About George Yates

George Yates is a Church Health Strategist working with churches across North America. With 20 plus years experience as a practitioner, George brings a fresh eye and insight into your ministry setting.

The Best Life Compass on the Market

A settler in the early days of north Michigan tells this story: ‘One day I had been walking in the woods, when though I could not see the sun or sky, I knew by the settling darkness that night was coming on, and started, as I thought, for home. I was so certain of my direction that for some time I did not look at my compass. On doing so, however, I was greatly surprised to find that, whereas I thought I was going east, in reality I was bound due west.

Not only was I surprised, but I was so sure of my own judgment and so disgusted with my compass that I raised my arm to throw it away. – Then pausing, I thought, “You have never lied to me yet, and I’ll trust you once more.” I followed it and came out all right.’

The Bible is a compass that has guided millions to heaven. Some would throw it away, but those who follow it always come out safely.

The Holy Bible is God’s compass to us. It is a love story, a guide to great leadership, a life coach, a treasure chest full of accurate pin-pointing direction for life – everyone’s life.

Like the Michigan settler, the further in our journey we wait to use our compass, the farther off course we will be, perhaps walking in the completely opposite direction. Start your day reading a portion of God’s compass to you. It will point you in the right direction for the day.

George Yates is a Life Purpose Coach and Church Health Strategist assisting individuals, churches, and organizations in fulfilling their God-given purpose in life. Visit SonC.A.R.E. Ministries online and see the leadership resources available.

Be a Leader of Grace

“A person of integrity only goes “against” someone who is destroying something good, and then is only against the destruction, not the person himself.”  Dr. Henry Cloud, in his book “Integrity”, speaks of a person of grace.

Grace is the extending of favor to others even when they have done nothing to deserve such favor. A leader with grace understands for others to reach the level of standards set, will at times require grace in the form of training, coaching, encouragement, and empowerment, as well as other resources to assist them in reaching standards and higher levels. “Leaders without grace set the standard and do nothing to help people meet it. Then when they don’t meet it the leader turns on them as adversaries.” Dr. Henry Cloud (Integrity pg 85)

As a parent of grace empowers a child toward achievement, so a leader of grace will empower his/her charges. Not to do so will stifle effective production, and personal growth. People being held down, back, or at bay will eventually rebel. In most cases, they will leave. Many leaders have “run away” some of their best employees and workers because they use demand instead of grace.

Grace is not removing the standard. Grace is allowing more time and resources to assist the individual in reaching the standard. It is understood that grace can only carry so far. There are times and situations that require assisting an individual to move on. However, this should also be done with grace.

Cloud relates this story of a man about a former boss. “She was a tough one, but I always felt she wanted me to do well. She wanted me to win, even when she was hard on me.” The goal of every leader should be to leave behind a trail of people who have experienced grace and are stronger, better, more efficient for knowing the leader. People of grace always leave people better off than before knowing them – even when they’re getting nothing in return.

A leader of grace is one who not only holds to the standard, but helps others rise to and above the standard for the individual and the team through positive resourcing.

Are you a leader of grace or demand? Grace will always get you farther and lead to the more efficient and productive organization. Being a leader of grace is being a person of integrity. Be a leader of grace in every area of your life. I’m striving to. Will you?

George Yates is a Life Purpose Coach and Church Health Strategist assisting individuals, churches, and organizations in fulfilling their God-given purpose in life. Visit SonC.A.R.E. Ministries online and see the leadership resources available.

Feedback Matters

Feedback matters. What you do with it matters even more. Successful higher-level leaders welcome, even invite feedback. However, many people in leadership positions have a fear and resentment about feedback. I have known people in positions of leadership both in the corporate world and in ministry who refused to accept any feedback or criticism.

Can you imagine a person changing companies every year or two simply because their annual evaluation came back with an area to work on? I’ve witnessed it and heard of it multiple times. We all have areas we need to work on. Running from those weak areas will never solve the issues and will stifle our growth and keep us from climbing the ladder of leadership and success.

The story is told of a fortune 500, computer company, surviving the technology bust around the turn of the 21st century and the biggest layoff in company history. A survey was given to all company employees with not so warm results. The survey revealed employees impression of the top officers in the company; the company’s CEO was considered impersonal and emotionally detached. The company president was autocratic and antagonistic. There were other such words used as well, but you get the picture. More than half of the employees stated they would leave the company if provided an opportunity.

Fortunately, this CEO and his president did not do as most in the business world. They actually took the survey to heart. Realizing that over half of your workforce is ready to walk out the door is not a comforting feeling for anyone in leadership. – Or, at least it should not be a comfortable feeling. That large of a percentage cannot be wrong. Changes need to be made.

