Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Leadership That Connects
Part 2

Yesterday I began a series on leadership and ways to connect with those we lead.  I’m continuing with those thoughts today with three more ways we can do that.  

4)  Take advantage of every possible way to connect.   Social media is here to stay.  It’s not a fad. If you believe that, please note that some people said the same thing in the past about cars and phones.  The most important thing is to connect face to face however these days it’s easier than ever to be a leader who connects because social media makes it easier than ever.  Facebook, Twitter, text, and e-mail are just a few great ways to connect , encourage, update, motivate, etc.  I'm doing this literally ALL THE TIME with our team and probably connect with no less than 20-30 church people a day through facebook comments, private messages, chats, tweets, etc. not to mention phone calls or in person meetings in addition to that.  Social media really simplifies things A LOT.  Before the age of the internet I probably sent out about anywhere from 10-30 handwritten cards a week through regular U.S. Mail.   I still send cards once in a while, but in comparison it's nothing to what I do online, even if just for cost purposes alone.
 
5)  Respond to people asap even if you don’t know the answer to their question or concern.  There are times when people contact me about things that may take me time to decide. I don’t just leave them hanging without answering them at all.   If I know the answer to something I try to answer them within 24 hours. If not it’s my goal to at least send an e-mail within 24 hours saying, “I got your message.  I don’t know the answer to that yet but I’m working on it and will get back to you on it asap.”  People appreciate the response that you have heard them and are contemplating their concern even if you don't know what to do about it yet.


6)  Don’t be afraid to invite people’s feedback.  Insecurity is the downfall of many leaders.  I'm one of those people who will dare to confess my failures.  I'm going to make a confession to you here that years ago when I first started leading I had a horrible habit of asking my team, "does anyone have any questions or comments?" and before anyone could even say a word or barely breathe, I'd quickly go into a closing prayer before they could have time to respond!  They were just getting ready to tell me what they thought and I'd close my eyes and launch into, "Father God, we thank you for this meeting..."  [sigh]  I'm serious!  How wrong is that?!  It's amazing I survived in leadership.  Why did I do this?  Because back then I feared feedback because I was insecure.  Sometimes we dread feedback  because we are afraid of the unknown.  This prevents us from growing as people and as an organization.  I might not always agree with people’s feedback but I’ve found that normally there’s at least a shred of truth to it even when I don’t agree with it and that shred alone is a valuable piece of information that I need to keep moving forward as a leader.

Come back tomorrow for my final three insights on how to connect on a deeper level with those we lead.

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