The Leadership Struggle

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I took a Sunday off last week for the first time in longer than I care to admit. But in so doing, I realized I am not doing a good job of answering the 3rd question (click here to read about the 3 questions–a framework for growing as a leader).

You see, I’m great at understanding what needs to be done and what I can do, but I struggle with inviting others to help along the way.

Thankfully, there were enough people willing to pick up the slack and learn before we left that everything went smoothly (life goes on with or without us!). But, I’m still left with a clear step moving forward: train others. Answer the 3rd question.

I’m actually pretty consistent with asking the 3rd question when it comes to things I struggle with doing, but something I really enjoy, like running the sound board, it’s a lot harder to hand off.

But if I want to allow other people to serve, if I want to develop people who are willing and capable of stepping up, then I have to learn to let go, even of the things I may enjoy doing. Who knows, I may find someone who has more passion than me and can do a better job!

What about you? How are you doing at answering the 3rd question? Are you able to put aside your personal enjoyment for the betterment of other people? What steps do you need to take to let go of something close to you to allow someone else to explore their calling?

Surround Yourself With…

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Once a month I go to a lunch with a group of youth ministers. I seldom miss, and it is one of my favorite regular meetings of a given month.

Honestly, I am probably a little abnormally committed to this lunch. Why? Because I love spending time with sharp youth ministers who are doing things well.

In fact, I would argue I am a better minister because of the time I spend with other ministers–they sharpen me and inspire me.

Today’s learning is pretty straightforward: surround yourself with people who make you better.

If I want to lose weight and get in shape, then it helps to have friends who are either on the journey with me, or who are further along the journey than I am.

If I want to become a better leader, then I surround myself with people who understand leadership and are growing everyday.

More recently, some of the people with whom I’ve surrounded myself have inspired me to become a more consistent reader (something I currently struggle at maintaining).

So, what about you? Where do you want to grow? Who can you find to spend time with that will make you better? How can you create opportunities for that time?

Take a leap today and see what happens!

Check It Out: Work Until the Job is Done

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This will be the end of my check it out series for a while.

Today’s check it out is the final post in the series I titled “Lessons from the Farm”. You can check it out here.

 

Learn from Everything

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I try to make a habit of looking for a leadership lesson in every situation I find myself in. Do you do that?

When I go to sporting events, I find myself evaluating the psychology it takes to be an effective coach. Or, at a restaurant, I wonder about the training and communication it takes to establish a healthy work environment.

Now, I’m not always silently meditating on these things, but they are something that pops up nonetheless.

More recently, when things have not gone the way I think they should, I don’t criticize the people in the situation, but I beat myself up for not establishing a better culture.

This does two things: One it takes the pressure off the people I’m leading (right or wrong). Two, it puts the pressure back on me (right or wrong).

Part of my approach is cultivating a 3 Question mindset. If I watch something fail, or at the least go poorly, I immediately begin evaluating what needs to be done, what I could do, and who I could get to help. Sometimes I will have the opportunity to make the needed changes, other times I don’t.

I never want to be someone who sits by and criticizes, but rather someone who is willing to take the steps necessary to initiate change.

How are you at evaluating? Can you draw leadership lessons from a variety of situations? Are you at a point where you can answer the 3 Questions to make a situation better?

Leading by Letting Go

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I have what I would like to think of as a giving personality. I’m always willing to do something to help someone else. Well, usually.

But sometimes, my willingness to serve and to help may be the thing that prevents me from expanding my leadership influence.

Most areas where I serve, whether at church or somewhere else, my willingness to help may actually be harmful. My desire to equip those around me may actually be undercut by my desire to serve.

What about you? Are you someone who is willing to let go of something?

Think about it like this: I really enjoy running sound on a Sunday morning. Because of a few shifts in our congregation over the past year, I have gladly taken on a much larger role in the sound operation of a service. I have a few people who I have shown how to run sound, established some work-arounds to make it easier for someone else to do the job, but because I enjoy it, I haven’t fully let go.

This would be fine if I weren’t on staff, on stage, or regularly distracted by other responsibilities on a Sunday morning. So, what I’ve managed to do is handcuff anyone who might be willing to take a larger leading role.

So, what if I handed off that responsibility to someone else? What if I was willing to fully equip someone else to fulfill that need?

Are you unknowingly holding on to something in your ministry or at your work that might be holding those around you back? What do you need to let go of in order to let someone else shine?