Game 1 of the NBA Finals is over. Good game by both Durant and Lebron. And the benches of both teams contributed a lot as well – Chalmers and Haslem, Sefalosha and Fisher. OKC’s bench outscored Miami’s, which became one of the factors toward their win.
Yesterday, I started a blog on how to get a deep bench, and as the Finals is showing, a deep bench makes for winning teams. Here’s the continuation of that blog:
3. Encourage them to develop their strengths.
Every new leader will learn from you, but will not do everything like you either. One of the beauties of a deep bench is the variety of skills that people bring in to enrich the whole team. This is not a threat! Disunity, rebellion, gossip, deception, laziness – these are threats to the team. Difference is not.
Sameness is not a requirement for having unity. In fact, one of my favorite things about the people I work with is seeing how different they are and how their strengths cover my weaknesses. Some leaders make the mistake of automatically recruiting like-minded, like-background, or like-perspective teammates. This isn’t a barkada; it’s a team! You need to work. Amazingly though, when the team is healthy, it can become like a barkada in closeness. Let them run in their strengths. Let them be their own different and weird selves. It makes the whole stronger.
Some of the quirky, strange people I get to work with. Good thing too
4. Develop strong relationships.
You don’t have to be close – knowing each other’s secrets, having secret handshakes, calling each other BFFs – to work together. But if you want to work together effectively, you’ll need to get to know each other better. Most of the people I work with now aren’t exactly childhood playmates, but through the months and years of working together, we’ve become good friends.
I once asked one of my mentors, Pastor Manny Carlos how he developed such strong relationships that ran beyond work and into family and personal life. His network included a lot of great leaders, like my dad, whose strong respect for each other is apparent on every meeting. He said, in his distinctive way, “We do battle together, Joe.” I must’ve looked really confused because he continued, “We pray for each other. We support each other. When one of our family members is sick, we’re there. When someone’s got issues in life, we don’t kick them to the curb. We walk them out of it. It’s not so much a team building gimmick. It’s more a lifestyle of being there for each other. It makes work light.”
5. Grow yourself.
John Maxwell once said something about how our ability to attract skillful, committed people is proportional to our own skill and commitment. If you’re a level 8 leader, you’ll get teammates who are 7′s and below, etc. (I’m not referring to their value as human beings, but what they bring to the working team.) So maybe the best thing we can do to getting better leaders is to become a better leader.
Good people aren’t laying around doing nothing. They’re busy doing stuff they care about. To get them, we need to attract them. What attracts good leaders? Better leaders. I used to begrudge the teams I’d watch other people form, especially when I’d want the same thing and couldn’t get it. I’d make a pitch to people to work with us who wouldn’t be interested. Then I remembered that John Maxwell quote. I was dreaming if I thought these quality men and women would want to work with me. (They have their own call from God also.)
From that point on, I tried to improve as a leader. Good thing I had men and women in my life to help me with that. “You’re too snobbish. You don’t seem to care. Stop interrupting. Don’t roll your eyes. Build with the others. Don’t say things like that anymore. Pray, pray, pray.” God’s got the team you’ll work with. We can only be faithful where we are now and trust Him for results.
6. Grow your team.
So maybe our future team will be great. Like the 1992 Dream Team which is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year. (Wow, that was 20 years ago. Bird-Johnson-Malone-O’Neal-Robinson – Now that makes me feel old.) But what about the one we have now?
Much more talent and dominance than this season's entire playoffs
Well, we can always grow them. So many leaders are waiting to be discovered by people who believe in them and won’t give up on them. If we’re looking for set of perfectly skilled demigods to descend from Olympus to join your cause, that’s gonna be a long wait. But if we can look around us at the men and women (or boys and girls) within our reach, and if we’re willing to serve them and invest in them, you could very well have your Dream Team in a few years.
So those are some ideas on how to get your own deep bench. Is your cause worth it?
One of the things every and every leader wants is a deep bench. That’s a sports metaphor that means having a lot of quality people on your team. Tomorrow Miami and Oklahoma will begin Game 1 for the NBA Finals. Both teams have gotten this far because of their stars, but also because of key bench players coming up big in difficult times.
Please, let's not get divisive about who you're rooting for. We have YouTube Comments sections for that.
A common observation of people regarding our church and movement is the number of leaders on all levels. And people ask how this is done. To be honest, it’s been a priority from the beginning and always remains one as a quick look through the blogs of a number of the leaders will show. We know that new leaders are the lifeblood of an organization. Strategies and models get old, technology can become obsolete, locations change, but leaders – men and women who are skilled, passionate, and united – will be able to hurdle whatever challenge may come.
So how do I get a deep bench? I’ve been thinking about this a lot watching a number of teams in action this past summer. Here are some common points I observed.
