All posts by Dr. Tommy Shavers

Dr. Tommy Shavers is the lead consultant and partner for Atlas Group Advisors which focuses on consulting, behavior management and life coaching for high profile individuals and organizations. He is also president of Tommy Speak LLC. and Unus Solutions Inc. Tommy is a published author as well as a contributing author to Linked2Leadership, one of the nation’s top leadership blogs. He has earned a BA in Organizational Communication, MA in Interpersonal Communication, MA in Biblical Studies, and a Doctorate of Management in Organizational Leadership. His area of expertise in leadership is the study of status and power’s influence on the behavior high profile individuals. Tommy is also the creator of the Power Tolerance Theory; a theory that states that there are levels of social status and power people can handle before it begins to influence their behavior and performance. Tommy is a former college professor having taught courses in communication, marketing, retail management, and public speaking. He is a USA Track & Field Level 1 Certified Coach, a previous member of the National Speakers Association (NSA) and a member Delta Mu Delta National Business Honor Society. Tommy has a passion for leadership and personal development and loves to see people sustain personal integrity in their lives while pursuing their goals.

On Leadership and the Political Season: How All Leaders Can Discern Deceit and Restore Truth

Linked 2 Leadership

Political Lies

Having a competitive spirit is usually a positive attribute in our culture. Whether in work, life, or play, we’re hard-wired to face competition with power, tenacity, and the goal of winning.

It’s the American way. And for many, winning has become the supreme, all-important goal!

On Leadership and Lies

As we approach mid-term elections in the United States in the height of this season’s political frenzy, many candidates and their parties are desperate to win at all costs, with millions of dollars spent to influence voters. For example, spending for TV ads in several state governors races this year are in the range of $15-30 million dollars.

Beyond the vast resources being spent though, the greater concern is the blatant deceit that has become a tolerated part of election season; if you consistently vilify and defame your opponent and play dirty politics, you have a good chance of winning regardless…

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How to Lead Stupid People

You can’t.

Dr. Tommy Shavers

Linked 2 Leadership

Stupid People

“How to Lead Stupid People” as an article title… Offensive, right? Who would think that the people that work with them are stupid?

Well read these statements:

“I was just promoted into management and am shocked at how stupid my employees can be. I give them directions and then they do 18 things I didn’t want. I’m getting really frustrated and curt with them. How do I make sure they do tasks the way I want them done?” – Actual question sent in by recently promoted manager (Source)

“My organization has tripled the number of employees I supervise, and I’m exhausted with how many stupid mistakes they make. I make every effort to train them, and yet they still manage to misunderstand nearly everything I say. How can I make the job to clear to them and not waste so much time with their mistakes?” – Yes, another real…

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A Recipe For Failure: Focusing On Success

Linked 2 Leadership

Great Recipe

When cooking food, a little too much or too little of an ingredient can ruin a dish. So if you are cooking from a great recipe, it is vital to focus on every aspect of building that recipe in a way that will yield success.

Great meals don’t come from great recipes; they come from great execution of a great recipe.

Great Recipes Do Not Equal Great Results

At first, I couldn’t understand how someone could have a great recipe for a great meal but still not be able to produce a great meal. With that reasoning, everyone should be master chefs (and we know that’s not the case). I have come to realize in my ignorance and oversimplification of cooking that the problem lies not so much in the recipe as it does in the placement of focus.

Let me explain, great chefs have great focus and an…

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The Spiritual Danger of Having Power

Reading recently about the Mark Driscoll situation at Mars Hill Church as well as seeing the ongoing falling and failings of other spiritual leaders, I thought it time to become a part of the conversation.

Let me first start with stating I don’t condone ungodly or hurtful behavior from anyone toward anyone. With that being said, I don’t think it is time to move from mere condemning of the problems to seeking solutions. For the past decade I wrestled with the question of why so many in spiritual positions of authority and leadership were falling to reprehensible behavior in their lives. I often heard that they were human, just like you and I. Although true, I also knew that even humans (of faith) like you and I are called not to live this way. In addition when becoming a spiritual leader myself, I took to heart the truth that those who lead would be judged more strictly.

