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Three Signs of a Great Leader

Leadership, leadership, leadership…it’s all about leadership. It doesn’t matter the organization, whether it’s a company, Parish, family, university, a not for profit, a sports team at any level, or the government. To understand the success or failure of any organization, look to the leader.

I’ve had the privilege and responsibility of leading organizations for the last 30 years of my life (including my family). Although there are characteristics of behavior that we’re born with that lend themselves to leadership, I don’t believe in the concept of a “born leader”. Being a great leader takes study, experience, and maturity. A simple internet search will provide you with the characteristics of a good leader, a sampling of which follows:

  • You genuinely care about others’ success
  • You’re a good communicator
  • You know how to inspire
  • You have a clear leadership philosophy
  • You lead by example
  • You invest in people
  • You have a talent for spotting talent
  • You empower
  • You know how to give feedback that makes a difference
  • You take risks
  • You take accountability
  • You’re a strategic thinker
  • You’re good at conflict resolution
  • You can handle the big disasters
  • You create calm amid chaos
  • You inspire loyalty
  • You’re authentic
  • You celebrate wins
  • You remove barriers
  • You’re self-aware
  • I would agree that these 20 are all characteristics of a good leader, but I would suggest adding the following 3 for a leader to go from good to great:

    1. You love your teammates (different from #1 above)
    2. You are a champion of collaboration
    3. You view trust as critical

    Let’s look at each individually.

    Love Your Teammates

    It’s one thing to care for others’ success and another to be invested in those you work with professionally and personally. A favorite saying of mine is that “nobody cares what you know unless they know how much you care”. And caring for others isn’t just a matter of helping them be productive between the hours of 8AM and 5PM. Instead, the great leader invests in the whole person, helping him or her be the absolute best versions of themselves, regardless of whether they stay indefinitely or are likely to leave within months. It’s a love that’s irrespective of their role or tenure. It’s a love that’s expressed with action and verbalized.

    Champion of Collaboration

    Another favorite expression of mine is that “people don’t have to be agreed with, but they do need to be heard”. It’s true of all of us. Without contributing, without being heard, there’s no buy-in, no ownership of a new initiative.

    As a leader, I don’t view my responsibility as coming up with all the answers. In fact, I pride myself in rarely coming up with any of the answers, instead helping others develop the answers for themselves and their organizations. This approach corresponds to “loving your teammates”, from above, in that it’s the only way people are truly going to learn.

    Trust is Critical

    Trust is built on transparency and vulnerability, both of which needing to be exemplified by the leader. For an organization to thrive, it is imperative. Without it, there is dysfunction and disloyalty.

    If you’ve ever worked for an organization where there’s distrust, you know the negative impact it can have. In fact, it’s amazing, as I’ve experienced on more than one occasion, how the changing out of just one person, regardless of the level, can dramatically impact “trust” and therefore the performance and morale of the entire organization. Trust is critical and the leader sets the tone.

    Without question, the list of 20 from above is valid, but the good leader will become great only with a focus on love, collaboration, and trust. The fruit born out of these three characteristics will not only be a high performing team, but individuals who are fulfilled in their work and committed to their organization and its mission.

    As always, feel free to get back to me with questions, comments, or challenges at [email protected].

    God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

    Mark Joseph

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    Weekly Blog

    Your Path to Peace…Guaranteed

    We began this series the first Wednesday after New Years’, with accompanying videos every Friday. We identified the things that overwhelm us (chasing the things that can’t bring us happiness), then discussed my lived experience in how to overcome them. You’ve heard me say that in understanding and internalizing the unconditional love of Jesus Christ: 

    • The unimaginable is achievable
    • There can be Heaven on earth
    • There exists a definitive path to peace, joy, and fulfillment. 

    God loves you more than you’ll ever know, no matter what you’ve ever done…He made you for Greatness. You have unique and special God given gifts and we are put on this earth for a specific purpose.  

