When I was a boy, I never had an original thought of what I wanted to become. Tracing my steps back to 9 year old Efrain, sitting in my room, staring at the ceiling; all I can remember dreaming about becoming is what everyone had already been. I thought on what gifts I already had and what others said of me. I had the toxic philosophy that nothing was developed and everything was given.
I lacked a lot of the belief then that I have now. I think if I knew then that Micheal Jordan first fell before he began to soar or that Walt Disney had to first be rejected by a few before becoming fully embraced by all; I would have dreamed bigger. I would’ve chased my creativity and ambitions, no matter the heights or opinions that filled my ears. Despite my failings, I don’t regret any decisions nor experiences up to date. They have shaped and molded me into the individual I am now and I’m thankful for the favor I have been shown. These past experiences and lessons have given me a lot of insight and passion into the development of the younger generation. So here are 3 tips that I have used to encourage and train others to not only reach for the stars, but refine their gifting and skills to help build the vehicle to reach those same stars.
Follow then Lead
The most influential leaders and pioneers of my life have been those who have first become my biggest fans. They not only encourage and support with words, but with actions. Being present is sometimes the biggest influence on an individual than incentives and awards. It shows belief in that person through your sacrifice of time, emotions, and attention. In a culture dominated by what I consider “come-and-go” relationships, it makes you as a leader not only grab the attention of those you lead and manage, but gain their trust. So you have to be present. Gain the knowledge to point to their story snapshots like newspaper clippings on a wall. And for a change, be the cheerleader and let them be the star quarterback.
Strive for Failure
Yes. Strive for failure! It’s vital to helping someone who is figuring out what they want to become. By putting a kid who wants to become a sound engineer behind a sound board at a weekly event of 50-60 people, you not only test his passion for his craft but you also demonstrate belief in them. Most importantly, you show fourteen year old Jack that his dream is possible and very tangible, not just a fantasy to be played out within the imagination. I have learned that this not only weeds out seasonal hobbies, but also helps pinpoint specific gifting and desires within that individual. Trust me, the pro’s outweigh the con’s 10/10.
Delegation = Ownership
Seventy percent of development happens within this time frame I believe. It’s giving the artists the canvas and not just a paintbrush. Tangibly saying, “I give ownership over an area I value because ultimately I value you more”. That is powerful and pours enough fuel to the fire for further development. It not only shows appreciation to/for the individual but simultaneously gives them a weight of responsibility upon their shoulders. I’ve found that this brings so much life and color to not only your culture, but also that specific relationship. Delegation is one of the hardest things you might find, but in the long game, it frees you up to give your attention and effort that was being spent on what is now delegated, to other areas and projects. The mark of a good leader is others lack of awareness within the performance of a project or weekly tasks when he is absent.
All of these methods bounce off of one another and become contagious within your work environment and culture once implemented. I have seen some strong leaders become the fruit of my commitment to them and these methods.
What are some ways you develop both internally and externally within your work environment and culture?