Month: February 2020

Flashback Friday #6

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Some of my favorite lessons in leadership come from on the job experience and evaluation. A few years ago, while on a trip, I waged a battle in my head, and wrote about my learning from it. Today, we are stepping back to that lesson. Here’s a glimpse:

Our trip is one we have developed, so I wrote out my own schedule. Because I’m the only person who knows the schedule, I’m the only one who knows when we need to leave or stay, or what comes next.

This is okay, as long as I am okay with no one sticking to my schedule. And how could they know the schedule, if I haven’t shown them?

Click here to check out the post Communicate Expectations.

Cast the Vision, Not the Path

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So much of leadership is about casting vision. Looking at what is and painting a picture of what could be.

So much of developing student leaders is helping them catch the vision so they can cast it down the road.

Some students will naturally respond to opportunities, almost instinctively seeing the possibilities before them and pursuing them. Others, however, face a bigger hill to climb.

So, how do you handle a student wrestling with the goal? Continue to cast the vision.

In my current ministry, I see a few things that need addressing and am trying to raise student leaders who see the need and meet the need. But my goal is to cast the vision, not the path.

If I spell out every step a student should take, I’m not teaching them to lead. I’m teaching them to take the steps I’m telling them to take. That would be akin to the parent in the stands of a game shouting every action their kid should make. If the voice stops, the child does too, thus missing the point.

Sure, I can tell a student every step to take to reach the vision, and I may set out a few stepping stones, but if a student leader never has to think or wrestle, then am I raising a student leader or a robot?

The beauty of developing leaders is that everyone takes a different approach. Why would I want someone to execute things the way I would do it, when I might could learn something from their way?

As you work with student leaders, or even adult leaders, work to develop them. Empower them to look for and meet needs. Train them to make an impact. The process may be messy, but the end result is worth it.

When “No” is the Best Answer

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I think I’m a bit of a unicorn. Why? Because my cheesy pickup line effectiveness is 100%. In other words, the woman to whom I’m married, fell in love with my clever charm and wit from the beginning.

Okay, maybe not. But it doesn’t change the fact that I’m 1 for 1.

Rejection hurts. I may not have experienced rejection as part of my only serious romantic relationship, but I’ve been told no many times.

One summer, as I was preparing for camp, I asked ten different women to go as a sponsor, and every single one said no. We were in desperate need, and I felt helpless.

Again, let me say, rejection hurts. Rejection demeans and beats down. Rejection makes us doubt our purpose and mission.

And if you’re like me, the fear of rejection paralyzes you.

I will put off asking a question because I’m afraid the answer will be no, when in reality the longer I wait the more likely the answer will be no. Can you say self-fulfilling prophecy?

One of the things I’m learning currently, yet still struggling to put into practice, is that people are willing to help. It’s just a matter of finding the right person to help.

Sometimes a no is exactly the right answer.

That’s why, as leaders, we have to get comfortable with the answer no. I would rather have an honest “no” than a fake or resentful “yes”. Because when I find that “yes”, they’re going to go above and beyond.

When we learn to push past the fear of rejection and continually work the three questions, our leadership will continue to grow.

How about you? How are you at asking for help or involvement? Are you willing to face rejection for the sake of growth? Is anything holding you back?

Flashback Friday #5

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One concept I’ve written about captures my mind almost more than all the others, and it’s today’s flashback.

The Horizon of Possibility is something I love thinking about, and something I use constantly. This week, in fact, the concept has been used in at least two conversations, and I love it!

Before I dive too deep, click here and check it out!

Is This the Worst Student Leadership Mistake?

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What do you do when you have a student who shows great leadership potential?

Over the course of my ministry experience I’ve had a few students who seem to be a step ahead of their peers when it comes to reading and understanding a room. They have an intuition about them that makes them appear more mature and capable than everyone else.

So, it only makes sense to give them more and more responsibility, right? I mean, we want to develop student leaders. That’s kind of the point of what I write about here at 3QL.

Let me offer one caveat. And it’s one that is still fresh in my mind.

I never want to crush a potential leader’s spirit. I desperately try to avoid adding too much to their burden, but when a student has a high capacity, I find myself wrestling with this.

That’s why I’ve started reminding myself of the following thought.

Give students student leadership opportunities, not adult leadership opportunities.

If you want someone to feel the weight and worry of leadership, give a teenager the load you would expect from an adult. I’m not saying some teenagers cannot handle such responsibility, but they have the rest of their lives to be adults.

Put in the effort to help a student find appropriate levels of challenge for where they are. I want to avoid expecting a 14 year old, who shows incredible capacity for influence, to carry the load I would ask a 34 year old to carry. No one wins in that situation.

Instead, I want to help that 14 year explore leadership in appropriate avenues.

Stretch their thinking? Of course.

Challenge their abilities? Sure.

Help them grow their leadership influence? Absolutely.

But if I ask them to start adulting, they will burn out and I will give up.

So, how are you at this? Are you providing high capacity students with student leadership opportunities?

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