Category Archives: Leadership

Speed of the leader…

20160413_113933If there is one life lesson I have learned…it would be “speed of the leader, speed of the team“.  I learned this from a wise man who leads by example, living his life striving for excellence. He is a quiet leader, practicing what he preaches. But, not all leaders live or act in a way that makes a positive impact on their team…Sometimes a team is made up of more than one type of leader.

I have worked for individuals who found fault at every turn.  There was never room at the table for an exchange of ideas. There was never room in the conversation for constructive criticism.  And there was absolutely never room for encouragement. Their leadership style is dictatorial.

I have worked with individuals who  looked for opportunities to share wisdom and encourage team members.   They were open to new ideas. They offered constructive criticism looking at each situation from all points of view.  They always offered encouragement. Their leadership style was that of a teacher. DSC04761

Who do you think I learned more from, the person I worked for or the person I worked with… I learned from both. The critical leader bullied his team into producing results. The encouraging leader recognized team weaknesses and took the time to teach new skills which produced results.  Both leaders achieved results…both made an impact on my life.

I am still learning…I recently left a job where I hired and raised up a team of leaders. I was the same type of leader with each of the individuals on my team. Most of my team members became leaders who lead with compassion, enthusiasm and encouragement. The members of their teams produced incredible results week in and week out.  Their team members are thriving and productive. Speed of the leader…speed of the team.

However, not all of them responded in kind to my leadership style. One in particular turned out to be the polar opposite of me; always critical, accusatory and rarely encouraging. This leader is struggling to maintain an effective team. Speed of the leader…speed of the team.

DSC04819I do not take credit or responsibility for the type of leaders the people I hired have become..We are all products of our environment….we are each responsible for the choices we make and what we do with those decisions. We become who we choose to become…

I choose to be a leader who leads with enthusiasm, compassion and encouragement.  I will help my team achieve their goals and dreams. In turn I will achieve my dreams and goals.  I will be able to look people in the eye knowing I have done my very best for everyone involved.  I will be able to lay my head down on my pillow at night without a single regret.

Speed of the leader…




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Filed under 2014 52 Week Photo Challenge, 2016, Leadership, Life

Speak Life…

Be a lamp

When is the last time you stopped to consider the words you speak?  I think about it quite often.  I have witnessed the power of the spoken word and how it can lift someones spirit or tear them down. I have seen  the crushing blow of a parents angry words to a child over a missed pitch in a baseball game.  I have seen a beautiful vibrant woman turned into a sad shell of herself due to the constant insults leveled at her by her husband.  I have also witnessed a husband lose his sense of self-worth because his hard work goes unnoticed by his family.   Then on the other hand,  I have seen tears replaced with laughter, desperation replaced with hope.  I have seen anger replaced with peace,  rejection replaced with acceptance.  I have seen a lost soul find their purpose.  All because of the spoken word.

This week one of my young volunteers lost his life in a horrific accident.  As you can imagine the family and everyone who knew him are devastated.  When the Pastor met with the family the grandmother recounted a story of how one particular person had spoken words of encouragement to this young man while he was volunteering and the incredibly positive affect it had on him. “Her words lifted his spirit!”

Every conversation and interaction we have is an opportunity to speak hope  into someone’s life. Recently, Toby Mac released a new CD, Eye On It.  There is one particular song that I listen to almost everyday on my to work…Speak Life.  The lyrics remind me that I have the power to speak hope, love and life into someone’s world…

“It’s Crazy to imaging that the words from our lips as the arms of compassion. Mountains crumble with every syllable. Hope can live or die. So speak life. Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted. watch them come alive as soon as you speak love, speak hope, speak life.”

What will you do with your words today…tear someone down or Speak Life?

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Filed under encouragment, Faith, Leadership

I Plead the Fifth…

I would like to plead the fifth when someone asks me what I do for a living…It’s not that I don’t like what I do, as a matter of fact I love my work. It is my dream job! However, when the dreaded question is asked…my answer never seems to encompass the importance of what I do. Usually when I give a short answer like, I work for the church”, people get this strange look on their face and the conversation ends with a “OH, that’s nice”.

I am not trying to embellish what I do but I would like for people to know what I do makes a difference in people’s lives and sometimes that is hard to communicate…

I am the Director of the Welcome Ministry, a ministry of first impressions for New Hope Church. I am the book and gift buyer for the New Hope Bookstore. I oversee 6 volunteer ministries that include the Bookstore,Cafe, Connect, Greeter, Usher and Information volunteers. These teams consist of over 400 volunteers who serve on a bi-weekly rotation. My job also encompasses special projects that take place in the church lobby and auditorium.

The Ministry of First Impressions is made up of hundreds of tiny little details that work hand in hand to make a great first and  lasting impression on a visitor or a regular attendee. We greet people with a warm smile and an encouraging word. We provide a tour of the campus to help people feel like family instead of a visitor or intruder. We offer them a hot cup of coffee and a pastry on the house. We make sure they have a listening guide so they can follow along with the announcements and the lesson. We help them find a comfortable seat. We provide a wide variety of bibles, books and gifts that will help them with their spiritual walk. And the experts tell us that we only have 7 minutes to make a great first impression. No pressure. Right?!

When we get it right, people feel like that have found a place where they belong and are among friends and family. When we get it right people find a place of peace where there is hope and encouragement in difficult times. When we get it right people’s hearts are ready to hear a Word from God and that can be life changing…

So you see pleading the fifth is not really an option…I just would like to find a way to express what I do in a way that leaves people thinking, WOW! instead of “oh”…


Filed under Faith, Leadership

Social Media…Friend or Foe?

