Category Archives: Business Training

Is Five-Fold Leadership Relevant for Business Today?

This is a breakthrough insight which ever Christian business person needs to grasp and apply.

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“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers…” Ephesians 4:11

Paul records that Jesus (“…He Himself…”) anoints some believers with supernatural leadership gifts. Indeed, these roles are critical to the functioning of any faith group. But are they relevant outside the four walls of the church? Could they be just as relevant in the marketplace as they are in the pews?

4 Key Words

The four key words in the next verse give us insight into answering this question.

“…for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:12

Equipping (katartismos) is defined as making fit, preparing, training, perfecting, making fully qualified for service.

Saints (hagios) means those that believe, the morally blameless & consecrated ones.

Work (ergon) means the business, labour, employment, that which anyone is occupied, effort or occupation.

Edifying (oikodome) means the act of building up, to promote growth in Christian wisdom, piety, happiness, and holiness.

This scripture does not say Jesus gave five-fold ministry to only serve the local church, but to equip all the saints for work. And since 98% of His saint’s work in the marketplace, it is reasonable if not mandatory that these saints be equipped and released to operate in their gifts in the marketplace – not just inside the church.

Isn’t the marketplace the primary place for saints to do the work of the ministry?Already Active

Most secular organisations already apply five-fold leadership without realising its Biblical roots and foundation. These companies leverage such leadership gifts as:

  • founders and entrepreneurs, visionaries, pioneers who push into new territories (Apostles)
  • strategists, planner and evaluators, sees opportunities and marketplace needs (Prophets)
  • sales, public relations, marketing, promoters who spread the good news & inspire the team to grow (Evangelists)
  • local managers, team builders, culture-shapers, human resource and work environment managers (Pastors)
  • trainers, teachers, explainers, and coaches who integrate truth into practical actions (Teachers)

My Leadership Gifts Revelation

Recently it dawned on me that over the past 30 years, I was walking in my leadership gift roles — and did not realise it. And much of that time, I was not actively walking with the Lord.

Yes, I was saved and with salvation, Jesus gave me two primary leadership gifts: being able to peak around the corner and see what was coming down the road in talent, leadership, and business culture (Apostle) along with the skill, desire, and ability to study and explain these truths in simple, profound ways (Teacher).

Now I realise (and have been ordained) that I have been gifted by Jesus with a special anointing in two areas where He can supernaturally lift my work far beyond my natural leadership abilities, resulting in far greater marketplace and kingdom impact than before.

Stepping into Your Supernatural Leadership Gifts

As I wrote in my previous blog, supernatural leadership is simply taking the leap into allowing the Holy Spirit and the gifts of Jesus to be fully functioning in your professional/business life.

Over the next five posts, I will introduce you to each of the five-fold leadership gifts. As we explore these leadership roles together, my prayer is that Jesus will reveal to you through the Holy Spirit’s witness (Romans 8:16) your one or two primary leadership gifts. (We’ll save discussion on all the other spiritual gifts for later).

As you discover your unique gift(s), you will then realize the key channels through which Jesus desires to release His leadership power through you (Ephesians 3:20) to manifest Himself in transforming your marketplace for His glory.

Anybody out there ready to discover and unleash your supernatural leadership gifts?

About Dr. Jim Harris

President of The Jim Harris Group, an international speaking and advising firm dedicated to helping believers in business unleash their unfair advantage in the marketplace. He is the author of Our Unfair Advantage: Unleash the Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Business and numerous other award winning business books.

Unleashing Your Unfair Advantage Into the Business World

Believers in business have an unfair competitive advantage that few recognise and even fewer leverage.

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I see it every day. Faithful Christian business leaders work incredibly long, hard hours yet fail to unleash their unfair advantage with its unlimited potential to create, design, build, innovate, sell, engage, redefine and dominate their market space for God’s glory.

Sadly, this unfair advantage is readily available. What are we missing? What are we not recognising?

Our Misguided Thinking

To unleash our advantage, we must first recognise two glaring truths. First, Satan leads the world of business. As soon as you leave the anointed, safe confines of your church, you enter enemy territory (John 12:31; Eph. 2:1-5, 6:12). The enemy bombards everyone in business, saved and unsaved, with the same thoughts, ideas, best practices, trends and misguided wisdom. In his vicious, winner-take-all corporate environment, he seeks to steal, kill and destroy anyone or any business he can (John 10:10)—especially those led by Christians (1 Pet. 5:8).

