Monday, July 15, 2013

Leadership Through Love - Chapter 8 - "It Doesn't All Depend On You" (Steve Martin)

Chapter 8

It Doesn’t All Depend On You

There was a time, as I was nearing 30, that I told myself that I could do it all, that I really didn’t need anyone to help me raise a family, take care of a house, fix the car, or need others to get a job done at the office. I soon found out that I was wrong!

Not only did I need the counsel of parents, friends, pastors and others who could and would speak into my life, but I needed staff members in order to get the right job done on time, and in good order. Above all, the Lord spoke to me on a very specific occasion, to let me know that I needed others. Certain things weren’t going to get done only by me, and He didn’t want it to be that way, anyway. I needed others.

During my service with a ministry, one of the staff I had with me decided to move back to Florida, from where he had come a few years earlier. He had become my right hand man, very capable of doing things alongside me, with us working very well together. I had depended on him for much.

I had a choice to make – to hire another to take his place, or go back and do those things which I had done myself before he had come on staff to help. In order to save the ministry money, with less payroll costs, I was going to take the road I normally took, which was to try and do it all myself. I was going to continue on without another in that place, saving money, but burning myself out in the process.

If ever I heard the voice of the Lord, it sure was then! As I walked to the back room of the converted home-to-office setup, to prepare another product order for shipment, I clearly heard the Holy Spirit speak to my spirit. “If you go backwards, you will never go forwards.” I knew exactly what He was talking about!

He certainly was telling me, that as the administrator, it was my place to hire another person, take the time to train them, and continue on doing what I was gifted and given to do. If I chose to not hire someone, I would be stuck doing those tasks that others could be doing, and should be doing. That would have kept me from not only doing what I was supposed to be doing, and should be doing, but I would be the one to “pay the price” in personal wear and tear in my life, and of those around me.

As with any part of the body, both in the natural body and the church spiritually body, we each have specific parts of the body that were created to do certain functions. If each part isn’t doing its intended function, the whole body has to compensate, resulting in disorder or more strain on the rest of the body.

For example, if a hand tries to compensate for a foot that isn’t there, or the foot is not able to function properly, then the hand is prevented from doing its proper role, as it tries to “replace” the foot by doing the foot’s role. In all practically it simply can’t. The body will end up moving in an awkward way, trying to compensate for the part that is lacking, or isn’t capable of doing.

And so I obeyed the Lord and hired a replacement. After taking the extra time to train him, even though in the short run it took more time, in the long run he filled the hole very well, and I was able to continue doing the responsibilities that I needed, and only could, do. The new man did the shipping and mail runs while I did the accounting and the purchasing. Each of us was doing our part. The church was built up and strengthened because he was there to do his job, and I was again able to do mine. The Lord blessed us both in the work.

As the workload of the office expanded, I needed to know when to hire on, and when to have the current staff press a bit more, to do the extra required during the current period of increase. I also had to hear the voice of the Lord and others who could bring advice as needed. Are the tasks at hand to be done a short time task, or would this build into something for the long term? Did we hire for part time, full time, or use contract services? What are the costs of the additional benefits going to cost, for medical insurance, vacation and sick time, and paid holidays? These are ongoing questions that the administrator has to answer on a regular basis quite often.

Different criteria have helped me when making this decision. I consider the annual costs the new staff addition would be, and weigh that against the benefit they would add to the growth of the office. If the current staff is working at full production level, and no one else can be asked to work longer hours, then the need presses itself to be taken care of sooner rather than later. If another project or outreach is added to the overall work of the office, then certainly another staff member would be the reasonable answer to bring the desires of the leadership to fruition.

Another consideration needing to be reviewed is whether this is a direct income-producing job. If the additional staff will encourage income to come in as a result of the tasks they perform, then it is. A new assistant on the phones won’t outright increase funds, but their taking a load off another, who then can produce more written work or phone calling, will add to the overall bottom line. The stress level of the entire staff is also kept at a reasonable level.

Keep the heart beating. 
Don't burst a valve doing it all yourself.

As you slowly build your staff, growing as the church, ministry or business increases, this gives new employees the opportunity to add their talents to the crew. The administrator becomes more of a “quarterback”, directing the flow of paperwork, production levels, and advancement, rather than doing the tasks that others can and should do.

What then depends on you is to keep seeking the Holy Spirit, to hear His voice, and trust in His guidance day by day. As things do flow and ebb, the administrator needs to know when to push in some areas, back off in others, and keep the staff alert to the ongoing overall work needing to be accomplished.

During the slower or seasonal times, tasks to prepare for the upcoming busy season need to be done in advance. The good administrator will keep his eyes looking forward to the days ahead, planning today what needs to happen tomorrow, rather than just waiting for fires to be put out or until the “push to deliver” gets too strong.

