How do you help others grow? As a serving leader, we are often challenged to help others grow and become all they can be. It sounds simple, but it may the hardest part of being a serving leader.
As we celebrate Christmas I think of my original mentor for serving leadership, Jesus Christ. When I went to college, I thought I was going a Minister and received significant training in learning how to help others through your work with them. It appeared easier than it actually was. I had to learn several things that changed the way I live my life and how I impact others. I share this in hopes these lessons help you love others in your life and work.
The first lesson of helping others is learning you can’t help until a person is ready to accept your advice and information. Jesus understood, and we should too, that people can only accept things they are prepared to accept. In coaching, it’s critical to meet people where they are, not where you are. It requires a serving leader to not only share advice, but also to check in to make sure they understand what was said and how it applies to their given situation.
The second lesson of helping others is you must be sure people have the skills they need to carry out their mission. Great teaching can have a minimal impact on others if they don’t have the required skills and tools to accomplish their goals. Serving leaders understand that to be effective it’s not enough to have the right message, but also the tools to convey it to others in a way that they can understand it. Helping others grow is part of the mission for a serving leader. Knowing how to educate and train is critical to success with others.
The third lesson of helping others is that you must know the client’s real motivation. It’s sometimes hard to understand the client’s true motivation in doing something. Once you understand the motivation, the better you are at inspiring them to take action and follow their dreams. I’ve seen this happen a lot. I’m very excited to help the other person and the message seems to be falling on deaf ears. On closer observation, I soon discover that what inspired me doesn’t always inspire others. I had to learn how to find an individual’s true motivation if I hoped to get them to take action on their dreams.
The fourth lesson of helping others is to understand the environment they are living in. It’s easy to give people a clear view of their future, but if you want to move people you must start where they are. When I work in my nonprofits, I have been reminded of this lesson in more ways than I care to share here. Even the simplest things can be hard to see if the person has no reference point. When you meet people from other parts of the world, you must learn to understand their world views if you hope to reach and share possibilities.
The fifth and final lesson of helping others is you must be willing to acknowledge and understand their fears if you hope to reach them. When working in hospice I learned there are many fears that people feel that don’t make sense to the living, but are important to those at the end of their lives. If you want to help them, you must be willing to explore them fully. The greatest gift you can provide someone is the gift of listening to them about what is important to them. You must become outwardly directed and let go of your own agenda.
Why do I share this message this week? When I think of Jesus Christ, I don’t think of the miracles He performed, but the people He touched as a serving leader. His simple birth and the way He shared His lessons to help others find their way back to His Father. How He connected with others on such a deep level. How He helped others find their way. He is why I am who I am. His message and His dreams live on through all who share and help others in His name. As we think and contemplate on our lives, take time this week to not only give thanks for all we have been given, but for all we have become.
Merry Christmas, Serving Leaders. Merry Christmas!