Tim Adour shares leadership lessons with Dr. Sarah Andreas. You can reach Tim at Website: churchoftherev.org .
You will learn
The importance of knowing yourself
Having the long view of leadership
The need for someone to speak truth to you
Dr. Sarah Andreas: Welcome back, everyone. Today, my guest is Tim Adour. I'm going to let Tim introduce himself to you guys, but I want to tell you just one snippet. Tim was part of my PhD program, and he's getting really close to finishing up and becoming Dr. Tim. I am so excited that you have agreed to talk to me today, Tim. Welcome, and tell us a little bit about yourself.
Tim Adour: Hi, Sarah. Thank you. It's great to be with you. Yes, very, very close. I get a date, and then, I'll be done. I cannot wait for that to happen. Tim Adour Adour, I live and work in the Bronx, New York City. I have been the pastor of a church here for the last 11 years. Prior to that, my wife and I were in Syracuse, New York, which is upstate northern New York, but we made the transition from green lawns to the urban jungle. It's been quite a transition, but things are going well. I'm the father of two, but more importantly, I'm the grandfather of four.
Dr. Sarah Andreas: Awesome.
Tim Adour: Awesome, yes. My leadership training has been-- My master's degree is in organizational leadership and, of course, my PhD is in leadership studies from Johnson with Sarah and our cohort. That's the brief Tim Adour.
Dr. Sarah Andreas: Yes. The interesting thing about our cohort is, I think, we started out with 19.
Tim Adour: Something like that. It was- [crosstalk]
Dr. Sarah Andreas: It was a huge number.
Tim Adour: Yes, just under 20.
Dr. Sarah Andreas: Then, right now, there are four of us on track to-- Three of us are going to finish up this year, the fourth is probably next year. David, I'd say, is probably next year.
Tim Adour: That's what it looks like, yes.
Dr. Sarah Andreas: Yes. There's only four of us who are going to be done. It was great-- It was a hard journey, but I thought it was good. I learned a lot.
Tim Adour: Yes, I agree. The classes were incredible. I just really, really enjoyed the classes. When you hit the dissertation part, it gets a little more intense. [chuckles] I can't say I enjoyed it, but I did learn a lot. I did learn a lot. All in all, it was a great experience.
Dr. Sarah Andreas: Tim, what has been the biggest leadership lesson that you've had to learn?
Tim Adour: I thought about that knowing you would ask, and I said to myself, "That's like asking, which child do you love the most?"
Dr. Sarah Andreas: You can do more than one.
Tim Adour: They're all such great lessons. I will say this, as I got older, I started to pastor larger churches. The first church I pastored was small, started out with 25 people, ended up becoming 150 people, but then, I went to another church and there were 500 people, then, this church is around 1,100. Now, I bring that up, for this reason, is that I realized as I got to that middle-sized church that I was trying to lead them in the way I led the smaller organization. When we think church, people don't realize that it's an organization. It's just like any other business in every sense of the word. There's income, there's outflow, you need to manage, you need to lead so you're a CEO, all of these things.
All that to say this, the biggest lesson I learned was to have the long view of leadership, and that has a few aspects to it. If you have the long view of leadership, number one, what you do today is going to affect tomorrow, so thinking through exactly what I'm going to do and being strategic. Strategic thinking says that I have insight into the present and I have foresight into the future. A lot of times a leader will look only at the insight part, they won't look down the road and think about how this is going to affect the organization later.
The second thing about having a long view is the bigger an organization grows, the more the leader needs to multiply themselves. One of the huge mistakes I made when I went to the second congregation, that was around 500 people, it was trying to do everything myself. When you try to do that, of course, you diminish your returns. One of the things I had to learn was when I say multiplying myself, I mean, training people to do things that I don't necessarily have to do. Then, of course, there's a lot of elements to that. Number one is making sure you train them properly. Number two, make sure they understand what you're training. Number three, once they have been trained, release them.
