Chemistry

I have a friend who is exceptionally gifted at connecting with people. It is quite inspirational to see him in a room with new people; he is always laughing, and building real relationships from nothing. He’ll meet them, then he’ll organise a Skype date with them, or meet them for coffee, and suddenly he’s build up amazing connections and has real chemistry with a broad range of people who will happily help him with whatever he is doing if they can.

When we look at tasks we want to complete, ideas we want to see realised, or ambitions we want to achieve we think about a number of things. We might look at the resources we have in terms of knowledge, practice, assets, and even people. But do we ask whether we have the necessary chemistry with others to achieve what we’re hoping for?

Sometimes we have great, even inspired ideas, but without relational capital we struggle to get them off the ground. A magnetic, charismatic individual, whom others trust and are drawn to, will often take things further than someone who is working just as hard but does not have that same chemistry with people.

As leaders we want to move people from one place to another. That might be maximising people’s potential as a manager, helping people understand new things as a teacher, convincing people to buy our products as a creator, or encouraging people to take a step closer in faith as a Christian. If we placed more emphasis on connecting with people, and building chemistry, then we would probably take more people with us. This isn’t at the expense of competency, but is an essential ingredient for leaders.

As our chemistry grows, our influence will grow too. The better we know people, the better we can lead. If we have chemistry with others we can take on the world together.

In Luke 2:52 we read that “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” So even Jesus needed to grow in magnetism and chemistry with others. If Jesus needed to grow in his natural chemistry with people, surely we could too.

Are there things that we could do to improve our chemistry with others? Are we intentional about connecting well? Or are we so task focussed that we forget the importance of building chemistry with people?

What one thing could you do today to improve your chemistry with others?

We want to help leaders at LCL to grow in their connection and chemistry with others; to be trusted magnetic influencers wherever they are.

By Joel Sales, LCL Chaplain

Charismata

I recently spoke to someone who works full-time in education and helps to lead a church in her spare time. She said that on a Sunday morning when she leads church services she feels like she is following the leading of the Holy Spirit and doing exactly what He says, but when she gets to work on a Monday she does not feel like that at all, and she would love to bridge that gap.

Many Christians have a similar experience. When it comes to the work of the Holy Spirit there seems to be a disconnect between church and the rest of the week. 

In Acts 2, Peter tells a crowd of thousands that the gift of the Holy Spirit is for everyone, irrespective of gender, age, ethnicity, job, or social status. If we believe those words then we must also believe that we can learn to exercise the spiritual gifts of wisdom, understanding, and courage every day. The work of the Holy Spirit cannot be limited to church on Sundays. 

What might it look like if in our day-to-day interactions with family, friends, colleagues, and strangers, we spoke not only with our wisdom but with God's wisdom? How would our motivations change if we walked in God's understanding not merely our own? And how different would our lives look if we had God's courage? 

The only way we can begin to live like this is if we invite the Holy Spirit into every situation we find ourselves in, every opportunity we encounter, and every relationship we have. This is the fuel for distinctively Christian leaders. No great Biblical leader fulfilled God's purposes without relying on the Holy Spirit, and we cannot expect to either. We need to constantly be asking ‘am I inviting the Holy Spirit to lead me in this?’. 

We want to grow leaders at LCL who not only recognise a need for the Holy Spirit in every situation, but learn to hear His voice and walk in His wisdom, understanding, and courage. 

By Joel Sales, LCL Chaplain

Congratulations Class of 2016!

LCL's Class of 2016 had their graduation a few weeks ago. We thought we'd share a few of those special moments with you. Enjoy. 

Character

Undeniably, character is the foundation of all true leadership. Your character is who you really are.

It will impact how much you accomplish in this life and will make or break every one of your relationships.

The Apostle Paul placed such emphasis on unblemished character that he listed it as the first qualification for Christian Leadership in 1 Timothy 3 v 2: 'An overseer, then, must be above reproach.' Out of character great leaders have been born. There is a price to be paid to become a woman or man of character. Integrity and courage are virtues that must be nurtured and developed over time. Desire alone is not enough. Actions speak louder than words.

Compromised convictions, and reshuffled values leads to the volcano of character eruption.

James Kouzes and Barry Posner surveyed nearly 1500 managers from around the country in a study sponsored by the American Management Association. They asked the following open ended question: 'What values, personal traits, or characteristics do you look for and admire in your superiors?'.