As you grow, you need to be looking for those who have the gifting and desire to become leaders on the team, who can learn more directly from you. As you yourself grow in responsibilities and commitments, you will need those who can give direction and guidance in areas that you release them into, that you formerly covered. Do not fear giving responsibility, and also the authority, to others, to get jobs done.

If you were to continue to believe that only you can do it, the day will come when the tasks assigned to your control have grown too big, and too overwhelming, and by then you better have others in place to take on some of your former tasks.

I have seen those in administrative positions who fear giving someone part of their work, lacking trust, or going on past experiences when they have passed on work. As administrators, we need to entrust to others responsibilities, or else the work is bottle necked with us, which slows, or stops, the work flow of others.

It does not all depend on us. If we are faithful to work diligently, the work will grow, and others will be added to do the work alongside us. We need to be willing and trusting to let others be added, take on tasks that we did well, and actually excel beyond what we had taken the previous level to.

Insecurity is one area we need to be aware of, which can keep us from allowing others to succeed. There have been times when I have seen leaders keep things in their control, not wanting to release responsibilities, with authority, due to their own insecurities. Being jealous of a subordinate for certain gifts that they excel at, while holding onto their territory, has many times kept leaders from allowing the ministry or business to grow.

If we allow the Lord to give us His security in our areas of expertise, and acknowledge that others have areas that they will excel in, then we are free to give room for others to grow, and even surpass the work we could have done.

One area that I particularly liked working in was setting up book stores and gift shops with the three ministries I have worked for, whether at a conference setting or in the office building itself. I felt I had a good way of laying out the tables, arranging the product, and having good traffic flow for the crowd. I prided myself on how well I felt I did this, and appreciated hearing the good comments from staff and customers.

Shalom Inspirations gift shop
- one of those I set up.

In time, as others came on staff, and I listened to their ideas regarding the layouts, I found they could do it just as well as I could. In order to let them “take ownership” also, I needed to step out of the way and let them. I knew it was time to “pass the baton”, to see them grow in their gifting and skill level. It was important for me to release this area I did well in, into the hands of others who came behind me.

I also knew that they would have different ideas and methods than I did or would, and I needed to give them the room to try these out. I could add my thoughts, but I needed to give them plenty of room to do their thing.

As I did this, in this area and in others, new leadership was raised up, and new doors were then opened to me. I was secure in the Lord to pass this responsibility on, knowing that He could entrust other works into my hands. If I had held onto this “cup”, I wouldn’t have received the next larger one He had in store for me.

Leadership is raised up as the current leaders give those coming behind them room to make mistakes, and take control themselves over time. This keeps progress advancing, and growth is apparent as new ideas and procedures are put in place.

It doesn’t all depend on you. Let them come and grow with you.

Ahava ("love" in Hebrew) and shalom!

Steve Martin
Love For His People, Inc.

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Note: To read the Intro, Chapter Listings and first seven chapters, please use the Search Box in the top right hand corner of this Blog, and enter "Leadership Through Love." Be blessed in your reading!

Leadership Through Love

Chapter Listings

1.      A Gift for His Purposes

- The Early Years
- On the job training

2.      Use the Tools You Have, But Not the Staff

- Treasure the people, while digging the foundations
- Do unto them as you would…
- Bless and curse not: honor those who serve with you

3.      Right Man (or Woman!) for the Job

- All are created equal – make the most of this!
- If the Shoe Fits, Have Them Wear It

4.      Train and Let Loose

- It IS Who You Know and Are Known By
- Hire To Complement Your Strengths
- if you are weak, then they are strong
- Outsource as needed

5.      Burn Candles At Both Ends? – NOT!

- Rest and Sabbath Days
- Mornings with the Lord
- Trust in Him at all times
- We all are given 24 hours each day

6.       The Visionaries Need You!

-          They dream it - you make it happen
-          It takes a team
-          Head Won’t Get Far without the Neck
(or heads will roll)
7.      Field Trips and More!

- Staff Retreats
- Party Time!
- Birthdays and BBQs
- After Hours

8.      It Doesn’t All Depend On You

- The Lord is the Rock – Not You
- Whose strength  - yours or His?
   - Key Staff to Lean On
    - Trustworthy managers and assistants

9.      Practically Speaking…and Walking

- Handle each piece of paper once
- File so you can find it!
- Early morning – before the others come
- Take a Break

10.  Meetings – Time-manger or Time-waster?

- Do you really need all those meetings?
- Group or One-On-One?
- Why Morning and Mid-Week?
 - Prov. 24:6 “By wise counsel…multitude of counselors

11.  Acknowledge Him in All Your Ways

- Heart of Thankfulness
- Heart of Worship
- Heart of Service

12.  Another Man’s Vineyard

-          Follow & help fulfill their vision
-          Faithful with another’s
-          Learn and growth until your time
-          The proper way of moving on

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Thanks for sharing. Blessings on your head from the Lord Jesus, Yeshua HaMashiach.

Steve Martin
Love For His People
Charlotte, NC USA