Second, within this enemy environment, it is incredibly easy for us to be misled—just like our unsaved competitors. Here are seven primary ways any believer in business can be misled:

  1. Head-led leaders crave reports, research, spreadsheets and critical thinking to make decisions.
  2. Money-led leaders allow everything financial (cash flow, profit margin, Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation) to drive decisions.
  3. Opportunity-led leaders jump at every open door as a sign. “This must be from the Lord,” they say. They fix their sights on the next big break, strategic alliance and every unexpected offering as a “divine appointment.”
  4. Pressure-led leaders claim to work better in emergency or crisis situations. They delay decisions until the very last second, often with fear and uncertainty.
  5. Feeling-led leaders constantly assess their emotions before making a move. Statements like “It just does not feel right” or “This feels really good” reflect their decision-making criteria.
  6. Innovation-led leaders are enamoured with the latest technology platform, upgrade, software, website design, marketing technique or any other “cool” idea.
  7. Expert-led leaders quickly embrace the latest management fad or idea gleaned from a conference speaker, industry magazine or business book.Their teams are often inundated with implementing new and hot but oft-irrelevant ideas.

These are the primary ways 95 percent or more of unsaved business leaders are led—by anything other than the Spirit of God.

Our Unfair Advantage

The frightening reality is that the vast majority of born-again, Spirit-filled business leaders are led just as the unsaved are. It is incredibly easy for us to get drawn into being led by these same methods. And when we do, we have no distinct competitive advantage as we battle within enemy territory only with our feelings and flesh.

Here is the good news: All believers have an oft-untapped, unlimited, all-powerful, unfair advantage in business and in life—one we can fully leverage to maximise eternal kingdom impact.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. … The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8:14, 16).

Believers in business who are led by the Spirit of God have within  them the One who can:

  • Direct your path (Prov. 3:4-5).
  • Help you and lives within you forever (John 14:16).
  • Guide you in all truth (John 14:17, 16:13a).
  • Teach you all things (John 14:26a).
  • Bring to your remembrance all things He said to you (John 14:26b).
  • Tell you things to come (John 16:13).
  • Reveal to you the deep things of God (1 Cor. 2:10).
  • Freely give you all things (1 Cor. 2:12).
  • Offer you the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16).

The greatest business decision you will ever make is to purpose in your heart to always and only be led by the Holy Spirit. So how can you make this big shift—from being a world-led business leader to a Spirit-led business leader?

Here are six keys to unleashing the power of Holy Spirit in your business:

1) Practice.

“His mother said to the servants, ‘Whatever He says to you, do it'” (John 2:5).

It takes practice to excel in anything, from sports to parenting to business. Start small by asking the Holy Spirit “should I” questions such as:

  • “Should I meet with this person or that person?”
  • “Should I attend this meeting?”
  • “Should I call this customer now? If not now, when?”
  • “Should I go to lunch here or there? What should I order—this or that?

As you do, you begin to fine-tune your inner witness to recognise His voice, His promptings, His desires.

2) Check before you act.

“Then Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19).

Jesus checked everything He was about to do with the Father. He never let the pressure of the situation dictate His response. The best example is the pressure-packed example of the adulterous woman. In John 8:3-9, in the middle of preaching to the temple crowd, religious leaders interrupt His sermon, march down the aisle with a scantily clad woman caught in the act of adultery—a setup for sure. With stones in their hands, they demanded Jesus answer a question with two bad options: kill her, which destroys His message of love and salvation, or let her go, disobeying the law.

An angry mob, an anxious crowd, a scared and embarrassed woman—the crowd knew someone was going to die, either the woman, Jesus or both. Now that was pressure!

So what did Jesus do? Answer immediately? Ask them clarifying questions? Worry, fret or show anxiety? No, He slowed down, knelt to write in the dirt, blocked out these distractions, ignored their repetitive requests for an answer and checked in His spirit for what to do. His response was nothing short of a revelation from heaven.

As you practice, you lay the foundation to check in your spirit for the Holy Spirit’s direction, oftentimes a revelation from the Father on your next step.

3) Seek a witness.

“It seems good to me also” (Luke 1:3a).

“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us” (Acts 15:28a).

Strong’s Concordance defines the word “witness” as “to jointly testify; corroborate by concurrent evidence; bear joint witness.” There are two levels of witness. First, it can be singular—your spirit bearing with the Holy Spirit inside you. That was Luke’s witness to write his letter.

Second, the witness can be with another believer, where the Holy Spirit  in you bears witness with Himself living in the other person. This is what occurred at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, where it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and all the preachers together.

Seeking a co-witness to corroborate your witness is fine. Ultimately, however, as the leader, the decision is yours and yours alone.

