Leading by Adding Value to Others

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Next month, I’ll reach the seven years of employment mark with The Leadership Institute.  If there’s a tenet of our ministry that I’ve appreciated the most over the years, it’s the idea that all of us, whether we like it or not, are leaders.  Because all of us have some area of influence over others.

This idea is so important because we often forget that we do indeed influence others, even when we’re not meaning to.  We are each in a place of leading.  It’s just a matter of whether we want to deliberately set out to do it right or not.

I appreciated hearing from bestselling author, coach, and speaker John C. Maxwell (pictured, above) at this summer’s Global Leadership Summit on this very topic, on what he called The One Thing to Get Right.

What’s the “one thing”?

It’s remembering our position as leaders.  It’s remembering, in Maxwell’s words, that “leaders lift.  But when the leadership is bad, everything falls.”

And we’ve all seen it.  We’ve seen what happens when leaders forget to lift.  We’ve even done it.  The rest of the team feels down.  Discouraged.  Left out.  Not a good thing!  So, how do we move into a position of lifting with our God-given sphere so that you can move to where God is calling your team?

Maxwell encourages us to intentionally add value to people.  Each day and every day.  Sit in their shoes.  Find out what is important from their perspective.  Be consistent and willfully caring of those in your charge.

There are three questions that followers want to know from their leaders:

  • “Do you like me?” which looks to our care and compassion
  • “Can you help me?” which looks to our competence
  • “Can I trust you?” which looks to our character

Taking a look at the news today, we can easily see that we are in a vacuum of leadership.  People ask these three questions, directly and indirectly, as they meet new friends at church, or a new colleague or boss in a job, or as they size up political candidates.

Clearly, it is a hard journey to be a wise and valued leader.  But it’s not impossible.

Try these five things Maxwell recommended that we can do each day to add value to people:

  1. Value people.  Pause for a moment and reflect on how you value people.  Do your colleagues know how you value them?  Have you verbalized it?
  2. Think of ways to add value to people. As you look toward your day today, think about who you will see.  Prayerfully list 2 or 3 ways you can add value to them today.
  3. Look for ways to add value to people. Don’t just think about it, do it!
  4. Go from knowing how to add value to doing it.  At the end of the day, ask yourself how you did to add value to people that day.
  5. Encourage others to add value to people.  Are you helping create a culture at home, at church and / or at work where all are valued, not just those you interact with closely?

Being intentional in our leadership is difficult, but in adding value to others, we can take the first step in helping our places of influence thrive.  And as we work toward bringing value to others, we create a more cohesive team in the process.

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