Tag: Decisions

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

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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Check it Out

Check It Out: Overcoming Job Shaming

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How old were you when you got your first job? How old were/are/will your children when they got their first job? Is there a difference?

I think most people my age grew up watching the Cosby show, so when I saw this article talking about one of the characters and what he’s up to now, I was intrigued.

Tim Elmore starts his article like this:

I’m not sure if you caught it, but actor Geoffrey Owens recently appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” after an incident that took place in New York. You might remember Owens as the actor known for his comedic role as Elvin Tibideaux on The Cosby Show, between 1985 and 1992.

Now, if you’re familiar with Elmore, you know he works extensively with teenagers, so his take takes a practical twist for those of us in student ministry. If you have time, I’d strongly urge you to click over and read the article. Also, if you have a soft spot for Elvin, check it out too.

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Leadership Journey

Learn to Audible

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I have a generally pessimistic attitude about rain. Please do not misunderstand me: I love rain, but I distrust forecasts. I have a nagging suspicion that if you ever look at a weather app, there is a perpetual chance of rain next week. Always next week. It rarely moves to the next day. Until this week.

Occasionally, my paranoia is wrong. (Feel free to tweet that.)

This week our kids ministry was planning to kickoff the semester with a night at the park. I invited myself (and the youth) to join them and to help with time together. Last week our children’s minister told me there were chances of rain all week, but I wrote it off as the perpetual rain chance. Then, I awoke yesterday to a steady rain.

The adjustment was pretty simple. Instead of meeting at the park, we were going to meet at the church and roll with it there, but there was still some work to make up.

In leadership, there is always a chance of rain. Something will usually go wrong, and the question is how will you respond?

Are you so tied to your schedule and plans that any alteration upsets the very core of your being?

Or maybe you’re so relaxed about plans that changing at the last minute does not worry you because you would not have done any planning before then anyway.

I would urge you to find the middle ground. Find the value in proper planning with a loose grip. Put forth the effort you need, but be willing to make adjustments at the last moment.

A similar situation happened at camp this summer. We were seeing remarkably hot temperatures, so we had a discussion before the final rec time. We had done the planning ahead of time, but felt it was time to call an audible, so we moved our rec time inside. All of the dominoes lined up, and our audible was a win all around.

Sometimes leadership requires flexibility. Scratch that. Leadership always requires flexibility. Learn to call an audible when the time comes. You’ll lead better because of it.

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