Church members say the most amusing things. Here are some:
- I listened to Famous Preacher X preach on that very same passage and he seemed to emphasize another point more than you did.
- Pastor, I know you’re getting ready to preach in a few minutes, but do you mind if I have a minute?
- Pastor, I know you’re getting ready to preach, however, I thought you should know the bathroom toilet is not working.
- Pastor, I really like that hymn we sang today just not the way we sang it.
- Pastor, do you know what I really like about this church? You don’t talk about giving much.
- Pastor, your message on Church Membership was good but you should understand that I am part of the global church.
- Pastor, it has been a few months since you invited me to your house for dinner, did I do something wrong?
- Pastor, I think we should spend some of our financial resources in this direction and understand that I do tithe!
- You have really grown as a Pastor and you are getting much better.
- Can you ask your Elders to follow up with me when you get a chance?
My intent for Part 1 of this blog post was to point out that it does not take much for a volunteer/employee to differentiate themselves from their peers. I suggested that simply showing up for work on time and having a positive attitude may be enough for a volunteer/employee to stand head and shoulders above the crowd. Of course, when this same person begins completing tasks and adding value, we may be inclined to herald from the rooftops, “I think we have a leader amongst us!”
But before we get ahead of ourselves and pronounce that the next Abraham Lincoln is in our midst, let’s slow down a bit and consider doing what I call the self-test. The self-test is a series of small tasks that have deadlines attached to them. For example, I recently identified ten men whom I thought had the potential to lead others. Each possessed a great attitude and were getting things done within the organization I lead. Clearly they were standing out like that purple cow!
I had my assistant send out an email inviting the ten to join me for what I call Leadership Basics. The date I offered was Thursdays and I even provided two time slots, 5:30AM or 4:30PM. The training would last just three weeks with each of those sessions being 1.5 hours in length.
Here is what I was looking for:
- Would they show up on time and prepared?
- How would they enter the meeting? With a great attitude or talking about a bad morning or bad day?
- How did they engage with others?
- Were they a listener or a talker?
- Were they gracious, or like a bull in a china shop?
- Were they self-motivated (no reward offered for completing the assignment) or were they motivated by gifts (I offered a free dinner and a movie for one assignment)?
Here is what I found
- Some were late, some were on time.
- Some did their assignments, some got busy and even shared with me how busy they are (even though the assignments all took less than 10 minutes).
- Some were prepared, some were not.
- Some let us know about their personal problems and some did not.
- Some let me know that they needed to leave early (and even took 10 minutes from the groups’ time to let us know why)!
The Good News
The good news is that two of these men stood out! They were able to demonstrate to me that with coaching, they have the potential to be future all-stars. As leaders, it is our job to identify the talent within our organization and also to develop talent. Before we entrust more responsibilities to our people, let’s make sure that they can handle it. Remember, if they can’t manage themselves, they will not be able to manage others.
It does not take long to find out if one can manage themselves. Consider a self-test or two for that volunteer/employee that you are considering dispensing more responsibility to. What you find out may surprise you!
One of the goals of team leaders is to identify the up and coming talent that is already within the walls of the organization. For most of us, they stand out like a purple cow. What is it that makes them so easy to spot?
Here are four characteristics that stand out:
- Positive attitude
- Show up/available
- Open to learning new things
- They get the job done
These are all good things. However, how many times have we had that so called “perfect fit” become a not-so-perfect fit? Perhaps more than we would like to admit! Naturally, we as leaders are drawn to those with great attitudes and those who roll up their sleeves to get the job done.
What is really happening is we are noticing those around us who have differentiated themselves from their peers. This is a good thing! As I was climbing the leadership ladder during my time in corporate America, I had an Executive sit me down. He told me, “Charlie, I have good news and bad news for you today. The bad news is, you have lots of competition. The good news is, they’re not that good!”
He went on to say, “It will NOT be very difficult for you to stand out or to distance yourself from your competition or even those paid by this very firm.” He continued, “If you simply show up for work on time, you will separate yourself from most.” He shared some very practical things that were not taught to me during business school. He said, “Shine your shoes and have a great attitude.”
Of course, these are all practical things as they hardly speak to one’s capacity or lead us to believe one can lead a team. So what’s the point? It does not take much to stand out. Yes, we are to encourage this type of behavior. We certainly want those that serve with us to know we care about them and we want them to know they are appreciated. But the real question is, can this person actually lead? In my next blog, we will look to find if one can lead by performing what I call a simple self-test. Until then…
Lead well and by example!