Issue No. 299 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting highlights a book with 30 leadership prayers. Profound prayers. Quotable quotes you’ll use immediately, including, “If leadership were easy, everyone would be a great leader.” And this reminder, check out my Management Buckets website with dozens of resources and downloadable worksheets for your staff meetings.
Blundering Into Hubris
Last week, I had the privilege of facilitating a two-day board leadership and development program with nine nonprofit organizations. I mentioned a treasured book, Leadership Prayers, and passed my marked-up copy around the room.
I was reminded of C.S. Lewis’ wisdom, “It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.” So today I’m re-running my review from 2010 and enjoying my third read of this little gem.
I’m not sure there is a tougher job than serving as a Christian college or university president. Four words: faculty, alumni, parents and donors. Well, maybe five words: students.
Richard Kriegbaum served and survived. It drove him to prayer, and fortunately for the rest of us, he wrote down his prayers—along with his very transparent insights and reflections. He writes, “Leaders do not pray to inform God of what is happening. He already knows. And they do not pray to get Him to do what they want. He already wants what is best for everyone involved.”
He adds, “Leaders pray to maintain the right relationship with God. From that relationship between the human spirit and the Spirit of God comes the divine perspective, insight, direction, and courage the leader must have to serve well. To keep from blundering into either hubris or despair requires a special sense of vision and balance that comes in a unique way from the Spirit of God through prayer.”
“By their nature, these prayers live only when they are internalized; they have power only when they are applied to real-life challenges. Skimming over them to get the main ideas will mean little because this is not a nifty new management technique. These are thoughts and prayers about leading people—not by the hand or by the nose or even by the intellect, but through the spirit.”
So with that introduction, Kriegbaum serves up 30 powerful prayers on leadership (Identity, Values, Action, Delegation, Loss, Weariness, Planning, Courage, Marketing, Failure, Budget, Anger, Board, Intuition and 16 more). In his praying, the “board” prayer follows the “anger” prayer. Hmmmm.
Each prayer is two pages, followed by a one-page “reflection.” When is the last time you talked to your Heavenly Father about the Delegation Bucket? Here’s his key insight: “The highest form of delegating is to lay the leadership mantle on key people for particular goals and then follow their lead.” His humble and revealing delegation prayer—in just two short pages—is stunning and sobering. He prays:
“Help me to be clear about the distant goals and about who needs to do what to reach those goals. When I do this well, the spirit of the one to whom I delegate will respond with zeal. My own spirit will rejoice, and I will follow that person with confidence.
“By your grace, my leadership will either enhance or restrain the work of your Spirit in those who lead me, making them more effective or less effective. Those I chose to follow will have a profound impact on the results in the organization, and they will have a profound impact on me.”
I try to hear from God about what books to review each week. Another book I’m reading (slowly) reminded me about this little gem, which I had read when it was first published in 1998. A gift from a friend of the author, I had forgotten how profound it is.
It’s good to rediscover old treasures—and to be reminded of thoughtful book-giving friends! In this second round, the prayers were even more meaningful. This is also a handsome gift book. The rich cover complements the executive design. Your colleagues, donors, board members, and your own leadership team will appreciate this gift.
To order this book from Amazon, click on the graphic below for Leadership Prayers, by Richard Kriegbaum.
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
1) Kriegbaum credits Bill Pollard with mentoring him in effective delegation when they were both at Wheaton College. VP Pollard picked Kriegbaum (then teaching Spanish) to be director of computer systems—and fix a mess. It was a high trust pick. Who has delegated, with high trust, to you? What did you learn?
2) What are five to 10 leadership topics, issues or concerns that, maybe, you have never, ever prayed about?
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We Reject the Notion of a Two-Tiered Kingdom Workforce - Insights from Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit
One of the big ideas in the Volunteer Bucket, Chapter 12, in Mastering the Management Buckets is to break down the wall between your paid staff and your unpaid staff. Here’s the core competency:
“We reject the notion of a two-tiered Kingdom workforce. Instead, we seek to treat our paid volunteers (staff) and our unpaid volunteers with equal passion and intentionality. We will never have enough paid staff to accomplish our Kingdom assignments, so we continually hone our skills in volunteer cultivation, recruitment, orientation and engagement.”
Visit the Volunteer Bucket webpage and download "Worksheet #12.2: The Volunteer Program Annual Check-up. Do you value your volunteers with full organizational support?" Download this PDF and assess your current situation against "The 7 Standards of an Effective Volunteer Program"—and check out the recommended books and resources.