Last week my Father-in-law, Andy, passed away. I plan to reflect a little more on his passing in a future post, but for today I want to take a different approach.
Over the course of the past year our family has walked an interesting path. Andy was diagnosed with Stage 4 Esophagus and Stomach cancer, and the outlook wasn’t positive. He chose to try chemo, so my wife spent a considerable amount of time helping take care of him over the past 12 months.
As I slow down this week to reflect on the past 12 months, one thought rises above the rest: Support Counts.
We have a wonderful church family who has supported us through the journey. They offered to help lighten my load while my wife was gone. They encouraged my wife. They have walked alongside us through it.
At the end of the day, their support meant the world to our family.
The leadership lesson here is two-fold:
So, what relationship can you build on today to help provide support? To whom do you need to reach out and offer some support? Be an encouragement today!
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.
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.
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.
Honestly, I do not know if today’s leadership lesson is a leadership lesson, or just a life lesson, but seeing how you’re both a leader AND alive, let’s dive in anyway.
Ask for help.
There’s something wired inside most of us that makes us dread asking for help. We think it’s an ego shot, or we think it makes us look weak. The reality, however, is asking for help means we are incapable of doing things all by ourselves.
There are a couple of reasons to ask for help:
The bottom line today: we accomplish more together than we do alone. Ask for help. Your leadership influence will grow as a result.