Saturday, March 19, 2011

Servant Leadership Practice--Build Up Another

It's easy to think a person isn't capable of doing more than what they're doing now. People make mistakes and it might appear that they can't handle what they're doing now. We can't conceive of giving a person more responsibility. If they stumble while they're walking, forget trying to push them into a run.

However, if you've been involved with raising kids, you know that kids get past their current competencies and develop new ones. As a parent, you have to push them a little bit. I had a staff member who was pretty good at his current job. We needed a little more strategic thinking in the position. So, I challenged him to take on a project that stretched him a little bit in that direction. I coached him through it. Let him provide feedback as to what was working or not. Stretching him a bit more, he completed the project. Then we moved onto the next little-bit-larger-scale project. Stretch, complete. "Rinse and repeat," as the shower bottle advises.

Just like teaching to swim or ride a bike, you don't push kids "out there" without thinking you might have to jump into the water to get them out if they flounder too much, or grab the bike again to steady them if the wobbling becomes too severe. With our teams, we need to make sure they're still going in the right direction and aren't going to hurt themselves too badly. It's okay to fall into the grass, just not on the pavement. It's okay to suck a little water down, just don't breathe it. We can learn from the little mistakes, and we get better as we learn. We develop those new competencies.

Today, or someday soon, find an opportunity to build another competency in a person who seems limited in their abilities.

For C12 and Truth@Work members, the apostles knew that the young congregations couldn't chew spiritual "meat" (i.e. get into the meatier theologies and devotional acts of discipleship) right away. However, they also encouraged those early churches to get past the "milk" after a while. Look at Hebrews 6 as Barnabbas (or whoever was the writer) leads his readers from the basic understandings into heavier issues of a new covenant, Christ's eternal priesthood, etc.

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