Is This What’s Missing In Your Leadership?

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Is leadership that is not expanding truly leadership?

Bear with me for a minute.

If I’m teaching students to ask and answer the three questions but it stops there, is my leadership influence growing? Even more pointedly, if the students I’m leading are stopping short of answering the third question, aren’t we missing the point completely?

Leadership influence expands when more people fall into that influence. That means I can teach 10 people to grow their influence, or I can teach 10 people to grow their influence who in turn grow their influence by teaching 10 people each. At that point influence isn’t growing, it is multiplying. Like chills in the movie Grease.

Let’s get specific: if I pour into a leader who never into another leader around them, am I really pouring into a leader? Leadership influence is most efficient when we first lead ourselves and then lead others. And leadership influences multiplies when the people I have led begin to lead others.

But secret expectations are rarely met and almost never healthy. You know this. I know this.

How are you equipping those you lead to truly lead others? How are you inviting them to repeat the process?

Let me challenge you today. If you are a regular reader, find one person this week in whom you can start investing. It could be a student. It could be an adult. It could be your child, your spouse, or your neighbor. Teach them the three questions, and then add a fourth: who can I teach the three questions?

Don’t settle for addition. Aim for multiplication.

Permission to Multiply

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Today, instead of sharing an old post, here’s a fresh one.

Each week, following our Wednesday night program, I sit down with our student leadership team to evaluate the night. My wife usually hangs around until we finish to make sure kids are getting picked up and other assorted duties.

We’ve recently added a new volunteer, a young man who is excited to help where he can. In addition, I have our summer intern who lives in town and helps on Wednesdays nights as well, and someone I’ve been meeting with weekly for the past year.

A few weeks back, while I was meeting with student leaders, my wife shared this observation. My former intern was putting things up, making trips to and from our “base of operations” (we are essentially a portable ministry within our building for this current season). After he finished about two of the steps, he realized our new volunteer was nearby, and a light bulb went off. He showed the new guy how to do what he was doing, so the next time either of them would be equipped to do the job.

Actually, the conversation was more like this: “Shoot, has Wes taught you the three questions yet? No? Okay, he will, but until then, let me show you what I’m doing.”

And that’s the power of the third question. It’s an excuse to invite someone to join you. If you (or the people you lead) are not naturally gifted at asking for help, the three questions give a framework for expanding leadership influence.

That influence expansion begins with cleanup after a program, but very quickly, as the muscle is developed, it grows into leveraging influence to lead others in accomplishing a goal.

Someone around you needs permission to ask others for help. Teach them the three questions and see what happens!

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Do You Ever Forget Things?

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Sometimes I forget. During the 2020 calendar year, I’ve been working with a group of students to help them grow as leaders.

One of my favorite things to do to help students grow is to evaluate regularly. We do this a couple of ways, one of which is having a quick follow up meeting after our midweek program.

We had a workshop back in September, and ever since, I would start our meetings by asking how they made the room better. And the answers I was getting were not what I was hoping.

Don’t get me wrong, they were trying to make a difference, I was just asking a bad question. A question that put them on a path other than I wanted them to evaluate.

Then it hit me: what if there were some questions I could teach them to ask and answer each week? Questions that would almost instinctually walk them through what it looks like to be a leader?

Oh. I have those. And I’ve trained them on those. But I stopped at the training. And that was my first mistake.

The 3 questions are a great training piece. They are remarkable to consider. But their true worth isn’t in the theory or intellect behind them. The power of the 3 questions is when they are put into practice.

So I made a change. I started asking how they answered the 3 questions because I want them to start to ingrain those questions into their minds and let them become who they are and what they do. Not because I developed the questions, but because I think the power they provide to influence a room is remarkable.

Sometimes, the tools we need are at our disposal. It’s just a matter of not forgetting.

Let me challenge you today, point blank. If you lead a group of people: teach them the 3 questions and then hold them accountable to answer them on a regular basis. No shame. No guilt. Only accountability to make a difference around them. Then, let me know how it goes!

Well, This is a First

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A few months back a friend of mine started a podcast called “2 Dads 1 Mind“. They are now in their second season, and as part of their 2nd season, they chose to interview different people. Today, they scraped the bottom of the barrel and are airing an interview they did with me.

I’m joking. I was very honored they asked me to join them, and I had so much fun sharing my heart for leadership and parenting with them.

I’ve embedded the podcast below, but let me encourage you to go check them out (& subscribe) on your podcast player (Apple, Spotify, Google, etc), or click here to see their show page. I really enjoy their format, and their chemistry together is solid.

I hope you enjoy the episode!

4 Hacks to Put 3QL In Practice

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On Tuesday, I reflected pretty specifically on the first of the three leadership questions I teach to those around me. You can go here to read it.

Today, let’s focus on the third question. (Go here if you need a refresher on the three questions.)

Once we nail down what needs to be done, and are able to determine our willingness to accomplish that task moving forward, we are faced with the third question, the question of leadership: Who am I going to invite/include/empower/equip/enable to help me meet the need?

I’ve been teaching and asking myself the three questions since before starting this blog, and one of the areas where I need help is actual implementation. So yesterday, I started developing a worksheet to help me make progress as I strive to expand my own personal leadership influence.

Here are the questions I asked myself:

  1. What area needs to grow? This is key because I’m asking myself the awareness question from a different perspective. No longer is it simply about accomplish a task, now the question becomes what am I doing already that can be done better.
  2. How am I doing at it? Are you good at being honest with yourself? Go ahead, ask this about an area where you know you’re weak, or even where you think you’re strong. Either way, I’m going to guess the answer won’t be a 10/10. But again, evaluate and let this response determine the urgency in the next two questions.
  3. Who can I ask to help? List out names. Specific names. Even names you wouldn’t have considered before the exercise. These are people you’re willing to go to and ask for help in this specific area, but don’t let it be the same people every time.
  4. By When? What’s your timeline. I did this yesterday, and one of them was a more immediate timeline–even beginning next month. The other, I set a goal for next year. There was freedom in both. There was freedom in simply listing a time line. The third question is no longer ambiguous.

There are a couple extra questions I added along the way, but you’ll want to make sure you’re signed up to receive the 3QL emails, as I’ll be sending it to specifically to subscribers once it’s been polished.

At the end of the day, though, leadership is only leadership if we are leading people. To quote John Maxwell, “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” What specific steps are you taking today to grow your leadership influence? Spend some time working through the questions above.

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