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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Altitude Determines Attitude

From the OCF website - lots of good military leadership reading on there - check it out:

What's Your Altitude?

by Chaplain Marc Gauthier

Did you know that your altitude determines your attitude? Jesus, the highest being there ever was and ever will be, voluntarily lowered Himself. He put Himself in such a low position that He was called a servant.

What does a servant deserve? Nothing. Whom does a servant depend upon? His master. Whose attitude are we called to display? The attitude of Jesus Christ.

Have you ever been short with others, demanding or demeaning in your encounters with people? Are you quick to judge others and place yourself above them in the pecking order? If the answer is "yes" to any of these, your altitude is too high resulting in an attitude that is too high. Pride, placing ourselves first, is an indicator that we are too high on ourselves.

Recently, we've been extremely challenged by several assignment gyrations. Things we thought we were going to do have opened and then closed. I've struggled with anger, disappointment, and frustration.

These feelings identify that my altitude is way too high. It forces me to remind myself that I'm God's property to do with as God sees fit for His good pleasure. I need to put the nose down and get back to earth just like Jesus did.

Hearing Christ's Call

Jesus calls us to a lower altitude. With that lowered altitude we will start to have the right attitude. When we lower ourselves, when we live life "nap of the earth," we will model the attitude of Jesus. Ultimately the altitude and attitude of Jesus is one of our greatest quality of life steps. When we see ourselves as servants with no rights or privileges, dependent completely on our Heavenly Father we are postured to deal with the headaches, heartaches and unfairness of life in the best way possible.

When you feel tempted to demand your rights or exert your will, lower yourself to Jesus' level. Say to yourself, "I don't deserve anything. Any good thing I receive I get by grace." We belong to God and depend upon Him. If life seems unfair say, "What more can a bond-servant expect?"

Last month I had the unique opportunity to sit in the cockpit of a C130 as it took off and flew out of Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. When the plane was making its climb over the mountains, I heard a female voice say, "Altitude. Altitude." Pilots know that this is a warning they are starting to get too close to the ground. When the voice warns them, they respond accordingly.

Followers of Jesus Christ need to listen to the Holy Spirit's voice when it warns us, "Altitude. Altitude."

But as Christ's followers, this is not a warning we are getting too low. It is a warning we are getting too high! When you hear that prompting through life's challenges, consider it a warning that you are getting too high on yourself. Your attitude right now is not like Jesus' attitude. Lower yourself, push forward on the stick, and get yourself back to "nap of the earth" flying where Jesus Himself flew as the chief servant.

Remember why we just celebrated Christmas. It is all about a great God who willfully humbled Himself by coming into our world through a manger--and eventually to a cross to be our ultimate example, and most importantly our Savior. As we start this new year, let's strive to model His life in our lives with the right altitude.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Re: How Smart Are You

Below is the latest from Resurgence. Good stuff and pertinent to leading in the Navy. I can tell you that it is difficult to apply though. The tendency can be to lead from "on high" rather than as one with your people - empowering, encouraging, enabling in a collaborative team that leverages the strengths/talents of each member toward the team's goal. Here it is:

How Smart Are you

For as long as I can remember, smart was equated with intellect and brain power. Smart had to do with grades in school, SAT scores, and one's GPA. This was the case until author Daniel Goleman kicked the old paradigm in the head in 1997 by writing Emotional Intelligence, which redefined how we understand intelligence. Goleman makes a case for relational intelligence that knows how to get along with others; being smart at building collaborative relationships. The good news is that emotional intelligence (EI) is not fixed, as IQ is generally thought to be. EI can be nurtured and strengthened in everyone.

Real Wisdom = Healthy Relationships

"But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, and sincere" (James 3:17).

It seems to me that James is equating real wisdom with healthy relationships. Is he leaning toward EI rather than IQ in describing wisdom that comes from the Lord Jesus? I find it helpful that Eugene Peterson's paraphrase of James 3:17 in The Message starts the verse off with, "Real wisdom, God's wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others..."

This is the era of the team, not the solo leader. Leadership today is more about enabling and empowering than bossing direct reports around out of personal intellectual brilliance. Leaders who are good at developing and maintaining healthy relationships and tapping the power of those relationships will be the most valuable leaders to an organization or church. Long gone are the days in leadership where the know-it-all does it all as he sits at the top and dictates while both under-valuing and under-appreciating what others bring to the table.