As our conversation continued it was clear the initial blow was more devastating than I thought and I needed to proceed with a certain level of caution and tact. I was not going to be able to rush out of the room the way I had planned, but instead I would need to plant myself in this conversation. “John” didn’t need a quick fix but rather a lifeline. At this moment I could have chosen to bark out some information or sit with him and take the 10 minutes needed to walk him through this stage of his journey.
After reminding him that every volunteer needs three investments from him (#1 Encouragement) I walked him through what I thought to be the next layer in the onion so to speak but this layer was going to require a certain level of transparency.
Whenever we think about keeping our staff (volunteer or paid) educated for the task at hand, there is a set of questions we really have to wrestle with..
A. The Evaluation
- What am I reading right now?
- Am I sharpening my skills and mind?
- What do I want my staff to truly accomplish?
- What is the vision for this ministry or business?
- Have I asked them to come on board because I believe in them or because there was a slot to fill?
After I’ve wrestled with some questions on my intent, I have to start processing how to get the information in the hands of my leaders. If knowledge breeds power then how can I set my team up for success?
B. The Application
- Find a way to provide resources for your team. Instead of highlighting their missed opportunities get tools in their hands that will naturally sharpen them.
- Get them training. Whether you take them to a national or regional conference, find a way to get together to learn. Not only will there be educational growth but relational growth as well.
- Use those resources as a teaching guide. I love it when in the coarse of a training, workshop, speech or sermon the communicator references what they’ve been reading and they’ve processed it so much they could quote it. Incorporate what you’ve been reading in your leader meetings and watch your team begin to develop a natural appetite for “more.”
- Hold your team accountable. If you’ve provided resources for them and have created the expectation of learning then follow up! I love the phrase, “Inspect what you expect.” If you’re creating the expectation of growth then follow-up to ensure it’s being lived out.
But, here is where you can get kicked in the teeth. There is not a team member in the world who will intentionally grow on their own if they aren’t seeing you grow as a leader. You cannot create an expectation that you’re not living out yourself. If you’re not sharpening your skills as a leader you will become a dull, worthless blade void of any value; not even worth being kept in the drawer.