Everyone gets better when the leader gets better. But everyone gets even better when all the leaders get better. Second only to growing yourself is the priority to grow your team. If you’re not currently investing in your own personal growth, don’t bother trying to implement any kind of team growth initiative. In many ways, leadership is more caught than taught and people tend to do what people see. "Speed up the leader, speed of the pack." But if you are actively growing your self, your next best investment will be to grow those around you. Today I am offering three time-tested tips for growing your team:
Grow your relationships if you have never taken the time to hear their stories, buy them a cup of coffee today and spend the next 90 minutes hearing about how they came to be where they are today. Listen for commonalities and differences. Both are equally valuable information for building strong relationships and developing true understanding. Find out their favorites...favorite teams, favorite, desserts, favorite, vacation spots, favorite movies, favorite TV, shows, favorite, bands, and musical preferences, favorite, sports, and favorite leisure activities. Resist the temptation to talk about you and keep the focus on them. If this is not intuitively easy for you, prepare a set of questions and save them on your smart phone. Refer to them before you meet them and memorize a few of them. Bottom line: get to know about them and sincerely lean in to the relational aspects of their lives.
Grow their capacity attending conferences together and having conversations about the presentations over a meal. It’s a win/win. If you can’t attend the conference with them, let them choose a conference or two each year and discuss the benefits of each before they register. Offer input and suggestions as needed and warranted. Make sure their budget includes conferences and growth resources for them personally and professionally. Post quarterly 'lunch and learns' where you buy the meal and foster a discussion around a particular topic. If you don’t feel qualified, find some podcasts, videos, TEDTalks, or other trusted resources to stimulate robust discussion and practical application.
Grow them spiritually. Make it a regular practice to ask them how they are doing. Pause a second and add the word, really? People ask each other how they are doing all day long, but are actually shocked when someone answers the question with any level of depth or truth for sharing. Ask them how you can pray for them. Then pray for them. That’s right, right there on the spot if it is appropriate and possible. Two things happen when you pray on the spot with someone else. First, they hear you pray specifically for them and call their name aloud to Jesus for assistance and help. Secondly, you are much more likely to pray for them later if you pray for them now. I’m glad I have not been fined $100 for every time I promised to pray for someone and failed to do so. There is something endearing and compassionate transferred when we take the time to calmly, quietly, and thoughtfully pray for those on our team and in our circle of influence.
Going forward, why not make sure we’re growing forward. Don’t be content to only grow yourself. Go the extra mile and grow your team as well. They will all be glad you did. I’m pretty sure of that.