    We’ve discussed the things that add to your greatness, your happiness…all the attributes of discipleship: 

    • Our identity in Christ, knowing God’s love
    • Active prayer life
    • Vibrant Sacramental life
    • Living by the teachings of Jesus
    • Authentic Fellowship
    • Serving those in need
    • Sharing the love of Christ 

    Embracing the above, although simple but not easy, is the only way to live a life of peace, joy, and fulfillment. The “peace” portion of that includes the following:  

    • Surrender – it is only in me truly knowing God’s unconditional love that I could trust Him. Convinced He made me a specific way for special things; He knows me better than anyone, knowing what will make me happy. Knowing that He knows best and wants the very best for me, I can experience Greatness by surrendering to our all-loving God.  
    • Gratitude – it’s understanding that everything in my life happens for a reason, according to God’s grand plan, shaping me for His glory and my fulfillment. I may not know “why” now, but it’s all to bring me closer to God and for a greater good. In addition, I’ve learned I need to have an attitude of gratitude. 
    • I know in Humility that it’s not me, but God working thru me that Greatness occurs. Knowing this and coupled with Surrender, I give all over to Him, which relieves me of all the pressure…I just do my best and leave the rest to our Lord
    • Love, love, love. This all culminates in love, fulfilling the Great Commandments in loving God and loving our neighbors. 

    That’s it. Not overly complicated…definitely not easy. But oh, is it worth it though. It works, which doesn’t mean that all your problems are going to go away, but here’s the deal. In knowing the love of Christ, you’ll have a joy that is independent of substance and circumstance. You’ll be fulfilled. You’ll have peace. 

    Stay tuned for what we go to next. Shoot me a note with any requests. Reach out to me if you want to chat about any of this and as always, please email me with questions, concerns, comments, or prayer requests at [email protected].  

    God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

    Remember…God made you for Greatness!!!

    Mark Joseph

     

    P.S. Tomorrow marks what would have been my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary. Miss Dad, Mum. I love you!!!

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    Why Share the Love of Christ?

    In reading Scripture, the answer to the above is obvious. With all the things Jesus said while here on earth, two of the most impactful were the Great Commandments (Mark 12:29-31) and Great Commission, in summary…love God, love your neighbor, and share the Gospel message (love of Christ). I’d suggest that these weren’t mere suggestions from our Lord. He was specific.   

    In the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), Jesus said before ascending to Heaven, 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

    Verse 20 gets less attention that 19. Jesus tells us, “behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age”. Related, it’s my lived experience that the only path to peace, joy, and fulfillment is to say “yes” to Jesus. It’s what Jesus promises us in verse 20. 

    Saying “yes” to Jesus means being His Disciple, a part of which is making other Disciples. The question is “how” do we do this. My first suggestion is to not hit people over the head with our Bibles. Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care. We need to love them first, where they are, for who they are. 

    We’ve all heard the merits of teaching a man to fish as opposed to feeding him a fish. Discipleship calls on us to teach others how to become teachers of teachers, i.e. Disciples making Disciples. To do so, we need to exercise humility: 

    • The discipleship relationship is not that of a doctor to a patient, teacher to a student, or even a Priest to a parishioner 
    • It is founded in a personal relationship with a brother or sister in Christ. 
    • The intent isn’t to mold versions of ourselves, but to help others be Disciples for Christ, to be like Jesus 

    As St. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ”. There are several elements to evangelizing:

    • Be prayerful – you can’t give away what you don’t have
    • Pray for those God puts in front of you
    • Build relationships with others – learn their stories so that you can share in a way that is relevant to them. 

    Pope Paul VI stated, “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses”. We’re called to share our faith, which means sharing our story. We do so by sharing…

    • Your life before you recognized Christ as a meaningful part of it
    • How you came to know Jesus Christ (your conversion)
    • Your life in Christ, including the challenges
    • Make the invitation to others to join you on the journey

    We hear of Peter and the other fishermen dropping their nets. Others leave behind their former lives to follow Jesus, which is the most important decision a person can ever make. Our call is to follow Jesus consciously and intentionally with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. Once made, that decision should drive everything in your life. Once made, you have the opportunity for peace, joy, and fulfillment. 

    Remember, being a Disciple includes making Disciples. If interested in a model that is engaging, effective, and free of charge, go to https://steubenvilleconferences.com/discipleship-quads/, or contact me. I’d be happy to share with you. 

    As always, please email me at [email protected] with questions, concerns, comments, or prayer requests. 