I discovered something else while becoming a spiritual leader that lead me to my doctoral research on how one’s status can influence their behavior. I my time as a leader in ministry, sports, education, and business, I have noticed three things: 1) Many leaders do not live and behave in the way they expect their followers to live. 2) People can drastically change when they became leaders. 3) Followers can be guilty of treated leaders differently than their fellow followers.

1. People in Power Behave Differently

When leaders get a hold of too much power and status, their behaviors begin to change. Research shows that the more power people get the more their behavior differs from those without power. Power is said to set off behavioral systems in people which moves them to pursue their desires and wants more than others with little fear of consequences. When power is high, people are more driven by what they can get rather than the consequences of their pursuits. I’ve seen leaders who made unwise decision even when warned by others.  I’ve seen leaders who put themselves in situations that most would not, simply because they thought that could handle it. Lastly, I’ve seen leaders who justify their actions and are blinded to their implications of their actions on others. Power can change the way a leader sees the world.

2. People  Can Change When They Get Power

Power and status seems to be the drug of choice in most churches, and business organizations. I have often experienced good people become elevated to roles of authority and suddenly become totally different people. Having others look up to you and admire you can be an intoxicating feeling and experience. It can and has changed people’s leadership to where they start leading for the feeling of being admired instead of the need for making hard choices and doing the right thing. Because of the addicting influence of being elevated in the hearts of others, many spiritual leaders (and leaders in general) have unknowingly become slaves to appeasing their followers in exchange of their approval and support. This is a dangerous trap that most spiritual leaders can’t seem to find their way out of.

3) Followers Can Worship Their Leaders

Many followers are not aware that they can actually fall into idol worship of those in spiritual positions of power.  Research again shows that the more we admire a person, the more we are to champion their behavior and ideas, and the more  likely we are to defend and justify their actions and behaviors. This is a dangerous recipe for wrong worship. Followers can be just as much the reason leaders fall as leaders the reason followers are manipulated or deceived.

I am convinced that many of the ungodly behaviors that happen among the spiritual leaders of our congregations are greatly influenced by the status and power they have. What many of us fail to realize is that only God can handle worship from man; man cannot. To prevent and avoid the damaging behavior among leaders we must become aware of the power of worship and it’s impact on our behavior. There is a real danger in having too much power; it can create an atmosphere that makes moral failings among those who lead and follow an inevitably sad reality among most churches.

In my latest book on Worship (spoiler alert: it’s not about music, it’s actually about worship), I bring a much-needed awareness to how easy it can be for us to worship any and everything except God. I am giving my book away free this weekend as a part of my writing on this issue today.

None of the Above

Free Download here:

None of the Above: The Power & Pitfalls of Worship http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F1QVI2C/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_awdm_G6ffub1TWCMPC

Discovering and Developing Great Leaders: An Art or a Science?

Linked 2 Leadership

Art vs. Science

Evaluating leadership is not an exact science. In fact, some would say leadership is more of an art than a science. In art (and trust me when I say I’m no art expert…) beauty and masterful works are often in the eye of the beholder.

This implies that there are so many variables when it comes to defining art as great art.

Science however, aims to eliminate the variables in an effort to bring concrete realities to a subjective world.

Collision of Art and Science

A major leadership challenge today to discovering or developing leaders is the collision of art and science.

So what defines a great leader? How about a not so great leader?

We convey the art (subjective) aspect of leadership when we express our views of what a great leader or not so great leader looks like to us. However in the “real world” we…

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It’s Reality…Not TV

Is it just me? Am I the only one watching this stuff today and saying, “uh…is this the world we live in?” Never growing up in the 80’s could I have imagined the world we live in today. Technologies I only saw on the Jetsons cartoon makes my boys today seem like Elroy (just YouTube the Jetsons…or better yet just ask Siri, google).