1. Make sure you really want one first.
As appealing as it may sound, having a deep bench has its disadvantages. For one, if you’re the leader, you’ll have to give up some of your prime leadership opportunities to give others a chance. It means you won’t be getting credit for things that other people used to applaud you for. During our recent South Luzon Convergence in Los Baños, I watched our National Director, CJ Nunag, lead the whole event, but didn’t get up onstage until he gave announcements to end the event and appreciate the staff. He gave up all the slots to other preachers, leaders, and hosts. Could he have done it? Yes. Would he have been better? Most definitely. But to him, getting a deep bench was worth it.
Some leaders may say they want a deep bench, but when faced with the cost of giving up the limelight, or even getting replaced by better leaders, they resist. So before doing the next points, think about it first. If you’re happy with where you are, then great. If staying small and ineffective doesn’t bother you, then excellent. But if you want your message to get across and impact people, and you’ll do anything to do it, even step aside if necessary, then read on.
2. Give people a chance.
That’s a little obvious after the first point. But it takes a skilled, artful leader to maximize these opportunities everyday. I appreciate people like Pastor Ferdie Cabiling who’s a Jedi Master in discovering these openings. Any speaking, serving, leading opportunity was quickly delegated to new leaders who could benefit from the experience.
If you play video games, think of it like an RPG. For new players, the slightest enemy kill gives experience points (XP) that allow them to level up. When your character is a high level, these basic kills are negligible to your character, but they could be a big jump to a newbie. Don’t be greedy! Share those slots with people and watch your team level up.
You'll need leveled up teammates to take on the bigger challenges.
I’ve got three more points that I’ll post tomorrow. Nothing great is ever accomplished alone, so I hope this will help you go out there and build great teams to do great things!
Or in English, throwing stones to the air. In Filipino, the continuation says, “if anyone gets hit, don’t be angry.” It’s a very Filipino way of dealing with things. Instead of giving our criticisms directly, we “throw it into the air” and expect people to know how to deal with it.
While I love the Filipino sensitivity to relationships (we seem naturally attuned to interpersonal interactions and can adapt quickly), there are times when we take it too far. This is one of those times.
If we have something to say to someone else, it’s best to just say it to them directly. If it’s worth saying, then say it well. If it’s not worth saying, then we should drop it. Either way works. What DOESN’T work are vague hints, guilt-inducing assertions, and indirect (padaplis) statements.
This passive-aggressive form of fail-communication has even made it’s way to the internet in the form of parinig Facebook statuses. (Is that right? Statuses? Statii? Staticocci?) You know the kind: “Some people really should…” If it’s worth saying, it’s worth saying directly. Another funny evolution of this is the dramatic status, then when friends ask the person says, “I don’t want to talk about it.” Hilarious.
So, is there something you need to say? Is there someone you’ve been hinting at and doesn’t seem to get the message? Why not start the process of telling them straight? Rebuild the relationship so you can eventually say what needs to be said. Obviously, we need to employ tact and sensitivity, but we can’t make “waiting for the right moment” be our excuse forever. Say it and enjoy the results.
Some Links to Help You Along the Way
An old blog I wrote about this topic. It’s from almost 5 years ago, but I’m rather proud of it.
People who don’t know anything are more likely to ask questions. This can lead to answers. Then they’ll know something.
The problem with knowing something is when people confuse it with knowing everything. People who think they know everything don’t ask anymore. Why would they? They know everything, or at least they think they do.
While none of us would ever say that we know everything outright, our actions may say something different. When we don’t ask questions, when we aren’t willing to learn more, when we aren’t open to correction that’s what we’re saying – “Why should I learn that? I know everything.” Or at the very least we’re saying, “I don’t need to learn that.” Famous last words.
When we can’t listen to people younger than us because- what do they know? We’re losing a chance to learn.
When people correct us and we respond angrily, why are we angry? Are we surprised to find out that we aren’t perfect?
People with a natural ability in certain areas are prone to the temptation to slack off. People with the discipline to keep learning will always outpace those without.
Are we open to new experiences and lessons or do we stick to stock knowledge? Can we admit that maybe our perception of something isn’t the sum total of that thing?
I remember talking to someone who dissed a certain culture he’d never visited or interacted with at length. It felt like the intellectual equivalent of a kid sticking his fingers in his ears and talking louder.
Can we connect to people as individuals or do we write them off with “I know the type.” I almost missed out on a very close friend that way. Good thing God and other people cut through my pig-headedness.
Have we written of an encounter with God because of our experiences in the past? Some people have had negative memories so they think God can’t possibly have anything good for them now. Others have “done that church thing” already and foolishly assume He has no more wonders ahead.
All of these are different ways that knowing something can make us dumber. Don’t make that mistake. The world is HUGE! Every person has a story to tell. God can do things we’ve never even seen. Better to know nothing but Him and enjoy the ride.
We know that we all possess knowledge.Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. (1 Corinthians 8:1)
“I want to consider another supplier for our wedding!”
“Yes, but I’ve already signed with that one. You were with me, remember? My word is my bond, Sweetheart.”
