Image result for Axiom by Bill Hybels


Powerful Leadership Proverbs

by Bill Hybels

I. Vision and strategy.

Language matters.

  • Your word choice is very important when you want to say something.
  • Leadership can rise and fall on the words that a leader choose.
  • When you put the right words with your vision, they can become alive and powerful.
  • Choose the right words and others will be in a situation in which they can exceed.
  • You may know exactly what you want, but if you do not choose the right words then you will not get the people on board with you. You must use the right words.

Make the big ask.

  • Leaders are always asking; asking people to come to Christ, asking people to grow, asking people to buy into their vision, asking people to help, etc.
  • Asking is part of your leadership role, but the longer you lead the bigger your asking’s become.
  • When handled properly, people are honored to be asked to do things for God.
  • Learning to develop how to ask is very important for a leader and his ministry.
  • If you have a vision, stand up boldly and look someone eye to eye and learn to ask in the right way. If you learn how to do this, you, your ministry and others will be blessed by it.

Different seasons

  • A key responsibility of a leader is to identify what season their ministry is in and then communicate that correctly to their followers.
  • When is it time to deepen your foundation, bring more in, get more staff, restructure, etc.?
  • It may be time to put all the ministries under a microscope and see if it is time to let them die or change them up. This is hard for a leader, but a leader must learn to identify and know how to work through different seasons.
  • You are always in a different season, and as a leader you must learn what the season is and how to navigate through it.

Explosive growth equals Dramatic meltdowns

  • When God gives blessings and ministry grows, we must take the time to see if we can structure that growth or if it will break us apart. Many leaders are not ready for growth.
  • When growth comes, we can see the blessings and know that God always does his part, but have we done our part to be ready for it?
  • Yes, pray that God will give growth, but do your part and be prepared for all the needs that that growth will bring.

Vision, paint the picture passionately.

  • William Wilberforce believed one day that slavery would be abolished and the Wright brothers believed that one day people could fly.
  • At the core of leadership is vision.
  • Vision is a picture of the future that places passion in people.
  • Vision and passion are bound up in the heart of a leader.
  • Paint the picture for others of the vision that God has placed in your heart – passionately as you can, and do not apologize about it.

Bold move

  • Courageous high risk plans.
  • You will never take big hills without making bold moves.

An owner or a hireling.

  • The apostle Paul headed to Jerusalem knowing that he would very likely be killed. But this did not stop him because he was not a hireling.
  • Followers will buy into a vision as much as they believe the leader believes and owns the vision.
  • The fun factor will eventually drain out and excitement will dry up… But we must continue and finish the vision that God is put in our heart or we are nothing more than a hired-hand.

Hire 10’s

  • Someone who is a number 5 on the scale cannot teach someone who is a number 10 on the scale.
  • You must raise your level of effectiveness and hire those who are capable as well

– if not you will never be able to get anyone effective.

  • Train your staff to shoot high in their effectiveness.

The fair exchange value.

  • A worker deserves his salary.
  • Every leader wants maximum results, but the truth is we will receive what we deserve and what we are worthy of, there’s a fair exchange.

The value of a good idea

  • Because of a good idea, ministries are added or changed and people can be influenced. Pray that God would give you the idea needed for a specific time and occasion.
  • Good leaders know how to seek out ideas that are worth doing.
  • Great leaders keep a pad of paper and pen by their bed so they can write down ideas when they come to them. If you are on the road or wherever you may be, have a plan how to write down or do something to later remember a good idea that came to you.
  • Good ideas do not happen without someone thinking through it.

Build a boiler fund.

  • Things happen that wreck even the greatest of ministries.
  • Someday when you least expect it, a boiler (important, expensive piece of equipment) will bust and you will not be able to afford it. Save up now so that you will be ready for that moment.

Vision leaks.

  • We can get everyone stirred up and excited on Sunday, but by Tuesday they have totally forgotten about it.
  • You have to refill vision every once in a while.
  • Learn to ask your staff and others helpful their vision bucket is. Get a gauge of how full the vision buckets around you are and then get busy on topping them off.


