R. Bryan Braley

Listener, Learner, Leader

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What is Leadership? – Part 2

Part II – A Personal Theory of Leadership – Definition of Leadership

Be sure to read Part 1 to establish some context for this article.

A topic must be defined in order to be studied. Therefore, I will begin by offering a definition of leadership. The following definitions were of particular interest to me as a part of this exercise: influence; (Maxwell J. C., p. 21) making things better; (Summerfield, 2014) the influential increment over and above mechanical compliance with the routine directives of the organization; articulating visions, embodying values, and creating the environment within which things can be accomplished; the process of giving purpose to collective effort; the process of making sense of what people are doing so that people will understand and be committed; and the process of influencing others to understand and agree about what needs to be done and how to do it, and the process of facilitating individual and collective efforts to accomplish shared objectives. (Yukl, pp. 3-7) After considering the experts’ definitions and my understanding of leadership, I offer the following definition:

Leadership is employing vision, communication, and role modeling in the process of influencing others to work together toward a common goal while facilitating the achievement of individual and shared objectives. 

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Before I was Born, God had a Plan

In Jeremiah 1:5, God tells Jeremiah that He knew him even before he was conceived and that He had a plan for him even before he was born. Acts 10:34 states that God does not show favoritism, or that He is no respecter of persons. When I think about these two verses, I am humbled by the fact that God knew who I was even before I was born. But what else should I expect from the One who knows the end from the beginning.

These verses also give me the confidence that God has a plan for my life and helps me to realize with the Psalmist that the Lord will work out His plans for my life. (Psalm 138:8) I know that I am His for I have accepted the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ so that I could be made pure in the sight of God. I also know, according to Romans 8:28 that everything will work out for my good because I love the Lord and I have been called by Him to do His will on this earth. Whether “my good” comes in this life or in eternity is up to God, not me.

So, this morning, as I read His word, He has spoken to my heart. He told me through His word and the witness of His Spirit that He knows my name and my situation. He also assured me that He has plans for the rest of my life. I pray that I will take the steps today that move His plan forward.

Remember that God knows you and has a plan for you as well. Take a few moments today to ask Him to lead you and guide your footsteps.

He loves you, right where you are, regardless of your past, present, or future.

What is Leadership? – Part 1

Part I – A Personal Theory of Leadership – Introduction

Leadership has been defined, described, dissected, and diagnosed by leaders, followers, researchers, philosophers, educators, and students throughout history.

The very utterance of the word evokes images of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Nelson Mandela, and Gandhi as they led their world through turbulent times. It also forces us to realize that Adolph Hitler, Mao Tse-tong, and Joseph Stalin were great leaders in their own right. They simply practiced bad leadership. (Kellerman, 2005)  It could even be argued that without the lens of hindsight, those that followed them counted each as a great leader, regardless of the effects of their leadership on others. Therefore, as John Maxwell stated, I must conclude that, “leadership is leadership, no matter where you go or what you do.” (Maxwell J. C., p. 8) Continue reading

Tailwind – The Missing Ingredient?

Having suffered several running injuries during my inaugural year, I decided to do things a little differently for this one.

Before my last race in November, 2016, I went to visit my chiropractor to see if anything could be done for my knee. In late August, I had listened more to a well-meaning fellow runner than to my own body on a pretty long trail run. As I had been training on trails all summer long in preparation for the Dogwood Canyon 50K, I knew what pain I could push through and what pain I couldn’t. But, I failed to listen to my body, and I’ve been paying for it for almost six months. My chiropractor told me that I had about three months worth of rehab ahead of me. He also said I needed to “get a butt” by actually cross-training and doing weight work for my legs. I honestly never thought I’d hear a doctor tell me to get a butt.

The last week of December, I bit the bullet and dove in to Shaun T’s Focus T25 program. I’ll have to admit that I probably wasn’t physically ready for the workouts, but, hey, I’m stubborn, and I’m an endurance runner. Besides, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? I am currently about half way through the Beta portion and, though I’ve found several things I can’t do as well as the team on the screen, I’ve been impressed with my ability to keep up. I no longer find shame in following Shaun’s go-to modifier, Tania. My plan is to complete all three circuits and then start the whole thing over. With the workouts lasting approximately 30 minutes per day with the cool-down exercises, they form half of my morning workout routine. Continue reading

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