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60 seconds does not equal 6 months

young man to hold up clock with hand

This will be a short post but one that I am learning the value of more and more each time.

Time for a confession. Often times I will have thoughts, ideas and plans percolating for months and become so excited to share these new directions or developments with my teams. Then I arrange the meeting and bring out the news! I watch the faces of those I have sprung this great stuff onto, wait for it…wait for it….Nothing?

What is going on? Maybe I need to rephrase it, so reforming the delivery of the news and still nothing. I can feel myself getting a little upset. Why are they not as excited as myself? Do these people understand how great this is? How many problems we have just solved? Why the lack of excitement?

Here is the lesson I am being reminded of…60 seconds does not equal 6 months. I have had 6 months to chew on and think through, and develop this great plan, my team has had 60 seconds.

Take your team with you. If you end up with the 6 months then when you deliver the great news, allow their seconds to grow and don’t expect more than a 60 second response.

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Listening helps identify potential

I am always learning more about the power of listening when it comes to leadership and team development. Here are some things I listen for as I size up the teams potential. Listening well helps me to see how I may equip them, motivate them, and challenge them to go to another level for themselves.

1. Stress management.
Their ability to withstand and overcome pressure, failure, deadlines, and obstacles.

2. Skill.
Their ability to get a specific task done.

3. Thinking.
Their ability to be creative, develop strategy, solve problems, and adapt.

4. Leadership.
Their ability to gather followers and leaders to build a team.

5. Attitude.
Their ability to stay positive and tenacious amidst negative circumstances.

Pay attention to your volunteers, team members, and future team members to hear where they may fall in each of these areas. Many will disqualify themselves from being on a high-caliber team without even knowing it.

Listening is powerful.

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Give the vision then get out of the way for implementation

I have always enjoyed observing and studying great leaders. One consistent observation that I have used in my own leadership is recognizing how leaders get excited about faith-stretching, bigger-than-life, assignments. That’s the kind of vision they believe in and follow. Long “To Do” lists often get in the way of that kind of fun for leaders. Visions excite them, specific details on the “How to complete them” do not.

Over the years I have learned that if you want to create a successful ministry, you must recruit solid leaders, hand them the big vision, then empower them to choose how they will accomplish that vision. They will still need your help along the way. They will need your continued assistance to develop structure, discipline, and follow through. However, that is totally different than handing leaders a set of tasks as “To Do’s” coming from you.

My early elementary coordinator is a prime example of a leader. I keep her connected to the vision of the house and she devises the plan to get it accomplished. I keep her in the know of “why” we do what we do and she runs with the “how” we will get it done. I give her the bottom line “Rules” and she creates the “Guidelines” for success.

I wanted to blog about this for a variety of reasons among which was my desire to honor Duane more than I could in our weekly bulletin. I also wanted to challenge you, to allow those you have recruited the freedom to do what you have asked of them. Often this can be accomplished by simply getting out of the way. If you don’t, you run the risk of losing the leaders you have.

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Volunteering in America

I can not tell you how many times I hear people say that their church members are not volunteering. Lets take a look at this graphic from Volunteering In America and see what it shows us.

So are you one who is having volunteer struggles? Here are a few questions for you that hopefully you have answers for, and if not I hope you will take the time to get the answers so you can change your volunteer status.

1. How are you connecting your volunteers to the bigger picture?
2. Do they know the true mission that is before them? Is the vision bigger than what you can handle and accomplish with just your current team?
3. Who and what are the most successful churches, businesses and organizations in your area that are doing the best in recruiting and keeping volunteers? Become a student of them, learn from them, see what you can take and apply from them.

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Qualities of Great Leaders part 3

I am continuing the topic of things that I see are qualities of great leaders. If you have not read the previous two you can check them out here with part one and then here is part two.

So here is part 3: They create opportunities for others.
Great leaders create opportunities for people to learn, grow, or progress further. They treat people as an end in themselves, not merely as a means to an end, making sure that everyone has the ability to thrive both within and outside of the ministry.

One of the new ideas we are working on materializing in our children’s ministry here at SFLCKids to help people have new opportunities to learn, grow and progress further is a color band idea. Simply put, we have 4 colors ranging from blue, green, red and yellow. Each band is a progression of the previous band and shows not only the desire of the one wearing the color band but it also comes with more perks invested into the volunteer. The further one goes in the colors (our way of providing a way to further their abilities and dreams), with each color having a different amount of things to be accomplished on the volunteers side (this is helping them grow) and also given to the volunteer from my budget.

How do you help your volunteers to grow, learn, and progress further?

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