    • You will have 10 out of every 100 people that will move, die or leave your church every year. Growth must be incremental growth.
    • Have a six-week list of goals, tasks, etc.
    • There are some discussions that must be discussed with many people and other discussions that should stay between a small group or it could cause confusion.
  • Teamwork and communication

Never say someone’s “no” for them.

  • You will never know if you do not ask. You may be afraid to ask someone to help, give, work, etc. But do not rule it out, let them say no instead of saying it for them.

Do not place people positions that they have not been tested for.

  • Putting a person in a position that they cannot do will hurt many people.

Leaders like to be prepared and have contingency plans.

  • You have to teach your people and your staff to avoid any last-minute 11th hour surprises.

The people you lead have to know that they are part of a burden-carrying team.

A leader must learn to ask his team how they are doing.

  • We live in a world where asking someone how they are doing means to give a superficial answer, but leaders must ask team how they are really doing in order to work together and be most effective.

Get the right people around the table.

  • Every problem known to mankind is solvable when you have the right people at the table.
  • You could be nervous about situations but if you have capable people working with you than you can know things will be taken care of.

Who is in charge.

  • Problems will not be solved unless everyone knows who is in charge of specific areas.
  • Nothing is fixed when no one knows whose responsibility it is to fix it.
  • Have someone in charge of every area from the get-go and problems will be solved, things will be accomplished and fruit will be seen.

Speed of the leader is speed of the team.

  • Jesus said follow me and Paul said imitate me.
  • If you want to know how determined people are in their jobs, look at how determined the leader is. The same can be applied with how people respond to a problem, how joyous they are, how gracious they are, and how much faith they have. The leader sets the pace.
  • Leaders must never expect from others what they do not do themselves. Leader cannot expect more creativity, higher commitment or better work ethic if they are not modeling it.
  • A leader should be able to say follow my values, my integrity, and my work ethic, and be very satisfied with the results.

Pay attention to greetings and goodbyes.

  • A leader usually wants to jump right in and get things accomplished, but he should take time for the greetings and goodbyes.
  • The most important part of a meeting is the greetings and goodbyes, not the agenda, goals or other details.
  • If you shake hands, smile and welcome people genuinely, the meeting will go better, there will be a different spirit about it, and more will be accomplished. How you begin and end a meeting is much more important than we know.

Deliver the bad news first.

  • What you leave with someone will be remembered, so begin the meeting or conversation with the bad news first.
  • Once the bad news is out, you are free to talk about other things and the worse part is over.
  • Too many leaders kick off the meeting by rattling off the best news first and then end with the bad news — big mistake.
  • The difference between great communication and poor communication many times is where you place the bad news.

Disagree without drawing blood.

  • Ephesians 4:15 – speak the truth in love.
  • When we quarrel, and we will, we can disagree without hurting the future relationship or cause.
  • Your team must know that they can disagree without drawing blood.

Help me understand.

  • Instead of being critical or attacking the person for what he/she did, make sure you understand exactly why they did what they did, the person’s intentions and reasons. You may still have to take action, but asking may change how you look at the situation.
  • The spirit of the question will help your criticism or correction with the person.

Just to be clear.

  • Great leaders know that they must be crystal clear when they sound the trumpet.
  • Learn to ask again if you were clear. Finish your topic by saying, “just to be clear, I am saying…”.


  • Tell people how they are doing at their job – evaluate them with A,B,C. This is clear and will let them know that they are doing good or need to improve.
  • Everyone wants to know if they are succeeding or failing.

Keep short accounts.

  • Working close to others will inevitably lead to someone getting their feelings hurt.
  • There are two thoughts here: 1) Some think that just letting time go by, the problem will heal itself. 2) The Bible way is Ephesians 4:26, to not let the sun go down on your wrath.
  • The more time between the infraction and the healing will only cause the problem to grow, so go fix things right away.
  • Learn to make the phone calls or go meet the people and ask forgiveness or if everything is fine – keep short accounts and it will be better for everyone.
  • The healthiest places or not those that are conflict-free rather those committed to keeping short accounts.