4) Quench not the Spirit.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thess. 5:16-19).

Let’s all agree that there is a way to quench the Spirit. I’ve done it plenty of times and so have you. We do it by ignoring Him (Mark 8:18), smothering Him (Luke 10:40) or grieving Him (Eph. 4:30). So how does this look in your business? Consider these situations, when:

  • The facts say one thing, but the Spirit says another.
  • The experts say one thing, but the Spirit says another.
  • You decide to move forward come hell or high water.
  • You stubbornly cling to the belief that failure is not an option.
  • You refuse to seek a co-witness.
  • You allow a longtime customer’s rudeness and profanity to insult your employees.
  • You turn your head as your top salesman cheats on his wife.

When you sense the move of the Spirit in your business, allow Him to flow. Don’t quench His move to guide, direct and improve all you do.

5) Don’t be moved.

“But none of these things move me” (Acts 20:24a).

You have practiced, checked in your spirit, perhaps gotten a strong co-witness and have purposed not to quench the Spirit, whatever He tells you to do. Now is the time the enemy will do everything in his power to fill you with doubt, uncertainty and fear—anything to keep you from fully implementing the Spirit’s witness.

He will pull out his full artillery and viciously attack you when:

  • All the numbers do not seem to add up.
  • The majority opinion is against you.
  • Competitors flee as you enter.
  • Common sense says it’s a dumb move.
  • Everyone is saying, “Don’t do it.”
  • Success looks bleak at best.

Yet remember, your ultimate unfair advantage is guiding you. He has already confirmed to you that this decision is of the Lord. This is the time you must stand firm in His decision.

Even with foreknowledge of suffering and imminent death, Paul refused to be moved from his call, his destiny.

6) Pray bold prayers.

“Now, Lord, look on their threats and grant that Your servants may speak Your word with great boldness” (Acts 4:29).

In the first recorded prayer of the new church, after threats from the establishment, the saints did not step back and fade away. Rather, they prayed for more boldness, not less. When they did, their house was shaken, they were all filled with Holy Spirit, and they spoke with boldness. Their prayers were answered!

Most believers in business today continue to pray sincere but puny prayers such as:

  • “God, bring us some new business this month.”
  • “Help us solve this difficult customer problem.”
  • “May we make payroll this month and pay all our bills.”

Now is the time for the believer in business to step it up. Today is the day for you to pray these types of prayers:

  • “Sun, stand still” (Judg. 10:12).
  • “Give me that mountain” (Josh. 14:12).
  • “Oh, that You would bless me indeed” (1 Chr. 4:10).
  • “Prosper us in all things” (3 John 2).

Our Unfair Advantage in Action

So how do you get started? Remember:

  • God does not lead you through your holy mind.
  • Money is merely a tool—not the goal—of your Christ-centered business.
  • Not every opportunity is a part of your assignment from the Lord.
  • The enemy forces your decisions through fear. The Lord prompts your decisions through the witness of the Holy Spirit.
  • Your emotions are real and powerful but should not lead you.
  • Distractions are a tool of the enemy to override the Spirit’s still, small voice.
  • Whatever leads your leader leads you.
  • Integrate the six keys to unleash the power of the Holy Spirit into your daily leadership.

We have the ultimate unfair advantage living within us. My prayer is for every believer to purpose in his heart to always and only #Be Led.


Dr. Jim Harris is an international speaker, adviser and coach to executives, entrepreneurs and pastoral teams. He is author of 14 award-winning books, including his latest, Our Unfair Advantage: How to Unleash the Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Business. Sign up for his weekly blog at drjimharris.com.

10 New Truths Great Leaders Know That Most People Don’t

Lolly Daskal founder of Leader from Within gives her take on what ‘new leadership’ looks like, originally published in Inc.

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Like any other field, leadership goes through trends and changes–and if you want to be successful, you need to stay on top of them. Old-school leadership is just that, and what we do today is very different. To understand leadership, you need to be able to separate historic thought from current practice.

Help your thinking develop with these concepts from contemporary leadership:

1. Authenticity and transparency rule. In the age of social media, there’s no getting away with dishonesty or cover-ups. If you or your company lies, cheats, or fudges numbers, the odds that you will be exposed are higher than ever.

2. Your brand is your reputation. It used to be that when people talked about reputation they focused on your public character and your past. Today your personal brand is your reputation–and it’s what you say and do today that defines how people perceive you. Make sure your brand represents you well.

3. If you’re not social you’re missing the boat. As a leader you need to be able to communicate and be visible, and in today’s world that means not just being present on social media, but being savvy and having something to say. Hiding behind a closed boardroom door is no longer an option.