This CEO and his president knew they had to take a long hard look at their own conduct and leadership styles. Both men studied, received counsel, and began working on correcting their poor behavior patterns. Videos from the CEO, about the wake up call, were played for all company employees. Changes began to take place – not only in these two men. But also in the overall atmosphere of the company.

In many organizations, if this type feedback had been revealed, the persons in leadership would have ignored the information or tightened the screws a little more in their ill-fated leading. This type behavior certainly will drive away the best leaders and workers in the organization. Turnover will be extremely high and quality of work low. It happens in business.. It happens in ministry.

Today, that computer company is one of the largest, holding a high market share, and is a stronger company than before. Why? Because the two men at the top realized the change needed to start at the top. The realization that their leadership was the biggest factor holding the company back. Their willingness to make the needed adjustments in their own lives perhaps saved the company and put it on solid, growing ground where it has remained for the last sixteen years.

My prayer is that as a leader you will always welcome, even invite feedback, especially constructive feedback. This is the only way you will grow as a leader and the only way to progress through the levels of leadership. Feedback matters. What you do with it matters even more.

George Yates is a Life Purpose Coach and Church Health Strategist assisting individuals, churches, and organizations in fulfilling their God-given purpose in life. Visit SonC.A.R.E. Ministries online and see the leadership resources available.

Level Five – The Cream Always Rises to the Top

Little has been written about Level Five leaders. Perhaps because it is rare to find a level five leader. Or could it be because level five leaders are so modest, self-effacing, and humble that they are difficult to capture? It is not that they are actually difficult to capture. However, it is difficult to get them to speak about themselves. The reason being they are – modest, self-effacing, and humble –not so much in their eyes, but in the eyes of their beloved employees (volunteers).

Level five leaders are overly self-effacing, thinking of others, always giving credit to everyone else on the team. You will likely never hear a level five leader take credit, even if he was the only person involved in the accomplishment. But he/she will always gladly point to the team as the reason for success.

Level five leaders are so high on the team success scale that all individual contributions at all levels have become secondary (or non-existent). This leader has constructed and developed a team that loves the leader to the point that the effectiveness of the team’s accomplishment is the victory. Team members will sacrifice for a level five leader; not because of a deadline or time limit, but because of their admiration and love for the level five leader.

Not only do level five leaders pass the credit (even if he/she has done most of the work), he will also shoulder the responsibility, even when the responsibility lies elsewhere. This is where the humility of a level five leader shines through. The leader could have been 500 miles away when the blunder occurred, yet, he will always take ownership of the responsibility and never pass blame. Like a mother hen takes care of her chicks, so a level five leader will protect his team members.

Level five leaders will repeat the team success no matter where or what team they are assigned to. The cream always rises to the top. Level five leaders cannot, by nature of who they are, reveal themselves as a level five leader. Think about that statement. If a person claims to be a level five leader, does that claim not take away humility and self-effacement? This alone would disqualify a person as a level five leader, would it not?

Level five leaders are always hard, diligent workers as well. Not afraid to get their hands dirty, often the first on the job and the last to leave, yet disciplined in keeping life’s priorities straight. Like most people you and I may never reach the level five leadership post, but should it not be our ever-endeavoring effort?

George Yates is a Life Purpose Coach and Church Health Strategist assisting individuals, churches, and organizations in fulfilling their God-given purpose in life. Visit SonC.A.R.E. Ministries online and see the leadership resources available.

Many Aspire, But Few Make it to Level Four

In this series on the five levels of leadership we have thus far looked at the lower three levels:

1)      Positional leader – This leader operates from an authoritarian stance. He uses his position or title as the authority to get things done. This is the lowest level of leadership and actually the least productive of all. (See the post titled “Your True Leadership Style is the Behavior Pattern Others Perceive” for more on this leadership level)

2)      Relational level – This leader gets buy-in from team members and employees by building relationships across all lines, ethnic, socio-economic, gender, age, and work ethic. Production comes when people feel the leader cares enough to positively encourage workers by getting to know each one. (See the post titled “Moving Up the Ladder of Influence and Leadership” for more on this second level of leadership)

3)      Gaining Momentum – The level three leader has built relationships, gained respect and now employees and team members are motivated around a specific cause. Individual interests are put aside for the good of the team producing greater effectiveness. (See the post titled “Reaching for Level Three Leadership” for more on this leadership level)

While many aspire towards level four and five, few ever truly make it. Level four leaders are developing leaders from within his/her team (be it paid employees or volunteers). This is where the cream rises to the top. True leaders are assisting their team members in personal growth. Not in only the yes men and women of the team – but every member. People want to follow a level four leader. They are not running away or leaving the organization.