We get to do this together.

  • Remember that when things are accomplished to let everyone about the victory but the best part is that we got to do this together.
  • When something happens, make sure to honor the individuals that contributed to making it happen.

III. Activity and Assessment.

We should be the people shoveling and not those leaning on the shovel.

  • The doors are open, the path is clear the time is now, we must become action oriented and get things done.
  • Lead with a bias toward action and hire those as well that have a bias toward action.

Performance buys freedom.

  • When staff gets things done allow them to have freedom areas but if things are not getting done, then step in and limit freedoms.

Be responsible.

  • Respond to phone calls, emails and letters within 24 hours.
  • Return every phone call, no one likes to feel ignored.
  • Every week he (Bill Hybles) write 15 to 24 thank you letters and responds to all his letters.
  • Small stuff does in fact matter no matter who you are.

Too much.

  • Good leaders call out high commitments from people but you must know when is too much.
  • You cannot expect or ask people to do things too much or you will burn them out.

Facts are your friends.

  • You might see a decrease in numbers and ask what is going on only to be told that people are still fine and all is ok. But the facts still show you something is wrong. The facts are your friends.
  • Leaders are quick to make excuses like: times are hard, it’s not like it used to be, there is a evil spirit here, etc. But we must take action by looking at the facts and knowing something must be changed.
  • We may think that facts are our enemy because they show where we fail and how we are not doing very well, but we must embrace the facts and find the solution.

Find the critics kernel of truth.

  • Tucked inside each criticism holds some kernel of truth.
  • If we can learn to identify, we can get much help from it instead of stewing over the negative side.
  • Finding the kernel of truth is a tough thing to master, but if we can learn it than we will be much more effective.

Leaders must be a fight.

  • The leader is not meant to stay in an air-conditioned room, he must get out there and lead in the heat of the battle.
  • The leader must provide the energy and enthusiasm that their troops.

Brain breaks.

  • There is only a certain amount of time that you can study and work before you’re brain needs to take a break.
  • Typically it happens at the 60 minute or 90 minute mark.
  • A brain break should be about 15 minutes of getting up, walking around, grabbing a snack, getting some fresh air, changing rooms or whatever you need to let your blood flow.
  • Many times the brain break will allow you to think of new ideas when you return.
  • Your mind works according to rhythms of concentration that are beyond your control.

Pace your speed.

  • Many leaders grow in so many areas but their soul is starved.
  • If you go to fast, you may be empty on the inside.
  • You have to learn to ask yourself if you are growing on the inside as well as the outside.
  • Is your relationship with God growing or decreasing? Are you drawing closer to God or further?
  • How is my relationship between me and God? How is my relationship between me and my family?
  • Am I so wrapped up in my work that I neglect my relationship with God, family and personal growth?
  • If your soul is suffering, maybe it’s time to change your pace. Maybe you need to slow down and rethink things.

What to do when you fail.

  • It’s easy to go in and criticize or blame others, but why not check out the reasons.
  • Did you learn anything from it? If you learned from it, than it was worthwhile.
  • Learn something from every mistakes.

Have a daily finish line.

  • Do you know when your day starts and when your day ends? Do you have a specific time when you can wrap things up, shut the computer, get up and say you’re finished?
  • Having a finish line for yourself will greatly help you.
  • You could be making great progress, but if you do not have a finish line, you will run yourself ragged and burn out.
  • Create your own finish line both daily and weekly. By creating finish lines, you will be much more relaxed and less stressed. You could become a greater parent, spouse and person as a result of setting finish lines in your work and life.
  • Ministry becomes nonstop all of the time and resentment can set in, so set finish lines to avoid resentment, burnout and quitting.


