Common Sense Leadership

Roy Harris

Roy Harris


BY ANGEL KANE

As many know, Roy has been a WLM contributor for several years as well as our good friend. We are proud of his new writing endeavour and hope you all will pick up his latest book soon. Roy’s advice is immeasurable in these busy times that we lead.

Q. What inspired you to write your latest book, Common Sense Leadership?

I began my first role in leadership at age 17 leading a crew of eight in a fast food restaurant. From then until now I’ve had the privilege of leading a variety of business, educational and religious organizations. Throughout the years I mentored many who worked under me. I wrote an article a few months back showcasing several common sense principles of leadership that I had employed and taught to others.

After reading the article, several of those I had mentored encouraged me to expand the article into a practical book that could be used as a resource to help leaders at every level. I saw the need for a book

Q. What are the characteristics of a good leader?

Wow, many books have been written on just such a topic. Integrity – be honest and forthright in all dealings. Balance – Good leaders lead like someone holding a bird; firm enough to keep control and loose enough to allow the organization to grow and develop without smothering it. Good people skills – a good leader must be able to relate to those he leads. The ability to communicate well is a must also. Good communication is essential to good morale. Good leaders must have the ability to multi-task.

Q. How does a leader go about inspiring those he works with?

There are a few important things a leader must remember if he wishes to maintain loyalty and inspire others to follow his leadership. First of all he must lead by example. He must show those he leads that he is willing to do the hard work and endure the same hardships and make the same sacrifices he expects of others. Others will be willing to go the extra mile if they believe he is willing to also.

Another important thing he should remember is to generously give credit for success to those he leads and accept blame with the team for problems or failures. The leader who remembers this will convey to those he leads that he values them highly and their work is appreciated.

A final important thing the leader should do is to genuinely care about the people he leads. People must feel their leader cares about them personally. Building strong relationships between the leader and those being led is something every leader must possess if he hopes to inspire others to follow his leadership.

Q. What’s the best way to handle criticism from leaders, bosses or those whose we encounter in our day-to-day life?Commonsense Leadership

Criticism will come if you do most anything or if you do nothing. It may come when you do well and or when you do poorly. But mark it down criticism will come. There are 4 things to remember when you are criticized.

First of all LISTEN TO IT. Hear the person out. Sometimes all they need to do is get if off their chest.

Secondly, LOOK AT IT. Ask yourself if the criticism in valued? Is it accurate?

Thirdly, if the criticism is a valid one, LEARN FROM IT. Make whatever adjustments or changes which may be needed.

Fourthly, what if the criticism is not valid? You’ve listened to it, looked at it and the criticism is not a just or valid one. If that’s the case, simple learn to LIVE ABOVE IT. Just keep on doing what you are doing and do not let the criticism slow you down.

Q. What’s the one thing you should never do as a leader?

There are a number of things that might qualify here, but one thing probably trumps them all. A wise leader must always thinks before he speaks. Reacting to personal emotions, the heat of the moment or apparent circumstances may cause a leader to say something or make a wrong decision that a few minutes and a little more information might have prevented.

Also, one should be careful about making either of two absolute statements. One should never say what he is absolutely going to do or what he absolutely will never do. Either one might of these statements make an unintended liar out of the leader at some point later on.

Q. What tools can you tell us about that help us effectively use our time wisely in this busy world?

One of the best things to remember in using time wisely is to organize your priorities. There is a chapter in the book that discusses this in detail. The long and short of it is to organize your work into three separate parts:

1. Things I must do at a certain time.

2. Things I must do but and no set time. 

3. Things I would like to get if I have the time.

Place items in your schedule moving from 1-3 in that order. You can plan your day, week, month and year using the abovementioned formula. The book provides a detailed simple plan on how to do what you must get done and how to balance it with other things you’d like do.

Q. Roy, you stay very busy yourself, how do find balance in your life with your books, writing, speaking engagements, ministry and travel?

Balance is the key word. The most important thing is to plan your work and work your plan based on the solid foundation of your core priorities. Always keep the main things, the main thing. My relationship with the LORD, comes first. I must maintain spiritual balance in order to maintain proper balance with my family and work responsibilities. My wife and family come next. The old expression if mama isn’t happy nobody’s happy rings very true. I know that if things are not as they should be at home that will impact everything I do outside my home. My wife (and my children right behind her) next to the LORD is the most important thing in my world. I love my work. I feel like I am the most fortunate and blessed man in the world.

Q. What new projects do you have in the works for 2014?

2014 looks to be another interesting year. I’ve been asked and am in the process of writing another book. My next book will probably be called Commons Sense FAMILIES or something similar. I began working with and helping families in my first pastorate many years ago and have continued that throughout the years. From that experience, I developed a 12 message sermon series on the family. The book comes from those sermons and will offer practical advice on; husband/relationships, what happens when the first child comes into the home, how to deal with a child two years old, teenagers in the house, financial planning for families and etc.

I’ll be returning to Africa in the fall for the third time. I’ve been invited to speak in Uganda along with Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi. I’ve begun and will continue working hard in 2014 learning Swahili, the language of East Africa in an effort to better communicate with the African people. 

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