“We must open the doors of opportunity. But we must also equip our people to walk through those doors.”
– Lyndon B. Johnson 36th President of the United States (1908-1973)
Equipping is coming alongside someone else and giving them the best chance at success in any given task or assignment. Leaders who are effective at equipping do not just delegate and disappear. Equipping is much more than just making sure a person is properly trained (although that’s definitely necessary). It also includes such things as providing the right resources and giving the authority to manage those resources without having to get permission every time.
Equipping means to furnish or provide:
• whatever is needed for use for any undertaking
• emotional and intellectual resources
• qualities necessary for performance
When you give someone a task or assignment and fail to properly equip that person, much of the responsibility for the failure falls on you. That’s part of the price for effective leadership. Your influence as a leader will be most strongly felt and recognized throughout the equipping process. If you equip your people properly, your level of influence will increase. Failure to be an equipping leader will result in less people interested in coming alongside you in the fulfillment of the group’s mission and vision.
If you struggle with knowing how to best equip those around you for success, I would like to offer ten suggestions. The first five are included in this post.
Some people don’t recognize their potential unless it’s pointed out by someone else. Often, the best encouragement simply comes from your belief in people and their abilities. You’ll quickly see that others (and you too) do their best work in an atmosphere of encouragement rather than criticism.
Good equipping begins with good questions. Questions like: What do you need? How’s it going? Are we on schedule? How can I help you? Questions personalize the equipping process. Asking questions also shows you are a person who doesn’t have all the answers (but you already knew that).
One of the best ways to equip someone is to give them information that was previously unavailable to them. How many times have you seen progress stop because someone didn’t have the right information or didn’t have access to the right information? Oftentimes, the success or failure of a project is based on how quickly you can get the right information to people.
Training needs to be practical and specific to the task. If you do the training, make sure you train from an area of strength. Otherwise, you need to find someone else who is capable in that area. Find ways to continually help people grow.
Give people what they need. Ask them what they need. Perhaps they need more people. Don’t ask someone to do something and not give the person the resources to accomplish it. It’s like asking someone to pound nails and only handing them a screwdriver.
As you reflect on these five ways to equip your people, take time to evaluate your effectiveness with each one. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being strong and 1 being weak, rate how well you do in each area. Write down one action step you could take to improve in each area.
Your influence increases as you do whatever it takes to make people successful. If you struggle to identify the “whatever it takes” moments, start by asking yourself, “What am I doing to add value to those I’m leading?”
I’m looking forward to sharing five more ways to equip others for success in my next post.