Social Media…it all started off friendly enough.  A few years back I heard about Facebook and I hesitantly but excitedly stuck my foot into the waters of social media.  It wasn’t long before I was sending out friend requests and playing some of the games.  Then I noticed that all I talked about was Facebook this and Facebook that.  Then the May to December affair began to fade and the indifference set in.  Even though I tried to breakup with Facebook my friends would have none of it.  The next thing I knew I was signing up for a WordPress blog.  I was posting, commenting on others blogs and checking my stats like a person with a compulsive disorder.  This naturally progressed to tweeting and then pinning came along and now there is LinkedIn and google+ and the list is every growing and changing. 

My life is truly consumed with social media…from almost the first thing in the morning to almost the last thing at night.  I am checking emails, making status updates, tweeting, pinning, commenting and retweeting.   This is not a complaint, it’s a statement.  The more I try to keep up with the trends the more I discover how fast things change.  Staying relevant is hard work and time-consuming.

I have learned if someone is going to use social media to develop a personal brand or a business brand they must stay focused and committed to keeping their sites current and interesting.  Having a social media site that is neglected is more detrimental than not having one at all. If I visit a blog or a Facebook page that hasn’t been updated in more than a month I assume the page/person isn’t relevant to what I am searching for at that moment.  I am on to the next page with a click of my mouse and not a second thought is given to the previous site. 

Through trial and error I have learned that there should be continuity from one social media site to the next…that is if you are looking to develop an online presence.   I am not sure when or why all of this social media branding will come into play in my life’s journey but I am doing what I can to keep my online presence focused, current and interesting. 

I do know that human resource departments of large and small companies alike are very interested in your online social presence.  They want to get a closer look at who you are when you let your hair down.  This is where your social media presence can turn into a foe.  If you are wild and carefree with your postings and leave your privacy settings wide open you are opening yourself up to being examined under a microscope.  A good rule of thumb to follow…If you wouldn’t want your mother or grandmother to see your post then don’t post it.  Unless of course your mother is Sharon Osborne then you would probably want to choose a different gauge for your postings. 

My WordPress blog, Nolagirlatheart is a personal blog it gives people who read it a glimpse into my hobbies, interests, views and lifestyle.  My Facebook page  is focused more on my friends, acquaintances and business associates with a sprinkling of my personal comings and goings.  I also manage two Facebook pages; Nola Girl at Heart and New Hope Church Bookstore .  I also enjoy the very popular site Pinterest for keeping up with the trends in fashion, home decorating and cooking.  I know this site has a place in the social media spectrum but for know I will keep it for my personal use and not for building my online identity, but that will probably change very soon or maybe it already has.   Then there is my Twitter page nolagirl4real which is a combination of all of the aforementioned social media accounts wrapped up into one place. If I follow your blog or like your Facebook page or am interested in what you do I will follow you on Twitter.  What’s next?  Well I am continually asked to join Linkedin…the professional networking social media site.  So far I have declined all invitations to join…I recently looked into Google+ but I decided not to jump in. 

What will all this matter a year from now?…Who knows… maybe I will get a call from out of the blue offering me a once in a lifetime opportunity that no girl in her right mind would turn down. You know the one that pays you obscene amounts of money to work from home Blogging about your favorite recipes and chalk painted furniture you found on Pinterest while updating your Facebook page with the photos of your attempts at cooking and painting and then crafting 140 character tweets to entice your followers to click on your link.  Ahhhhh….I think I am qualified for that job!

Social media…friend or foe it’s your choice…choose wisely.

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Filed under Leadership

Wordless Wednesday…Lead Me

Where You lead, I will go… “Be strong and courageous, for the Lord your God goes with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Deut 31:6



Filed under Blogging Challenges, Faith, Leadership

Speed of the leader…

speed of the leader…

As I look at this picture(google image) I see the speed of the leader, the front-runner, the person who is setting the pace.  He has his eyes focused on the gaol which in this situation is the finish line.  There is nothing distracting him from his goal.    His pace is encouraging the others to run harder and keep up the pace. The leader has the clear vision. The front-runner, the leader of the pack in this picture has his head up, eyes focused, his pace seems natural.

Then my eye is drawn to those behind the leader.  What are they thinking?  What is their goal?  Their goal is to surpass the leader.    The runners who are behind the leader are focused on the leader.  Should the leader slow his pace or falter the runner who is as focused and committed as the leader will see his opportunity to rise to occasion and surpass the leader.  Therefore setting a new pace…but as always the speed of leader sets the pace for the speed of the team.

 Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Have you heard the phrase Speed of the leader speed of the team?  I have heard it many times.  So much so it is what I think of when I am organizing a team of volunteers.  I think of it when I am planning a new volunteer orientation or organizing a training meeting. 

An effective leader is someone who has the ability to get others to willingly follow them.  An effective leader has a clear vision and excitedly shares it with the team while continually keeping the team focused on the vision.  Communicating clearly and passionately as passion is contagious.  An effective leader is always doing something in pursuit of the vision, while inspiring others to do the same. 

The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.
Ken Blanchard

An effective leader is dedicated and inspires dedication while leading by example.  An effective leader gives credit where it is due and takes responsibility for failures.  An effective leader is open to listening to new ideas even if they do not conform to the usual way of thinking.  An effective leader thinks outside of the box.  An effective leader checks all of the facts and avoids jumping to conclusions based on incomplete evidence.   An effective leader has the ability to clearly state expectations so that there are no misunderstandings.  And an effective leader must have a sense of humor.  It is vital to relieve tension and boredom as well as defuse hostility.   

The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.
Ralph Nader

An effective leader sets the tone.  Leaders must never expect from others anything more than they’re willing to deliver themselves. 

Speed of the Leader, Speed of the Team. Don’t expect your team to Give or Fight or Sacrifice or Love or Forgive or Stay focused more than you are.


Filed under Leadership, postaweek2011