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:
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.
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!
A couple weeks ago we were on the back end of our youth room remodel, and our deadline (Wednesday night) was approaching fast. I was spending the majority of my time that week trying to rearrange, clean up, and reassemble the room. I had both of my daughters with me to help, but that was not working the way I hoped.
Then, a light bulb came on. As my oldest daughter was asking what she needed to do next, I did something I have not done yet: I asked her to answer the first 2 questions (Click here for the explanation of the 3 questions). I helped her as she looked around the room to see what needed to be done, and then helped her see what she could do.
Now, I have said before that I do not sit my daughters down and make them listen to me lecture on the 3 Questions, but earlier this summer I did let my oldest sit in one of my talks on them. She was excited about the idea of it, so our conversation in the youth room was not out of place.
What happened next was great. We were able to accomplish more because she was not interrupting me every time she finished a task. She was learning to trust herself and ask the questions, and I was encouraging her along the way.
The 3 Questions are simple. Some people take to them naturally. Others, it takes a little more effort, but it can happen. The key is in the repetition, the redundancy.
If you are trying to learn to ask the 3 questions personally, hang in there. It takes time, but it can make all the difference in the world.
If you are trying to teach the 3 questions, stick with it. When someone embraces the possibilities, the results are amazing. It will take time, but push through and see what happens.
I’m cheering for you and your leadership today.
What are you good at? I mean, what are you really good at? What is something you enjoy doing? What comes naturally to you that other people have to struggle to understand?
I enjoy running sound at my church. I may not be really good at the nuts and bolts, ironing out frequencies, but I understand the concepts of running sound.
The same goes for running presentation software on the computer. I know how the programs work, am willing to learn what I do not know, and enjoy doing it.
At camp last week, however, I had a moment. One of my roles at camp was to oversee the sound booth, but we took a different approach. This year, instead of the person in charge of the sound booth doing both parts, I oversaw students who took the responsibilities.
That means, every time we gathered for a service, two high school students were making everything happen.
One student, in charge of the sound board, turned mics on and off, adjusted levels, and made sure what was coming out of the speakers was exactly what needed to be coming out of the speakers.
The other student, in charge of the computer, displayed the lyrics for songs, played videos, and controlled the screen games.
These may not sound like impressive roles, but there are plenty of people who would not know how to do them.
The struggle for me, however, was letting go. In my role overseeing them, it was tempting to step in and take a more active role, but I did not. I kept reminding myself they will never grow if I do everything for them. This does not mean I did not correct or direct. I let them feel the freedom to make choices and I tried to help them understand the reasoning behind things I would do differently.
Now, these two teenagers have experience, and subsequently confidence, because of the time they spent in the sound booth. Next time around, they will be even more willing and equipped.
Leadership means learning to let go. As I stepped back and let these kids (who serve in these roles at their churches already) serve, they grow because of it. As a result, I grow as well.
As I said at the beginning, I enjoy doing those things. But if I want my leadership influence to grow, I have to learn to let go and let others make the most of opportunities. Ultimately, three people grew because of what happened in the sound booth last week, and that’s a win for leadership.
As I mentioned last week, I had the opportunity to direct a leadership camp. The general structure of that leadership camp looks like this: a combination of leadership instruction, relationship investing, and real life leadership experience.
The real life leadership experience comes in the form of leading rec for the camp each day. We had 12 kids who stepped up and did an incredible job all week.
The final day ended with a massive color war. Every kid and sponsor at camp had the opportunity to get a packet of color powder and participate in a massive color battle. It was quite amusing to watch from a distance.
Our leadership principle today, however, comes not from the color war, but from afterwards. We had run some relays prior to the color war, and our supplies were still out. After the commotion had almost completely died down, I saw one of the boys from the leadership camp, covered in a myriad of color powder, walking to the relay stations and picking up supplies.
I never specifically told him we needed to pick up supplies. He did not come to ask if there was anything that needed to be done. He was able to assess the situation and decide what he should do next.
As a result of his picking up supplies, a few other kids saw it and started doing the same. He created a movement simply with his actions.
As a leader, sometimes we need to be reminded that even though we may look like a package of skittles exploded on us, there’s still work to be done.
Take a moment today. Look around and ask yourself what needs to be done, then do it. If possible, invite someone to join you for the task. But never be afraid to step up to take care of that which needs to be done.