It is true many people are not certain how to assist others to grow. Others, like level one leaders are threatened by the possibility of subordinates or employees and volunteers. “After all, if that person grows in leadership ability, he might expose me or take my job.” While they will never come out with those words, a level one leader would rather attempt to hold someone back and even take credit for what others do. Level four leaders do the opposite. They want to see every person in the organization grow and reach his/her full potential.

I love John Maxwell’s statement, “A leader is great not because of his or her power, but because of his ability to empower others.” There is so much providential truth in that statement that I encourage you to read it again – and again.

Unfortunately, too many leaders have a false sense of level four leadership. We have level one leaders in churches and other organizations masquerading, pretending to be level four leaders and never facing reality.

Level four leaders understand their main responsibility is to assist in the development of all team members (not a select few who agree with the leader)  to accomplish the work at hand and to grow beyond the scope needed for this task. Level four leaders will see their team members rising above, receiving promotions, and leading others.

Don’t be a “in my own mind” level four leader. You will run your best people away. Instead strive to become a true level four leader by building the requirements of levels two and three. Then do everything in your power to help all your team members (employees and volunteers) to grow beyond your own leadership. This requires vulnerability and humility. And this is truly a level four leader.

George Yates is a Life Purpose Coach and Church Health Strategist assisting individuals, churches, and organizations in fulfilling their God-given purpose in life. Visit SonC.A.R.E. Ministries online and see the leadership resources available.

Reaching for Level Three Leadership

Level one leaders operate from position or title. Productivity at level one is short-lived, turnover is high, and trust is lacking. Level two leaders operate relationally, building relationships that garner respect. Leaders who rightfully earn the respect of their workers (volunteers) will also gain permission to lead for effective results. So, how does a leader move from relational to higher levels of leadership and more effective results?

Because of the relationships built and trust earned, a leader can move to the next level of leadership which is “gaining momentum” or as John Maxwell justly calls it, Production. In this level, we begin to see teamwork surfacing. People are now coming together for a cause. Workers (paid or volunteer) desire coming together to accomplish the tasks at hand. Effectiveness as a team emerges overtaking individual exploits.

Level three leaders observe and act in ways that will build the team as well as individual members of the team. Level three leaders are results oriented – but not by force. Leaders at this level have and continue building relationships and involve workers in determining and resourcing for effective results. Workers, who have been included in the decision and fact checking process (research and reviewing statistics, facts, and products) are more likely to strive to accomplish desired results. Therefore, creating a team effort for effective results.

At level three, people follow because of proven results – results that the team and you have accomplished. A level three leader will pass the credit of success to lower levels of workers. (Level one leaders want the credit; “It’s what I did”). The more a leader will pass the credit and shoulder responsibility, the greater effectiveness he will become as a level three leader and preparing him for level four. Here is an example:

“It is true we did not reach all of our goals for this month as a team. However, every one of you performed well and we’ve seen growth because of it. I am proud to tell others that I am on the same team with you. I take full responsibility for our team not reaching “xyz” and I know that if we pull together we will do our best to overcome that obstacle next month. You did well. Let’s keep the momentum going this month.”

Even if he/she has done the major share of the work, a leader who always passes the credit, will have no issues with people giving their best to accomplish goals and tasks. On top of passing the credit, a leader who will carry the responsibility of shortfalls on his shoulders instead of “passing the blame”, will gain followers that will not easily be dissuaded.

Be a leader who not only builds relationships with everyone on your team, but one who strives to build individuals into effective productive teams – teams who desire to be together to accomplish a task or take on a specific cause. Swallow your pride and self-centeredness and begin passing the credit of all success and accept the responsibility of losses or failures as your own. After all it is your watch, you are the leader. You can build a team of effective production and momentum beyond any individual glories.

George Yates is a Life Purpose Coach and Church Health Strategist assisting individuals, churches, and organizations in fulfilling their God-given purpose in life. Visit SonC.A.R.E. Ministries online and see the leadership resources available.

Moving Up the Ladder of Influence & Leadership

How do you get people to work for you when they are not obligated? Influence, relational influence. This is the second level of leadership. As discussed in last week’s blog post, Level one leadership is leading from position, using your title or position as motivator. Level one is often leadership by pressure or even coercion. Level one leadership demonstrates little or no true leadership skills. This week I want to look at level two leadership, relational, or as John Maxwell lists it, “Permission” leadership.

