Category: 3 Questions

Three Online Leadership Workshop Insights

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Last week, I did an online training for my student leadership team. It was something I talked about for two Thursdays in a row (here and here). So I thought I would finish this mini series with three key insights about our time together.

  1. Time invested in training is a win. There was something about getting a group of six students on a call, fostering discussion and thought, and helping them work through some servant leadership concepts. Just as a reminder, as I’ve established this team this semester, one of my biggest regrets was not having a training of some sort, so our time together last week was well worth it!
  2. Working through leadership concepts is a win. The framework for our training was simple: the three questions. While I don’t think the three questions are a magical framework, they provide a common language to put us all on the same path moving forward. And that’s the point. We were able to talk through what answering the questions may look like in our “old” (in person) format, and what it might look like in our online meetings.
  3. Nothing beats in person connection, but online training works. At the end of the day, our student ministry Zoom call was better last night because of the time our student leaders spent together on Thursday. We set one specific action step, which most of them followed through, and their influence and engagement last night was felt.

So, let me ask you a simple question: What are you doing to train and develop student leaders right now? You may not have the structure or infrastructure to have an online training, but you can connect with students who show potential. We have an incredible opportunity to make the most of time for at least another month. What can you do to train leaders?

And for what it’s worth, I would be thrilled to talk through some options if you need a sounding board. I’m here for you because I want you to expand your leadership influence. You can do this, now do it.

Increasing Awareness

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I’ve enjoyed getting to work with a new group of student leaders over the past couple of months, and I’ve been sharing my thoughts as I go along.

Last week I mentioned missing having a shared language (not in those words, but that’s the idea). So, I’ve slowly been trying to teach a few of these new students to look for opportunities. And it’s working.

Actually, what I’m doing, without them knowing, is teaching them the three questions. And we are starting at the beginning. I’m trying to teach them to walk into a room and ask themselves what needs to be done–simply increasing awareness.

Why? Because when a student can learn to ask (and answer) that question on their own, it empowers them to meet the need. Then, as they grow and mature, their awareness grows and matures with them.

Ultimately, if I (or we) can teach students to look for and meet needs, we are moving in the right direction.

Initially the needs being met may be as simple as arranging chairs or changing where they sit. But, over time, as those things become an intrinsic part of who they are, the growth that takes place is incredible.

I’m actually getting more and more excited as I think about how these students, over the course of about 5 weeks of 10 minute program follow up meetings, have already shown incredible signs of improvement.

And the sky is the limit. That’s why I love working with student leaders.

But it all starts with awareness.

Baby Steps

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I’m a terrible parent.

There, I’ve said it. I’ve felt this way for a while, but it feels nice to be able to say it.

When our first child was still an infant, I distinctly remember a conversation with my wife. As our daughter was learning to take her first steps, I mourned the mobility that was looming ahead. Gone were the days of her being only where we led her. Coming soon were the days where we had to chase and keep up with her. And boy did those days come.

Granted, this conversation was tongue in cheek, but the sentiment was there. Those first few steps marked the end of an era.

Developing student leaders is a similar experience. As we teach students to influence a room, we are teaching them to take baby steps. There are times they are more than capable of accomplishing a goal by themselves, but they lean on our experience or expertise.

Sometimes these baby steps, however, are a little more difficult. And that’s okay. Everyone has to struggle at first. The things that come second nature to us, like including people in our projects, are an appropriately larger chore for a student who is just experiencing leadership.

The problem comes, however, when they never learn to walk on their own. Our leadership reaches the maximum potential when those around us discover their maximum potential.

One word from my current experience. As I’m teaching a new group of student leaders and trying to help them exert their influence, we are missing a key element. We have not had a chance for me to teach them the 3 questions, and I’m feeling it.

In case you’re not familiar, the three questions (for which this blog is named), serve as a framework to help students (and adults) look for and pursue opportunities to influence the room. The questions don’t make someone a leader, but they serve as a great place to start raising awareness of leadership opportunities. Check them out here. It’s always good to be reminded.

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?

The Repetition Key

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Practice makes perfect, or so the saying goes.

The past few years I have coached my oldest daughter’s basketball team. Right or wrong, one of the things I made them do was work on shots from the block. I wanted them to be able to make a shot close to the basket using the backboard.

We would have competitions to see who could make more. We would take turns. We would have timed drills, all with the purpose of helping them develop that one shot.

Why? Because you perform how you practice. If you practice making shots from the block, you have a higher likelihood of making shots from the block in a game. The math is simple.

There’s a rhythm to the repetition. Your muscle memory takes over at some point.

For me, in high school, I shot countless shots from “the elbow” of the free throw line. That was almost 20 years ago, but guess what: today, I can make an elbow shot almost without thinking about it. I repeated the process over and over, and it has stuck with me, somewhat.

Leadership is redundant. As we teach students the ins and outs of leadership, we have to embrace the redundancy.

It’s practicing block shots every practice, knowing eventually you can move further away.

It’s asking and answering the 3 questions every week, over and over, and seeing how the answers change.

It’s inviting those around you to join you as you accomplish a task.

Leadership is doing the same thing over and over. Even when you think you cannot do it again, repeating the process. And teaching others to do the same.

Does repetition get old? Sure.

Does repetition get boring? Sometimes.

But is repetition necessary? Absolutely.

As I’m embarking on helping developing a new group of student leaders, I realize the importance of repetition, and easy repetition to start. I’m striving to help them find a rhythm, to find a place to get started. The goal is to help these student leaders see the opportunities for them to make an impact.

What needs repeating in your setting? Are you willing to tackle it?

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