    God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

    Remember…God made you for Greatness!!!

    Mark Joseph

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    Weekly Blog

    The Sacrament…What’s In Them For Me? 

    Two weeks ago, we spoke about how most Christians compartmentalize their faith…it’s a Sunday thing, with many of us living the other 6 days of the week devoid of God. In the following week’s blog, we established how God is more loving, knowing, and present than anyone possibly can be in your life.   

    Transitioning, I’d like you to imagine yourself a professional athlete or Olympian, or in the arts, i.e., artist, singer/musician, or actor, where you only become your best and most fulfilled in following specific disciplines. You’re wildly successful, fulfilled in the progress you make with all the hard work you put in, further gratified in how you perform in the big game or on the main stage. 

    Here’s how that applies to you…while you probably don’t (I don’t) have the notoriety or fame of a superstar athlete or artist, like them you were given very specific and unique gifts and talents from our Lord. Also like them, you were given a special God given purpose for your life and made for greatness. 

    What we’ve also established in this series is that in addition to understanding your identity in Christ, knowing your “why”, and embracing and pursuing your talents and purpose, that the only way to live a life of peace, joy, and fulfillment (wanted by all of us), is to avail ourselves to God’s love, grace, mercy, and wisdom. 

    Prayer is obviously a big part of the above. So are the Sacraments. Let’s start with the Sunday Mass. Some suggestions. Learn about the Mass. Do an internet search. Buy a book. Mark Hart wrote “Behold the Mystery”…great read. Dr. Scott Hahn has written books on the Liturgy….very good as well. The Mass came alive for me once I understood all the Mass parts. Some other things: 

    • Get a Mass Journal and take notes, especially related to the Homilies. 
      • You become an active listener, not being distracted…noting what’s important to you
      • There’s always a nugget for future reference. Regardless of your past experience, there’s always something in the Homily or Readings worth noting. Try it.  
    • Pray through the Mass parts. I say this following the consecration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus…”My Lord, My God, Jesus Christ, body, blood, soul, and divinity, come into my mind, heart, body, and soul”.  
    • Sing…worship our Lord – singing is praying twice. 

    Doing all of these things will make you more engaged. The more engaged you are, the more you’ll get out of the Liturgy. Try it. Another thing to try is going to Mass more than just on Sundays. Now going daily, I love the simplicity of the daily Liturgy. There’s a beauty to it. Everyone knows one another…great community. Receiving the Eucharist daily strengthens me spiritually and emotionally. Try it if you can…you may be surprised. 

    Speaking of the Eucharist, one thing I didn’t mention last week…for me tying prayer to the Eucharist. While the specific place isn’t critical, I’d suggest picking a place and time you can do it daily…setting your watch to it, just like how you schedule your meals or possibly your workouts. The place I love to pray is in Church, prior to daily Mass, in front of Jesus in the Eucharist. It’s always my best prayer time. 

    There’s a story of a Peasant from Ars, France, who daily prayed in front of Jesus in the Eucharist, exposed in the Monstrance. When asked about it he responded, “He looks at me and I just look back at Him”. It can be that simple. Jesus wants nothing more than for us to be in relationship with Him…pray as you’d like. He loves it all.  

    Confession – I feel sorry for our non-Catholic Christian brothers and sisters, who don’t have this Sacrament. Going to Confession only sparingly prior to my conversion, my first afterwards was life changing. With me a blubbering mess, Fr. Steve was so kind, patient, loving, and “in Christo” forgiving. It was so cleansing and freeing. While the Church indicates that we need to go at least annually, I now go monthly…thank God!!!  

    If you would have told me 15 years ago that the Sacraments would change my life, I would have said you’re crazy. Well, they have. Not only have I grown spiritually, but I’m a better husband, father, son, brother, friend, and mentor. My faith has also been instrumental in me honing my talents and fulfilling my purpose. Lastly, my faith, our God, is critical to me living a life of peace, joy, and fulfillment. Praise God!!!!

    As always, please email me at [email protected] with any questions, comments, concerns, suggestions (of future blog posts or other), or prayer requests. 

    God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

    Remember…God made you for Greatness!!!

    Mark Joseph