The control freak in every leader wants to go back and oversee and micromanage, but of course, that's counterproductive. When I got to this church in the Bronx, being as large as it is, in a lot of ways, I'm no longer a pastor, in a lot of ways, I'm a CEO. When you've got this many people and this many departments and all sorts of needs, all of these gears turning, there's no way I can have interaction with everybody in the congregation. It's impossible. The way I've had to handle that is to multiply myself and train people, release people so that I can do the things that I need to do.
Dr. Sarah Andreas: That's awesome. When you were younger, did you envision that this is where you were going to be?
Tim Adour: No, never. I thought that- the first place we were at was a little tiny town, very rural type of town, total opposite of who my wife and I are. We fit better in the city than we do in the rural setting, but I really did think that's where I would be but things happen.
Dr. Sarah Andreas: All right. What advice would you give to somebody who is just starting out in leadership, they don't have it all figured out yet, and they want to make an impact in the world, what would you tell them?
Tim Adour: I have a philosophy, and with everybody I've trained, I have said this that I, as a trainer-- I do. I mentor people, I coach people, I develop people. I can give anybody the leadership tools to become a good leader, but what I can't do is train the heart. First, I can give somebody all sorts of tools, but if they don't know how to use it, the tools can become dangerous. You don't give a five-year-old the keys to the car because they're not prepared.
I have this whole pre-training thing that I do where I take people through several weeks of learning how to self-evaluate, learning how to look within themselves, and find those areas that might hinder them from becoming a good leader. My advice to everybody, in the beginning, is don't go to leadership seminar that's going to give you A, B, C, D on how to become a good leader.
The first step is to become very, very self-reflective. There is a phenomenal book, it's a little book, you can read it in a day and a half, two days, it's called Leadership and Self Deception. It doesn't even have an author. It's by the Arbinger Institute. It's this great book that begins the process of saying, "We're self-deceived but we don't know we're self-deceived because we're self-deceived." To go through that book and to go through the process of becoming self-aware is the first step in becoming a leader. Then, you can start learning the A, B, Cs on what to do. That's my advice.
Dr. Sarah Andreas: That's amazing advice. I actually am working on a free master class that's going to come out in about three and a half, four weeks, and that's one of the things that I talk about is we have to be aware, we have to be aware of ourselves. I have a class that I teach as well, it's called First, Lead Yourself.
Tim Adour: Yes, totally. I travel a lot and doing leadership seminars, and I got to the point when I go wherever I go, I've been all over the world, I start there. I used to start with all the tools but no more. I started with, "Let's start with, who are you? Why do you think this way? What is it that you think?"
I'll add this, that a lot of times we're self-deceived, so we think we have a right when we don't. We need a third party. We need somebody that will be honest with us, and say, "You know, you're a jerk, knock it off. [laughs] You shouldn't be doing that. You can't be talking that way, you can't be doing this, you can't be doing that." It's not a matter of simply self-evaluation, but opening yourself up to someone you trust who can help you become the person you need to be. Frankly, I've done two things, I've gone to a therapist and I've hired a life coach. I've done both so that I can learn about myself so that I can then become a better leader.
Dr. Sarah Andreas: Yes. I think it gets interesting, especially-- I know we were talking about entry-level leaders or beginning leaders, but the reality is that the bigger leader you are, if you're the CEO or you're the main person, the less likely you are to find somebody who'll speak that truth to you.
Tim Adour: It's very, very true. In my opinion, you have to find that person outside of your organization. If they're in your organization and you're a top leader, they're going to be intimidated by you and they won't tell you the truth. You need somebody who doesn't care if you get upset at them.
Dr. Sarah Andreas: Yes. That's-
Tim Adour: You've got to start at the bottom. Even the beginning leader wants to become a CEO, we all do, but you're not going to get there and do what you need to do or be the kind of leader you should be if you don't start with self-evaluation.
Dr. Sarah Andreas: Amazing advice, Tim. Thank you so much for taking the time to be on my podcast with me today.
Tim Adour: You are more than welcome. Great to see you. I'll see you at graduation.
Dr. Sarah Andreas: I know. I'm so excited.
Tim Adour: [laughs]
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