Whether they are obligated or not, to move from level one to level two leadership a person must be inter-relational, able to build relationships with their charges (paid or volunteer). These relationships must go beyond, “Hi, How are you doing today?” A person unable to build solid, lasting relationships with workers (volunteers) will find short-lived effective success as a leader. In other words this person will continue to operate from level one.

You can love people without leading them, but you cannot lead people without loving them.” A very powerful and great statement from John Maxwell. Lower level leaders often times do not understand the critical element of this factor. Perhaps like me you have heard a manager say, “I am not here to be their friend. I am here to be their boss. I am here to see they get the job done.” While there may be some truth in those statements. The truth would lie in the third sentence, not the first.

The very best way to get someone to accomplish a task is through positive influence. To provide absolute positive influence, you must first get to know the person, earning his/her respect. Respect is earned, not given arbitrarily. You do not have to go out and have drinks with everyone in your organization, or invite them over for dinner. However, personalizing the work relationship will gain far greater respect than barking orders and adding bureaucratic procedures.

When people know that you care about them as a person, not as a machine, they will respond accordingly. In the church, business world, and life in general, far too few people are willing to take the time to invest in building true, caring relationships. A wise investment for anyone is to learn basic people skills. Your influence level rises as people enjoy and want to be around you. As a leader, this is critical in progressing up the ladder of influence.

The major characteristic separating level two from level one is that people want to follow you, not out of obligation to your position, but out of respect and relationship. When you build relationships and gain their respect, people will give you permission to lead them. Begin today: What can you do to build and strengthen relationships with those who serve under your leadership?

George Yates is a Life Purpose Coach and Church Health Strategist assisting individuals, churches, and organizations in fulfilling their God-given purpose in life.

Your True Leadership Style is the Behavior Pattern Others Perceive

Many people have used the word influence in their definitions of leadership. I believe, Leadership is an influence process. John Maxwell and others have written about five levels of leadership. Maxwell’s terms for these are Level one, Positional, Level two, Permission, Level three, Production, Level four, People Development, and Level five, Personhood. Level one being the lowest level of leadership, where the least amount of true leading actually takes place, and level five being the highest level, a level very few people ever attain.

When entering a new position or job promotion, most everyone will enter at level one. You are not yet proven in this position. Therefore, you must lead from position. The only leadership credential you have with employees (volunteers) is that of a title. People will follow for a short time a person who only leads from level one, positional leadership. Sooner than later, using your position to accomplish the work and goals of your organization, will wane. So will morale and attitudes within the organization. People will begin to leave your organization, beginning with the best workers and potential leaders. I literally scratch and shake my head when I see people attempting to lead via positional leadership. Especially when it appears this is the only leadership style he/she knows. It is plainly ineffective as a leadership style.

Level one leadership has also been known for decades as autocratic leadership. Autocratic leaders are authoritarian leaders and this type of leadership dates back to some of the earliest tribes known to have recorded information. Here’s one small snippet of what Wikipedia says about this type of leadership: “An authoritarian leadership style is exemplified when a leader dictates policies and procedures, decides what goals are to be achieved, and directs and controls all activities without any meaningful participation by the subordinates…The group is expected to complete the tasks under very close supervision, while unlimited authority is granted to the leader.”

Level one leadership will severely strangle the effectiveness of any organization. Using the five levels of leadership listed above, the highest level of effectiveness and organizational success comes with the highest level of leadership, level five. True effectiveness of leadership begins to appear in level three, production, and rises as the leadership rises to level four and five.

The higher levels in leadership represent more supportive roles by leadership, whereas lower levels represent directive roles from leaders. Autocratic leaders expect results, my way. Subordinates have no say in how something is to be carried out.

Higher level, supportive leadership, on the other hand, gives freedom and empowers subordinates. You will see more of a democratic leadership style in place in these organizations. Involvement of followers (subordinates) in decision making.

Autocratic – derives power from position or title – expect results my way – morale killer.

Democratic – places an emphasis on personal power of every person in the organization – morale booster = effectiveness.

If you are a leader ask yourself this question: “If I were not in leadership, which of these would I want to serve/work under?” I believe you’ll choose the higher level democratic leader. So, why not begin today, striving to become one. Set your goals to progress through the levels of leadership, striving to become the highest level leader you possibly can be.

Your true leadership style is the behavior pattern that you use with other people when trying to influence them, as they perceive it. (Not what you think it is, but as they perceive you)

George Yates is a Life Coach and Church Health Strategist assisting individuals, churches, and organizations in reaching their full God-given potential.

Can you learn all there is to know about coaching by reading one book? 