More than 225 different values, traits and characteristics were identified and the most frequent response was 'has integrity, is truthful, is trustworthy, has character, has convictions.' As a society we are certainly consistent when it comes to the kind of character we expect of others. Time and again humanity demands behaviour from one another that echoes the values and priorities of the apostles and prophets of old.

Without necessarily realising it we long for others to model the character exemplified in our Saviour. We recognise inconsistency in the people we live with.

At the LCL we put a premium on prioritising character formation and it is our vision and aim to release exceptionally competent leaders with excellent character with deep roots throughout the UK and beyond.

By Rob Wall, LCL Faculty

Calling

You may possibly think it is an eccentric hobby and interest of mine but I really enjoy reading obituaries. When I get the paper one of the first pages I turn to is the obituary column as I find it fascinating learning about the background of the movers and shakers of our world and seeing what they are remembered for. Whenever I read or listen to an obituary I do so with a filter going on - a subtext in my mind which is saying I wonder what God makes of this life?

A German theologian called Teliker once preached at St Michael's Cathedral, Hamburg – and at the end of his life one of the things he said was ‘God will have to write in red ink beneath the story of many lives "a remarkable performance, lively, fascinating, interesting but you missed the whole point and by that time the story will have ended and cannot be re-written".'

How do we live a life under the influence of God? Because it's my conviction that we'll never get anywhere near living our lives to our full potential until we allow God to influence and speak into our lives as we respond to His will. Our willingness to be obedient and follow God's call will influence the speed that His kingdom will come.

Each of us has a specific, particular and individual vision or call that God wants us to expend our energy, time and money on. And when people do that there is no limit to what God can do and what can happen. Through us He can change the world.

Think of Moses, Saul or Peter who were ordinary people whose everyday life yielded no clue to the potential available through God's hands. We often become conditioned by the magnitude of what they achieved as they walked with God, that we put them on a pedestal as if they are made of different stuff. We do it in a small way if we meet big names, film stars, politicians, or sports personality that we find it difficult to remember they are very ordinary people.

God uses ordinary lives to do extraordinary things. At the LCL it’s our aim to see ordinary people in every sphere of society be filled with the Holy Spirit and sent out to do extraordinary things for God’s Kingdom. At the LCL we explore calling in depth within a biblical framework and creating a lense for students to view their gifts, skills and passions to harness their ability to discern and move forward into the calling God has on each person’s life.

By Rob Wall, LCL Faculty

Competence

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The author John Gardner once said, 'The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.' We all admire people who display high competence, whether they are precision craftsmen, world-class athletes, or successful business leaders. And most of us want to be seen as competent at our work. 

For leaders, competence is especially important. It can determine whether followers respect and follow you - or don't. Here are some specific ways to cultivate the quality of competence: 

1. Show up every day. There’s a saying, 'All things come to him who waits.' Unfortunately, sometimes it’s just the leftovers from the people who got there first.  Responsible people show up when they’re expected. But highly competent people take it a step farther. They don’t show up in body only. They come ready to play every day – no matter how they feel, what kind of circumstances they face, or how difficult they expect the game to be. 

2. Keep improving. Highly competent people search for ways to keep learning and growing. The way do that is by asking why. After all, the person who knows how may always have a job, but the person who knows why will be the boss. 

3. Follow through with excellence. I’ve never met a person I considered competent who didn’t follow through. Willa A. Foster remarked, 'Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.' Performing with a high level of excellence is always a choice, an act of the will. 

As leaders, we expect our people to follow through when we hand them the ball. They expect that and a whole lot more from us as their leaders. 

4. Accomplish more than expected. Highly competent people always go the extra mile. For them, good enough is never good enough. In Men in Mid-Life Crisis, Jim Conway writes that some people feel 'a weakening of the need to be a great man and an increasing feeling of let’s just get through this the best way we can.' Leaders cannot afford to have that kind of attitude. They need to do their job, and then some, day in and day out. 

5. Inspire others. Highly competent leaders do more than perform at a high level. They inspire and motivate their people to do the same. While some people rely on relational skills alone to survive, effective leaders combine these skills with high competence to take their organizations to a new levels of excellence and influence. Where do you stand when it comes to getting the job done? Do you attack everything you do with fervor and perform at the highest level possible? Or is good enough sometimes good enough for you? 

