Pastor and Christian Leadership Resources

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Spiritual Leadership

  • 2003 18 Nov
Spiritual Leadership
Whether you're in sports, business, or ministry, you can inspire optimal performance from your team, say Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula and management expert Ken Blanchard.

Conviction. Never compromise your heartfelt beliefs.

Overlearn. Keep practicing until it's perfect.

Adaptability. Know when it's time to change.

Consistency. Respond predictably to performance.

Honesty. Be sure to walk your talk.

Great coaches demonstrate five qualities:


  • Articulate your vision. Aim for perfection. Drill the vision until it's understood.

  • Keep perspective on winning and losing. Do the right things for the right reasons. Don't grow overconfident or arrogant in victory or feel like a failure in defeat.

  • Keep the faith. Thank God, pray for guidance and help, and listen for His answers. Don't stress your own importance. Ego stands for Edging God Out.

  • Lead by example. Hold high standards, but never demand more of others than yourself. Be committed, not just interested.

  • Value respect, not popularity. Help others push their limits. Keep your credibility intact. Be approachable and learn to admit your mistakes and faults.

  • Prize character as well as ability. Seek team players with high enthusiasm and ethics. Look for consistent beliefs and actions.

  • Work hard, but love your work. Find something you do well, then give it your all. Use your job to give of yourself.


  • Limit your number of goals. Communicate a goal, analyze available information to help you make good decisions, then monitor results and readjust plans as you go.

  • Stress mastery of the basics. Dispel the distraction of what to do when.

  • Reduce practice errors. Rehearse at the highest level possible. Tell people what you want them to do and demonstrate it. Observe as they try it. Immediately praise progress and redirect errors.

  • Seek continuous improvement. Expect greatness. Demand discipline. Help others live up to their potential. Encourage a passion for excellence. Stress constant learning.


  • Prepare for unexpected surprises. Play "what if" to avoid being caught off-guard.

  • Don't be ego-driven. Be flexible, open to suggestion. Know when to change if plans don't work.

  • Train others to execute well planned, last-minute orders.


  • Avoid mood reactions. Observe details and deal with good behavior differently than poor.

  • Provide positive reinforcement. Catch people doing things right and recognize their performance. Find out what rewards best motivate people to repeat good performance.

  • Redirect during the learning curve. Don't punish or intensify fear of making mistakes. Review and clarify the proper steps from the start and demonstrate the correct behavior. Praise intermediate progress, but point out minor mistakes to avoid recurrences.

  • Assign negative consequences to poor performance from those who can do well. In a reprimand, specify unacceptable behavior, but affirm the person. Set consequences strong enough to spur positive change.


  • Maintain your integrity. Know the rules and play by them. Win fair and square.

  • Show congruence. Do what you say you'll do. Work toward long-term trust.

  • Keep a sense of humor. Take what you do seriously, but yourself lightly.

From Everyone's A Coach by Don Shula & Ken Blanchard. (c) 1995 by Shula Enterprises and the Blanchard Family Partnership. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House (with HarperBusiness), Grand Rapids, Mich., 1-800-727-3480.

Ken Blanchard is chairman of Blanchard Training and Development, Inc. and coauthor of several best-selling management books, including The One Minute Manager. Don Shula has led the Miami Dolphins to five Super Bowl appearances and the Baltimore Colts to one - more than any other head coach in the NFL. Sports Illustrated magazine named Shula its 1993 Sportsman of the Year. Coach Shula announced his retirement in January 1996, after 25 years as head coach of the Dolphins.

From Fresh Encounter: Experiencing God in Revival and Spiritual Awakening, (c) 1996 by Henry T. Blackby and Claude V. King of the Office of Prayer and Spiritual Awakening at the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville, Tenn., 1-800-233-1123.

Henry T. Blackaby is a best-selling author and speaker, and an internationally recognized leader in today's revival movement.Claude V. King is a discipleship training leader and the author of numerous interactive learning programs.They are co-authors of the best-selling Experiencing God Study Bible and Experiencing God book.