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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Learning to Let Go

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I started the Three Question Leadership Blog 4 years ago. I thought I would spend the next few weeks sharing some of my first posts, in their entirety, here. Whether you’re new or have been with me all along, I hope you find these concepts applicable.

Leadership development is a growth process. Sometimes, leadership development is a glacially slow growth process.

One thing I have learned along the way (and I’m quite certain the people most responsible for my own leadership development experienced the same thing), sometimes letting go is the best move.

Not: letting go and giving up.

Not: letting go and walking away.

Not: letting go and waiting for failure.

Let go and trust. Trust that growth can happen. Trust that mistakes made can lead to lessons learned. Trust the end result will be worth the effort.

Along the way, in order for you to have grown, someone had to trust you. Are you grateful for those opportunities? Are you ready to return the favor?

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How to Develop Leaders

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I started the Three Question Leadership Blog 4 years ago. I thought I would spend the next few weeks sharing some of my first posts, in their entirety, here. Whether you’re new or have been with me all along, I hope you find these concepts applicable.

Over the past few years I have noticed a shift in my focus on leadership. As my own leadership has grown, I find myself looking for ways to help others.

This does not mean that everything I do has provided excellent results. Nor have my efforts been error free. But, as I have learned to start developing young leaders around me, and as leaders around me have done the same, I have noticed one thing.

Leadership education happens in a classroom. Leadership development happens through experience.

Educating leaders is not an unworthy task. In fact, as I talked about here, I believe leaders should develop a habit of consistent learning. So, there is a definite place for the classroom in leadership development.

However, knowledge of a subject does not lead to experience in the subject. We cannot neglect real world leading as a teaching tool if we desire to develop leaders.

Each summer over the past four years I have taken a group of students on a leadership trip. The trip is very education focused, and it serves a great purpose. But only recently have I started understanding the importance of giving these student leaders opportunities to lead.

Then, when students (or adults), have an opportunity to lead, they grow. And that’s my goal–to develop leaders.

Develop leaders, don’t just educate them. Find the balance.

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How Do Leaders Grow?

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Surprise! Here’s a bonus (real time) post for this week! (And the crowd goes wild!!! Okay, maybe not.)

Yesterday’s post had the following line: Leaders who never grow, never last.

The irony of that sentence, written four years ago, is my journey over the past four years has validated that statement. I have grown so much from writing and reflecting on the real-time leadership principles I’ve been walking through, but that hasn’t been enough.

Growth occasionally happens by accident. But exponential growth happens when we are intentional. That means if I truly believe leaders who never grow, never last, then I have to make an intentional effort to grow, or I can already predict my longevity.

So, how do you grow intentionally? Here are three things I’ve picked up along the way:

  1. Dream Big. Where do I want to be 5, 10, 20 years from now? Or, maybe even more importantly, who do I want to be moving forward? Jot down a few thoughts and ideas.
  2. Write It Out. Raise your hand if you have ever walked into the kitchen and forgot why you’re there. Your memory isn’t quite the lock box that you think it is. So, write out your dreams. Don’t trap them in the spaghetti strainer of your mind. Plus, writing them out gives definition and clarity to your dreams.
  3. Act On It. Last year I read through a leadership book with a few friends. Next week, I’m starting the process over again. Additionally, I’m pouring into and investing in people around me. I’m setting goals for the information I want to consume. I’m moving and working and trying to make sure I’m developing a habit of growth. Your actions may look different, and that’s okay. But the key factor is this: don’t just dream, act.

If you want to last as a leader, you have to grow. Period. You have no other choice.

So, what actions are you taking to grow?

Experience Helps You Trust the Process

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I started the Three Question Leadership Blog 4 years ago. I thought I would spend the next few weeks sharing some of my first posts, in their entirety, here. Whether you’re new or have been with me all along, I hope you find these concepts applicable.

18 months ago I ran a Half Marathon, and then basically stopped running. So, last week I did something I never expected to do again and started a Couch to 5K program.

When I started running, the C25K app introduced me to running. Now, as I start over, I have to remind myself of one simple thing: trust the process.

I have the benefit of knowing the C25K app will help me build up my endurance. In leadership, we don’t always have that assurance.

This is why learning from our past becomes one of the most important things we can do. If we refuse to sit down and evaluate the things we have done, how can we expect to get better?

Have you made mistakes? Everyone does. But how have you recovered from the mistakes you made? What have you learned? What would you do differently? What processes have you built into your leadership to help you succeed?

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