When you think about people who are competent, you’re really considering only three types of people:

  • Those who can see what needs to happen.
  • Those who can make it happen.
  • Those who can make things happen when it really counts.

We want to develop leaders at the LCL who are committed to growing in competency - and our challenge to you reading this today is: what is the one thing you are going to do today that will improve your competences for tomorrow?

By Rob Wall, LCL Faculty

Chemistry

Great leaders connect with people emotionally. No matter what your goals are if you can't connect with others it will cost you. Good communication is paramount for the person who aims to make a difference by partnering and connecting with others. If you can connect with others at every level—one-on-one, in groups, and with an audience—your relationships will be stronger, your sense of community will improve, and your ability to create teamwork will increase. In addition, your influence grows, and your productivity skyrockets.

What do I mean when I say 'connect'?  I define connecting as the ability to identify with people and relate to them in such a way that it increases our influence with them.  Why is it so important?  Because the ability to connect with others is a major determining factor in reaching your potential. To achieve anything of lasting value, you must partner with others. And to do that at your absolute best, you must learn to connect.

How much healthier would your relationships be if you excelled at connecting?  What would your marriage be like?  How much happier would your family life be?  How much better would you be at getting along with your neighbors if you were able to connect with them? 

How would being a better connector impact your career?  What would happen if you were fantastic at connecting with your co-workers or employees? 

Being able to connect with people one-on-one is the most important skill – more important than connecting in a group or with an audience.  Why?  Because 80 to 90 percent of all connecting occurs on this level, and this is where you connect with the people in your life who are most important to you. Think about how you tend to connect with friends, family, colleagues, and coworkers. Do you hold yourself to a high standard of connection and positive impact?

Chemistry and emotional intelligence are key values at the LCL which we explore through a variety of psychology tests and interactive sessions to help our students learn awareness with regards to themselves and those who are around them.

By Rob Wall, LCL Faculty

Charismata

Charismata: 'Eagerly desire the Spiritual gifts.' 1 Corinthians 14:1 

As Christians, whatever sphere of influence and industry we find ourselves working in, we serve a gift-giving God. As we mine the scriptures we gain both insight and an understanding into the nature and character of God who pours out tools for us to share the wonder of who he is. As James says: 'Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.'

Of course, we see that he preeminently gave himself to us at the cross and he gave his Spirit to us at Pentecost, but he has also given his Church gifts to use and display on a day to day basis. Therefore, if by nature God is a gift-giving God, it makes sense that God would want to give his Church 'charisms' the greek word meaning 'grace gifts'. They are the visible signs of God's invisible presence given by the ascended Christ through the descended spirit. 

Thomas Smail, a charismatic theologian, says of Christians in the workplace: 'So often we are aware of these gifts but don't appropriate them and see how we can apply them in our every day lives.' Moreover in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 Paul urges the Church to 'eagerly desire' the Spiritual gifts, and not to be 'indifferent' to them.

Therefore at the LCL it is a priority for us to do just that, to appropriate and identify the gifts God has gifted us with and learn how we can actively use the gifts and regularly exercise them in our sessions and on a day to day basis in our workplaces. The gifts are given to build one another up, to encourage and to actively witness to the power that we have living within us and that God wants us to use these gifts to usher in his Kingdom here on earth. These gifts are given not simply to bring strength to the Church but health to our cities, workplaces, colleagues and those who are yet to know God. Ultimately, we at the LCL believe that if we want to honour the presence of God, we need to learn how to open the presents of God and that's exactly why we prioritise the Holy Spirit's charisms at the LCL. 

By Rob Wall, LCL Faculty

 

Character

In the leadership arena, character counts. At the LCL our convictions about character are based upon studies and observations alongside regular interviews with top leaders who come in to the college. RT Kendall, a recent speaker at the LCL, once said: 'I've never seen a person derailed from leadership positions for lack of technical competence, but I've seen lots of people derailed for lack of judgment and character.' For that reason we at the LCL put a premium on character as out of character great leaders have been born. 

The word 'character' is derived from a Greek term that refers to engraving, implying that character is the sum of the indelible marks imprinted on you. Character is your inner substance - the content of your heart that is manifested through your behaviour and values. Character, in other words, is who you are when nobody's watching. The real you. Jesus' ministry was largely concerned with character therefore it is an area we focus on at the LCL. We teach our students that character must be based on a reliable and an unchanging standard. This standard is the bible, the Holy Spirit and community. These three elements act as three key pillars and represents the repository of character shaping wisdom. 

