Do You Hate Saying Yes?

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I’ve been reading through the book Hero Maker with a couple friends. There have been some interesting concepts that have jumped out to me along the way, and a few that have popped in to mind in key moments.

One of the points the author (Dave Ferguson) makes in the book is learning to say yes. I realized a while ago that my default is no, but I can often be talked out of that no.

I don’t think that I’m a negative person, but I do have a tendency to see potential roadblocks. Okay, maybe that makes me a negative person. But sometimes I will point out a roadblock with the singular intention of solving it.

But when push comes to shove, as a leader, am I willing to say “yes”?

I can think of two situations with students within the past few days where my default would have been “no”, but am instead trying to lean into a “yes”. And for the first one, I’m so grateful I was able to do whatever possible to help. The second one is another strong idea, and something I’m hoping will turn out really great as well.

But it’s not without hesitation deep inside of me. I want to save the day. I want to prepare them for the hiccups and protect them from disappointment. But at the end of the day, the struggle is what makes the end profitable.

So, what about you? To whom do you need to say “yes” today? What do you need to let go of, personally, in order that someone else may thrive and grow? What are you waiting for?

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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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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?

What’s the Relationship of Leadership and Growth?

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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.

If you’re reading this, let me start today by saying thank you. I appreciate you reading, thinking, sharing, and participating. I started this blog with one basic premise: I think there may be something to the 3 questions I have started asking myself to help me grow as a leader.

What are the 3 questions? Well, when I walk into a room (or find myself leading an event), I ask:

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

If you’re new, you can click here to read the original series of posts introducing and explaining the 3 questions.

Disclaimer: This is not an effort to toot my own horn, but let’s be honest–there’s a level of self indulgence that comes with writing a blog (probably my biggest struggle with continuing to write and post).

I am constantly amazed at how when I ask myself the three questions in most situations, I am immediately presented with an opportunity to grow, especially as it comes to that tricky third question.

It’s risky to ask someone for help. It’s natural to fear a no. It’s easier to do it myself. It’s less revealing of my shortcomings when I’m the only one who realizes how poorly I plan. It’s comfortable to stay where we are and never grow.

But, once again, let’s be honest: leaders who never grow, never last.

Too extreme? Maybe, but I know I am not going to find satisfaction unless I am willing to push my own leadership limits and encourage those around me to do the same thing.

What about you? What are you building into your life and routine that regularly challenges you to grow? Is it working?

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