Over the past few months as I have attempted to teach others, guide others, mentor others and even coach others, I have made mental notes of the process. Some encounters have been successful while others have been met with ‘push-back,’ silence, rebuttal and in one case, someone hanging up on me as we talked on the phone. My heart and intention was simply to help others see things from a different perspective and learn. Now before I go on to deep, I have postured myself to be a life-long learner. I welcome the challenge, the correction, the guidance of others in my life since I never want to stop learning, growing, changing for the better.
I love the title of a John Maxwell kids book: Sometimes you Win, Sometimes you Learn. A book that I gifted to both my grandchildren knowing how involved in sports they are and knowing how quickly they are growing and maturing. Well here is my summary of things I have endeavored to share with others and the hoped-for outcomes.
Collaboration: When someone asks you to collaborate and give input into a matter or event, it is because they value your opinion and perspective, to be silent or say, “I don’t know,” is a bit disrespectful. You are being welcomed into the conversation by those who believe that your voice is needed. If you are not prepared at the moment of invitation, respond with, “Can I take some time to process my response and get back to you?” And then, do the work to process, write and respond. Your input matters and also having to form your input will help you grow and build confidence for the next time you are asked to collaborate.
Correction: How do you handle correction? On two occasions recently I felt the need to bring some correction. It is not an easy thing for me to do. I prayed and thought and then did my best to articulate what I had witnessed first-hand that needed correction. As stated above, one person midway through the correction, hung up on me with no warning. They had totally made some inappropriate comments and chosen to use profanity in a professional setting. Without going into details about what they did it was apparent that people present were greatly disappointed. Since I have relationship with the person, I chose to be a leader and reach out and do it for their good and future. The response was one of arrogance and a statement of who are you to correct me? How do you respond to correction? How do you position yourself to correct others for their success and growth?
Concern: Not everyone has the same heart-level of compassion and concern. My confession is, that I want to help as many people as I can and or lead my church to do so. It is how I am wired. Recently there were a few people that I lead that I attempted to move toward a compassionate and caring stance toward some others. When a concern is brought to you, how do you handle it? You may or may not have the capacity in the moment to deal with the situation, but is it possible you can find someone else who is? What would keep you from actively assisting or actively finding assistance for someone in need? The responses I received were listening to garner information, but then not responding even when clear ideas were presented. Those involved said they would reach out and offer help but dropping the ball was the outcome and I ended up having to deal with the situations myself. Some would say, I chose to go to the wrong people (wrong people on the bus) to show concern and others would say, it is better to do it yourself. How do you respond when a need or concern about someone else is brought to you? If you commit to something and then cannot follow-through, do you go to those directly involved and let them know? What do you do?
Crisis: There is probably a better word for this but while I am on a list of words that start with ‘C’, I will go with it. Not long ago there were a few areas where it was crunch time or as they say on Vandenberg Air Force Base, ‘Launch Day.” When it is launch day, all mission critical team members report to their assigned post or duty station and do whatever is expected of them. Sometimes launches ‘Go’ right on time and cue. Other times, well, not so much. However, the mission critical team show up again and again ready to do their jobs. This can carve into time off, family time, recreational time etc. The mission is the most important thing that they have to do. So you can see Crisis is not the best word, but when someone is out of position, drops the ball, is non-existent (and did not secure a replacement) the result can be a crisis. How do you respond to tasks you are given? What do you do to fill holes as you see them or step up to show support in ‘mission critical moments.’ The best form of affirmation is actual help. The best form of support is coming alongside those who are feeling the most pressure in the moment and simply asking, “What can I do to help?” or finding something that needs to be done and go and do it, then report back to those with most pressure, “I got that done already.” That is a great value in the ‘crisis’ moment. What do you do in those moments? How do you add value and make a difference?
Communication: As a leader, you need good information / communication to make the decisions you need to make. Not everyone who works with you or for you our volunteers to serve around you understands your need to be informed. I continue to ask people for a certain level of information, who has what?, what is coming that may broadside me, who is caring for someone in case it comes up? Not everyone is good at communicating the important stuff. A part of being a life-long learner is knowing when and who needs to know and what do they need to know? Some people have a need to know, others need to know. So, when I speak to someone about my need to know or when someone comes to me and says, you did not tell me! I need to adjust myself to them and their need to know.
What other areas (starting with a ‘C’ or not) should be listed here? Where have you attempted to collaborate, correct, share concern or deal with crisis and how did that go?
Keep learning and growing,