A guest post written by;  Stephanie A. Janke, Certified Biblical Life Coach

Can you learn all there is to know about coaching by reading one book?  My estimation is probably not, but George L. Yates has managed to pack many powerful keys and valuable insights into just 10 chapters and a little over 100 pages, in his book, COACHING:  A Way of Leadership    A Way of Life.

Mr. Yates discusses coaching, eye contact, body language, and the art of asking questions. His coaching instruction resonates with moving people forward, enabling them to maneuver and navigate through various stages of transition and transformation. What particular skills do I need to do this, you might ask?   We are all coaches in some ways during our lives, even if it isn’t our business or ministry.  Teaching children, cruising through marriage, or building relationships with co-workers, family and friends, requires us to have the skills George describes in his book! 

Does asking the right questions or watching a person’s body movements give me enough information to help someone really make changes?  Mr. Yates explores the 4 basic ‘natures’ of the question, and examines the ‘funnel effect’ of how coaches can help bring the coachee to a “more proper conclusion, leading them on a path toward greater effectiveness”.   Discovering the breakdown, realizing the need to make adjustments, and taking responsibility, will begin the rebuilding process that each person needs to keep moving forward.

Can sitting in a real-time environment with our coachees produce more depth and substance during our sessions?  COACHING: A Way of Leadership, will open your own eyes to the keys of greater communication skills through eye contact, body language, and facial expressions. Along with concentrating on greater listening skills, the coach will become a ‘life-long’ learner.  George’s goal is “to have the purpose, power, and passion which transform us”, the coach; when we help others to “unlock the mysteries of the mind, heart, soul and will”! 

Why should you read COACHING: A Way of Leadership A Way of Life?  As the Mr. Yates describes, the ‘why question’ is often not the best approach.  Instead, ask yourself, ‘What will best help me to create an environment of change, experience, and discovery, so that the coachee will be inspired, and have their own thoughts illuminated?   Can I assist them to unearth the choices and changes they can only make themselves? Want to improve your productivity? ,Want to be more effective in your coaching? ,Want to be respected as a person with the ability to lead others?  Read this book and you will discover like Mr. Yates states in his conclusion… “After all, Coaching, it is a Way of Leadership, a Way of Life!   My plan is to read it over and over again.

My thanks to Stephanie Janke for her review of this book. You can purchase your copy from Amazon or at SonC.A.R.E. Ministries.com

George Yates is a coach and Church health strategist, assisting individuals, churches and other organizations in fulfilling their God-given purpose.

The Four Natures of a Question – part II

“Furthermore, if questions so profoundly predetermine thought and inquiry, then it would seem to make sense to get them right lest our searching become a blind man’s groping. Unknown

Questions are truly a great gift from God. Learning the different natures of questions will lead you to be a worthy coach and leader, creating many discovery learning experiences for your employees, coachees, peers, family members, and others.

Closed Ended Question – This nature of this question is to use static recall; recollecting facts and stored information. As soon as one person answers te question, everyone’s thinking shuts down. Examples of closed ended questions:

What day of the week is today?

When is your birthday?

Where are you from?

What do you do for a living?

Open Ended Questions – Engage the higher order thought processes causing everyone listening to move to deeper thinking. Is not normally answered in one word or simple statement. Everyone in the room continues these deeper thought processes, even as others verbally share their responses. Examples:

What does Saturday mean to you?

What would a perfect birthday look like in your thinking?

How could we have done a more effective job?

In what ways will purchasing that particular car help you?

Rhetorical Questions – do not normally require an answer. Many times the answer is in the question. Examples:

Isn’t the weather nice today?

Aren’t you feeling chipper this morning?

You’re not looking to be a failure, are you?

Statement Questions – taking any statement and turning it into a question. Statement questions can be rhetorical, closed or open. As leaders, we should work to keep them open ended or at least engage the higher order thought processes of our listeners. Examples:

You say, you went to work on Tuesday, but didn’t stay?

Jane really likes wearing that blue dress her mother gave her, doesn’t she?

This guy, Samson, really killed 1,000 men with the jawbone of a donkey?

Learning the nature of questions and which nature will help make forward progress for your employee, volunteer, child, or coachee. After all, if questions so profoundly predetermine thought and inquiry, doesn’t it make sense to get them right lest our searching become a blind man’s groping?

To learn more about the four natures of a question and how to effectively develop and employ questions, order your copy of COACHING:A Way of Leadership, A Way of Life. Also available at Amazon in hardcopy and kindle.

George Yates is a Coach and Church health Strategist assisting individuals, churches and other organizations in reaching for their God-given potential.