Become a Paleontologist of People
TPlease allow me to introduce a guest blogger to Aspire: Andria Bicknell. Andria has great leadership experience in ministry, business and at home. Andria is also an accomplished and gifted writer. She has recently joined the Aspire team as a writer and researcher. I am very grateful and proud to work with her, and I know you will enjoy her writing and insights.
- Wes Saade, M.D.
Whether CEO, Ph.D or M-O-M, we are all leaders (people of influence) with our staff, our peers, and our families! The measure of our success as leaders is directly related to the successes of our people. Hands down, my leadership role as a mother has been my most challenging – and most rewarding – yet! I affectionately refer to my team as “my peeps!” My peeps are eight and six years old, and they are a dream to lead! Just like little ducks: where I go, they follow.
The proof of leadership is found in the followers.
- John Maxwell
Now, I don’t submit this quote to you to promote myself as a leader. I am sharing it to shamelessly plug my followers! They are awesome people! I hope you will indulge me for a few moments to tell you about my dream team…
I was stopped in the school hallway by another child’s nanny two years ago, when my daughter was in the first grade. She took my arm and said, “Listen! I want to tell you what your daughter did today.” (Gulp! – Uh-oh, what has she done?) One of the girls in her class has a mentally and physically handicapped brother. Their nanny pushes him into the school every afternoon in his wheelchair, with his developmental toys on the tray in front of him, toward the classroom to pick up his sister. On this particular day, a couple of the first grade boys were making hurtful comments toward him just out of their own misunderstanding and seven year old perceptions. And, my daughter spoke out and firmly told them, “No!!! There is nothing wrong with him! He is just like us, only different.” -- Tears rolling down my cheeks now. -- (Really? She did that? She said that?) She did that all on her own! I wasn’t there to coach her. And even if I were, would I have instructed her to do that? Or most likely, would I have discreetly discussed how hurtful that must have been as we walked away?
Wow. This is bigger than my leadership role as a mother…Isn’t that what leadership in any capacity is all about? Uncovering, developing and nurturing greatness in someone else. And when tested, they shine! They represent you – and the greatnesses in themselves.
Last year when my son was in Pre-K, he told me on the way home from school one day how he was playing at recess, and there was this new boy in his class who kept getting into trouble for acting out. My son described to me how he had chosen to play with other children so he would not get into trouble, too. (Yes!) I was so proud of his discernment at such a young age for choosing his friends and associations wisely. But, nothing prepared me for what he told me from the backseat just a few days later. “Mom, you know that boy that was getting into so much trouble? Well, at recess today, I felt like he needed a friend. So, I asked him to play with me and my friends. He was really fun!”
Wow. My five-year-old is teaching me life lessons from the playground. Who knew that was on the inside of him?
As leaders we choose, or are given, team members to work with. And if we are wise, we will be like paleontologists, using tools to unearth the rare gems on the inside of them!
- A brush to gently wisp away the dirt and unearth raw talent:
Don’t be afraid to get to know the people on your team! You may even see their talents before they do. Capitalize on them as people, and they will add infinite value to your team and to your cause!
- A magnifying glass to point out their strengths and maximize their potential:
When you see a seed of greatness in a team member, point it out to them! Sincere encouragement will only fuel their enthusiasm to perform well for you. And, it’s contagious! Happy, fulfilled team members will strengthen team morale and loyalty to you and your vision!
- A buffing cloth to polish them and make them shine:
Be willing to invest time and resources in people who are motivated toward greatness! Show them you have faith in them by offering to help refine their skills through furthering their education or training. If they are innovative, give them the tools they need to work outside the box. When they shine, you shine too!
I hope you feel encouraged today to examine the potential treasures on your team! Much like children, they came to you this way! Perhaps they are untrained in some areas or even a little rough around the edges. Challenge yourself as their leader to dig deep to discover their untapped talents and empower them to develop their strengths. As a result, the whole team will shine!
A note to Dr. Wes Saade: Thank you so much for the privilege of sharing my heart with your readers. You are already a ‘paleontologist of people’. Your commitment to dig deep within yourself and uncover greatness in those around you is very inspiring. Thank you for challenging me and believing in me!