“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.
I have a confession to make…I don’t like
I realize I’m not alone.
This list is probably the making of a “meeting manifesto” but for now…it’s just a list. Let the thoughts begin.
1. Do we really have to have a meeting? That’s my first thought when someone calls a meeting. It’s a good question. I think life is too short to have to sit through meaningless meetings. Sometimes I even think this thought out loud.
2. Don’t make the meeting longer than it has to be. Most meetings don’t have to be long. If you can get it done in 10 minutes, don’t take 20. Even if you’ve blocked out an hour on your schedule for this meeting…you don’t have to use it all. I give you permission to not go the whole hour.
3. Try meeting standing up. Makes for shorter meetings.
4. Only include people necessary for the meeting. If I’m not necessary, I won’t be mad at you for not inviting me.
I was thinking about a story I once heard John Maxwell share:
As he finished speaking, a young man approached him with a look of intensity and determination. As John greeted him, the young man launched into his question with great enthusiasm while waving his index finger in the air, “Dr. Maxwell, what is the ONE thing I need to know in order to be an effective leader?” Appreciating the young man’s sincerity, John answers with the same enthusiasm and intensity (including the act of pointing his finger in the air), “Young man, the ONE thing you need to know is that there is more than ONE thing you need to know.”
So many attempt to define leadership in terms of only.
You only need to know these four principles.
You only need to read this book.
You only need to attend this seminar or this conference.
Leadership is so much more than only. I would offer that leadership is more about “and” than it is about “only.”
/NOTE/ The following is a guest post by Alan E. Shelton, author of Awakened Leadership: Beyond Self-Mastery.
All aspiring leaders, and that includes everyone, start their learning style from the very same place. At young ages we are given books, diagrams, models, and even exams to test our ability to understand a concept. This style of learning – conceptual learning, while necessary, is simply a precursor to a more mature style that we learn later on.
Unfortunately, no one bothers to tell us that and more often than not many people never move on to the second style, or stage, of learning. The downside to the conceptual style of learning we’re all familiar with, is that we begin to believe that concepts themselves have value. In fact, we argue, fight, and even have wars based on our belief that a concept itself has value. But true leadership does not stand in this style of learning, but rather in the important, second stage.
Effective leaders understand two things:
1. It starts with me.
2. It’s not about me.
In order to lead, one must be willing to go first…and go last. This is true in so many other areas of life as well.
Perhaps this premise is born out of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If we follow this, then we must be willing to go first – to set the example of treating others the way we would like, hope, or expect to be treated.
I know there are a lot of lonely people who wish they had friends…better friends. The principles at work in the Golden Rule apply here as well. Be the type of friend to someone else that you want them to be to you. In other words…be a better friend.
On average a person spends an estimated 45 to 62 minutes waiting everyday, which is about 4.2% of an average life time. (response from ChaCha)
Everybody waits. We wait in lines. We wait at red lights. We create rooms specifically designed for waiting (which we creatively call waiting rooms).
A few days ago, I found myself sitting alone at a table in a restaurant, waiting to meet someone for lunch. My lunch buddy was late and I ended up waiting for almost a half hour. Fortunately, we chose to meet at a Buffalo Wild Wings so I was surrounded by about 25 monitors plastered with every kind of sporting event imaginable. I filled the time watching tv.
When it comes to waiting, I think you and I have a couple of options.
The first option is harder: We just wait. We don’t do anything (at least outwardly). We wait…patiently or anxiously. We hit the pause button on life. We stop all action. Sometimes, that’s the best thing for us to do. Sometimes, we must be still within the silence, the not knowing, and the poignant anticipation that comes with waiting.
It’s Monday in my world. Ready to start my week off right. This means I will walk into the office with a list of “tasks that must get done.” Today is no exception.
If you’re anything like me, a list of tasks (more than five) can appear daunting. This is especially true if the list contains items I can’t accomplish in one sitting. They’re just too big and require a lot of time. If that’s the case, I’ve learned it’s probably best to label those as projects which I need to break down into more manageable (think accomplish-able) tasks. Now my list of tasks just got longer.
A task list is a plan. It’s good to have a plan, it’s even better to get stuff done.
The term “lecture” has become synonymous with “life-sucking experience.” You know this to be true simply by the way people use the word in a sentence:
I had to sit through a lecture.
My parents gave me a lecture.
Don’t lecture me about my clothes.
I often wonder if there’s a way to spell lecture with four letters, because it’s so often used like a four-letter word.
I know it’s not an effective tool to teach, yet I still use it. In fact, I didn’t miss the irony of teaching about the ineffectiveness of lectures to a group of people…through a lecture on the ineffectiveness of lectures. I am my own worse case study.
The goal is to get their attention and once you have their attention, to engage them in the process of making progress.