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The silly season

September has arrived. The silly season begins. Everything starts up, and as leaders we know that the coming weeks are going to be busy. It's an exciting time of the year, and also one where it is easy to be over-busy. What will help us to ‘walk with Jesus and work with him’ (Matthew 11, The Message) over the month ahead?
Now I have a confession to make. I was one of those completely caught up with the Olympics. I probably watched more television in those 15 days than in the two preceding years. It was great! Here are a few reflections on the games that might help us with silly season ahead:
Remember the crowd around you
Every competitor, and in particular those from Team GB, gave testimony to the power of a cheering crowd. Mo Farah spoke of being carried on a wave of encouragement. Most of his training (120 miles a week) is solitary hard graft. Yet in the stadium he was enabled to do better than he thought possible by the encouragement of others. Much of Christian leadership is unseen hard graft. September will be full of such hours. Yet Hebrews 12 reminds us we are not on our own, that there are those who have gone before us who urge us on. Why not read Hebrews 11 and 12 once a week through September to hear the cloud of witnesses’ encouragement, and from it gain a biblical perspective on what we are called to do.
Look for opportunities to celebrate
Each award ceremony was a moving moment as people celebrated extraordinary achievements. Now we may not have such momentous things to celebrate, but when we are busy it is easy to forget to spot, stop and celebrate small things along the way. Yet celebration, linked with thankfulness, is a leadership priority. Warren Bennis once defined leadership as ‘defining reality and saying thank you’. Celebration affirms people, energises activities and reminds us of our dependence on God. Be sure to stop and celebrate this month. Find something each day to be thankful for, and someone to thank. Buy a cake, write a card, give a medal! Celebrate.
Don’t forget the basics
Athletes pay enormous attention to the basics: diet, sleep and exercise. They have to. In all the business of leadership it is easy to stop paying attention to these things. But healthy eating, regular exercise and enough sleep are the things that sustain us when the pressure is on. Is there one of these we could focus on during September; be it eating five-a-day, exercising three times a week, sleeping eight hours a night?
Yes the silly season is here. There is much to do. And in all the doing let’s hear the cheer of the crowd, celebrate all that is good, and take care of ourselves so that we may ‘walk with him and work with him’.
Lead on,

James Lawrence
CPAS leadership principal

Engaging Gen Y

James Lawrence shares insights into leading well with the younger generation. 
Things are different. Leaders are changing. They bring different aspirations, different perspectives and different approaches. Some are excited about the changes. Others bemoan the ‘entitled’ generation.
Recently I had a conversation with a vicar in his early 50s. Their church has run an intern scheme for a number of years. He said how much he loved having 18-21 year olds on the staff team. He always looked forward to the new intake and the energy and ideas they would bring. Until recently.
Read the full article


John Dunnett offers some practical resource ideas for busy leaders in the form of apps for smart phones. Click on the links for more information.
MindTools DX
A large collection of ideas, tools, strategies and models to help a leader address issues such as team management, decision making and communication.
Leadership Journal
Snippets from sermons, blogs and other writings to stimulate your thoughts and provide fresh illustrations for preaching and teaching.
Gives access to a series of leadership articles and YouTube clips.
The Leadership Challenge
This app helps you to implement in your own leadership the five ‘exemplary’ practices identified in Kouzes and Posner’s seminal work by the same name.
Manager tools
Online tools and videos to support a range of leadership activities including running meetings, the art of delegation and coaching/mentoring.

Leadership talk

'My findings are that exercise is probably the most important way we can regulate our emotions, as well as optimise our cognitive apparatus.'
John Ratey, Professor of Psychiatry Harvard, author of Spark

Next month...

Power and leadership  

The use and abuse of power is a critical factor in all leadership. Roger Preece reflects on how to get it right.


CPAS leadership specialist, Charles Burgess, reviews Ministry Rediscovered by Mike Starkey.

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