Fresh Eyes Change the Room

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This week is going to be spent writing a little more about the “3 Questions”. I’ll take one at a time.

Just for a refresher, when you walk into a room, ask yourself:

  1. What needs to be done?
  2. What can I do?
  3. Who can I get to help?

(Click here if you haven’t read the original posts yet)

Today, we are going to explore a little more of the first question, specifically the benefit of seeing a situation with fresh eyes.

Fresh eyes change the room

Think about your life. When have you walked into a situation and been able to see right away what needs to change? Think of a time when you walked into a situation or a room and had a difficult time discerning what needs to happen.

There is something powerful and invigorating about walking into a new situation and assessing what is happening. My personality may fit this better than most. I am not a “walk into the room and take charge” kind of guy. In fact, one time in college I was in a class of about 15 people and six weeks into the semester one of my classmates made the statement “I forgot you were in the class with us!” I love analyzing issues and situations before speaking.

You may not be wired that way. I have friends who are wired to speak first and think later, but the principle is still there. We all, in one way or another, have learned to walk into a room and evaluate what is happening, and do so naturally in many situations.

When you turn on a sporting event, you are becoming aware of things: who is playing, what is the score, who is winning, who is announcing, who is having a good game, who just made a big play, etc. Can you imagine the days of the cavemen when the score on TV only flashed periodically? How did anyone ever survive? Now, we evaluate instantaneously.

When we walk into a room for the first time, either literally or metaphorically, our fresh eyes allow us to see things other people naturally do not see.

The goal in developing our leadership ability is to  learn to develop fresh eyes on a regular basis. If we can walk into a room and realize what needs to be done, then we are ready to ask and answer the second question.

Today, try looking at the situations around you with fresh eyes. What needs to be done? What is something that, if you were new, you would see as an area that needs changing?

Wednesday, we will dig a little deeper into the second question: What can I do to help?


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Start Somewhere

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I am a thinker. I have a terrible tendency to be able to argue both sides, even when they don’t need to be argued. Because of my propensity to think, I joke that I spend 90% of my time thinking about what I could do, and 10% actually doing it. Continue reading “Start Somewhere”

Having a Personal Development Plan

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Today, let’s take a moment for some evaluation. That’s right: you need to evaluate some things about yourself before moving forward in your leadership journey.

First, what is your plan for personal leadership development? What are you doing now that has helped you become a better leader?

Look at a calendar, and look back over the last six months. What steps have you taken to become a better leader? Have you had regular meetings with a mentor? Have you read leadership books? Maybe you have attended some conferences, or go to a local network of professionals.

Leadership development for those around you will not take priority until your own personal leadership development takes priority. Let that soak in for a moment. Developing leaders around you will not take place at a rate that is greater than your own development.

You cannot treat your own personal leadership development as a 4, on a scale of 1 to 10, and then expect the people you want to influence to view it as a 9. You set the example for personal leadership development.

If you are taking your development as a leader seriously, then you are starting on the right foot. The reality is that any forward movement is forward movement. You may not be doing anything at this point to develop your leadership, aside from reading this collection of thoughts, but you have started somewhere.

Second, take some time to define what leadership means to you. Very few things will limit the effectiveness of the rest of this blog as much as failing to define leadership. Over time I have realized how important clarity really becomes.

One way to work at defining leadership is with a simple web search for leadership quotes. You do not have to reinvent the wheel as you seek to define leadership, but at the same time it should be personal. Take a few quotes you find inspiring, or you read and something in you shouts “Yes! That’s it!” and use those. See how a dictionary defines leadership. Look at how Jesus defines leadership. Use sources outside of your own capacities, but let it be something with which you wrestle.

I am very wired toward service as a leadership trait. In fact, I tend to emphasize behind the scenes serving more than actually moving a group of people in a certain direction. Without a definition of leadership, my default setting is simply to teach teenagers how to serve. While serving is not a bad thing, I have had to wrestle with whether or not serving equals leadership. I decided the two go hand in hand, but there is a distinction to be made; a distinction of which I have to remind myself regularly.

So, what is your definition of leadership? Find a place to write your definition somewhere. Wrestle with it as you try to write it out. Ask yourself what are the weak areas of the definition? What are the strengths?


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Check It Out: The Tweet Song

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Today’s post is a lot lighter. I found this video earlier this week and thought it was worth sharing.

Tim Hawkins and Jonnie W. present the Tweet Song. Click here to watch it, or watch it below.

3 Questions to Help You Become a Better Leader (Part 2)

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On Monday, I wrote about the first two questions (click here to read if you missed it). Today, I’ll finish it up with the third question.

Just a refresher, when I walk into a room, I want to ask myself three questions. The first two are:

1) What needs to be done? (Awareness)

2) What can I do? (Willingness)

And that brings us to the third question.

3. who can i get to help?

The third question focuses on including others in what has been a very personal and individual process. The difference between people who can answer the first two questions and the people who can answer all three often comes down to an ability to lead others. But leading others is not an art form that few can master. Everyone has the potential to lead.

Leadership takes place when you see a need and you invite other people to meet the need, preferably with you. A quick google search of “definitions of leadership” will return more results than you might care to peruse, but the simple idea boils down to seeing a better future and bringing people along to join in the better future and help it happen. Leaders have an ability to see the “horizon of possibility”.

If Leadership is rooted in the first two questions, then it blossoms in the third. It is not enough to simply be able to assess a need and meet the need, but a successful leader will be able to include others in meeting the need.

I have been teaching these questions to a group of junior high and high school students since August. One of the easiest ways the three questions have found expression has been through setting chairs up on Wednesday nights before our service starts.

A few weeks ago, before anyone else had arrived, an 8th grader, who has not been included in the teaching of the 3 Questions, walks into the youth room and begins to set up chairs. Completely unprompted by me (and like a bum, I didn’t even help).

This student had been included by the others so many times, that he unknowingly answered the first two questions that night.

Leadership leads to movement

Inviting others to help accomplish a task is good, but it is not the end goal. Ultimately, we want to move people in a common direction.

As a father, I want to lead my family to faithfully serve God.

As a leader, I want to lead others to impact lives for the sake of the Gospel.

As a Youth Pastor, I want to lead students into a growing relationship with Christ, and in turn I want to lead those students to lead their peers.

Ultimately, however, the goal of leadership is to leverage influence to create forward movement.

As we work through the 3 Questions, we have to come to terms with where we want people to move. Never be satisfied by simply answering the questions, but be willing to evaluate where you’re going.

So, there you go. These questions have slowly started shaping the way I lead, the way I teach others to lead, and the way I interact with people around me. I will continue to unpack what these mean and what they look like, but this is all for now. Thanks for reading!


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