Posts Tagged ‘mentor’

Leadership Through Mentoring

September 18, 2015

Paul (the Apostle) must have been quite a leader. He is credited with almost single-handedly spreading the Christian church all over the northwest and northern Mediterranian area. Yet we know him through his letters and some stories in Acts.

He wasn’t a bishop. He evidently was not a pastor. He was a speaker, teacher, and writer. Yet he did plant churches and shepherd the people and their leaders.

We lack much detailed information. Reading carefully through the letters and stories in Acts, we can find examples of many other leaders who also went about starting and nourishing churches.

I became a leader in an organization first by saying Yes. I decided to serve the group.

Then I applied myself to diligently learning and growing in experience. I studied so that I could answer questions.

Then, I started looking for the next people to do that and carry on further than I could go.

I think Paul did much the same.

He was the most educated of the Apostles. That education served him well enabling him to provide documentation of the theology and practice of the new movement.

Then he said Yes.

After saying Yes and committing, he applied himself diligently to learning beyond his formidable education. And he gained experience speaking.

In this way he could teach, and speak, and write.

Then we notice his letters to Timothy. We see another side of Paul–Paul the mentor.

He picks his next generation leaders. Then he nurtures them. Giving advice, consolation, support, encouragement. 

We can say Leaders are [lots of things]. But for sure, Leaders are Mentors.

Trust And Respect Are Earned

July 3, 2015

“I should be respected because of my position,” the manager told the board out of frustration. Knowledge was even spread outside the organization of the lack of respect and trust in that manager by those inside and outside the organization.

My response was, “Respect, as with trust, must be earned. One does not have it inferred because of a high ranking position.”

Indeed, years later that individual earned that respect and trust as a leader.

There is even little respect for the office of the President of the United States judging by my Facebook “news” feed. If the President cannot command respect due to his position, being even subject to lies and slander, how much respect can your committee chair demand from that position?

Do you do what you say? That is the key question leading to trust. Beyond that, do you act and decide ethically considering the situations of all stakeholders? If so, then you will earn respect. 

I write this and sound like I know what I’m saying. But…it really challenges me to look back at my leadership times–both the successful and not so successful. It’s easy for me to access my memory of former bosses, company presidents, and the like. I can remember where trust and respect broke down. The challenge is when my actions went over the top or when I was quiet when I should have spoken.

How often have I fallen short! It does no good to point to others when I am challenged. If someone loses my respect and trust, I tend to just drift away (or run as fast as possible).

Perhaps there are two tasks for us. First, we need to always be aware of the impact of our decisions and actions. Second, we could find someone drifting the wrong direction in this situation and mentor them back onto the road to trust and respect.

Mentoring and Training

February 3, 2015

The other day at the coffee shop I chanced into a conversation with a young woman. She is a local community college student who is heading toward a degree-granting (BA/BS) university. She was full of enthusiasm for a career. She knew what she wanted to do.

I started thinking (that’s my weakness, but fortunately not while she was talking) that what people want to do is a question of training them in a skill. They can do computer science, plumbing, tool making, selling, marketing, writing.

But, what if we who are older and have been down the road realize that what is even more crucial is to help people realize who they can be.

Sometimes these things can be accomplished at the same time. I help teach young people how to become a soccer referee. That’s a skill. But that’s only the first step. Of course, they must continue to develop their skills–foul recognition, mechanics, physical stamina.

We also teach them how to be. Through providing them games and mentoring, we show them how to develop strength of character, decision-making skills, people skills. These things help them grow as people no matter what they choose to do with their lives.

Then we can reflect  even on ourselves as we are mentoring young people–realizing that learning should never end; evaluating who we are vs who we want to be; growing in emotional intelligence.

As we get older, one thing we should become is a mentor. Pick someone, help lead them into becoming what they can be. Help them explore their spiritual gifts and talents.