Archives For Leadership

encouraging leadership in small groups, churches, Bible studies, and Sunday school classes

Let me introduce you to my friend, Julie. Julie Pierce has one crazy dream: to empower leaders to change the world. She does this through coaching, consulting teams, and speaking around the country. Author of Play, Team, Play!, she lives in the Dallas area with her family. Julie is a dear friend and Writers Boot Camp graduate.

This One Thing Will Destroy Your Team

by Julie Pierce

I reported to a stranger.

Every Monday morning, my boss and I met to dissect my team’s latest marketing plan. His cut-to-the-chase tone and mannerisms made it clear to me he didn’t care to know me as a person, only the details of our projects. These meetings left me feeling like a commodity rather than a contributor, a producer rather than a person.

A few hours later, I’d walk into a meeting with those who reported to me. The transition was like an unexpected ice bucket challenge: a shock to the system.

I knew my team. I sympathized with the financial pressure Frank felt as he pursued a master’s degree. I appreciated Nicki’s ability to silence a crowd with her chimpanzee call. And I understood Cara’s nervousness about pregnancy and Charlie’s nerves about proposing.

In turn, my team knew me. They recognized the “tell” of my tiredness—that’s when my Texas twang drawled every word out for days. They could read the stress on my face and the sparkle in my eyes.

The stark contrast between these two meetings highlighted a deeper truth:

Working for a stranger isolates and demotivates.

Working with a connected team includes and energizes.

Frank, Nicki, Cara, Charlie and I had moved from having a cursory knowledge of cubemates to becoming a knowing community of teammates. Because we knew each other beyond our titles and alma maters, we were motivated to help each other succeed. We wanted to see each other’s strengths shine.

Leader friend, are you leading a group of strangers or an energized, connected team? If you want to lead a dynamic, effective team, try these 3 steps for eliminating the strangers and cultivating team community: Continue Reading...

For the last few weeks, a single phrase rings through my core:

Don’t Miss Your Moment

I sensed it when I held my precious five-week-old twin nephews last week.

Continue Reading...

What’s Your Leadership Made Of—Steel or Straw?

“Do you limp?”

The inquiry caught me off guard. Popular author Gary Smalley and his team were peppering me with questions, determining if I was the best candidate to collaborate on his next project.

“Do you limp?” his mentoree, Ted Cunningham, pressed again, determined to discover if I’d experienced adversity or hardship.

“You have no idea,” I answered.

That conversation, which took place more than six years ago, still echoes in my mind. Gary Smalley, Ted Cunningham, and I have worked on more than a half-dozen projects together, but I’ve never forgotten the issue they raised that day.

Do you limp? remains a timeless question among those in leadership. It’s the gentle way of asking:

Can we survive in a foxhole together?

Are you going to buckle under pressure?  

Have you been tested?

Are you made of steel or straw? Continue Reading...

Hey Small Group Leader, It's Time For You To Fight Back With Joy

What begins as a gift soon becomes a grind.

Endless demands. Pressing deadlines. Unexpected interruptions.

The pressure to perform and produce can leave us feeling weary in the marrow of our being. The joy designed to grow into sweet plumpness soon shrivels. Smiles become forced. Sparkling eyes grow dim.

Those closest to us see the shift long before we recognize it in ourselves. Perhaps this is one reason Paul asks,

Where is that joyful and grateful spirit you felt then?” (Galatians 4:15, NLT)

All leaders—no matter the role or responsibility—are susceptible to losing their sense of happy certainty in God. This becomes all the more acute when your workplace or those you loved or you are are faced with sudden loss, pain, suffering, or death.

In Fight Back With Joy book and Bible study, I share what began as a journey of joy and soon became a terrifying expedition when I was diagnosed with cancer. Tortured alive through brutal experiments, joy felt so out of reach. But somewhere along the way, I discovered that more than whimsy, joy is a weapon we use to fight life’s battles.

Whatever battlefield you find yourself on in life—as a person whose joy-o-meter has bumped down a notch or burned out completely or if you’re in the fight of your life—here are four ways you can begin to fight back with joy as a leader and encourage others to do the same. Continue Reading...

Hey There Strong Woman, It’s Okay to Be Weak Some Days

Hey there Strong Woman,

I can’t help but admire your strength.

When other people say “impossible,” you hear a personal challenge.

When others dare use the word, “can’t,” you manage to find a way

When others are ready to give up, you’ve just begun.

You turn a mountain into a molehill and the overwhelming into manageable.

It’s one of the many things I adore about you.

Now let’s be clear. I know you’re not perfect. You’re the first to admit that. But even after all your self-deprecation, many of us still suspect you have super human strength running through your veins.

Yet even for you, the strong woman, the leader, life is hard sometimes. This world is mixed up and messed up. Continue Reading...