We are aware our character doesn't grow on our own. Character is developed and inculcated in community and therefore at the LCL with our regular net groups and one to one meetings, as well as the in depth teaching on character we promote character as the foundation for all true leadership. 

By Rob Wall, LCL Faculty

Calling

We at the Leadership College are passionate that our students discern, discover and deal with the important subject of Calling. Over the course of the year we help students to wrestle with important questions such as: 'Why am I called?' 'How do I know I am called?' 'How do I know what God's will for my life is?'. Using the acronym 'C.A.L.L' we discover four essential elements that make up the foundations of what being called looks like:

C - Leaders are CALLED first to a relationship with Christ

Most of us, when we think about calling, ask the question:  'What do you want me to do, Lord?'  'What task have you called me to, Lord?' But there is a prior and more fundamental question for everyone called to leadership that must be answered:  'Who are you, Lord?'  A call to leadership is, first of all, always a call to deep personal relationship with Christ.

A - Leaders are AWARE of themselves

Much contemporary work on leadership is about emotional intelligence and self-awareness  - really understanding ourselves, knowing our gifts, talents and the contributions we uniquely make, knowing our weaknesses and the derailing baggage that keep us from reaching our full potential; understanding ourselves well enough to know what drives us, what triggers our emotional responses, and why we have the views that we do.

L - Leaders use LOVE as their motivating power

Many modern business leadership books claim to derive their lessons from the 16th century work of Niccolo Machiavelli summarized with this quote, 'If you have to make a choice, to be feared is much safer than to be loved. For it is a good general rule about men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, liars and deceivers, fearful of danger and greedy for gain.'

Compare this counsel to Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit Order, 'Leaders must act with great affection towards others, an affection that is coupled with a passion to see the other person run at full speed towards perfection'. 

L - Leader are LIFE-LONG LEARNERS

Leaders who change the world are those who are open to being changed themselves, constantly asking questions, rethinking issues and opinions from fresh angles. As they go after Jesus, life-long learners are discovering and rediscovering who Jesus will be for them.

So whether you've discovered what your calling is or not, we at Leadership College London endeavour to unpack and explore the foundations of what that looks like. To find out more about the LCL curriculum click here.

By Rob Wall, LCL Faculty

Ode to the Critical, but Honest Sounding Board

Portraits by Rembrandt always catch you off guard with a special quality - the brilliant use of light to illuminate key aspects of the subject. The effective utilisation of a limited palette, the dark, almost transparent, backgrounds all set off the subject in a way never seen before and often inviting the viewer to be pensive afterwards.

The remarkable aspect of Rembrandt's technique is that he used the darkness to describe the light.

In the same way a critical, but honest, sounding board can provide advice at the right time, often to an unwilling subject, to best drive the learning, the catalyst to change or the rebuke illuminating the area in question hidden from the individual.

As a developing leader, I was reminded this week of the value of a critical, but honest, sounding board. Highlighting potential flaws in my character and challenging my thinking with objectivity and love to inspire me to grow.

This is an ode to the critical, but honest, sounding board. May their feedback be appreciated and reflected upon long after the emotional defense walls have been broken down. 

By Carel Aucamp, LCL Student

Thoughts around Competition

Competition is an integral part of today's work culture. Companies encourage competition as a way of driving performance by recognising and rewarding good performance. Employees also respond to the competitive stimulus - some push/stretch themselves to grow and excel. Others go to extreme, unpleasant and sometimes even illegal measures to stay ahead in the race. A look into the finance industry will provide good examples of this.

Is it possible to compete without necessarily getting nasty or pushing the boundaries of legality? Can one compete in a Christ-like way? Absolutely, by seeing competition through the appropriate lenses, one can play a clean competitive game.

Here's how:

1) Remember that performance indicators are just that - they are not our identity. Failure in your performance as an employee does not mean you are a failure as a human. You will always be a success in God's eyes.

2) Competition is an opportunity to stretch and extend your abilities - take advantage of it.

3) Learn from those who are successful - identify what they are doing well and learn from them.

4) Identify your strengths and then build your reputation around those.

By Kemi Ayorinde, LCL Student