I want to share a secret with you. It guarantees success in mentoring. Are you ready? Here it is: Never work alone. I know that sounds too simple, but it is truly the secret to developing others. Whenever you do anything that you want to pass along to others, take someone with you.
This isn’t necessarily a natural practice for many of us. The learning model that’s used in America by most people for teaching others was passed down to us from the Greeks. It’s a cognitive “classroom” approach, like the one used by Socrates to teach Plato, and Plato to teach Aristotle.
But that’s not the only model available for developing others. We also have one used by another ancient culture: the Hebrews. Their method was more like on-the-job training. In all the years I’ve been equipping and developing others, I’ve never found a better way to do it than this:
•I do it. First I learn to do the job. I have to understand the why as well as the how, and I try to perfect my craft.
• I do it—and you watch. I demonstrate it while you observe, and during the process, I explain what I’m doing and why.
• You do it—and I watch. I give you permission and authority to take over the job, but I stay with you to offer advice, correction, and encouragement.
•You do it. Once you’re proficient, I step back and let you work alone. The learner is drawn up to a higher level, and the teacher is free to move on to higher things.
—Your Road Map for Success – John Maxwell
AS YOU WORK TODAY, TAKE SOMEONE WITH YOU SO THAT HE OR SHE CAN LEARN FROM YOU.
The world has never seen a great leader who lacked commitment. If you want to be an effective leader, you have to be committed. True commitment inspires and attracts people. It shows them that you have conviction. They will believe in you only if you believe in your cause. People buy into the leader, then the vision. What is the true nature of commitment?
Take a look at three observations.
1. Commitment Starts in the Heart: I am told that in the Kentucky Derby, the winning horse effectively runs out of oxygen after the first half mile, and he goes the rest of the way on heart. If you want to make a difference in other people’s lives as a leader, look into your heart to see if you’re really committed.
2. Commitment Is Tested by Action: It’s one thing to talk about commitment. It’s another to do something about it. The only real measure of commitment is action. Arthur Gordon acknowledged, “Nothing is easier than saying words. Nothing is harder than living them day after day.”
3. Commitment Opens the Door to Achievement: As a leader, you will face plenty of obstacles and opposition—if you don’t already. And there will be times when commitment is the only thing that carries you forward. David McNally commented, “Commitment is the enemy of resistance, for it is the serious promise to press on, to get up, no matter how many times you are knocked down.”
—The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader – John Maxwell
HOW DO YOU MEASURE YOUR LEVEL OF COMMITMENT AS A LEADER?
The interaction between every leader and follower is a relationship, and all relationships either add to or subtract from a person’s life. The bottom line in leadership isn’t how far we advance ourselves but how far we advance others. That is achieved by serving others and adding value to their lives.
The Law of Addition asks one simple question: Are you making things better for the people who follow you? That’s it. We add value to others when we:
• Truly value others
• Make ourselves more valuable to others
• Know and relate to what others value
• Do things that God values
Adding value to others through service doesn’t just benefit the people being served. It allows the leaders to experience:
• Fulfillment in leading others
• Leadership with the right motives
• The ability to perform significant acts as leaders
• The development of a leadership team
• An attitude of service on a team
—The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – John Maxwell
ARE YOU MAKING THINGS BETTER FOR THE PEOPLE WHO FOLLOW YOU?
What separates a motivated person from all the others? The answer is that he has goals. He has identified what he wants to accomplish to fulfill his purpose and maximize his potential.
You see, on the success journey, the goals you set become your route. And to make progress, you need that—not because you’re hoping or expecting to reach some final destination, but because it shows you how to take the journey. On the success journey, the first part of the trip is just as important as the last part.
The main thing is to be constantly moving toward your destination. And setting goals is the best way to make sure that continues to happen.
—Your Road Map for Success – John Maxwell
REVIEW YOUR GOALS TO BE SURE THEY ARE ENCOURAGING YOU TO FULFILL YOUR PURPOSE AND MAXIMIZE YOUR POTENTIAL.
How do you spot a leader? According to Robert Townsend, they come in all sizes, ages, shapes, and conditions. Some are poor administrators, while some are not overly bright. There is a clue: Since some people are mediocre, the true leader can be recognized because somehow his people consistently demonstrate superior performances.
A leader is great, not because of his or her power, but because of his or her ability to empower others. Success without a successor is failure. A worker’s main responsibility is developing others to do the work.
Loyalty to the leader reaches its highest peak when the follower has personally grown through the mentorship of the leader. Why? You win people’s hearts by helping them grow personally.
Years ago, one of the key players on my staff was Sheryl Fleisher. When she first joined the team, she was not a people person. I began to work closely with her until she truly became a people person. Today she successfully develops others. There is a bond of loyalty that Sheryl has given to my leadership, and we both know the reason. My time invested with her brought a positive change. She will never forget what I have done for her. Interestingly, her time invested in the lives of others greatly helped me. I will never forget what she has done for me either.
The core of leaders who surround you should all be people you have personally touched or helped to develop in some way. When that happens, love and loyalty will be exhibited by those closest to you and by those who are touched by your key leaders.
—Developing the Leader Within You – John Maxwell
INVEST IN SOMEONE TODAY TO EMPOWER HIM OR HER TO GO TO THE NEXT LEVEL.
Many people make decisions when things aren’t going well. They look for relief in the despair of the valley instead of waiting for the clarity that comes from being on the mountaintop. Why? Because it takes a lot of effort to get to the mountaintop. And when you’re experiencing the darkness of the valley, it’s always tempting to make changes that you hope will relieve the discomfort.
When you are on top of the proverbial mountain, that is the time to make decisions. Here’s why:
• You can see your situation more clearly.
• You are moving to something, not just from something.
• You leave those around you in a better position.
• You decide using positive data, not negative.
• You are more likely to move from peak to peak instead of valley to valley.
On the other hand, when you’re in the valley, the most important thing you can do is persevere. If you keep fighting, you’re likely to get your second wind, just as distance runners do. And it’s said that only when runners are exhausted enough to reach that place do they find out what they can truly accomplish. If you keep persevering while you are in the valley, not only will you likely make it to higher ground where you can make better decisions, but you will also have developed character, which will serve you well throughout life.
—The Difference Maker – John Maxwell
USE THE CLARITY OF MOUNTAINTOP MOMENTS TO MAKE MAJOR DECISIONS.
I have believed in the power of written notes of encouragement for many years. Written notes don’t have to come from someone famous to be encouraging. A kind word given from the heart is always well received. If you’ve never mastered the practice of sending handwritten notes to people, then I want to encourage you to try this often neglected way of winning with people.
In his book The Power of Encouragement, my friend David Jeremiah says, “Written encouragement comes directly from the heart, uninterrupted and uninhibited. That’s why it’s so powerful.” Haven’t you known that to be true?
Nineteenth-century writer Walt Whitman struggled for years to get anyone interested in his poetry. He became very discouraged. Then he received a note that read: “Dear sir, I am not blind to the worth of the wonderful gift of Leaves of Grass. I find it the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed. I greet you at the beginning of a great career.” It was signed by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
I can’t help but wonder what might have happened to Whitman had Emerson not invested in him by writing those kind words. That note was like fresh air to Whitman, who breathed in that encouragement and was inspired to keep writing. But you don’t have to be a professional writer to make a difference in someone’s life. Just taking the time to write is evidence of your willingness to invest in that person.
—25 Ways to Win with People – John Maxwell
WRITE SOMEONE A NOTE OF ENCOURAGEMENT.