4. Collaboration is the new currency. If you’re not sharing, partnering, or collaborating, you’re failing to engage in the new currency of business. The price–and it’s a significant one–will be paid by your leadership and your organization.

5. New choices abound. Around 35 percent of the current workforce is self-employed, and the numbers are just getting larger. People are switching careers in midlife and thinking entrepreneurially. There are still a few people who take a nine-to-five job in the field they majored in, but the age of knowing you have to please a boss to get ahead is over.

6. Interconnection means freedom. It used to be that leadership controlled the conversation. Now, with email, the Internet, and social media close at hand for so many people, the leadership of power has been replaced by a leadership of connectedness.

7. People want a say in their future. If you try to lead with hierarchy, you will be challenged–and it’s not likely you’ll fare well. Those who seek power and love bureaucracy will find it harder to survive as organizations become flatter, which puts more accountability in the hands of each employee and even clients.

8. Community is critical. Organizations don’t exist in a vacuum, and there is no room for dictatorship in contemporary leadership. Cultivating a community requires the kind of leadership that encourages people to work for a shared vision and a shared goal.

9. If you don’t lean in, you’re heading out. We’re listening more to those who have learned how to lean in, to take a more active role in leadership where they did not have a voice before. to be more assertive at work and not let biases keep them from pushing forward.

read the rest and more at inc.com

The Best Leaders Allow Themselves to Be Persuaded

A very insightful article in Inc. by Al Pittampalli, author of Persuadable: How Great Leaders Change Their Minds to Change the World (HarperBusiness, 2016).

The Transformational Leadership Style of Elon Musk

Elon Musk of Tesla Motors

When we think of great leaders, certain characteristics come to mind: They have confidence in their abilities and conviction in their beliefs. They “trust their gut,” “stay the course,” and “prove others wrong.” They aren’t “pushovers,” and they certainly don’t “flip-flop.” But this archetype is terribly outdated. Having spent three years studying many of the world’s most successful leaders for my new book, Persuadable, I’ve learned one surprising thing they have in common: a willingness to be persuaded.

Alan Mulally, the vaunted CEO who saved Ford Motor Company, is, for example, exceptionally sceptical of his own opinions. Ray Dalio, one of the world’s most successful hedge fund managers, insists that his team ruthlessly second-guess his thinking. Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, seeks out information that might disprove her beliefs about the world and herself. In our increasingly complex world, these leaders have realized that the ability to consider emerging evidence and change their minds accordingly provides extraordinary advantages.

One of the benefits of being persuadable is improved accuracy in forecasting the future. When University of Pennsylvania professor Philip Tetlock famously conducted a comprehensive study on this issue, tracking 82,361 predictions from over 284 experts, he found that accuracy has more to do with how forecasters think than with what they know. The winners didn’t abide by grand theories of the world, so they were more willing to listen to new information and adjust their predictions accordingly.

Another benefit is accelerated growth. When Swedish psychologist K. Anders Ericsson studied what separates the masters from the mediocre in a wide range of cognitively complex skills (from chess to violin), he discovered that the quality of practice determined performance. Masters were obsessive about identifying and improving on their weaknesses; that means they were able to overcome the natural human bias toward illusory superiority (i.e., the tendency to overestimate our strengths and overlook our faults) by staying open to critical feedback from others. As Cornell psychologist David Dunning says, “The road to self-insight runs through other people.”

Of course, leaders shouldn’t be persuadable on every issue. At some point, you have to stop considering new information and opinions, make a decision, and move forward. When time is scarce or the matter at hand isn’t very consequential, it’s often okay to trust your gut and independently choose a course based on previous convictions. But for higher-stakes decisions, it’s important to adopt a more persuadable mindset. How can you do this, particularly on issues where you are far from objective?

Recall a moment of opacity. Everyone knows what a moment of clarity is: the experience of finally understanding a situation and knowing just what to do. A moment of opacity is the opposite: it’s when you can’t see a situation clearly, or when something you were so sure was right turned out to be wrong. Can you remember such a time? Persuadable leaders make sure they do. Whenever they’re feeling a little too confident or certain, they remind themselves about past moments of opacity, which motivates them to seek outside counsel and consider other points of view even when they don’t feel naturally inclined to do so.