Are most cartoonist or movie makers prophets cloaking themselves behind the camera? Or are they promoters and evangelists of things they desire to become realities to us all? Either way, they are either seeing, creating, or influencing the futures we are discovering. I mean, how many times can we be told about the future in movies or shows and still seem oblivious to what’s happening as these futures slowly become our realities.

Here me out…I’m not fatalistic in the sense that I think we don’t have the free will to be different. However, societies become what the majorities eventually accept as normal. A great example is America’s first ever African American President. America was able to select an African American president in part because the idea had already been normalized in the American psyche several years prior. Just go back and look at the number of movies and TV shows that began to have African American presidents years prior to President Obama being chosen as President. So subconsciously society was being predisposed to the radical idea of a back man in office.

After numerous movies and shows displaying a black man or woman in the power position of Commander and Chief, I knew it was only a matter of time before such an idea was no longer radical, but a reality. While I am appreciative of such an experience being normalized in our social consciousness and birthed into our social experience, I am equally unappreciative of many of the other ideas being placed into our psyche that are manifesting themselves into our present and future realities.

We are seeing a world numb to war, disease, “natural” disaster, sex trafficking, killing, hypocrisy, corruption, and the list goes on. We enjoy entertainment today that defame our highest leaders (often even killing them), that promote sex scandals, admire serial murderers, belittle women, and encourage foolishness and rebellion from our children.

We can only fight againts something we view as wrong for so long, until right and wrong is lost. It is then replaced with what’s normal. What I mean by normal is the fight between right and wrong. Eventually what was once seen as right and wrong becoming merely seen as two opinions or views of what is right. Eventually the things many have believed to be wrong for so long (regardless of your perspective on it), goes through an evolution of being wrong, not as wrong, kind of wrong, kind of common, common, kind of normal, normal, kind of accepted, accepted, kind of right, and then right.

You see normalcy is the result of a combination of intensity and repetition over time. Something that was once viewed as wrong has to become normal before it can become viewed as right. The biggest way this happens today is through the things we repeated take into our human experience for music, to video games, and definitely through movies and TV shows.

The things our parents and grandparents once knew as right are not the norms of our day. In fact it’s quite fascinating how much of a shift has taken place in what’s accepted today then 15, 30, or 50yrs ago. Now don’t get me wrong; there were indeed some evils in the world during that time that needed to change. However, unlike then…today we publicize, retweet, and recreate TV shows from our evils.

So what’s the big problem?

What am I even saying?

What I’m saying is this…today TV shows, news media, and movies are no longer alternatives our conveyors of our realities; they are the creators of our realities. If they are not giving a platform to the evils of our world today, they are sowing the seeds of the evils of our world tomorrow.

The truth known by many powerful people is the scientific reality that our brains and hearts do not have a differentiating mechanism to distinguish between something we see is on TV or if it’s happening right in front of us in real life. This is why food, cars, video games, and just about any commercial for that matter, that’s geared toward men have half naked women or sexually suggestive women in them. They want you to get an emotional connection to their product. So when you are hungry, ready to buy a car, or deciding what TV show or movie you are going to watch you will more than likely be inclined to choose those in which you have developed and unconscious emotional connection with. You don’t have to believe me; do your own research. This is why sex sales, because people are emotionally drawn to sex.

This is also how we are becoming

Thus because we’ve seen such horror, scandals, dehumanization of others, and the romanticism of sexually explicit experiences placed before our eyes in such intense and creative ways, we are birthing such things into our realities and into the realities of our children.

However, because we are told it’s only entertainment we become desensitized to the realities we see around us that mirror our video games, movies, and music. In other words, we are becoming a world of intense feelings and radical thoughts, of which we are ignorant of their origins and thus do nothing about their emergence into our world.

I’m not even sure if I understand what I just described.

The point I’m trying to make is this…reality today is TV and TV today is reality. If this is true, should we be concerned to the point of taking action? Or should we just keep calm, carry on, and continue to sit back, relax, and enjoy the show?

As with our numerous channels, packages, and show times….

….the choice is yours.