Big Picture, Leadership Journey

Connect with Other Leaders

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I got to spend the first part of my week at the Texas Baptist Youth Ministry Conclave in Arlington this week. For years I have always gone with the intent of connecting with friends and picking some insight up along the way.

This year, I was reminded why I enjoy connecting with other ministers.

I worked the booth for Horizon Camps and Resources, so I was able to interact with a variety of people. We gave away YooHoo (the official camp drink of Horizon Camps), but the better part was being able to reconnect with friends I have developed along the way.

One minister, in particular, I engage several times each year, but Tuesday I realized how much we had in common, and I was grateful for an opportunity to process some things together.

Today’s lesson is a simple one, but it’s this: connect with other leaders. If you are able to network regularly, keep it up! If you are one of the people who naturally engage with others, embrace that.

But, if you’re like me, I intentionally force myself to connect. Not because I think I am better, but because connections do not come easily for me.

Who are two leaders with whom you identify and respect? What would it take to call them up and invite them to coffee, or to do a video call if the distance is too great?

The truth is we pursue what is important to us. If growth is important, you will pursue it. If connection is important, you will pursue it. If relationship is important, you will pursue it. But, if your priorities are somewhere else, you will avoid the others out of necessity.

Make connecting with other leaders an intentional part of you life and priorities, and see what happens next.

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3 Questions

3 Reasons to Ask for Help

three question leadership
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Okay, so you are a leader. You are probably even good at some (if not most) of the stuff you do. But have you ever considered your ability to do more is actually a hindrance to those around you? Leaders fail when they fail to ask for help.

Think about it. The more you accomplish, the less the people around you are able to accomplish.

Granted, we are approaching today’s topic from a different perspective, possibly even a counter-intuitive place. But if we are going to buy into the 3 questions to help us grow as a leader then we have to admit a few things.

Here are 3 reasons why you should ask the people around you to help:

  1. You’ll make fewer mistakes. When you focus on what you should be doing and let other people handle the rest, you are able to do your part better. Have you ever tried to juggle? Like actually tried to juggle? Juggling two things is pretty easy, almost natural for most people. Adding a third is more challenging, but definitely accomplishable. Juggling four things, however, is something few people can do well, ask Four Toed Frank the Knife Juggler. The truth is when you ask someone to help, your own effectiveness goes up.
  2. You will frustrate fewer people. Someone who can think for themselves doesn’t want to feel useless. Put another way, high performing people do not want to feel sidelined, so let them get in the game. Taking a step back and bringing them into (or appropriately handing off) the conversation (or project, or task) allows them to feel helpful and fulfilled, thus expanding your leadership influence and theirs. And as a result, they will likely hang around longer because they feel useful.
  3. You’ll get better at your job. When you focus on one thing, you’ll learn how to do it better. Being a jack of all trades, but a master of none is not a desirable trait! This is hard to say, because this is who I am. I do a lot of things, but I only do a few things well. When I spend my focus and energy on the things I do well, I get better and those around me benefit.

The more I teach and talk to other leaders about the three questions, the more I realize the biggest impediment to impact is failing to empower those around you to serve. If you want to see your leadership impact grow exponentially, learn how to ask people to help.

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Incoherent Ramblings, Leadership Journey

Never Lose Sight of the One

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Today’s post is going to be ministry specific, but it plays a role in leadership as well.

When I think back to the influential ministers in my life, very few of them became influencers because they stood at the front of the room.

There was my youth pastor who would stay after Wednesday service for an hour or more talking with me and a friend or two about all sorts of random things, until my parents called the church to see if I was okay.

There was the pastor who saw something in me and started spending time with me each week, helping me grow in my faith.

There was my coach/youth pastor who would put in extra time with me on the basketball court, giving me tips for improving my jump shot or baby hook.

Ultimately each of those people spent that time with me away from their “stage”. As a result, when they stood on the stage (or at the front of the room), their words carried so much more weight. They cared about me, and I knew it.

The same is true for us in leadership, especially in ministry. We have to be willing to spend time investing in individuals. When we do, the words we say from the stage carry more weight.

But there’s more to it than just being able to influence someone. Investment makes a difference.

When we invest in someone, we experience compassion for what they’re going through in life. Learn how to ask questions about what is going on in their life, and take a genuine interest.

When we invest in someone, we experience frustration because people are flawed (newsflash–you’re flawed too, and that may be where your frustration comes from).

When we invest in someone, we experience hope. As we get to know someone, we get a peek into what they could become, and then as a leader we get to help them realize that potential!

The bottom line is this: in leadership, never lose sight of the one. Foster relationships that provide a greater opportunity for impact and watch what happens next!

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Incoherent Ramblings

Build Your Community

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I fancy myself a runner. Well, at least I used to be. I’ve never been fast, but a few years back I trained for a half marathon, and found I really enjoy a nice run. I’m back in it now, but it’s been a slow process.

More than the training, however, I’m part of a group of people who run and share our run stats with each other. This is not a group where we brag about how fast we are, but we all encourage one another to keep up the good work.

And that encouragement means the world.

I’m also part of what I facetiously call a “brain trust” with two fellow ministers. We get together periodically for coffee and to talk about ministry. Our primary goal is to provide each other with a safe outlet for processing situations, and to sharpen one another.

The bottom line is this: we need people who will encourage us and help us become better.

We all need accountability and encouragement. This is especially true in leadership.

Something I have noticed, though, is not everyone leans toward surrounding themselves with a group like these. I don’t think it’s a introvert/extrovert thing, because I am an introvert who values a group meeting. And I don’t think it’s a time in ministry thing, either.

I think some people are wired to ask for advice and help, and others are not. The reality, however, is the challenges we face will be significantly more manageable when we have done the hard work of creating a network of people who will encourage, correct, advocate, and brainstorm with us.

Who gives you advice and perspective? Who gives you genuine affirmation? Who wants you to become a better leader? Give those people access to your life and watch the difference.

 

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Podcast Week

Podcast Week: Quick Hits

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Okay, to finish up podcast week, here’s a special Friday post!

These podcasts vary in topic and style, so I thought they would fit together as misfits:

  1. The Tony Kornheiser Show – This is not just a “when I have time” podcasts. This is my go to listen away from Ministry and Business. I very rarely fall behind on this one, and it’s a great way to unplug from the day.
  2. EntreLeadership – I like the business side of this podcast, but it’s not in my regular rotation. I do, however, give it a listen when I’m caught up or just looking for a shift.
  3. Worship Artistry – While the topics may be hit or miss, when I listen to this podcast I feel like the hosts genuinely care for my development as a musician. It’s easily my favorite guitar-ish podcast at the moment.
  4. Revisionist History – A few months back I had a whirlwind trip coming up and wanted a break. I rediscovered this podcast, and it was delightful. It kept me engaged and was fascinating at the same time.
  5. Serial – The first season of this is absolutely remarkable. It’s a definite shift from the majority of what I listen to, but if you’re new to podcasts, definitely check this out.

Finally, let me finish podcast week with this: Audiobooks are awesome. Between Audible and our local library, I’m loving audiobooks. In fact, if you click below (full disclosure–it’s an affiliate link), you can give Audible a try. Check it out and let me know!

 

Thanks for sticking with me this week! Happy Listening!

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