.

Do we exhibit an attitude that says that we are easy to lead, or is this something that we need to ask for God's help on? 

Thursday, 14 November 2013

ITP update #2

This Monday I went for my specialist appointment at he hospital.  I've got to be honest I went with high expectations of getting some more clarity as to what the next treatment was going to be.  This drug that they were going to apply to put me on.

As I sat in his room he told me that he was pleased that the platelet count was over 30 and that we could leave it now for a while to see how things will progress.  At this point I asked about playing badminton and cycling, after al he had said he was happy with my count.  At this he scoffed and said that I should still steer clear of those things!  He also said that the drug that had been suggested the week before was not actually the next line of treatment, the next line of treatment was to remove my spleen.  ( I thought that the ritoxamab was instead of this.)

He also sent me for another blood test to check for some stomach bug that may cause ITP to come on.  in fact this specialist was surprised I hadn't been checked for this already.

So in all it was a visit that left me with little clarity at all.  I see a specialist again in 4 weeks time to see how the count is doing, as they are leaving time for the ritoxamab to work. In the meantime I remain on a low dosage of steroids reducing slowly over a longer period than was first stated to reduce the side effects of withdrawal.

The only thing that did bring some clarity was some understanding as to why I feel tired most of the time.  He was very clear that the reason for this is because of the low platelet count.  he is the first of the doctors and nurses who have treated me to make this clear to me, it's not the steroids or any other treatments, it's the fact I have low platelets.

The last thing I want is for anyone to read this is as me moaning.  This must be such a hard thing to treat as there is no clear cause and I know that it is all trial and error and having to wait.  I have been generally looked after so well and I now have to get used to the long haul care of a people who are stretched to the limits.  My prayers are with the medical staff and I ask that yours would be too.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Attitudes of a Leader @ RFC #2

2: Embracing generosity

Generosity is a thing we practice but starts as a heart attitude.  Generosity basically says I am open handed with what I have.  Of course it does have financial implications.  As leaders at RFC we know that we are given the great responsibility of being stewards of the resources that God has given to us and we take that seriously and with great joy.  When we lead others into gift days and regular giving we can only do that if we have a positive attitude ourselves, an attitude that says this is not always easy or convenient, but is a blessing to us that helps us to display our faith and trust in Jesus.

This has time implications. Leadership often means that we will be those who go the extra mile and put in the extra hours and that takes a positive attitude as time is precious and there is so much we can do with it.  With a generous attitude we can guide against bitterness and thinking others should be doing more.

However embracing generosity also means that we are generous with our words, with praise with affirmation and with encouragement.  We can be so keen to get the job done that we forget to take time to congratulate and recognise effort, and this needs to be done far more than we think.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Anticipating meeting with God

This Saturday the RFC Alpha course travels to Beaconsfield for the Alpha Day Away. There are 24 of us travelling over and we look forward to a time where we will further build relationships with each other and eat good food.  

However I am also in anticipation that we are going to encounter God powerfully. I am believing that the Holy Spirit will change hearts and minds as he comes and meets with individuals just as he did in the home of Cornelius in Acts 10.  I am also looking forward to meeting him again personally as I speak through three sessions and lay hands on those who come forward for prayer.  

Our God is a Father who loves to see his family grow and I am believing that Saturday will be a day of growth!  Please pray for salvation and tangible experiences of meeting with our God, that get people moving further on in their journey with Jesus.


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Latest news from the ITP journey

So I have had a couple of blood tests since first I blogged about the ITP thing.  One recorded a drop to 26 and the latest has recorded a rise whereby the platelet count is currently at 32.  this is still a long way off 150!

Whilst on the phone to the hospital they told me to reduce my steroid intake again which is good and there now seems to be an end to that treatment and they also told me that they are looking into another line of treatment that will boost production of my platelets.  This will either be by tablet or injection.  I guess I will have to wait until the specialist appointment on Monday to know whether they will pursue this course of treatment with me or not.

In the meantime please pray for energy levels and clarity of thought as I do all I need to do this week.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Attitudes of a leaders @ RFC #1

You may have seen from Sean's blog that he has been going through his session notes from the leadership summit that we had back in September.  I too have been asked for my session notes and will put them up here as I try to get the blog back on track!

John Maxwell argues that our attitude is our greatest asset in leadership, because being a leader is to bring influence and therefore our attitude affects the attitudes of all those around us.

At RFC we are people who want tp work at being those who have positive attitudes as we believe that is what it is to follow Jesus, particularly in leadership.

1: Erring to grace

The other way of looking at this is to say how do we respond when someone messes up around us or doesn't quite do it how we would do it and therefore maybe not as well as we might think we may have done?

When someone lets you down on team by not turning up, when you feel you’re being asked again to go again, when someone doesn't do what they said they would or what you have asked them to – how do we respond? 

We could go straight for the behaviour.  This is the way to is done, this is what you said, this just isn't good enough!  The problem with this is that firstly we are a volunteer organisation.  As much as we need people to follow through on what they say they will do, they will mess up just like us!  

The second thing to remember here is that God doesn't treat us like this. He walks with us in our behaviours bearing with them training and teaching us, that we might become more like him.

Erring to grace doesn't mean we shrug our shoulders and ignore the fact that things are not going well, it means that we choose to work with the person to help them grow and that could mean releasing them to go do something else.

Within church leadership, grace is paramount. Grace says there’s room to get it wrong, grace says there is room to do it differently, grace says there is room to grow, and grace says we deal with you as an individual.

That's it for this week, next week we'll look at Embracing Generosity