“I’m not asking you to break your word, perhaps you can renegotiate or buy out the contract. Besides, he kinda tricked us.”
“Well, he can trick us if he wants, but I refuse to stoop to his level.”
“But we’re still stuck with a sloppy supplier for our wedding! I don’t want that!”
“I don’t want that either, but you know what’s worse than that? Having a bad testimony and not being able to honor God during this process.”
“What are you saying? I’m not trying to have a bad testimony!”
“Really? Because even your attitude right now is worrisome. I think you need to go pray or something.”
And that is a summary of one of the biggest pre-wedding arguments between my wife and me. While we’ve had quite a few already that are much bigger, this is significant because of the huge lessons for both of us. We learned how to listen to each other’s concerns. We learned (a little) how to work through issues without getting emotionally riled up. In fact many of our fights follow that same pattern:
Joe wants A.
Carla wants A but she also wants B.
Joe also wants B.
So they both want the same things and they’d realize it if only they’d listen to each other.
If this was a romantic comedy we’d have the wise-cracking guy bestfriend siding with Joe the whole time. Joe would complain while they play TOPICAL SPORT OF THE DAY and his friend would make jokes about how he has it worse. Then Carla’s BFF would tell her how dumb she is for letting such a great guy like me go. Then a montage of scenes would come rushing to her mind and it would melt her ice-cold exterior. We’d run to each other while music from the popular-for-now band plays in the background.
I just saved you tons of time and money. You're welcome.
A lot of the time, for my wife and me at least, our fights are prolonged because we are better at making our points than hearing the other’s. If you believe the Bible, you’d see that it says the devil accuses us to each other, causing us to form nasty conclusions about our relationships without being aware about it.
We can beat this lie first by exposing it. Ask yourself, “Is my wife/brother/boss/friend/colleague really that bad?” When staff complain to me about their coworker or boss, I sometimes ask this question.
Once someone said, “My senior pastor didn’t approve my idea. He is stopping me from discipling students!” Really? Like that’s what he’s trying to do? Like he sees you fulfilling the Great Commission and he’s saying, “Not on my watch!” Obviously not. (And if he was, you have a bigger issue than that particular idea. You better get out of there.) You’re only disagreeing on methods and timing. Maybe he sees something you don’t see. Or maybe you haven’t helped him see what you see.
Like my wife wasn’t saying, “I know you signed that contract. I totally want you to break your word. I’m that kind of person.” And I wasn’t saying, “I want us to have a terrible wedding.” When we finally took the time to listen to each other’s positions (with some help from our secret weapon) we laughed at how common our stances were. And you and your co-fightee will too when you hear each other out.
Alright, maybe you won’t laugh. But you’ll definitely understand each other more and your relationship – whether coworker, friend, family or spouse – will be better for it.
I had the unique opportunity last Friday of preaching three services in a row at Victory U-belt. I say unique because I had an excellent communicator serve as my critic and coach all throughout. I’m talking about Ryan Tan, the youth pastor.
Ryan is a good friend who is very passionate about students, preaching, and doing things excellently. True to form, he gave me very helpful feedback after each session. “Let’s trim down your outline. This illustration is really great. Don’t use that other one. You’re losing us at this point, you gotta do something to get us back.”
Thanks to his feedback, The first preaching was good, but the second one was much better, and the third was the best.
That got me thinking about the importance of getting feedback. The person who is constantly looking for improvement will always be on the lookout for feedback. No experience is wasted when one can learn from it. Even the most embarrassing moment can be turned into a valuable lesson.
Here are some things I’ve learned about getting feedback through the years.
1. You have to want it.
Some people make a token effort of asking others for feedback. They ask, “How am I doing?” But their tone and body language show that they just want a typical “Good.” These kinds if people will never get the juicy tidbits that make feedback helpful.
2. You often have to push for it.
Most of the people we talk to would rather make neutral-positive comments to avoid offense. But the person who wants good feedback will push past that. He wisely knows that there is rarely any ABSOLUTELY PERFECT performance so there must be at least one thing to improve and he won’t stop till he finds it.
3. Surround yourself with sincere people.
Another way to counter the effect above is to hang around the right people. This happens with a combination of finding them and nurturing them. You find them by looking for the fearless kind of people who readily speak their mind. And you nurture them by not biting their heads off or getting defensive when they make a comment. In an environment of trust, even the most timid team member will learn to speak up.
4. Be your own critic/coach.
Listen to yourself. Watch yourself. Do you like what you’re seeing and hearing? If you are already bored or lost by what you’re saying, how do you think others feel? Listening to oneself can be awkward or even painful, but it provides a wealth of tips for improvement.
5. Remember your objective.
One thing that makes this exercise bearable is to focus on the goal. If the goal is to save face or maintain our illusion of perfection, then feedback and evaluation isn’t worth it. But if your goal is greater than that, (Almost any goal at this point would be.) then persist in getting evaluated because it’s one of the surest ways to improve and succeed.