Keep your hand on the dial, not on the gun. There is no better way to edge closer to the truth than to argue with people who disagree with you. But usually, when we engage in this way, we focus on defending our positions. It’s as if we’re skeet shooting and our counterparts’ points are the clay targets we’re trying to shoot down. We do this because we’re prone to black-and-white thinking: positions and decisions are either 100% right or 100% wrong, and if one can’t be perfectly defended, it must be the latter. But arguments don’t have to be winner-take-all; in fact, the best ones often end in compromise. So instead of imagining your hand on a shotgun, envision it turning a dial that represents the confidence you have in your opinion: all the way to the right means absolute certainty, and all the way to the left signifies none. When your debating partner makes a good point, turn the dial slightly to the left. When evidence that supports your position surfaces, turn the dial a bit to the right.

Kill your darlings. Once you’ve opened the door to feedback and debate, you may find that the evidence is piling up against your previously held view. The next step is to actually be willing to change your mind. That can be difficult when it comes to beliefs to which we’ve become attached, whether it’s a new project idea, an opinion on a long time vendor, or the assumption that you’re a succinct communicator. Writers know a lot about this fear of letting go. We have this terrible habit of falling in love with our own work and picking fights with editors who try to change our words. That’s why writers are advised to “kill their darlings” before anyone else has a chance to. The same applies to leaders. The quicker you recognize and acknowledge that an idea (even a beloved one) is unworkable, the quicker you can move on to the right course of action.

Inspire Loyalty with Your Leadership

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As the leader of your business, you’re surely aware that the loyalty you inspire in your employees is more than just important; it’s essential, according to Murray Newlands for Entrepreneur.com

Beyond producing improved results from your employees and reducing turnover in your staff, the loyalty you encourage in your team — through the behaviours that you exemplify –will extend itself to your customer base, and beyond.

Loyalty isn’t something you can just gain, at the drop of a hat. To be a leader truly worthy of loyalty takes hard work and requires self-inquiry and a clarity of mind. After all, who can follow someone who doesn’t even know what he or she wants or is headed? Inspiring loyalty may take personal work, but it will be worth the effort when you have a team that will follow you to the ends of the earth.

There are many ways to inspire loyalty, but here are eight ways, the best leaders inspire loyalty, in even the most doubtful employees.

  1. Great leaders give their trust to others, without reservation.

Constantly looking over your employee’s shoulder to second-guess his or her work creates a sense of personal doubt, especially if there has been no pertinent reason to mistrust the staffer’s expertise. Great leaders give their trust to others, without reservation, and those others are then motivated to not only give trust back, but to work harder to meet the expectations of someone they respect.

  1. Employees learn in an encouraging environment.

In the short and long-term, all people need to feel as though their work, and by extension their lives, has meaning and positive progression. If there is no opportunity for learning in an

encouraging environment, employees may start to feel stagnant and resentful.

  1. Employees are encouraged to follow their passions and stretch beyond what they thought was their capacity.

Employees who are encouraged to follow their passions and stretch beyond what they thought was their capacity are sure to have deeply loyal feelings toward a leader who fosters that development.

  1. Leaders are right there in the trenches when needed.

A leader is perhaps expected to have more responsibility than do employees, but that doesn’t mean that the leader is “above” any work that needs to be done. Some of the best leaders I have known are right there in the trenches when that’s called for. If you’re too good to get your hands dirty with your team, your team members will start to see their jobs as menial and unimportant — just as you do. But, if you do whatever it takes for your company to be successful, so will everyone around you.

  1. Leaders are completely clear about their mission and values.

A leader’s clarity creates a compass by which his or her team can navigate. If you aren’t completely clear about your mission and values, it’s obvious to anyone in your employ that following you will lead nowhere. So, be communicative and definitive about your wide-reaching vision and your day-to-day tasks to enable your team to see that your leadership is true.

  1. Great leaders know that cultivating care for their employees creates love and loyalty in return.

Of course there are boundaries around personal relationships at work, but within those boundaries, there is room to recognize that the people who work for you are humans, dealing with trials and tribulations beyond the next budget meeting. Do you know when your employees have major life milestones, like a birth, death, marriage or divorce? Great leaders know that cultivating care for their employees creates love and loyalty in return.

  1. Honest leaders will keep team members. Honesty promotes confidence and trust.

Nothing inspires loyalty more than being honest. Open communication does two things: It creates confidence and trust, and also helps create feelings of inclusion. Being part of a team that works together will make any employee think twice before leaving or making a detrimental decision. Honest leaders will make team members stay much longer than they would have with a leader who hides information.

  1. The greatest leaders create loyalty through their words and actions.

The greatest leaders in the world are not revered because they demanded loyalty — they created loyalty through their words and actions. With everyday care and personal conviction, you too can create a company that is full of employees who are devoted, hard-working, and unwavering.

read more at entrepreneur.com