  • Every leader wants to become better, every team wants become better and every organization wants to become better. If you’re not careful you will think you were always going to get better and soon be let down. You must have the discipline to debrief.
  • A leader must stop and go over everything that happened if he is going to get better.
  • Rally the troops after a big event and find out why or why things didn’t go like they were supposed to.

Pay now, play later.

  • Leaders know that they must do the critical task first. You have to pay before you can play.
  • Every day you will see fun or easy things that you can do, but you must choose to do the hard thing first.

Are we still having fun.

  • Sure they’re going to be hard times, but there should be some sense of satisfaction if we’re doing what we believe God wants us to do.
  • We can and should still be having fun even in the hard times.
  • Learn to ask yourself and ask your staff if you’re still having fun.
  • Effective leadership has a lot to do with making sure the people’s spirits stay lifted up and they enjoy what they do.

Do not beat the sheep.

  • There will be plenty of times when goals are not reached and expectations are not met. There will be times when people do not show up or things will not get done, but be very careful not to take it all out on the sheep.
  • Many want to think about the days when the shepherd carried around a big stick and hit the sheep when they did not do what they were supposed to, but that should not happen in leadership.
  • Many times it is the leader, the shepherd, that needs to be beat and not the sheep. We think it is their fault but it may be our fault. Have you prayed? Have you conveyed it correctly? Did you choose the right time to do it? Did you plan well? If the answers are no, you cannot blame the sheep, you must blame yourself.
  • Before you get mad, but the stick down and ask yourself if you have served your sheep first. Never beat the sheep.

IV. Personal integrity.

Read all you can.

  • What are the name of three leadership books that you have read in the last 12 months?
  • Leaders know the importance of reading.
  • When you read, you place new and fresh ideas in your mind.
  • If you are serious about leading, you will read all you can – when you feel like it and when you do not.
  • If you get yourself in a bind do not know what to do because you have not read any good books lately, it is all your fault.

Just do something.

  • You will get better at things when you do things.
  • Don’t talk about or have theories about, just begin doing something and you will grow in so many ways.

Arrive early or do not arrive at all.

  • Jesus said let your yes be yes and your no be no, so arrive on time or don’t tell people that you will meet them.
  • Promises are about character keeping and will reveal your character.
  • When a leader arrives late, people will understand that he is not serious or that the meeting is not that important. But when a leader figures in time for extra delays and arrives early, people know that the leader believes the meeting is important.
  • Value people’s time and life enough to keep your word and arrive early.

We are all needed.

  • Every person has talent and gifts and everyone is needed.
  • Do not think that you can do it all by yourself.

Excellence honors God.

  • Everything that we do should be given our best. We should give our best because it is God’s work.
  • A leader does not need to be pushed, there’s something inside of him that pushes him to strive for excellence.
  • What would happen if in every ministry everyone strived for excellence because they realized it was for Jesus?

Admit you’re wrong and make headway.

  • A leader should shoot straight as soon as he knows he messed up.
  • When a leader shifts the blame, his credibility falls.
  • When something goes wrong, everyone wants to see who is going to take the blame and the leader that accepts it will be respected in their eyes — that is the leader others will follow.
  • I have failed… those are words of a trustworthy leader.

Lead at home.

  • Show me a leader that can share his vision in a white-hot way but that has a wife that does not respect him and problems at home, and I will show you trouble that is waiting to happen.
  • Leadership’s first test is the family, and until that test is past than no other test matters.
  • You have to fight to make time for your family and keep that a priority… you must be a fighter in this area.
  • No matter how good ministry is going, they will always need more time from you.
  • You have to fight for time. Your family is important.
  • Schedule time for your family every week. Take vacations. Set your priorities right.
  • When it comes to your family the one who should be fighting is you.

Finish well.

  • How you leave a place is how you will be remembered there.
  • If you finish well, you will be remembered with admiration and respect.
  • It is the nature of an organizations that people come and go but the key is finishing well. The question is not if one will eventually leave somewhere but if he/she will leave well.
  • When you are the leader and someone else wants to leave, find out how you can help them finish well. Tell them the importance of finishing well and help them do so.

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